Ladies and gentlemen – finally – it’s time.
The off-season has come to an end and college football is set to kick for the 2023 season.
The first game on the last Saturday of August features No. 13 Notre Dame taking on annual rival Navy in Ireland. It’s the third time the two have met in Dublin as the Irish look to start the season in a big way.
Follow here throughout the contest to check in on the latest thoughts in-game. We’ll have some social media reaction and information throughout as well.
Get settled in, enjoy the game, and go Irish!
As we mentioned earlier in the week, rain was in the forecast for Dublin on this Saturday. Well, based on video from those on the ground, that rain has showed up. Hopefully it won’t be enough to make too much of an impact on the play-calling and throwing ability as Navy is coming off a year where they were among the truly elite run defenses in all of college football.
Kickoff set for 2:41 p.m. EST. Get settled in, folks!
Opening Drive Recap
Notre Dame’s opening drive may not have happened without a few frustrations but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still sweet. A penalty and a drop on a screen pass were yuck but both ultimately overcome.
Audric Estime was the workhorse for the series as his first carry went for a dozen yards, he later converted a 3rd and 10 on a run, and ultimately capped the drive with a short plunge.
Pressure from Navy? Notre Dame decided to run straight at it and gashed the Midshipmen. If that’s a sign of things to come this is going to be a relaxing afternoon.
Tackle the Fullback!
Frustrating first couple of plays by the Notre Dame defense as it seemed like Navy was going to pick up right where they left things off in the second half last year. Then, after two plays, JD Bertrand made a couple of tackles and forced Navy into a fourth down passing situation.
Based on how that ended with a pair of open Midshipmen receivers looking like deer in headlights – that doesn’t feel too threatening today.
End of First Quarter: Notre Dame 14, Navy 0
We mentioned that Notre Dame has already essentially reached the total of rushing yards Navy allowed per game last season. Also worth noting is the dominance Notre Dame showed on first down, something Tim O’Malley highlighted.
Notre Dame's first down gains that quarter: 10, 19, 0, 5, 6, 13, 9, 0, and 9 yards … a robust 8.7 yards per first down snap.
— Tim O'Malley (@timomalleyND) August 26, 2023
Random Commercial Break Thought
Please get Matt Leinart off of my television if I’m watching Notre Dame football.
Greathouse - to the House - 21-0 ND
I was in the middle of typing that Notre Dame’s linebackers seemingly are starting to trust their judgements and have things a bit more figured out after the third Navy possession. I was in the middle of trying to word that, Sam Hartman hit Jayden Thomas on a tunnel screen and then delivered a perfect ball to freshman Jaden Greathouse to go up 21-0.
Hartman gets the ball into windows so much better than we’ve seen for so long. It honestly feels weird to watch and to trust when the ball leaves his hand.
Navy trying to chip away: 21-0 ND 2nd quarter
Not finishing tackles hurting Notre Dame as we get late into the second quarter. Multiple times hands and arms have gotten on Navy pitchmen and not gotten them down. Jason Garrett keeps mentioning that Navy just needs to get a touchdown and how things can change in a hurry.
For Notre Dame: don’t let it.
What is Navy doing? 21-0 ND, under 2:00 in 2nd
I get Navy isn’t built to convert 3rd or 4th and longs but what in the wide world of sports is the Academy doing kicking a 37-yard field goal down 21-0? I know you feel like you need something but based off what I’ve seen from Navy special teams over the years, nothing outside of about 27-yards is a chip shot.
Excited to watch Sam Hartman and this offense go execute a two-minute drill before half. Go find the end zone again and put this one on ice.
What a Way to Close the Half: 28-0 ND
I know it’s Navy and that it’s not the greatest defense Notre Dame will see this season but I just don’t understand those that aren’t bought in on Sam Hartman. He sees the field so much better than anything Notre Dame has had at the position in seemingly the longest time. The two minute drill showed exactly that.
Running game early set up some of the passing game later. I know the Navy comeback last year is fresh in our heads but I have a feeling the Notre Dame offense will go for a tick more than four-yards or whatever it was in the second half of last year’s meeting.
More of the same: 35-0
Well, not to Heidi game this one but it’s over. Notre Dame up 35-0 after starting the second half with another easy seeming touchdown drive.
I’m getting set for post game coverage the rest of the way in this one so stay tuned to Fighting Irish Wire immediately following the game.