SOUTH BEND, Indiana (AP) - Navy did it to Notre Dame again—and this loss to theMidshipmen is even more costly.
Craig Schaefer sacked Jimmy Clausen in the end zone with 60seconds left Saturday and Navy held on for a 23-21 victory, itssecond straight at Notre Dame Stadium.
“I love playing in South Bend,” safety WyattMiddleton said. “I love playing here.”
No. 19 Notre Dame (6-3) scored with 24 seconds left on a 31-yardpass from Jimmy Clausen to Golden Tate to cut the lead to two, butthe ensuing onside kick went out of bounds.
Navy’s victory celebration was a bit more subdued than twoyears ago, when the Midshipmen ended an NCAA-record 43-game losingstreak to the Irish by winning 46-44 in three overtimes.
“I wanted to run on the field and jump up and down, but Iwas kind of tired,” said Ram Vela, who had an interceptionand fumble recovery. “We’d done it before and we wentinto this game not really placing as much emphasis or too muchimportance on it. We just treated it like another game.”
Two years ago when Navy beat Notre Dame, the Irish were in themidst of a 3-9 season. The loss Saturday effectively ends any hopeNotre Dame (6-3) had for its first Bowl Championship Series berthsince 2006.
The last time an unranked Navy team beat a ranked Notre Dameteam was 1936, the first year of the poll, when the Midshipmen won3-0.
It’s the type of loss that will no doubt fire up thecritics of Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis.
“That comes with the territory. The sad part of that isthat’s this job every week,” said Weis, who is 35-24 infive season at Notre Dame. “It’s a week to weekdeal.”
The Midshipmen, who now go to the Texas Bowl, said the win twoyears ago helped them believe they could do it Saturday. Vela saidthe biggest difference was the defense played better.
“Everyone put their all into it and rose to theoccasion,” Vela said. “I think that’s whatseparates this game from the last time we best them.”
Ricky Dobbs threw a 52-yard touchdown pass and ran for anotherand fullback Vince Murray added a 25-yard TD run for Navy to leadthe Midshipmen to consecutive wins in South Bend for the first timesince 1961 and 1963.
Navy outrushed the Irish, playing without leading rusher ArmandoAllen Jr. because of an ankle injury, 348 yards to 60. Murray ranfor 158 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, becoming the firstNavy running back to rush for 100 yards for four straight gamessince Napoleon McCallum in 1983.
Dobbs, who played only seven plays in the last two games becauseof a knee injury, added 102 yards on 31 carries and completed 2 of3 for 56 yards.
Clausen was 37 of 57 yards passing for 452 yards, all careerhighs. The 37 completions are a school record and the yardage isthe fourth best in school history. Heisman Trophy-worthy numbers,but with Notre Dame down a touchdown with less than a two minutesleft, Clausen was sacked on consecutive plays. The last one gaveNavy its final two points and all but sealed the victory.
Floyd, playing his first game after breaking his collarbone inSeptember, matched his career high with 10 catches for 141 yards.Tate had nine catches for 132 yards.
The Irish managed to cut the lead to 21-14 when Floyd caught a12-yard TD pass from Clausen with 4:46 left in the game. The gameappeared over when Schaefer sacked Clausen with 60 seconds left.But Tate recovered the onside kick by Nick Tausch to give the Irishonce last chance and they converted it for a score, but they willlament the points they left behind.
Tausch, who had made a school-record 14 straight field goals,missed a 41-yard attempt wide left and a 30-yard try wideright.
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