Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 12, 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 33 of 55

34 NOV. 12, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED GAME PREVIEW: NAVY positive turnover differential in five of six games from Week 3 through Week 9. That's better than most teams can boast. Notre Dame, for instance, did not win a turnover battle within a single game until its win vs. Syracuse in Week 9. Navy isn't talented enough for win- ning the turnover battle to lead directly to victories, though. A 13-10 defeat at Air Force further highlighted the Midship- men's offensive deficiencies. A 40-34 loss at SMU showed Navy can score on suspect defenses, but its own defense can be a problem against capable offenses. Through Week 9, Navy's one-dimen- sional offense ranked 105th in the country in total yards per game (346.1). Its defense was 55th at 364.1 yards allowed per game. If there is anything Navy does worth talking about on a national scale, it's stopping the run. Navy ranked eighth in rush- ing defense through Week 9, only allowing 92.13 yards per game. The Midshipmen held Air Force's No. 1 yards per game (336.75) rushing attack to 200 yards in a nar- row, low-scoring defeat. Air Force runs the triple option. Notre Dame runs north-south with bruising backs. It'll be interesting to see how the Midship- men's front seven holds up against the likes of soph- omore tailbacks Audric Estime and Logan Diggs. And, of course, against an offensive line littered with next-level talent. X'S AND O'S New year, same Navy offense. The triple option is alive, but it's not neces- sarily well. Sophomore fullback Daba Fofana led the Midshipmen with 132 carries for 488 yards and 5 touchdowns through Week 9. Six other players on the roster had at least 100 rushing yards through Week 9, including two quarterbacks. One of them, season-long starter Tai Lavatai, is out for the season with a knee injury. The junior signal-caller com- pleted 42 of 91 passes for 785 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, plus had 115 carries for 309 yards and 5 touch- downs before suffering the injury. Junior Xavier Arline is the next man up for Navy at quarterback. His 23-yard touchdown run in overtime was the game- winner in a Week 9 victory over Temple. Niumatalolo said the offense will be tai- lored to Arline's strengths, which in turn means the same thing it always means for a Navy quarterback — he's going to run the ball. Arline was 0-of-4 passing with 1 interception through Week 9. It also means Navy is going to lean heavily on Fofana and his cohorts. Fof- ana was a three-sport athlete at Cum- ming (Ga.) West Forsyth High School. He excelled in track and field as well as wrestling. He's an athletic back who got his first chance to tote the rock this year as a sophomore. He has taken the opportunity and run with it. Fofana had 21 carries for 159 yards and 3 touchdowns, all of which came in the second quarter, in a 53-21 Navy win over Tulsa Oct. 8. "The O-line, they made it happen," Fofana said. "Those blocks, they were insane. They did their job really well today. It's all them. They're the reason I had those touchdowns." On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker John Marshall is one to worry about for Notre Dame. He had 62 total tackles, 10 stops for a loss and 4 sacks through Week 9. He also had a team-high 6 passes broken up. Defensive lineman Jacob Busic had a team-high 6 sacks. Navy has some players, but perhaps not enough of them to beat the Fighting Irish for the first time since 2016 and just the second time since 2010. ✦ 2022 NOTRE DAME SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Sept. 3 at Ohio State L, 21-10 Sept. 10 Marshall L, 26-21 Sept. 17 California W, 24-17 Sept. 24 at North Carolina W, 45-32 Oct. 8 vs. BYU* W, 28-20 Oct. 15 Stanford L, 16-14 Oct. 22 UNLV W, 44-21 Oct. 29 at Syracuse W, 41-24 Nov. 5 Clemson W, 35-14 Nov. 12 vs. Navy^ (ABC) 12 p.m. Nov. 19 Boston College (NBC) 2:30 p.m. Nov. 26 at USC TBD * at Las Vegas; ^ at Baltimore 2022 NAVY SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Sept. 3 Delaware L, 14-7 Sept. 10 Memphis L, 37-13 Sept. 24 at East Carolina W, 23-20 (2OT) Oct. 1 at Air Force L, 13-10 Oct. 8 Tulsa W, 53-21 Oct. 14 at SMU L, 40-34 Oct. 22 Houston L, 38-20 Oct. 29 Temple W, 27-20 (OT) Nov. 5 at Cincinnati L, 20-10 Nov. 12 vs. Notre Dame* (ABC) 12 p.m. Nov. 19 at UCF TBA Dec. 10 vs. Army^ (CBS) 3 p.m. * at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore; ^ at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia Sophomore fullback Daba Fofana was the Midshipmen's leading rusher with 488 yards and 5 touchdowns through eight games. PHOTO COURTESY NAVY

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 12, 2022