It looked for all the world like it was turning into a laugher of a game in Baltimore today as Notre Dame took on Navy, to avenge the loss they suffered at South Bend last year that ended the 43-game ND winning streak over the Midshipmen.
The pouring rain showed up in the fourth quarter, and the Navy team did too.
It was 27-7 midway in the fourth, and ND was driving to put the game away. But a fumble at the five-yard line by the Irish gave Navy life, and they drove to one score with just under 2 minutes to play to make it 27-14. I thought that would just be a cosmetic TD to make the score closer. But Navy recovered an onside kick and scored shortly after they completed a long bomb at the one. With just over a minute, it was now 27-21. ND couldn't blow this, could they?
Navy came from 20 points back to beat Temple last week, and were trying to do it again. And Navy yet again recovered an onside kick, and were just 40 yards away from a game-winning TD. But Navy's miracle comeback came up just short, as a pass on fourth down went incomplete, and the Irish ran out the clock to get the win. Charlie Weis had a huge smile on his face at the end, more out of relief than anything else.
The heat's been on Weis bigtime at South Bend, and a loss to Navy might just have cost him his job. It wasn't a great game played by the ND offense, as they turned the ball over 4 times. Jimmy Clausen was 15-for-19 for 110 yards and two interceptions. ND scored their first TD on a blocked punt, and the other two on running plays by Armando Allen and Robert Hughes (pictured). The Irish ran for 230 yards today.
But they let a never-say-die Navy team, who is now 6-4, back in the game. There's more a sense of relief that ND didn't blow this game, as opposed to a team that just improved its record to 6-4. The game probably won't do much to get the critics off Charlie Weis' back.
Notre Dame concludes its 2008 home schedule next Saturday when they host Syracuse.