Notre Dame saw their chance at a BCS bowl game go right out the window on Saturday as they dropped a disheartening game to Navy, 23-21.
The Irish were a 12-point favorite over the Midshipmen, but Navy looked like the better team from the get-go. And they ran the ball down ND's throats, as defense looked incredibly suspect all day.
Navy ran for 348 yards, including two of their three TDs. They scored a TD in each quarter of the first half, while Notre Dame missed two field goals. Notre Dame finally got on the board with A Robert Hughes one-yard run. But Navy answered it right back, with a 52-yard pass from Ricky Dobbs to Greg Jones to make it 21-7.
One encouraging note for ND was the return of Michael Floyd from his collarbone injury. He caught 10 passes for 141 yrads, including a TD pass from Jimmy Clausen in the 4th quarter to make it 21-14. Clausen completed 37 of 51 for 452 yards. He set the ND record for completions and his yard total was the 4th highest in school history.
But with 1 minute to go, he sacked in the end zone by Craig Schaefer for a safety to make it 23-14. ND then recovered an onside kick, and with 28 seconds left Clausen hit Golden tate on a 31-yard TD pass to make it 23-21. But they failed to recover another onside kick, and that was it.
It was Navy's second win in three years over ND, and the first time an unranked Navy team beat a ranked ND team since 1936. It gives Charlie Weis' critics yet more ammunition, and now the 8-1 Pittsburgh Panthers await Notre Dame, now 6-3, next Saturday at Pittsburgh. You have to wonder if Weis will survive as head coach should they lose any of their three remaining games.