Notre Dame Navy Odds
Notre Dame and Navy kick off their seasons Saturday at 9:00 AM ET at Aviva Stadium in Dublin Ireland.
The Fighting Irish went 43-0 against the Midshipmen from 1964-2006, but the series has been more competitive the last few years. Navy has actually won three of the past five meetings, but it was blown out 56-14 in South Bend last October.
Odds makers are confident Notre Dame can achieve another rout. It has listed the Irish as a 16-point favorite with the total set at 57.
The Fighting Irish are hoping to bounce back following a disappointing 8-5 campaign. In order to do so, they’ll need better play from the quarterback position.
Sophomore Everett Golson, who is yet to take a snap in a college game, has earned the starting job. Junior Tommy Rees, who was named the starter at the beginning of last season, has been suspended for the opener.
Coach Brian Kelly has said positive things about Golson’s poise and vision down field.
Golson may have to carry the load Saturday as junior running back Cierre Wood, who rushed for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns last season, has been suspended two games for an unspecified violation of team rules. Theo Riddick will get the bulk of the carries while Wood is out.
Losing Michael Floyd, Notre Dame’s all-time leading receiver, hurts, but Golson still has a couple solid targets in tight end Tyler Eifert and wide receiver TJ Jones. Eifert is one of the top tight ends in the country. He caught 63 passes for 803 yards and five touchdowns last year. Jones had 38 catches for 366 yards and three scores.
A stop unit that finished 24th nationally in scoring defense with 20.7 points allowed per game has the potential to be one of the best in the country. The Irish did a pretty decent job against Navy’s triple-option attack in last year’s win, holding the Midshipmen to under four yards per carry. Notre Dame appears to have a front seven capable of slowing down Navy again.
Senior end Kapron Lewis-Moore and junior nose guard Louis Nix III anchor the front three, and linebacker Manti Te’o is the glue of the entire defense.
The Midshipmen are hoping to start out with a win following their first losing season in nine years. Last season was a tough pill to swallow as they suffered five losses of three points or fewer.
Junior quarterback Trey Miller, who played in seven games last season, is set to take over for Kriss Proctor. Miller appears ready to shine. He is a more capable passer than Proctor, and that was on display last season when he threw for 126 yards and two touchdowns against East Carolina. The Irish will have to sell out to stop the run, which means Miller will have some opportunities through the air.
While it is important for the Navy offense to control the clock, it is also important for the defense to perform better than it did a year ago when it allowed the Irish to rack up 442 yards. The Midshipmen finished 86th in the country in total defense in 2011 with 413.8 yards allowed per contest.
The Midshipmen are at their best in the back seven where senior inside linebacker Matt Warrick, who had a 103 tackles in 2011, and senior strong safety Tra’ves Bush roam.
The Fighting Irish are 7-18-2 against the spread in their last 27 games as a favorite while the Midshipmen are 9-2 against the number in their last 11 games as an underdog.
These two have finished over the total in five of the last seven meetings, but the under is 15-7-1 Notre Dame’s last 23 games as a favorite and 4-1 in Navy’s last five games as an underdog.