Tale Of The Tape: Navy Vs. Notre Dame

  • Coaching
    It takes a special kind of coach to excel at the Naval Academy, and Ken Niumatalolo appears to be a great fit. He is hoping his fifth season looks more like his second or third (10 and 9 wins, respectively) than his fourth (5-7).
    Brian Kelly has won, and engineered an electric offense, everywhere he’s been. That hasn’t been the case so far at Notre Dame, and a brutal schedule doesn’t help matters in Year Three.
  • Offense
    Navy’s triple-option attack has propelled the offense to no worse than sixth in the country in rushing each of the last five seasons. Junior Trey Miller showed potential as a runner and thrower in six games last year.
    Another season and another new quarterback for the Irish, as redshirt freshman Everett Golson takes over. Kelly hopes Golson gives the position the running dimension he craves. When Golson takes to the air, he’ll look to target one of the best tight ends in the country, Tyler Eifert.
  • Defense
    The Midshipmen return eight starters on defense, but the unit was ineffective much of the season. How much Navy improved will be critical to this team’s chances to have a bounce-back season.
    Linebacker Manti Te’o is an All-American candidate, an envious blend of strength and speed. Notre Dame’s front seven is solid; it’s the secondary that was laughable at times last season.
  • Special Teams
    Nothing special to report here. Jon Teague was shaky enough last season that multiple kickers may be used in 2012.
    Nick Tausch regains the kicker’s job he last held in 2009. He was reliable then, so there’s no reason to think he won’t be this season.
This game makes this week’s list of top 10 matchups mostly because of the location: Dublin, Ireland. More than 35,000 are believed to have made the trip from the United States; fans in America will have to wake up earlier than usual (kickoff is 9 a.m. ET) to watch. Most will be Notre Dame fans and they should be happy with the result.

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