Posted by Tom Fornelli
NOTRE DAME WILL WIN IF: Take care of the ball. It's that simple with the Fighting Irish. After committing ten turnovers in their first two games and starting the season 0-2, the Irish were finally able to limit the turnovers over the next four weeks and, not surprisingly, went 4-0 in that span. Then the turnover bug returned against USC on Saturday night and lo and behold Notre Dame's winning streak came to an end. There's no question that the Irish have more talent on both sides of the ball than Navy, so as long as it doesn't turn the ball over repeatedly, then there's no reason Notre Dame shouldn't win this game.
NAVY WILL WIN IF: Navy doesn't have a complicated formula for success against anybody, and it's a formula that involves controlling the time of possession and wearing down opponents with its option attack. Air Force proved earlier this season that an option attack can find success against Notre Dame, as it rushed for 363 yards and scored 2 of the 3 rushing touchdowns that the Irish defense has allowed this season. So Navy will have to have similar success in order to keep the Irish offense on the sideline, because the problem for Navy this season has been a defense that's allowing 30.3 points per game. I'm not sure Navy can stop the Irish offense, so its best bet will be to keep it off the field.
X-FACTOR: Cierre Wood. During Notre Dame's loss to USC last weekend, I felt one of the biggest reasons the Irish lost was because it abandoned its ground game too early. There's no way that Cierre Wood should only carry the ball 5 times in a game, and Brian Kelly needs to establish a rushing attack early against Navy and keep going to it for 60 minutes. Yes, Notre Dame will have success throwing the ball on Saturday, but when this team becomes one-dimensional on offense, that's when it runs into trouble.