by Collin Wilson
- Odds: Notre Dame -9
- Total: 54
- Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC
- Location: South Bend, Ind.
Notre Dame and Navy will renew their historic rivalry on Saturday when the No. 21 Midshipmen head to South Bend to take on the No. 16 Irish. Navy has been one of the biggest surprises in college football this season, shrugging off a terrible 2018 — it went 3-10 and missed a bowl game for the first time in six years — to start 7-1 in 2019. The Irish have been their steady selves, losing to Georgia and Michigan while taking care of business against the rest of their schedule to remain in the top 20. Let’s take a look at what my power ratings think of this game, and how I’m betting it.
- Projected Spread: Notre Dame -10.6
- Projected Total: 54
The handicap when playing for or against a triple-option team starts in the trench, as always. And that’s why I’m going against my projected spread, which has a slightly higher line for Notre Dame than what’s available to bet now. Navy has a case for comeback team of the year, having a 6-2 against the spread mark and ranking just inside the College Football Playoff top 25.
Most of the success comes via the trenches, where Navy is 19th in Line Yards, 16th in Power Success and 25th in Stuff Rate. Those numbers are in-contrast to an Irish defensive front that is 52nd in Line Yards, 76th in Power Success and 36th in Stuff Rate. Michigan ran all over Notre Dame two weeks ago.
The Midshipmen should not have an issue moving the ball with their option attack led by Malcolm Perry.
They rank No. 5 nationally in yards per rush and lead the country with 36 rushing touchdowns.
Malcolm Perry turned on the JETS ✈️ for a @navyfb TOUCHDOWN!
Midshipmen 7 pic.twitter.com/WIK60T6Msv
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) October 19, 2019
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly expressed how important it will be for the Irish to contain Perry. This is especially true when it comes to opponent territory.
Navy has been one of the best offenses all season in finishing drives. The Midshipmen are No. 1 in the country in red-zone points per attempt. That will be trouble for a Notre Dame defense that is 128th in opponent red zone scoring percentage.
Look for Navy’s defense to pressure Ian Book all afternoon, as the service academy team fields a front that ranks 12th in sack rate. The Midshipmen are straight off a bye and will look for the outright upset.
The Pick: Navy +9