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Notre Dame is bowl eligible heading into another very winnable game against Syracuse, before it finishes the season against Southern California.
Written on a grease board in the Navy locker room before the game was BELIEVE!! and ACHEIVE!!
And why not. For the first time in more than four decades, the Midshipmen could draw from a winning experience against Notre Dame. Navy celebrated wildly last year after beating the Irish 46-44 in triple overtime.
A two-game winning streak for Navy in the series, its first since 1960-61, was just too much to ask for.
Navy ran for 257 yards last year, but the Irish weren't fooled this time around. Led by linebacker Toryan Smith, Notre Dame held the country's second-ranked rushing offense to 178 yards.
Instead it was Notre Dame that piled up the yards on the ground. The Irish ran 51 times for 230 yards. James Aldridge had 80 yards on 16 carries. Allen ran for 60 yards and caught seven passes for 60 more.
Clausen rarely went downfield, completing 15 of 18 passes for 110 yards with two interceptions and a fumble.
Weis scanned an oversized white card as he limped up and down the sideline on his injured left knee. He decided to try to push around Navy's undersized defense, instead of letting Clausen test the 104th-ranked pass defense.
Mike Anello helped make up for two early turnovers by Clausen, blocking a punt that Smith caught on a high bounce at the Navy 14. Smith did a swan dive into the end zone that earned him a 15-yard penalty and an earful from special teams coach Brian Polian, but made the score 7-0 in the first quarter.
Cory Finnerty's 22-yard touchdown run for Navy tied it 7-all with 2:39 left in the half. But Notre Dame took advantage of Eric Kettani's fumble near midfield with 1:09 left to take a 10-7 lead on Brandon Walker's 28-yard field goal as time expired.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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