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Around the Yard — Wednesday, Oct. 24: Navy might not beat Notre Dame, but they should cover

Notre Dame is favored to beat Navy by 23.5 points, but the Mids will do whatever they can to not lose their fifth straight game. Navy should make this annual meeting much closer than Vegas thinks.

NCAA Football: Temple at Navy Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

It has not been a great season for Navy football.

The Midshipmen have lost four straight. They were blown out by rival Air Force, they lost to Houston by double-digits despite having a lead at halftime, they lost to SMU by a single point, and one of Navy’s two wins came against an FCS opponent.

Navy is unfortunately poised to continue its losing streak this week in San Diego, when they take on No. 3 Notre Dame in the annual rivalry game between the two sides. But even though the Mids might lose, it’s a near lock to say that they’ll cover the 23.5-point spread that Notre Dame is favored by.

According to Sports Illustrated, Navy has covered in four of its last five meetings with Notre Dame, and that includes match-ups where they’ve faced spreads of 14, 16.5 and 20 points. Navy also beat Notre Dame two years ago, handing the Irish a 28-27 defeat in Jacksonville.

Navy hasn’t been truly blown out by the Irish since they met in 2012 in Ireland, where they suffered a 40-point loss. Since then, the most Notre Dame has beaten Navy by is 17 points, during a 2015 contest in South Bend.

While the Irish are ranked No. 3 in the country and are undefeated, they’ve been inconsistent this year. Sure, they have wins over No. 5 Michigan and No. 24 Stanford, but they also just edged out Vanderbilt and Pitt by only five points. The Irish also had a close call against Ball State too, besting the MAC side by just eight points. According to Vegas Insider, Notre Dame is 4-3 against the spread this year.

Another thing: the Irish are 30th in FBS in rushing defense this year, allowing 126.1 yards per-game. Navy might not do many things well, but one thing it is exceptional at is running the football, tallying up 309.4 yards per-game, good enough for third in all of FBS.

Yes, Notre Dame is good this year. And yes, Navy is not so good. And yes, Notre Dame has had two weeks to prepare for the triple option. But the Irish have been erratic at times and the Mids’ backs are against the wall.

Navy won’t roll over against their rivals. This game should be much closer than 23.5 points.

More Links

Navy vs. Notre Dame, a historic football tradition | Baltimore Sun
The Sun put together a neat photo gallery of past Navy-ND games.

Perry to stay at slotback, Lewis at quarterback and Abey in hybrid role | Capital Gazette
Garret Lewis is expected to make his third straight at quarterback on Saturday night against Notre Dame.”

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly’s Navy week press conference | ND Insider
A couple interesting notes on Notre Dame here. Brian Kelly has a new starting left guard and the coach has used several players to imitate Navy quarterbacks Malcolm Perry, Garret Lewis and Zach Abey this week.

Notre Dame football owes huge debt to Navy | San Diego Union Tribune
“Their games with Navy always have been considered a debt of honor.”

Navy travels to San Diego to take on third-ranked Notre Dame | Capital Gazette
Ken Niumatalolo: “We know exactly who they are. They are going to be the best team we play every year and it’s going to be a tall order to beat them. We have to play really, really well to even have a chance.”

Army football not looking past Eastern Michigan | Times Herald-Record
Jeff Monken: “I just don’t ever feel like there’s a chance to breath because I know how good (Eastern Michigan) is going to be.”

Why Bill Snyder draws inspiration from Army as K-State prepares for Oklahoma | Wichita Eagle
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder has been studying what Army did against Oklahoma earlier this season, hoping to drum up a recipe for success.

Stout Air Force defense okay with anonymity | Idaho Press
Kyle Floyd: “I don’t mind being in the background because they sleep on us, then we catch them by surprise.”

Injury to Air Force’s Ronald Cleveland opens unexpected opportunity for senior reserve Andrew Smith | Colorado Springs Gazette
Andrew Smith: “Whenever I tell them I play college football, they think I’m a kicker or punter or walk-on or something like that. You can’t judge the heart, I guess.”