Irish still Navy’s nemesis

Published 8:52 pm Monday, November 10, 2003

By Staff
Notre Dame has struggled so much this season that even a victory over Navy is cause for celebration.
D.J. Fitzpatrick kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give Notre Dame a 27-24 victory Saturday, extending the Irish's NCAA record for consecutive wins against one team to 40.
The Irish (3-6) haven't had much to celebrate this season after getting off to their worst start since 1963. But the win keeps alive Notre Dame's hopes for finishing the season at .500. It also ended a three-game home losing streak and avoided tying the school record of four straight home losses set in 1960.
Kyle Eckel scored on runs of 1 and 5 yards in the second half to give Navy (6-4) a chance at the upset, but the Midshipmen came up short just as they did last year and in 1999 and 1997.
Navy called timeout twice to try to freeze Fitzpatrick, but he made the kick even though safety Josh Smith said he got a hand on it.
Fitzpatrick said he didn't see Smith deflect it.
For Jones it was the fourth straight 100-yard rushing game against Navy. His best run of the day came on a 48-yard run around the right end in the first quarter to open the scoring. He also scored on a 12-yard run late in the third quarter to give the Irish a 21-17 lead.
Jones became just the fourth Irish back to run for 200 yards twice in one season.
Tony Lane, who had a 65-yard touchdown run, led Navy with 92 yards on 18 carries. Quinn was 14-of-27 passing for 137 yards for the Irish, who had 417 yards total offense to just 284 for Navy.
Johnson defended his decision to punt the ball away on fourth-and-5 from the Notre Dame 47-yard line with just over two minutes left.
The Irish have dominated the series, but have had a number of close calls the past six years. The closest came in 1997 when Irish cornerback Allen Rossum shoved Pat McGrew out of bounds on the 1-yard line on the final play of game as Notre Dame won 21-17. Four years ago the Irish got a favorable spot by officials on fourth-and-10 to keep the game-winning drive alive by an inch or so. The Irish scored 10 points in the final 4:23 to pull out a 30-23 victory last season.