The Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s disappointing 2015-16 season continued to get worse Saturday afternoon after a 28-27 loss to the Navy Midshipmen.
It is safe to say this season has not gone the way the Fighting Irish and their fans expected it would. A team that was a preseason pick by some to be a College Football Playoff Contender is now one loss from missing a bowl game altogether.
Their latest loss to Navy was especially disappointing because they actually played really well. They gained 370 total yards and converted nine of their 13 third downs into first downs.
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The only problem was the Midshipmen were as equally effective as the Fighting Irish. Navy gained 368 total yards and converted eight of their 13 third downs into first downs. At the same time, they were also 4-5 on fourth down conversions.
With both team getting first downs at a high rate, ball possession became crucial. Unfortunately, Notre Dame lost that battle. The Midshipmen held the ball for 33 minutes and 53 seconds. The Fighting Irish only held it for 27 minutes and even seconds.
Ball possession clearly decided the game in the second half. Navy held the ball for over 20 minutes in the second half, which limited Notre Dame to only two possessions in the entire second half.
The Fighting Irish scored 10 points in the second half; including a field goal in the middle of the fourth quarter to make the game 28-27. The assumption was they would get the ball back. However, it never happened because Navy held the ball for the final 7:28 to win.
Once again, Notre Dame spoiled another solid uting by quarterback DeShone Kizer. He threw for 223 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also added 52 yards on the ground.
On the flip side, Navy’s top performer was quarterback Will Worth. His damage came on the ground as he ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns. In total, Navy’s Wing-T triple option ran for 320 yards ob the ground, which helped them control the clock.
The loss puts Notre Dame on the brink of being bowl ineligible. There is an outside shot of them getting into a bowl game with a 5-7 record. However, head coach Brian Kelly and company should be more concerned about getting their fourth win of the season first.
Notre Dame faces the Army Black Knight next week, and then the Virginia Tech Hokies and the USC Trojans to finish the season. All three of these matchups are tough, and the Fighting Irish need to win all of them.
A postseason bowl is still in play for Notre Dame. However, its chances of earning a berth to one significantly decreased with the 28-27 loss to Navy Saturday