Mids Hope Losing Skid Ends In South Bend
By Joe Platania
What do George Welsh, George Chaump, Charlie Weatherbie and Paul Johnson all have in common? They are four of the nine Navy head coaches that have lost to Notre Dame over the last four decades.
But Navy doesn't hold a monopoly on coaching turnover because the Irish have gone through seven coaches over the same span. Two of them, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz, have won national championships. However, forgettable mentors such as Gerry Faust, Dan Devine and Bob Davie have also managed to keep the streak going against the Midshipmen.
Senior running back Reggie Campbell had 188 all-purpose yards last year against Notre Dame.
Following a disappointing loss to the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens, the Midshipmen will try to notch a rare win against the Irish this Saturday in South Bend. Notre Dame's overall lead in the series is 70-9-1.
Not only have 16 different head coaches patrolled the sidelines for both teams, but the game has been played in nine different stadiums as well, including Memorial Stadium, FedEx Field, Notre Dame Stadium and Giants Stadium.
A few surprising numbers:
- As far as overall bowl records are concerned, Navy's record is better. The Midshipmen are 6-6-1 lifetime in bowls as opposed to 13-15 for the Irish.
- Notre Dame has lost in its last nine bowl appearances, while Navy has been victorious in three of its last five postseason games.
- The Irish did not play in bowls after the 2001 and 2003 seasons, but the Middies have hit the field for holiday season games after each of the last four campaigns.
- Even though Navy's schedule is only the 111th toughest out of 119 Division I-A teams and the Irish play the 12th-toughest itinerary, the Mids -- with four wins so far this season to the Irish's one -- are sure to build on their 27-25 overall win advantage over Notre Dame the past three years.
As usual, if Navy is to make a game of it against Notre Dame, it will have to rely on a run-oriented, triple-option attack. In fact, Navy has led the nation in rushing offense four times since 1998.
That might be enough against this year's offensively challenged Irish team. In fact, Notre Dame has led the NCAA only three times in total offense and none since 1949.
Much is made of the many close games Navy and Notre Dame have played since the last time the Middies won in 1963. But the first game in what has been a 43-year losing streak -- the longest for one opponent over another in NCAA history -- came in Philadelphia, site of many great Army-Navy battles, and it wasn't even close.
Irish quarterback John Huarte -- who hurt his throwing shoulder toward the end of spring practice -- had a dominating season, setting several records that still stand in the school's record book, including highest passer rating (155.1) and yards per completion (18).
Against the Middies, the Irish took a 40-0 win at the since-demolished JFK Stadium, part of a season in which Huarte became the only returning non-letter winner to win the Heisman Trophy.
In 1995, Pennsylvania-bred quarterback Ron Powlus, touted to win two Heisman Trophies by noted ABC-TV commentator Beano Cook, led the Irish.
But Navy's Fernando Harris knocked Powlus out with a fractured humerus. Notre Dame's team doctor said he hadn't seen an injury like that in over two decades of practicing medicine.
However, the injury fired up the Irish to overcome Ben Fay's 18-for-31 passing performance as well as a 17-14 Navy lead. Three unanswered scores later, the Irish had a 35-17 win.
Weatherbie took note of the seven accepted penalties on his team, pointing out that his team was the least-penalized in the country that year.
Issue 2.44: November 1, 2007