2007 Navy vs. Notre Dame football game

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Navy snaps 43-year losing streak
1 2 3 4 OT 2OT 3OT Total
Navy 0 14 6 8 7 3 8 46
Notre Dame 7 14 0 7 7 3 6 44
Date November 3, 2007
Stadium Notre Dame Stadium
Location South Bend, Indiana
National anthem Band of the Fighting Irish
Halftime show Band of the Fighting Irish
Attendance 80,795
United States TV coverage
Network NBC
Pre-game warmups

The 2007 Navy vs. Notre Dame football game ended the longest all-time college football consecutive wins streak by one team over another. On November 3, 2007, the Navy Midshipmen defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 46–44 in triple-overtime at Notre Dame's home field, Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame came into this annual rivalry game with 43 consecutive wins against Navy since the last loss in 1963.[1] With the win, Navy improved to 5–4 and Notre Dame fell to 1–8 on the season.

Leading into the game[edit]

The Navy–Notre Dame football rivalry is the longest running college football series between two teams not in the same conference.[2] The 2007 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team began the season with a 33–3 loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. It was the most lopsided loss Notre Dame had ever suffered in a season-opening game.[3] Notre Dame then lost to Penn State,[4] Michigan (tying Notre Dame's worst-ever loss at 38–0),[5] Michigan State,[6] and Purdue[7] It was the first time in school history for Notre Dame to open the season with five losses. Notre Dame's worst opening prior to 2007 was 0–3.[8]

The Fighting Irish snapped their losing streak with a win at UCLA but then lost to Boston College and USC to fall to 1–7. With only four regular season games remaining, Notre Dame was assured of a losing season and they were out of contention for a bowl game.

The 2007 Navy Midshipmen football team was off to a better start. They had achieved victories against Temple, Duke, Air Force, and Pittsburgh. Losses against Rutgers, Ball State, Wake Forest, and Delaware put them 4–4 on the season. With four games remaining in the season, Navy needed to win at least two in order to be invited to a bowl game. The Poinsettia Bowl and Navy had arranged for Navy to play in that bowl if they reached six wins.[9]

Both teams play NCAA Division I FBS football as independent teams, unaffiliated with any conference. The game was televised nationally by NBC, which has the exclusive TV broadcast rights to Notre Dame home games.

Game summary[edit]

Notre Dame made the first score of the game, a 3 yard touchdown run by Robert Hughes. It was the only score of the first quarter. Each team scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, to give the Irish a 21–14 lead at halftime.[10]

Navy scored a touchdown in the third quarter but they failed to make the extra point. It was the only score of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Navy's Chris Kuhar-Pitters collected a fumble at the Notre Dame 16 yard line and ran it in for a touchdown. Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada rushed for the two-point conversion to take a 28–21 lead – their first of the game. Notre Dame tied the score with a touchdown. The game eventually went to overtime,[10] with the aid of a questionable decision from Irish head coach Charlie Weis: With 45 seconds left in regulation, Notre Dame faced a fourth-and-8 on the Navy 24; instead of attempting a 41 yard field goal that could have won the game, Weis opted to go for the first down. The gamble backfired when Navy sacked quarterback Evan Sharpley in spectacular fashion, with Midshipmen linebacker Ram Vela literally leaping over a blocker to assist in the sack.[11]

In the first overtime, Notre Dame won the coin toss and elected to go on defense. Navy scored a touchdown and their extra point was good. The Irish replied with a touchdown and extra point to bring up the second overtime. This time, each team scored a field goal, necessitating a third overtime.[10]

NCAA rules stipulate that, beginning with the third overtime, teams may not kick an extra point after making a touchdown; instead, they must go for a two-point conversion. Navy went to the air; Reggie Campbell caught a 25 yard pass from Kaheaku-Enhada on their first play from scrimmage. Kaheaku-Enhada threw again to Campbell for the successful two-point conversion. Notre Dame also scored a touchdown on their possession. Their first attempt at the conversion ended in an incomplete pass, but Navy was called for pass interference on the play.[1] The Irish got a second chance at the conversion, this time from the 1½-yard line instead of the 3. They opted for a running play, but Navy stuffed the attempt at the line of scrimmage.[10] That gave Navy the 46–44 win.[12]

Analysis[edit]

The game ended the longest streak for most consecutive wins by one team over another in college football. Prior to the game, Notre Dame had achieved 43 consecutive wins against Navy since the last loss in 1963, when Roger Staubach was quarterback for the Midshipmen.[13] The game was the fifth straight home loss for the Irish, establishing a new school record.[1]

After the game, Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis was asked whether the game, following Notre Dame's 38–0 loss to USC, was a low point for the Fighting Irish. He said, "A low point is when you get beat 38–0. That's a low point. A low point is when the game is going OK and one team is pulling away from you and making plays when you're not making plays. The low point for me is we didn't win the game."[1]

Navy coach Paul Johnson said, "It's a big win for our program. It's a big win for the academy. I'm happy I don't have to answer anything else about the streak every time we play."[1] Weis, on the other-hand, was not bothered by being the coach of the team that allowed Navy to end the streak. He said the 43-year winning streak had no meaning to him or his team.[1]

ESPN reported, "For Notre Dame, it was its school-record fifth straight home loss, another low point in a season of lows."[1]

With this streak broken, the Kentucky Wildcats held the two longest active losing streaks to an annual opponent in Division I FBS. Their then-current streak of 22 losses to Tennessee[14] reached 26 before the Wildcats ended that streak on November 26, 2011.[15] The Wildcats' losing streak against Florida, which was 20 at the end of the 2006 season[14] and 21 by the time of this Navy–Notre Dame game,[16] stood at 26 before ending during the 2013 season. Temple has a 29-game losing streak to Penn State, with their last win being in 1941. However, this series is not played every year.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Notre Dame's NCAA-record 43-game win streak over Navy ends". ESPN. November 3, 2007. Archived from the original on 5 November 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Notre Dame And Navy Extend Series 10 More Years". und.cstv.com. 2005-11-10. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  3. ^ "Yellow Jackets shut down, nearly shut out Irish". ESPN. September 1, 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Nittany Lions' defense punishes Clausen in Notre Dame debut". ESPN. September 8, 2007. Retrieved September 11, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Michigan has Hart, much more in rout of winless ND". ESPN. September 15, 2007. Retrieved September 15, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Notre Dame goes 0–4 for the first time in school history". ESPN. September 22, 2007. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Notre Dame scores first passing TD but remains winless". ESPN. September 29, 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Irish drop to 0–5 after defeat to Purdue". MSNBC (MSNBC). September 29, 2007. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Bowl Eligible Navy to Play in 2007 SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl". PoinsettiaBowl.net (San Diego County Credit Union). March 4, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2007. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Navy 46, Notre Dame 44 – Play by Play". ESPN. November 3, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  11. ^ Forde, Pat (November 6, 2007). "Forde-Yard Dash: Pac-10 vs. SEC debate continues to shape 2007 season". ESPN. Retrieved November 7, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Navy 46, Notre Dame 44 – Play by Play". ESPN. November 3, 2007. Archived from the original on 6 November 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Navy stuns Notre Dame, snaps 43-game skid". NBC Sports. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "Most Consecutive Wins Over a Major Opponent in an Uninterrupted Series" (PDF). Official 2007 NCAA Division I Football Records Book (NCAA). 2007. p. 112. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved November 7, 2007. 
  15. ^ Associated Press (November 26, 2011). "Kentucky ends 26-game skid vs. Tennessee, which will miss bowl". ESPN. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  16. ^ "History of Opponents". GatorZone.com. August 10, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2007.