An 11-play, 76-yard drive with less than four minutes to play gave Notre Dame the late lead over Navy, but it was a 4th and four stop by the Irish with just over a minute to go that clinched the victory. Navy running back Shawn Lynch initially looked like he had room after taking a pitch from quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Linebacker Jaylon Smith, however, closed the hole quickly and stuffed Lynch for no gain. Notre Dame’s stop gave the Irish a hard-fought 38-34 win over Navy.
Ken Niumatalolo had this to say about the game in his post-game interview: “It was hard fought game. I am super proud of our players. Everybody in this room can rest assured that those are the type of young men that are going to be protecting us, tough, hard?nosed kids. Yes, we would have liked to have won the game, but I couldn’t be more proud of a group of young men that just continued to battle at the end.”
Niumatalolo was very happy with the play of his quarterback: “I thought Keenan played well. I thought we had the perfect scenario. We got the ball to the 50 yard line, all our time?outs left. I didn’t want to give them the ball back. If we were going to score, I wanted to score with basically nothing on the clock, and we had a chance. Like I said, we had a chance. Got to go back and look at the tape, but I think we’re one guy away from breaking it, but we didn’t get it done. I thought Keenan played great in a hostile, tough environment to play. This is a great, great atmosphere to play at. I thought the kids prepared well for the game. Just one more play. That’s all it would have taken, just one more play.”
Navy, 4-4 on the season, will play Hawaii at home next week. Niumatalolo doesn’t want to see a letdown from his team. “What we can’t do is let this loss turn into two losses. We can’t let Notre Dame beat us twice. They’re a good team, but hopefully they won’t beat us twice. Hopefully, we’ll bounce back next week.”