Jack Coan threw for 269 yards and a touchdown, Kyren Williams ran for two scores and No. 8 Notre Dame shut down Navy’s triple-option attack in a 34-6 victory Saturday.
Coan, a grad transfer from Wisconsin, completed 23 of 29 passes, with a 70-yard scoring pass to Kevin Austin late in the first half for the Irish (8-1, No. 10 CFP). Austin finished with six receptions and 139 yards.
“It's a difficult game to prepare for,” coach Chip Kelly said after Notre Dame's fourth straight victory of the season after its 24-13 loss to No. 2 (CFP No. 6) Cincinnati, a team that Navy battled to a 27-20 home loss Oct. 23. “I'm extremely proud how the team prepared all week and the way they executed. We were detailed and focused.”
Williams, who had a career-high 199 yards last week in a 44-34 shootout victory over North Carolina, scored on runs of 1 and 20 yards, but managed just 95 yards on 17 carries. The Irish offense totaled 430 yards.
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Grad nose tackle Kurt Hinish had a career-high 10 tackles after making just 14 in six games coming in. Notre Dame dominated the Midshipmen (2-7) with its size and physical play. Navy controlled the clock, with 34:33 of possession — but completed just one pass for 18 yards and rushed for 166 yards — 73 on 22 carries by fullback Isaac Ruoss.
“We couldn't run the ball in the first half, and in the second half we had a hard time tackling,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “We got worn down.”
It was Notre Dame’s fourth straight victory in the series that began in 1927 but was interrupted last year by the COVID-19 pandemic. Notre Dame has an 80-13-1 lead in the series that will continue at least through 2032.
Navy led 3-0 after the first quarter on the first of two field goals by Bijan Nichols. But the Irish scored 17 points in the second quarter – Jonathan Doerer’s tying field goal, Williams' 1-yard TD run and the Coan-to-Austin's touchdown aerial – for a 17-3 halftime lead.
“Giving up that late touchdown (in the first half) was tough was tough because we deferred (after winning the opening coin toss),” Niumatalolo said.
Notre Dame got a safety when Navy backup quarterback Xavier Arline, replacing injured starter Tai Lavatai, recovered his own fumble in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Williams then recovered his goal-line fumble in the end zone to finish off his 20-yard scoring scamper. Freshman Logan Diggs completed the scoring with an 8-yard run.