Navy News Stand/Special to HarpBlaster.com
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Navy defense hit Notre Dame behind the line of scrimmage on the Fighting Irish’s two-point conversion attempt in triple overtime to give Navy a thrilling 46-44 victory in front of 80,795 fans at Notre Dame Stadium, Nov. 3.
The Navy win broke a 43-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish, the longest losing streak to one opponent in NCAA football history.
Navy thought it had won the game on the previous play when corner Midn. 3rd Class Blake Carter made a great play in the end zone to break up a pass, but the ACC officials called Greg Thrasher for pass interference though video showed that neither Thrasher nor Carter committed a penalty.
Navy took the lead in the third overtime when quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada hit slot back Reggie Campbell with a 25-yard touchdown pass on Navy’s first play and then hit Campbell on the two-point conversion.
The game was a see-saw affair throughout, featuring three lead changes and five ties. The biggest lead of the game came in the third overtime when Navy took a 46-38 lead.
The biggest play of the game might have come early in the fourth quarter with Navy trailing 21-20. Nose guard Nate Frazier and defensive end Michael Walsh hit Notre Dame quarterback Evan Sharpley in the backfield. Walsh knocked the ball out of Sharpley’s hands and defensive end Chris Kuhar-Pitters picked up the fumble and rumbled 16 yards for the touchdown to give Navy the lead back at 26-21. Kaheaku-Enhada ran in the two-point conversion to give the mids a 28-21 lead.
Notre Dame tied the game at 28-28 with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter on a three-yard touchdown run by Travis Thomas and had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Kuhar-Pitters sacked Sharpley on a fourth-and-eight play from the Navy 24-yard line with 41 seconds left in the contest.
Navy got a one-yard touchdown by fullback Eric Kettani in the first overtime, but the Irish answered with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Sharpley to Duval Kamara. In the second overtime, Brandon Walker hit a 26-yard field goal for Notre Dame, but Joey Bullen answered with a 32-yard field goal setting up the heroics of Kaheaku-Enhada, Campbell and Wimsatt in the third overtime.
Kettani led the Navy offense with 70 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Campbell added 62 yards on nine carries and caught a 25-yard touchdown pass. Shun White had 56 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Kaheaku-Enhada completed six of his eight pass attempts for 81 yards and one touchdown, while also running and throwing for a two-point conversion.
Safety Wyatt Middleton led the defense with a career-high 14 tackles, while Carter and Thrasher added 10 tackles each.
The Navy defense, which had recorded five sacks in the first eight games, turned in four sacks against the Irish. Walsh led the way with two sacks, while Wimsatt and Kuhar-Pittes had one each.