Notre Dame beat Navy by 40 points on the way to the national title game last season, and the Irish are once again heavy favorites to top the Midshipmen. But this is a more vulnerable Notre Dame team; the question is whether or not Navy is good enough to make things interesting.
The Irish aren't as dominant defensively as they were a year ago, though the offense is holding together well despite the absence of quarterback Everett Golson, who was dismissed from school for an academic violation in the spring.
Navy is relying heavily on the ground game to move the football, as usual. The Midshipmen average 58 carries per game, and seven different players have at least 175 rushing yards.
Rankings and records: Notre Dame comes in at 6-2 and ranked No. 25 in the Coaches' Poll and the BCS standings. Unranked Navy is 4-3. The Irish have a 73-12-1 all-time record against the Midshipmen.
Vegas: Notre Dame opened as a 17-point favorite, but since then, the line has dropped to 15. The over/under is at 48.5.
Weather: The high is expected to hit 46, and there is a 50-percent chance of rain.
Three names to know
Tommy Rees -- He's already matched his career-high for touchdown passes in a season with 20, and he's on his way to a career-best passing yardage total. He's thrown just six interceptions in 246 attempts.
Keenan Reynolds -- Reynolds keys the Navy offense, and he leads the team with 546 yards on the ground and 11 rushing touchdowns. He averages only 10.6 throws per game, and he's averaging a solid nine yards per attempt.
T.J. Jones -- Jones is Rees' favorite target; he leads the Irish in receptions (44), receiving yards (631) and receiving touchdowns (six).
Two things at stake
A pair of losses in September saw to it that the Irish would not be making a return trip to the BCS title game, but they can still position themselves for a bid to a good bowl game. They've already become bowl eligible, so now it's all about building the résumé. Notre Dame could eventually be 9-2 heading into its season-ending game against Stanford.
Navy is on track to reach bowl eligibility and has a good shot at getting there even if it can't upset the Irish. Beating Notre Dame would be a significant boost, though, and it would go down as the team's best win of the season.
How to witness
TV: NBC, 3:30 p.m. ET
For complete coverage of the game, head over to Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
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