BALTIMORE (AP) —Navy (3-7) outscored No. 20 Notre Dame  (7-3) 19-0 in the second half and outgained the Irish 166-20 but it wasn’t enough as the Irish hung on for dear life to beat Navy 35-32 in front of 62,124 fans at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.

“I am proud of our players. I don’t know if I have ever been more proud of a team after a game, win or lose,” said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. “I thought out kids battled to the very end. Great testament to who they are, their character and fortitude, their resolve, their resiliency. Great testament to their parents who raised fine young men. Great testament to the school that is going to battle to the end. That’s a good football team; coach (Marcus) Freeman is a good coach. Just proud of our guys. Obviously we didn’t make enough plays and against a team like that you can’t make mistakes. A couple of too many mistakes against them. To our kids’ credit, they came back and battled. Hats off to Notre Dame, but really proud of our football program and our team.”

Credit: Tommy Gilligan / USA Today

Braden Lenzy reached around a defender with both arms to make a spectacular touchdown catch, one of four TD passes by Drew Pyne before halftime to stake Notre Dame to a 35 13 lead at the intermission

Pyne also ran for a touchdown in the first half, and Notre Dame (7-3) blocked a punt for a fifth straight game. Lenzy’s catch, however, was the most impressive highlight. Navy’s Mbiti Williams Jr. was positioned between Lenzy and the ball on Pyne’s deep pass to the goal line, but Lenzy reached around with both hands and controlled the ball, appearing to pin it against Williams’ back. Then he pulled it around the cornerback with his right hand to complete the catch

Navy (3-7) had the ball down 21-13 in the second quarter, but an interception on a trick play gave the Irish possession at the Navy 41. Pyne ran for an 11-yard touchdown moments later, and then the blocked punt by Jack Kiser — Notre Dame’s seventh of the season — set up Pyne’s 37-yard TD toss to Jayden Thomas.

“It was a very bad sequence,” said Niumatalolo. “Probably got a little too greedy myself calling that trick play, but I was going to come out swinging. Probably in hindsight I should have run the ball a little bit. That blocked punt hurt us too. We also needed to get some stops. I thought we played much better on defense in the second half. We were struggling in the first half (on defense), so I probably got a little more aggressive (on offense). I took some chances I normally wouldn’t take.

Pyne went 17 of 21 for 269 yards with an interception. He opened the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown strike to Audric Estime. After Lenzy’s catch, Navy responded with Daba Fofana’s 36-yard scoring run

Pyne threw a 5-yard TD pass to Chris Tyree, and then the Midshipmen scored on a 2-yard run by Xavier Arline that made it 21-13

Arline threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Mark Walker in the fourth, and a 2-point conversion made it 35-24. Then Maasai Maynor’s 20-yard TD pass to Maquel Haywood late in the fourth, along with another 2-point conversion, cut the lead to a field goal.


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