DUBLIN, Ireland — In a season opener showcasing his Heisman Trophy candidacy, sixth-year quarterback Sam Hartman completed 19 of 23 passes for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns. The impressive performance catapulted #13 Notre Dame to a 42-3 win against Navy. Played at Aviva Stadium, the game attracted a sold-out crowd of 49,000 enthusiastic fans.

Hartman found receivers Jayden Thomas and Jaden Greathouse for touchdowns of 19, 14, 35, and 20 yards, respectively, demonstrating why he’s among this year’s Heisman favorites. Adding to the offensive prowess, Audric Estime contributed 95 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, as the Irish accumulated 444 yards of offense.

“When you play a team like Notre Dame, you’ve got to be dang near perfect,” said Navy’s head coach Brian Newberry. “They controlled the line of scrimmage, the running backs ran hard, we didn’t tackle well — that’s a bad combination. When they did throw it, they were deadly efficient.”

While Navy could sometimes advance the ball, the team struggled to complete drives. Negative plays, resulting from a bad snap and a sack, took a toll on their rushing performance, cutting their yardage from 175 to 126. Junior fullback Daba Fofana led Navy’s rushing stats with 58 yards on 15 carries, while sophomore Alex Tecza added 38 yards on 8 carries. Senior quarterback Tai Lavatai completed 3 of 6 passes for 43 yards, with sophomore slot back Brandon Chatman receiving two for 41 yards.

The only points for Navy came from a 31-yard field goal by senior Evan Warren during the fourth quarter.

On the defensive end, Navy saw some bright spots. Senior linebacker Will Harbour led the team with 8 tackles, junior linebacker Kyle Jacob had 7, and junior safety Rayuan Lane and junior linebacker Colin Ramos each made 5 stops. Lane was particularly effective, forcing a fumble and breaking up two passes.

Following a bye week, Navy will play its home opener against Wagner on Sept. 9 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

With this performance, Notre Dame sets a high bar for the rest of the season, their offense effectively balanced and their defense sturdy. The win also fuels the Heisman Trophy conversation around Sam Hartman as Notre Dame continues its quest for a national championship.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply