Quarterback Rick Mirer passed for three touchdowns and a career-best 303 yards as No. 5 Notre Dame defeated winless Navy, 38-0, Saturday at South Bend, Ind.
The Irish (8-1) took command in the first half on Mirer’s two-yard pass to Derek Brown, Craig Hentrich’s 35-yard field goal, and on Mirer’s nine-yard pass to Jerome Bettis only 12 seconds before halftime.
There was some controversy before the game when NBC took a camera into the Navy locker room and fed to a press box monitor with the pregame talk by Coach George Chaump, infuriating Navy sports information director Tom Bates.
Reporters in the press box crowded around the monitor and heard Chaump tell his players: “You’re the best 0-7 team in the country.”
Bates phoned NBC’s production truck and demanded the feed be cut. “He has a right to talk to his team privately,” Bates said.
Bates said he was deceived by broadcaster John Dockery, saying Dockery agreed Chaump’s talk would not be recorded. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my 25 years in the business,” Bates said.
Mirer’s three touchdown passes give him 17 this season, which is a Notre Dame record. The former mark was set Bob Williams in 1949 and matched by John Huarte in 1964 and Joe Theismann in 1970.
Navy (0-8) lost for the 28th consecutive time to the Irish and matched its worst-ever start of 1948, when the Midshipmen went 0-8-1 before winning.
Navy quarterback Jason Van Matre was benched in the fourth quarter for senior Joe Spencer, who had never played a down.
The game gave Notre Dame its 700th victory in 103 seasons.