Holiday Wakes Up Irish to Avert Upset by Navy
Trailing by eight points against lightly regarded Navy late in the game, ninth-ranked Notre Dame rallied behind sophomore quarterback Carlyle Holiday to avert a second consecutive upset.
Holiday set up the tying score with a 29-yard completion to Omar Jenkins, then passed to a wide-open Jenkins for a 67-yard touchdown with 2 minutes 8 seconds remaining to give Notre Dame a 30-23 victory Saturday.
One week after losing at home to Boston College, 14-7, the Irish (9-1) maintained their slim national title hopes going by beating the Midshipmen (1-8) for the 39th consecutive game.
“We didn’t wake up until about four minutes were left in the game,” said Irish Coach Tyrone Willingham, who tied Terry Brennan (1954) and Ara Parseghian ('64) for most wins by a first-year Notre Dame coach.
The Irish, who lost three fumbles against Boston College, lost three more against the Midshipmen and fell behind, 23-15, in the fourth quarter.
That’s when Holiday took over.
Holiday’s completion to Jenkins led to a one-yard touchdown run by Rashon Powers-Neal.
Holiday passed to Arnaz Battle for the two-point conversion that tied the score, 23-23, with 4:28 remaining.
After Notre Dame got the ball back at its 33 with 2:19 left, Jenkins slipped behind the Navy secondary and hauled in a long pass from Holiday.
Navy came in as a 28-point underdog and played most of the game without quarterback Craig Candeto, who sprained his ankle on the game’s fourth play. Aaron Polanco performed capably in his place, scoring two touchdowns, but he also had two passes intercepted.