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Navy finds way to sink Notre Dame again

November 08, 2009|Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, IND — . -- Navy did it to Notre Dame again -- and this loss to the Midshipmen was even more costly.

Craig Schaefer sacked Jimmy Clausen in the end zone with 60 seconds left Saturday and Navy held on for a 23-21 victory, its second straight at Notre Dame Stadium.

"I love playing in South Bend," safety Wyatt Middleton said. "I love playing here."

No. 19 Notre Dame (6-3) scored with 24 seconds left on a 31-yard pass from Clausen to Golden Tate to cut the lead to two, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds.

Navy's victory celebration was a bit more subdued than two years ago, when the Midshipmen ended an NCAA-record 43-game losing streak to the Irish by winning, 46-44, in three overtimes.

"I wanted to run on the field and jump up and down, but I was kind of tired," said Ram Vela, who had an interception and fumble recovery. "We'd done it before and we went into this game not really placing as much emphasis or too much importance on it. We just treated it like another game."

Two years ago when Navy beat Notre Dame, the Irish were in the midst of a 3-9 season. The loss Saturday effectively ended any hope Notre Dame (6-3) had for its first Bowl Championship Series berth since 2006.

It's the type of loss that will no doubt fire up the critics of Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis.

"That comes with the territory. The sad part of that is that's this job every week," said Weis, who is 35-24 in five seasons at Notre Dame. "It's a week-to-week deal."

Clausen was 37 for 57 passing for 452 yards, all career highs. The 37 completions are a school record and the yardage is the fourth-best in school history.

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