That, ladies and gentlemen, is a win worthy of crowing about.
Navy eeked out its second win in three years over No. 22 Notre Dame on Saturday, beating the Fighting Irish 23-21 on the strength of Craig Schaefer’s sack for a safety on (onetime) Heisman Trophy hopeful Jimmy Clausen in the end zone with 60 seconds left in the game.
The win had several effects. First, it kills any chance that Notre Dame will make a BCS bowl this year. Second, it serves as another probable nail in the coffin of Charlie Weis’ career in South Bend, Ind. Fun times!
Here’s a look at After Action Report’s power rankings for service academy football:
1. Navy (7-3): There is a tendency this weekend for college football observers to focus on all that Notre Dame did wrong Saturday, rather than all Navy did right. Let’s be fair: Navy failed to slow down the Irish air attack, which had 452 yards passing, but they limited Notre Dame’s big plays and dominated the game clock by rushing for 348 yards on 57 carries. Underdogs deserve some love, too.
2. Air Force (6-4): Army’s loss was Air Force’s gain this weekend. With a 35-7 win over the Black Knights, Air Force solidified their hold on our No. 2 spot.
3. Army (3-6): At halftime, Army was tied with Air Force, 7-7, and looked like it was ready to pull off a major upset. That’s what happens when your defense sacks the quarterback three times, records nine tackles for a loss and limits the fourth-best running attack in the country to an abysmal 4 yards on 21 carries. To say Army didn’t sustain that level of excellence in the second half is an understatement: Air Force ended the game with 160 yards rushing, and reeled off four touchdowns in the second half. Ouch.