Navy vs. No. 13 Notre Dame in Dublin, Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC; Sky Sports)
Line: Notre Dame by 20 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: 81-13-1
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Notre Dame can't afford another slow start after opening last season 0-2. The Irish finished 9-4 but it was the first time since 2016 that they failed to win at least 10 games. Marcus Freeman enters his second full year as head coach. Anything other than 4-0 heading into the Sept. 23 showdown with Ohio State would be a major disappointment. Navy's Brian Newberry is making his debut as head coach.
Navy defense vs. Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman, who transferred after a record-breaking career at Wake Forest. Hartman has a solid supporting cast with AP preseason All American LT Joe Alt anchoring the line. Notre Dame will try to establish the run with Audric Estimé, who averaged 5.9 yards per carry last season. The Irish will need to contain Navy DE Jacob Busic, who has started 24 straight games for the Midshipmen. Busic had six sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles last year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Navy: FB Daba Fofana led the team with 769 rushing yards last year including 133 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame. Fofana and other backs could see some screens as well as Navy tries to diversify from the triple option this season.
Notre Dame: Hartman threw for 38 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last year at Wake Forest. The graduate transfer holds the ACC’s career record for touchdown passes (110).
FACTS & FIGURES
Notre Dame has won five straight against Navy. ... The Irish are 2-0 against Navy in Dublin: 50-10 in 2012, and 54-27 in 1996. ... Notre Dame is 3-0 all-time outside the United States. It beat Miami 40-15 in the 1979 Mirage Bowl played in Tokyo. ... Navy was 0-7 last season when opponents scored on their opening drive and 4-1 when they didn't.