Late safety helps Navy stun No. 19 Notre Dame

BY foxsports • November 8, 2009

Navy's second consecutive victory at Notre Dame Stadium didn't produce the same euphoria for the Midshipmen as the last one.

Just another win as far Navy was concerned - though this loss to the Midshipmen was much more costly for Notre Dame.

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 in three seasons against the 19th-ranked Fighting Irish.

"I wanted to run on the field and jump up and down, but I was kind of tired," said linebacker 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 ends any hope Notre Dame (6-3) had for its first Bowl Championship Series appearance since 2006.

Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said he believed media speculation about Notre Dame chasing a BCS berth, along with the Irish playing at No. 14 Pittsburgh (8-1) next week, helped the Midshipmen.

"We kind of felt like we had them in a perfect storm. Just looking to the postseason, a very, very good Pitt team coming next week, and it's us coming," he said.

The last time an unranked Navy team beat a ranked Notre Dame team was 1936, the first year of the poll, when the Midshipmen won 3-0. Ranked Notre Dame teams had beat unranked Navy 41 straight times.

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 season at Notre Dame. "It's a week to week deal."