SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Schemes and gaps and discipline aside, only one thing really matters for Notre Dame's defense this Saturday: find a way to stop Navy and its run-happy triple option offense.
Quarterback Ricky Dobbs had 102 yards rushing in the Midshipmen's 23-21 win in South Bend last season. That crushing defeat started a season-ending, four-game losing streak for the Irish as they bottomed out at 6-6, costing Charlie Weis his job.
Dobbs is back and so is the tricky offense that centers on the quarterback's ability to read before he decides what to do - pitch to one of the backs who line up near the tackles, give it inside to the fullback or keep it himself. Or fake a run and throw the ball after drawing the defense toward the line.
The game at the Meadowlands is a pivotal one for Notre Dame (4-3) in Brian Kelly's first season.