History of the Notre Dame – Navy rivalry

Saturday’s game will be the 94th time Notre Dame has played football against Navy. The Irish lead the series 77-13 with one tie.

Two of the games were vacated by the NCAA.

The series began in 1927 when Coach Knute Rockne scheduled a game with the Naval Academy. At the time, the service team featured terrific athletes and outstanding students and leaders.

It was a good challenge for Notre Dame and college football.

In the mid 1930s, Navy won three of the four games. They also had a nice winning streak in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

In 2016, Navy won a thriller 28-27 in Jacksonville Florida. 

Notre Dame has won seven Heisman Trophies and several National Championships over the years while Navy has earned two Heismans - Joe Bellino in 1960 and Roger Staubach in 1963.

The series has been one sided but always features a spirited matchup and lots of mutual respect on both sides.

"Who we are as a football program is built around some of these traditional matchups that this football program built in its early infancy, and Navy is one of those important ones. We know the historical significance but I think it really centers around being independent and having the opportunity to play the Naval Academy, because we certainly have such respect and reverence for what they do for obviously our country,” Coach Brian Kelly said.

The history of this rivalry includes a very important period of time when the Navy sent their officer candidates to Notre Dame to take an expedited three-year degree program and then sent the second lieutenants off to war.

Notre Dame, like many universities, was nearly ready to close down until the Navy literally threw them a lifeline.

Keeping the university open during the war years was a vital part of the history at Notre Dame and the history between these two institutions.

That history will always continue because of that bond.

This rivalry is scheduled through 2032 and will likely be extended.

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