Dexter Williams rushed for 142 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns Saturday night as No. 3 Notre Dame established a 27-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 44-22 win over Navy at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego.
Quarterback Ian Book was an efficient 27-for-33 passing for 330 yards and two touchdowns for the 8-0 Fighting Irish, spreading his completions among nine receivers. Notre Dame piled up 584 yards and 28 first downs on the overmatched Midshipmen (2-6).
After losing a fumble on the game’s first play, the Irish scored on four of their next five possessions. Jafar Armstrong’s 1-yard run with 9:38 left in the first quarter made it 6-0, and Williams slashed 12 yards up the middle for his first score at the 4:51 mark.
Williams tacked on 9- and 2-yard touchdown runs in the second quarter to polish off 13- and 10-play drives that ate up more than 9 1/2 minutes of clock. Notre Dame outgained Navy 315-72 in the first half, permitting only two first downs.
The Middies did crank up their offense after halftime, scoring touchdowns on three of their first four possessions. Quarterback Zach Abey cracked the plane of the goal line on a pair of 1-yard runs, and Mike Martin ripped off a 33-yard run up the middle with 12:42 left that, teamed with a two-point conversion pass, drew Navy within 37-22.
But Notre Dame ended what suspense existed with a 75-yard touchdown drive, Book hitting Miles Boykin for his second score of the night on a 22-yard pass with 8:29 remaining.
Slotback Malcolm Perry, who started the season as a quarterback but was moved back to the position he’s played most of his career, rushed for 133 yards on 12 carries for the Middies.
It was the 92nd straight year the teams have played, but the first time the game has been contested west of the Mississippi. Notre Dame owns a 78-13-1 series lead.
The Irish have scored 145 points in their three road/neutral site games.
—Field Level Media