Aug 28, 2012, 4:46 PM EST
Though the rivalry with USC is perhaps Notre Dame’s most storied, the University’s history with Navy may be most important.
At Notre Dame, there is a deep sense of admiration and reverence for the dedication of the men and women in the armed forces. The mantra “God, Country, Notre Dame” is inscribed above the east door of the Basilica and it might as well be the unofficial motto of students and alumni. That short phrase is also the title of President Emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh’s autobiography.
During World War II, the Navy established a Navy College Training Program on Notre Dame’s campus, a decision that, according to Father Hesburgh, may have helped save the University. It boosted Notre Dame’s economic status and enrollment, saving the university from decline, amidst the ongoing war.
Since the days of the officer-training program, Notre Dame’s relationship with the U.S. Naval Academy has only grown stronger. The Navy ROTC unit is currently the largest on campus, and considered one of the top NROTC programs in the country.
2012 marks the 86th consecutive year that Notre Dame and Navy will meet on the football field. Playing every season since 1927, not only is this matchup the longest-running intersectional series in college football, it is also the longest in Notre Dame’s 125-year football history. In the previous meetings, 53 games have been played at neutral sites and 32 in Notre Dame Stadium. Neutral site contests have been held in several cities, including Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia and East Rutherford, N.J., because Navy’s home stadium in Annapolis, Md., has not been large enough.
Though the Irish hold a 72-12-1 advantage in the series, the Midshipmen have taken three out of the last five meetings, including two in South Bend. In 2007, Navy shocked Notre Dame, 46-44 in triple overtime.
Previously, Notre Dame had won 43 straight against Navy, the longest such streak by one team over another in FBS history. Notre Dame had not lost to the Midshipmen since 1963, when future NFL Hall of Famer Roger Staubach was quarterbacking their offense.
On Saturday, the Irish and Midshipmen will meet in Dublin, Ireland for the second time. In 1996, the squads played at Croke Park, with Notre Dame winning, 54-27. This year’s game will be played at Aviva Stadium, which opened its doors in 2010.
Note: Excerpts from this post were first published on the UNDerground blog last season prior to the Navy game.
About Strong and True
ND Football on YouTube
- We got that #FridayFeeling courtesy of @TevonConey. #GoIrish ☘ https://t.co/PcWVF9sKNc 59 minutes ago
- They can't stop what they can't catch. #GoIrish ☘ https://t.co/8oPzlHvV48 12 hours ago
- Did you know midyear enrollee @JackLamb_'s favorite emoji is 😂? Get to know more about the LB ⬇️. #GoIrish ☘… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… 20 hours ago
- Our men have been staying active in the South Bend community. #GoIrish ☘ #4for40 https://t.co/pAbuRbu55Y 22 hours ago
- RT @mcjavon: And so it begins...🍀 https://t.co/VAyAFwq9Up 23 hours ago
- Softball. #25 Irish Find Offense In Competitive Top-10 Games
- Baseball. Notre Dame Splits Doubleheader at Alamo Irish Classic
- Swimming & Diving. #19 Irish Ride Record Night Firmly Into ACC Top 5
- W. Basketball. No. 5 Irish Vanquish Virginia Tech, 89-59
- Track & Field. Irish DMR's Highlight Day One
- W. Lacrosse. Irish set to host No. 7/6 USC
- M. Basketball. Notre Dame at Wake Forest - Five Things To Know
- M. Tennis. Need To Know: Michigan, Ohio State & Toledo
- Baseball. SCHEDULE CHANGE: First Pitch Rescheduled
- M. Golf. Irish Wrap Play at Prestige at PGA West