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Monday, October 31, 2011
Weekend rewind: Notre Dame

By Matt Fortuna

The Good: Notre Dame took whatever remaining frustrations it had out on the field Saturday, beating Navy 56-14. The win, for now, quelled all the commotion about a potentially divided locker room, and it came after Navy had beaten the Irish in three of the previous four years.

The Bad: Two more turnovers -- albeit one in garbage time -- couldn't have been pleasing to Brian Kelly. One was self-inflicted, as Tommy Rees' pass in the flat in the second quarter was dropped, recovered by Navy and eventually reviewed and ruled a fumble. Rees tossed a fourth-quarter interception as well, after the game was out of hand.

The Ugly: We know Navy's an option team, and we know it had a quarterback making its first career start, but 33 passing yards? That's all? You'd think the number would be a little higher given that the Midshipmen were playing from behind much of the game, but the Irish defense came to play Saturday.

Turning point: Rees found Michael Floyd for a 56-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the Irish's fourth drive, making it 21-7 after Navy had just scored. Any thoughts fans had of this becoming a close game died right then and there, as the Irish were well on their way to a rout.

Call of the day: Walk-on special-teams ace Chris Salvi was named captain, and he was nearly in tears at the Friday night pep rally. Kelly always talks about finding players who love to play the game no matter what, and having someone like Salvi lead the Irish after a drama-filled 48 hours sent the right message.

Next up: Notre Dame travels to Winston-Salem, N.C., to play Wake Forest in what will be the first of three consecutive games against ACC opponents. The Demon Deacons are coming off a 49-24 loss to North Carolina, but did take down Florida State this season.