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Irish scuffling, Navy sailing along

Originally Published: October 14, 2003
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to ESPN.com
A midseason team-by-team look at the Independents.

Notre Dame

The Irish carried last season's good fortune into the season opener against Washington State, rallying from 19-3 to win in overtime. Then reality hit. Notre Dame was trounced 38-0 by Michigan and lost its next two games. Senior QB Carlyle Holiday was quickly replaced by freshman Brady Quinn, undoubtedly a better fit for Ty Willingham's West Coast offense.

Without a running game Notre Dame was well on its way to a 1-7 start before last Saturday's upset of Pitt. To no one's surprise, it took a brilliant performance from RB Julius Jones to snap the offense's slide. The defense can play with anyone, but Quinn, Jones and the offense must find consistency for Notre Dame to reach the postseason.

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