Braden Lenzy makes super catch as No. 20 Notre Dame tops Navy

Lenzy reached around a defender with both arms in a sensational display, securing one of four touchdown passes by Pyne before halftime in No. 20 Notre Dame’s 35-32 win over Navy on Saturday.

SHARE Braden Lenzy makes super catch as No. 20 Notre Dame tops Navy
1441010592.jpg

Notre Dame’s Braden Lenzy catches a touchdown pass against Navy’s Mbiti Williams Jr. in the first quarter Saturday.

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

BALTIMORE — Drew Pyne could see Braden Lenzy had beaten his man, and although his pass was a bit underthrown, that only gave the Notre Dame receiver a chance to make one of the season’s most spectacular touchdown catches.

Lenzy reached around a defender with both arms in a sensational display, securing one of four touchdown passes by Pyne before halftime in No. 20 Notre Dame’s 35-32 win over Navy on Saturday. 

Pyne also ran for a touchdown in the first half, and Notre Dame needed all of those TDs to hold off the Midshipmen, who came storming back while shutting out the Irish in the second half.

Notre Dame (7-3) blocked a punt for a fifth straight game. Lenzy’s catch, however, was the most impressive highlight. Navy’s Mbiti Williams Jr. was positioned between Lenzy and the ball on Pyne’s deep pass to the goal line, but Lenzy reached around with both hands and controlled the ball, appearing to pin it against Williams’ back. Then he pulled it around the cornerback with his right hand to complete the catch.

“That was an unbelievable catch,” Pyne said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my whole life. I’m so happy for him.”

The 38-yard touchdown put the Irish ahead 14-0. 

“They throw that ball up 10 times they come down with it once,” Navy linebacker John Marshall said. “That was just that one time.”

The Irish led 35-13 at halftime before going dormant offensively for the final two quarters. Navy closed to within three with 1:21 remaining, but an unsuccessful onside kick ended the rally.

Navy (3-7) had the ball down 21-13 in the second quarter, but an interception on a trick play gave the Irish possession at the Navy 41. Pyne ran for an 11-yard touchdown moments later, and then the blocked punt by Jack Kiser — Notre Dame’s seventh of the season — set up Pyne’s 37-yard TD toss to Jayden Thomas. That was another fine grab.

“I thought there was no way he was going to catch it and he caught the ball,” Marshall said.

Pyne went 17 of 21 for 269 yards with an interception. He opened the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown strike to Audric Estime. After Lenzy’s catch, Navy responded with Daba Fofana’s 36-yard scoring run.

Pyne threw a 5-yard TD pass to Chris Tyree, and then the Midshipmen scored on a 2-yard run by Xavier Arline that made it 21-13.

Arline threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Mark Walker in the fourth, and a 2-point conversion made it 35-24. Then Maasai Maynor’s 20-yard TD pass to Maquel Haywood late in the fourth, along with another 2-point conversion, cut the lead to a field goal.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of a football team after a game, win or loss,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “I just thought our kids battled to the end.”

Fofana had 133 yards on 15 carries, and Navy rushed for 255 yards as a team.

THE TAKEAWAY

Notre Dame: The Irish have won four straight, including a victory over Clemson last weekend. After losing to Marshall and Stanford earlier this season, they needed to show they could avoid a letdown against Navy. They did for a half, but their final two quarters left a lot to be desired. Notre Dame had only one first down and 12 total yards after halftime.

“One thing you know about Navy is they’ll never quit,” Irish coach Marcus Freeman said. “We had to match their urgency throughout the entirety of the game. We did the first half. We did not have the urgency and the execution that we needed to finish the game the way we wanted to.”

Navy: The Midshipmen broke through for a few big plays, including a 50-yard run by Fofana, but ultimately they weren’t equipped to stop Notre Dame’s offense from building a big lead before halftime. The pass rush eventually made an impact with five second-half sacks.

THE SERIES

Notre Dame has won five straight against Navy and 10 of 11. The Irish have not lost in Baltimore in this series since 1956.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: The Irish host Boston College next Saturday.

Navy: The Midshipmen travel to play Central Florida on Saturday.

The Latest
Woman is happy with the relationship but wishes she had an equal partner, one who covered some expenses and helped the couple progress in life.
Blue Demons can go all sorts of ways with successor for Stubblefield, but one coach stands out most
One person was killed and three others wounded in a shooting Monday in the 7100 block of South State Street, police said. The gunman was wounded and taken into custody. A second shooter is at large.
Last week, several people made antisemitic comments during the public comments portion of a City Council meeting. The speakers are affiliated with the Goyim Defense League, which the Anti-Defamation League calls a white supremacist hate group.
Whereas the Rams (27-7) looked a step slow and overwhelmed, the Broncos (29-7) were ferocious and took Monday’s 44-25 Class 3A super-sectionals game against the Rams to advance to the Illinois state semifinals in Bloomington-Normal.