BALTIMORE (AP)Braden Lenzy reached around a defender with both arms to make a spectacular touchdown catch, one of four TD passes by Drew 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 (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.
The 38-yard touchdown put the Irish ahead 14-0. They 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.
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.
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 after halftime.
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.
Notre Dame: The Irish host Boston College next Saturday.
Navy: The Midshipmen travel to play Central Florida on Saturday.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
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