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No. 8 Notre Dame looks to bounce back vs. Navy

(Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- No. 8 Notre Dame realizes its national championship hopes have vanished after an embarrassing 33-point loss at Miami.

Now, coach Brian Kelly and his team are focused on stacking wins and earning an invitation to a high-profile bowl game.

"The most important thing for our guys right now is to get back on the winning ways," Kelly said. "They can count. They know how important it is to win games, and they know if they win football games, good things will happen down the road."

Yet Notre Dame (8-2) cannot look far ahead as it prepares for Navy (6-3) and its deceptive option offense. The Midshipmen held on for a 28-27 win over the Fighting Irish last season at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

Part of what makes Navy so challenging is that its offensive scheme is nearly extinct at the college level. The Midshipmen lead the nation with 369.8 rushing yards per game.

"It's about getting back to our traits, and you have to have an incredible attention to detail when you play Navy and their offense," Kelly said.

"I think everybody knows quite well how prolific they are and how difficult they are to stop. They do things offensively that teams each and every week struggle to defend."

For Notre Dame, quarterback Brandon Wimbush will try to bounce back after his temporary benching in last week's 41-8 loss. Wimbush ranks 12th in the nation with 13 rushing touchdowns and owns the school record for rushing scores by a quarterback.

The Irish have built their offense around a bruising running attack that ranks No. 6 in the nation with an average of 303.2 yards per game. They average 6.7 yards per carry and have rushed for 34 touchdowns, using the strength of left guard Quenton Nelson and left tackle Mike McGlinchey to their advantage.

Both offensive linemen are considered 2018 first-round picks by NFLDraftScout.com.

After playing Navy, Notre Dame finishes the regular-season at Stanford, which is ranked No. 22 in this week's College Football Playoff rankings. A 10-2 record would put the Irish in fine shape for a New Year's Six bowl game.

"Our mission is to win a national championship. Whether we have a chance to win that this year, it doesn't change the fact that that's still the same mission," Kelly said. "What we learned in that (Miami) game is going to help this team and these guys that are in this program when we're put in that situation again."

NOTES: Notre Dame RB Josh Adams "shows no ill effects" from ankle, head and neck injuries that have nagged him in recent weeks, according to coach Brian Kelly. He likely will carry a heavy load against Navy. ... RB Dexter Williams has made progress in his recovery from a quadriceps contusion; he is expected to contribute this week against Navy. ... Notre Dame leads the series against Navy 76-13-1.

Updated November 17, 2017

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