SOUTH BEND – A pair of Notre Dame freshmen stepped up as the Irish struggled to a 38-34 win home win over Navy on Saturday.
Freshman linebacker and former Bishop Luers star Jaylon Smith sealed the victory with a tackle at the Irish's 31-yard line as the Midshipmen tried to convert on fourth down with just more than a minute to play in the game.
Before Smith ended Navy's final drive, freshman running back Tarean Folston gave Notre Dame the lead with a 1-yard TD run with 3:47 to play.
Folston, who came into Saturday with 116 rushing yards, finished with a game-high 140 rushing yards on 18 carries.
Smith had three tackles, including one for loss, for Notre Dame.
The Irish couldn't contain the Midshipmen's triple option, giving up 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran for 53 yards with three touchdowns, and he also threw for 88 yards and a score.
Navy finished with 419 yards of offense.
Irish quarterback Tommy Rees threw for 242 yards with two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions in the second the quarter. Receiver TJ Jones had four catches for 111 yards with a touchdown, and Ben Koyack caught his third touchdown pass of the season.
Saturday's victory over Navy wasn't pretty, but Notre Dame kept its BCS bowl hopes alive with a fourth straight victory.
For more on the game, read Sunday's Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.