NAVY [0-0, Independent] v NOTRE DAME [0-0, Independent] @ Dublin, Ireland -- Game, entitled Emerald Isle Classic, is second time Navy & Notre Dame have met in Ireland.
Teams collided in '96, with Notre Dame winning 54-27. Midshipmen look to return to postseason play, having missed out in '11 following first losing season since '02. Navy overall had gone 27-13 under HC KEN NIUMATALOLO prior to last season's 5-7 finish. Navy returns 38 lettermen from last season, including 19 on defense. Mids QB expected to be junior TREY MILLER, who was 12-29-205-3 TD in late season relief role last year. Navy's well-known triple offense features FB and 2 slotbacks; FB soph NOAH COPELAND saw special teams duty in seven '11 contests. Leading returning rusher is senior GEE GEE GREENE [64-501-3 TD]. Emphasis on run keeps pass game to minimum; top receiving returnee, BRANDON TURNER, has 14 receptions, followed by MATT AIKEN  and Green . Navy has played in bowl games 8 of past 9 years, missing '11. Midshipmen played in 2004 Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, defeating New Mexico 34-19. Contest was highlighted by Navy's scoring drive that consumed over 26 minutes of clock time. Notre Dame welcomes back 41 lettermen, 18 on offense and 19 on defense. Fighting Irish lost last year's season opener to South Florida, and have not lost back-to-back season-opening games since 1985-86. QB TOMMY REES [269-411-2871-20 TD-14 INT] owns 12-4 career record as Irish starter, but will not play in opener [1-game suspension]. Additional experience at position comes in soph ANDREW HENDRIX [18-37-249-1 TD-2 INT]. Irish return last year's leading rusher, RB CIERRE WOOD [217-1102-9 TD]. ND must find way to replace WR Michael Floyd and his 100 receptions, 9 TD. Floyd ended Irish career as school's alltime receiving leader with 3,686 yards in four seasons. The Series: Notre Dame leads alltime series, 71-12-1. It is the longest intercollegiate series in the country, having been played continuously since 1927. Irish were 43-0 from 1964-06, but are 2-3 in last 5 meetings. Midshipmen broke 43-season losing streak in 2007, beating Irish 46-44 in 3 OTs. Last Notre Dame win: 2011, 56-14 at South Bend, IN. Last Navy win: 2010, 35-17, at South Bend, IN. Television: CBS [6:00am Pacific/9:00am Eastern [national].