“You get to know the speed of the game, the pace,” nose guard Sean Cwynar said. “How fast the fullback will hit the hole and how the linemen will move.”
Army is eighth in the nation in rushing at 272 yards per game and its leading rusher is fullback Jared Hassin, who averages 5.7 yards per carry.
The Irish should be aided by the return of linebacker Carlo Calabrese, out last week with a hamstring injury.
Notre Dame is coming off its best game of the season, a 28-3 victory against Utah that was about as surprising as the Irish’s two previous games _ losses to Navy and Tulsa.
Freshman Tommy Rees makes his second start at quarterback for the Irish since taking over for the injured Dayne Crist (knee) against Tulsa.
Rees threw a critical interception in the end zone during the final minute of that game, but bounced back nicely against Utah with three touchdown passes.
“He’s got to get into the flow of the game and once he gets into the flow of the game he’s a young man who relaxes and gets into it,” Kelly said. “I think it will probably be the same way at Yankee Stadium.”
This will be the first of two football games this year at The House that Jeter Built. The first Pinstripe Bowl will be held Dec. 30.
Army has already scheduled three more games at Yankee Stadium, about an hour’s drive south from West Point, over the next four seasons.
A football field fits snugly on the playing surface at the stadium. Ball carriers heading out of bounds near the end zone around home plate best keep an eye out for the dugouts, they come up fast. In the opposite end zone, there’s only a few feet between the back line and outfield wall.
“That will be an important walkthrough for us,” Kelly said.
And an important game. Notre Dame needs one more victory to become bowl eligible and would be best served to get that out of the way before the season finale against No. 20 Southern California in Los Angeles next week.
“We have to do the same things we did against Utah,” Kelly said, “and we have to do it against an offense and a defense we don’t see very much.”
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