A rivalry for the ages: Notre Dame-Navy

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - Notre Dame versus Navy, a college tradition since 1927, was cemented a little more than a decade later.

"It goes much deeper than just a football game," said Regan Jones, director of Military and Veterans Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. "... The history of the University of Notre Dame and Navy really kicked off during the World War II era, when, at that time, all of the students were male and many of the Notre Dame students went to war. Notre Dame was in a financial crisis because of the reduced number of students on campus, and so the Navy stepped in and established an officer training program called Annapolis West."

Thousands of Notre Dame students got naval officer training under the glimmer of the Golden Dome.

"The Navy is credited with saving the University of Notre Dame in the 1940s and has maintained a close relationship ever since," Jones said.

It is a fitting partnership at a place that has always had a strong tie to the military.

"In 1859, we had students, army continental cadets styled in the Revolutionary War equipment that were doing maneuvers in the log chapel," Jones said. "We had Father Corby, who served as a chaplain in the Union Army, gave a prayer of absolution to the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg."

Corby isn't the only Notre Dame President to serve.

"Father Walsh, who became president, created the door on the Basilica of the Sacred Heart," Jones said. "The 'God, Country, Notre Dame' that honors those who died during World War I."

While there's a mutual respect between these two teams, there's also a rivalry.

"Three hundred sixty-four days out of the year, we're friends with the university and the Naval Academy, except for one day out of the year when we compete on the gridiron," Jones said.

Notre Dame and Navy suited up Saturday for their 93rd consecutive meeting.

"I don't think you'll see the mutual respect for two programs have for one another outside of this relationship between Notre Dame and Navy," Jones said.

They are two programs with a shared devotion to honor and country, ready to compete until the final whistle blows.