Notre Dame and Army may not have played at Yankee Stadium since 1969, but 41 years did little to curb the competitive balance problem. Once again, the Irish dominated the field of play, advancing their all-time series advantage to 38-8-4 with a 27-3 win Saturday night.
Army led early thanks to an early interception and an Alex Carlton field goal with 2:29 remaining in the first quarter, but from there it was all Notre Dame. David Ruffer tied it, 3-3, by booting an impressive 47-yarder through the just-constructed uprights, and then the Irish offense scored two touchdowns to lead, 17-3, at the half. That would be too much for the Black Knights to overcome.
Army, not known as a good come-from-behind team with its run-heavy offense, went to the air in the third quarter and paid for it. Black Knights quarterback Trent Steelman was intercepted on the third play of the drive, returned for a touchdown by Darrin Walls. Notre Dame would add another field goal late in the third quarter and hold on for the comfortable win.
Irish quarterback Tommy Rees was efficient all game, connecting on 13-of-20 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. The Irish also outgained the vaunted Army running attack, getting 88 yards from Cierre Wood and a total of 155 to Army's 135.
Throughout the game, the Black Knights were unable to execute their triple-option offense. The Irish stacked the box, anticipating the run and quashing any semblance of a passing attack. Steelman finished the contest with a meager 39 yards passing on just two completions.
Yankee Stadium may be closer in proximity to West Point, but it was truly a Notre Dame home game. The majority of fans wore their Irish colors and the scoreboard was geared towards Notre Dame supporters.
With the win, Notre Dame became bowl eligible and increased its record to 6-5. Army, who was already bowl eligible for the first time in over a decade, now sits at 6-5 as well.
Before the game, four paratroopers landed in the center of the field, to the delight of the crowd. Patrick Wilson delivered a nice rendition of the national anthem, and the Notre Dame marching band used its massive numbers to formulate several interesting formations, including the letters U-S-A.
It was a game that felt grander than two football teams meeting on a baseball field, with heartfelt homages to the armed forces and a mutual respect for the old rivalry. Yankee Stadium now sets its sights on the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, scheduled for Dec. 30.
Adam Spunberg is a contributor to PinstripeBowl.com. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AdamSpunberg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.