Updated: December 4, 2013 6:46AM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Ben Koyack didn’t have a touchdown in his first 29 games.
The tight end reached the end zone for the third time in four games Saturday, scoring on a 17-yard pass from quarterback Tommy Rees in Notre Dame’s 38-34 victory against Navy.
Koyack had two catches for 34 yards. His touchdown came in the third quarter.
Fellow tight end Troy Niklas had two catches for 44 yards. Niklas had a big 28-yard reception on a third-down play to extend Notre Dame’s game-winning drive.
“We’ve had a lot of weight put on our shoulder, a lot of responsibility, and we’ve done a really good job of going out and executing,” Koyack said. “Our coaches push us, ‘Never get complacent. Even when you do well, just keep pushing.’ I feel like that’s motivated all of us.”
Injuries have hurt the depth in the defensive front seven. Coach Brian Kelly referenced a scene from “Apollo 13” while trying to figure out how to fit in the right players.
“They throw all this stuff on the table to all of these guys in mission control, and they say, ‘You guys have got to figure out with all this stuff here how to get this done,’ ” Kelly said. “That’s what we did this week.”
Wide receiver TJ Jones caught four passes for 111 yards and one touchdown. He has at least one touchdown reception in six consecutive games.
A long trip
George Atkinson III had a 41-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Four of his 10 career rushing touchdowns have been at least 40 yards.