Craig Schaefer sacked Jimmy Clausen in the end zone with 60 seconds left Saturday and Navy held on for a 23-21 victory, its second straight at Notre Dame Stadium.
No. 19 Notre Dame (6-3) scored with 24 seconds left on a 31-yard pass from Jimmy Clausen to Golden Tate to cut the lead to two, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds.
The win sends Navy into the Texas Bowl and effectively ends any hope Notre Dame (6-3) had for a Bowl Championship Series berth.
Ricky Dobbs threw a 52-yard touchdown pass and ran for another and fullback Vince Murray added a 25-yard TD run for Navy, which ended an NCAA-record 43-game losing streak to the Irish two years ago. But that was against a team that finished 3-9.
This Notre Dame team was positioned to make a run at its first BCS bid since 2006 — Charlie Weis' second season as Irish coach — if it could run the table.
The Midshipmen last won two straight in South Bend in 1961 and 1963.
The last time an unranked Navy team beat a ranked Notre Dame team was 1936, the first year of the poll, when the Midshipmen won 3-0.
Navy outrushed the Irish, playing without leading rusher Armando Allen Jr. because of an ankle injury, 348 yards to 60. Murray ran for 158 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, becoming the first Navy running back to rush for 100 yards for four straight games since Napoleon McCallum in 1983.
Dobbs, who played only seven plays in the last two games because of a knee injury, added 102 yards on 31 carries and completed 2 of 3 for 56 yards.
Navy held the Irish scoreless on three drives into the red zone. The Middies stopped them on four plays from inside the 5 in the first half. They forced a fumble by Clausen at the 1 to end the third quarter. Finally, linebacker Ram Vela intercepted a pass by Clausen at the 5 in the fourth quarter after it bounced off receiver Michael Floyd's back.
Clausen was 37 of 57 yards passing for 452 yards, all career highs. The 37 completions are a school record and the yardage is the fourth best in school history. Heisman Trophy-worthy numbers, but with Notre Dame down a touchdown with less than a two minutes left, Clausen was sacked on consecutive plays. The last one gave Navy its final two points and all but sealed the victory.
Floyd, playing his first game after breaking his collarbone in September, matched his career high with 10 catches for 141 yards. Tate had nine catches for 132 yards.
Navy jumped to a 14-0 lead, scoring on its first two possessions.
After a Notre Dame turnover, Dobbs carried nine times for 42 yards on a 12-play, 51-yard drive, scoring on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Murray gave the Middies a 14-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter, racing up the middle untouched for a 25-yard score.
The Irish appeared ready to make a game of it when Robert Hughes scored on a 1-yard run with 3:57 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 14-7. But Navy answered three plays later when Dobbs threw a 52-yard scoring pass to Greg Jones for the first TD catch of his career.
The Irish managed to cut the lead to 21-14 when Floyd caught a 12-yard TD pass from Clausen with 4:46 left in the game. The game appeared over when Schaefer sacked Clausen with 60 seconds left. But Tate recovered the onside kick by Nick Tausch to give the Irish once last chance and they converted it for a score, but they will lament the points they left behind.
Tausch, who had made a school-record 14 straight field goals, missed a 41-yard attempt wide left and a 30-yard try wide right.