Notre Dame Fighting Irish 59, Air Force Falcons 33: Rapid Reaction



Offense was the story in South Bend on Saturday, as Tommy Rees the “Game Manager” became Tommy Rees “the Touchdown slinger.”

Notre Dame reeled off 42 first half points thanks in large part to four passing touchdowns from their quarterback in route to a 59-33 shellacking of the Air Force Academy in a game that was not even as close as the already lopsided outcome would suggest.

Rees had trouble missing his targets as he connected on 23 of 32 passes for just under 300 yards and four touchdowns.

In his first game action at Notre Dame, redshirt freshman QB Andrew Hendrix ran for 111 yards on 6 carries including a 78 yard scamper in the fourth quarter capped off by George Atkinson III’s first career rushing touchdown.

Notre Dame’s defense did allow 565 yards of offense to the Air Force Academy, but even color announcer Mike Mayock diminished this stat by admitting that is doesn’t mean as much coming from a triple-option attack.

As much as ND fans would like to revel in this victory, the defensive ineptitude cannot go unnoticed. The Irish entered Saturday’s contest allowing less than 100 yards per game on the ground, but gave up a staggering 363 rushing yards to the Falcons. This glaring defensive hole must be plugged if Notre Dame hopes to continue its roll.

After losing the first two games of the season, both of which the Irish should have won, Notre Dame has pieced together a four-game winning streak since as they enter their bye week.

14 days separate Notre Dame from their matchup against the University of Southern California, which also represents the first night game in South Bend in twenty years. A win for the Irish means a 5-2 record and a five game roll that could culminate in a BCS-deciding game in Palo Alto Thanksgiving weekend.

The Irish had high expectations entering this season, and though they lost the first two games, the season and its possibilities are far from over. However, a loss on October 22nd will have this team and its fans looking ahead to 2012.

But if Notre Dame exercises the USC demons of 2005 and rides to victory in two weeks, South Florida and Michigan can be forgotten, as this team will be cruising towards a big bowl game. Preferably one with sugar, oranges, roses or Tostitos.

Brian McCabe

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