Fighting Irish down Falcons 59-33

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Vann Miller
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Air Force discovered just how hard the Irish could fight as Notre Dame trounced the Falcons Oct. 8 at Notre Dame Stadium here.

While the offense had glimmers of excellence, the defense proved to be porous against the Irish offense as they gave up almost 600 yards and 59 points in the 59-33 defeat.

Notre Dame took the offensive at the start of the first quarter, as they tried to deliver a similar intensity they showed Purdue Oct. 1. Coach Calhoun said he had to tip his hat to Notre Dame as they showed no weakness in their execution.

The game started off with a deep kick by Air Force to the goal line where Notre Dame quickly moved the ball to the 19 yard line. From there, the Fighting Irish pressed on, and with a smart passing game, drove to the Air Force 33. A 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tommy Rees to wide receiver Michael Floyd put Notre Dame on the board first.

Air Force showed promise on offense while they quickly moved the ball down field only to be stripped by Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter.

"It was disappointing on the first big play with a 20-yard run," said Falcon running back Asher Clark after fumbling the ball. "Especially when they could use it as a big turnaround for their defense."

The ground game dominated Notre Dame's second drive. But it was Rees' 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Eifert that capped the nine-play, 59-yard drive, pushing the Irish lead to 14.

The Falcons attempted to shift the momentum of the game after a steady moving 64-yard drive of their own. The drive stalled on Notre Dame's 16-yard line, and forced an Air Force field goal from Parker Herrington, cutting the score to 14-3.

"It was a combination of us playing well, but hurting ourselves on penalties," said Falcon quarterback Tim Jefferson. "We had about six or seven penalties and they all turned out to be huge. It was just one of those things where it's mental. It's the mental aspect of the game where you have to take advantage where you can."

After another Rees touchdown to receiver Robby Toma, Notre Dame had a 21-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Following a 3-yard touchdown rush from Jefferson, Coach Troy Calhoun made the controversial call to attempt an onside kick to cool down the high-tempo Irish offense. They wouldn't make it the obligatory 10 yards however, giving the Irish great field position. They would use that momentum to put two more touchdowns on the board.

"I think they are an excellent football team," said Coach Calhoun as he described the Notre Dame offense. "I mean their movement, their size, that's a really, really good offensive line."

The Falcons and Irish would trade touchdowns, and the Irish would head to the locker room at half with a 42-16 lead.

Air Force has a habit of showing up in the second half, but it was just too much to overcome this game. Both teams scored two touchdowns and a field goal in the second half. And while the defense were the stars at the end of last week's victory over Navy, they were a big no show as the Irish had seven different players score touchdowns.

"It makes us feel like the defense needs to step up," Davis said. "We put it on the seniors' backs and we have a lot of seniors on defense who just need to make more plays. In the last two weeks, we just have not made enough turnovers. We didn't have any today. You can't win games like that."

The Falcon offense managed to display some impressive stats over Notre Dame. Air Force led in first downs, rushing, possession time and total offensive yards.

This game marked the 29th meeting between Notre Dame and Air Force, where Notre Dame now has a 22-6 series lead over the Falcons and an 11-4 record against the Falcon during home games.

The victory takes the Irish to 4-2 on the season while the Falcons dropped to 3-2. The Falcons will look for redemption against San Diego State, who beat the Falcons last year in San Diego.