Explosive offense propels Notre Dame to victory against Air Force

Back in August when I made my predictions for the upcoming Notre Dame football season, I left this comment about the Air Force game, “We can never say anything bad about the armed forces after all they do for us and our country. We always thank them for serving, and this year we thank them for the W too.”

This could not have been more true to form. 59-33 Irish!

First of all, Notre Dame putting up 59 points against any team is not only uncommon, but also something that a lot of us didn’t even know was possible. The last time we scored even remotely close to that many points was in 1996.  The final score was 62-0 against Rutgers in Lou Holtz’s last game at ND stadium. For current students, that means we were somewhere between the ages of 3 and 7.  We don’t exactly have a very clear memory of that.

As the score indicates, both teams were very efficient on offense.  There was a combined 1,125 yards covered.

After the past few games, it is safe to say that our offense has found a consistent way to put points up on the board. There are two successful offensive strategies that we have started to fall back on

  1. We can reasonably expect that when we hand the ball off to Jonas Gray and Cierre Wood, they will pick up enough yards for us to get where we need to be. They also protect the football
  2. Tommy Rees likes passing the ball to Michael Floyd and Tyler Eifert, two big time playmakers. This wide receiver and tight end combo has become his go-to target.

Against the Falcons, WR Theo Riddick, who many expected to have an explosive year, started to live up to that hype more than in previous games. He led the team with 8 receptions for 83 yards. These are the kind of stats we have all been waiting for out of him.

However, the most surprising and hopeful offensive performance all game was from sophomore quarterback, Andrew Hendrix. He went 4-4 for 33 yards. Even more impressive though was his rushing game. He had six carries for 111 yards. Yes, this is the quarterback we’re talking about here. In fact, he took one for 78 yards all the way down to the 2-yard line. Given two chances though, he couldn’t get it into the end zone so Atkinson sneaked it in on 3rd down. Credit goes to Hendrix though for getting the ball all the way down there.

Talk about something none of us could’ve predicted this game, a quarterback that could run like that. After Hendrix’s explosive rush, we were all chanting for Hendrix to stay in the rest of the game. We really liked what we saw from him, even if it was only a couple plays. Could he possibly be the starting quarterback for Notre Dame football next season? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Aside from the actual game, whenever a service academy comes to Notre Dame, we all embrace patriotism and it puts the game in perspective. It’s definitely something special each time.

There was no booing when Air Force ran out of the tunnel, in fact, many of us in the student section clapped for them. American flags were scattered throughout our area to show our appreciation for their service.  There was even a unique flyover before the game. It was a stealth B-2 bomber, a plane so thin it is hard to imagine that something like that could exist.

After the game, our team came over to the student section as usual to sing the alma mater. Unique for this game though, once our song finished the whole team went to the other end zone where all the Air Force fans were seated and joined them as their band played their alma mater. It made me proud to not only go to a school like Notre Dame, but also to have the opportunity to play teams like Air Force. It was a neat moment.

Overall, the game couldn’t have been better, even down to the weather. In October it’s always a toss up in South Bend. For this gameday, we lucked out. It was 80 degrees and sunny. In fact, everyone who brought a jacket to the game was asking him/herself why that was necessary, but we’d rather be safe than sorry. This is still South Bend we’re talking about here.

The next time we’re in the stadium again will be in two weeks, after fall break when the Trojans come to town. The best part is, it’s a NIGHT game! It can’t come soon enough because I have no doubt there will be a lot in store for this historic rivalry game.  So let the hype begin! GO IRISH, BEAT TROJANS!


Back to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Newsfeed