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Five things we learned: Notre Dame 59, Air Force 33

Oct 8, 2011, 9:38 PM EDT

Jonas Gray Air Force

On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in South Bend, the Irish offense sprinted out to an early lead and never looked back, scoring 59 points — 42 of them in the first half alone — as Notre Dame rolled to a 59-33 win over the Air Force Academy. On a Saturday where sunshine and blue skies provided a perfect setting for football, Brian Kelly‘s offensive juggernaut did its best to one-up the weather, no small feat in early October.

Just how impressive were the Irish offensively in the first half? Consider these six touchdown drives:

  • Eight plays for 81 yards in 2:47 on their first drive. Michael Floyd with the touchdown catch.
  • Nine plays for 59 yards in 3:33 on their second drive. Tyler Eifert with the touchdown catch.
  • Four plays for 51 yards in 1:41 on their third drive. Robby Toma with the touchdown catch.
  • Five plays for 38 yards in 2:02 on their fourth drive. Jonas Gray with the touchdown run.
  • Six plays for 44 yards in 2:21 on their fifth drive. Cierre Wood with the touchdown run.
  • Six plays for 7 yards in 1:06 on their sixth drive. Theo Riddick with the touchdown catch.

That’s six first half drives and six touchdowns, each capped off by six different players.

“We’ve got very good diversity within our offense,” Kelly said after the game. “We’re hard to defend right now.”

Hard to defend might be an understatement, as the Irish racked up 59 points, the most points scored by an Irish team since Lou Holtz‘s 62-0 blasting of Rutgers in his final game in Notre Dame Stadium.

Let’s find out what else we learned in Notre Dame’s 59-33 victory over Air Force.

1. The Irish have put together a devastating rushing attack.

With Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray giving the Irish their best one-two combination since Ryan Grant and Julius Jones, Notre Dame has balance on offense like they haven’t had in a very long time. The Irish racked up 266 rushing yards, continuing a string of impressive games. The Irish have run for 735 yards over the last three wins, their most in a three-game span since 2003. And the best thing about it? It was quarterback Andrew Hendrix that led the team in rushing, with 111 yards.

The Irish ran for a gaudy 9.2 yards per carry, numbers that would have been even better if the Irish didn’t run for just seven yards on their final seven carries of the afternoon. Take those runs out and the Irish ran for 259 yards on 22 carries, roughly 12 yards a carry. To put it into context, Julius Jones ran for 262 yards on 24 carries in his record-setting performance against Pitt in 2003. The Irish didn’t need to put the weight on one man’s back, and with Wood and Gray carrying the load, and Hendrix adding a zone-read wrinkle into the mix, the Irish’s offense — led by some incredible work up front by Ed Warinner‘s troops — did some devastating work.

“The pieces are starting to come together for us,” Kelly said of the offensive balance. “We’re getting there. It starts really with the running game and the ability to run the football.”

2. Andrew Hendrix adds a new dimension to the offense. And he makes Tommy Rees better.

Kelly hinted at it earlier this week, and sophomore Andrew Hendrix’s debut at quarterback was about as impressive as you could ask for. Hendrix was perfect throwing the football, operated from six different formations while running the ball with conviction, only stopping himself when he ran out of gas at the one-yard line on a 78-yard scamper.

Used as a change of pace quarterback while mixing in with Tommy Rees, Hendrix gave the Irish offense another running look while also keeping defenses honest with some efficient passing. It’s all part of a plan installed to evolve the offensive gameplan and use Hendrix’s skillset to make Rees even better.

“Andrew does not have all of the grasp on the offense that he needs,” Kelly said. “But he certainly is somebody that can go in the game and do good things.

“A lot of this has been crafted towards how do we make Tommy Rees a better quarterback, instead of Andrew Hendrix just being out there. Now there’s so much versatility in which you have to defend.”

Kelly made it clear that Dayne Crist is still the No. 2 quarterback for the Irish. But after five games of wondering whether or not the Irish would use a change of pace quarterback, they rolled out the blueprint for how they want to use Hendrix, and he executed perfectly.

3. With a near perfect day, the maturation of Tommy Rees continues.

After struggling to keep the ball in the offense’s hands, Rees continues a run of really impressive play. The sophomore quarterback completed 23 of 32 passes for 261 yards, throwing four touchdowns to four different receivers in the first half — joining Brady Quinn as the only other Irish quarterback to ever throw for four scores in the game’s first thirty minutes.

“He’s growing as he goes here,” Kelly said of his sophomore quarterback. “I keep reminding you guys and hopefully you’ll start listening to me. He’s 8-1 as a starter and he continues to grow and develop and we are seeing that maturity.”

For a second straight game, Rees wasn’t sacked. And with time in the pocket, he showed his ability to be the perfect distributor for Kelly’s passing offense, finding seven different receivers and moving the Irish close to flawlessly throughout the afternoon.

The Irish converted 8 of 11 third downs, a devastating stat for Air Force, and identified just about all of Air Force’s exotic attempts to bring pressure. More importantly, he took care of the football — forcing only one or two balls into tight windows and making proper reads when he had one-on-one opportunities.

Rees has done plenty to show that he’s a capable pilot for the Irish’s offensive attack, but nothing more important than eliminating mistakes when the Irish had chances to put points on the board, and being more efficient in the scoring zone.

“I think a lot of it was on me not finishing drives,” Rees said after the game. “I really took it upon myself, just to make sure we are limiting mistakes. We have been so good between the 20s, so for us to go out two weeks in a row and capitalize on opportunities is a good feeling.”

With USC on the horizon, Rees will now have two weeks to prepare for a defense that forced the then freshman into the worst game of his Irish career.

4. The Irish offense gave the USC coaching staff plenty to talk about.

If you’re wondering why it seemed like Kelly and offensive coordinator Charley Molnar all but emptied the playbook against Air Force, it might be because they’ve got a special opponent coming up in two Saturdays. With the Trojans off this Saturday, Lane Kiffin and company had all afternoon to watch Notre Dame run all over the field, establishing various weapons and give a leaky Trojan defense even more to think about.

While he didn’t get the opportunity to return one, we saw Michael Floyd back to receive punts. After not running the ball with Theo Riddick all season, we saw Riddick pick up a nice gain on a reverse, and lead the team with eight catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Empty set formations with five wide? Option pass plays? Kelly showed a variety of new looks, which stumped Air Force’s defense, but also added a few more hours to the next Trojan film session.

As the Irish reach the halfway point of the season, it’s clear they’ll head into a prime-time affair with USC armed with an offense that has multiple ways to hurt you and a second quarterback that will provide plenty of problems for defensive coordinators.

“I really couldn’t tell you,” Kelly responded when asked if Hendrix’s big game means more snaps in the weeks to come. “All I know is you’re going to have to defend him because he’s pretty good.”

Precisely why Kelly waited to reveal him this week.

5. There are still plenty of questions about Notre Dame’s ability to stop the option.

Now to the not-so-pretty part. The Irish really struggled defending Air Force’s offense. The Falcons came into Saturday with the No. 12 offense in the country, averaging just over 513 yards a game. They actually improved on that number, putting up 565 yards to the Irish’s 560, and ran the ball for a staggering 363 yards, nearly identical to their average total on the season.

Without Ethan Johnson, the Irish were forced to use a lot of Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch, and the duo combined for six tackles, with Lynch contributing just one assisted tackle on the afternoon, while also getting flagged for a major penalty and a major screw-up, jumping offside on a 4th down field goal attempt that gave the Falcons a first down and a touchdown on the ensuing play.

Bob Diaco‘s game plan consisted of moving Jamoris Slaughter down into the box, replacing Prince Shembo in the base defense. The move worked, and Slaughter played his best game in an Irish uniform. He made a highlight reel interception and forced a fumble on the first defensive play of the game, supplying just what the Irish needed with two huge turnovers in a game where turnover margin was the most important stat of the day.

Yet the Irish also got gashed by both the option and the zone read, with Asher Clark running for 102 yards on just 11 carries, and the Falcons averaging 6.1 yards a carry on 60 runs. Harrison Smith led the Irish with 12 tackles, but struggled to come up and play support on the option pitch, missing a number of tackles. Manti Te’o was the lone bright spot in the option game, playing under control, making 2.5 tackles-for-loss to go along with his ten stops and one pass breakup.

Sure, Air Force racked up a ton of yardage in the games final minutes when the score was long out of hand. But Air Force converted a ridiculous five of five on fourth-down gambles and Tim Jefferson looked good completing several big passes for first downs. The Falcons present a challenge even Navy can’t replicate, but Diaco’s troops haven’t shown the ability to stop an option attack consistently. While the gamble with Slaughter was a good one, keeping Prince Shembo on the sideline, limiting Sean Cwynar’s snaps and using freshman Chase Hounshell for the first time after burning Kona Schwenke’s eligibility just a week ago are decisions that some people might question.

But with the Irish moving to 4-2 and riding a four-game winning streak into an off-week, the Irish’s impressive drubbing of Air Force showed one thing quite clearly: The most effective defense against a great option attack is a good offense.

The Irish showed that in spades.


  1. cmb79 - Oct 8, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    So, I’m guessing the boys saw What’s-his-name’s comments this week.

  2. brendanunderscoreg - Oct 8, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    I don’t worry about stats at all when playing the academies. Getting a win is the only thing that matters. Who ever slows these guys down? They will always get their yards (except Army who is not nearly as proficient as the other two). An ugly game for the defense, but it’s about time the offense wins one.

  3. domer77blowsgoats - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Glad to see Kelly on the bandwagon… 8-1 as a starter!!

    • nudeman - Oct 9, 2011 at 10:43 AM


      1) goat, you need a new line. Seriously. We all know what the record as a starter is. Move on. And while you’re at it, get a new handle.

      2) Harrison Smith can’t cover me. Must be a helluva inspirational character or something to be a Captain; cause he can’t cover.

      3) Andrew: Nice! Next I’d like to see the downfield arm.

      4) Rees: Gotta’ give the kid credit. Looking a little better every week. 2 straight games/no turnovers.

      5) Can’t wait for USC; nice to see the game mean something for a change.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 9, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        1) no and no
        2) last time I looked he was a safety and had one hell of a game against a true passer when not worrying about the triple option
        3) agreed
        4) we all know my opinion on Rees
        5) 2 unranked teams (as of this post) – not the meaning we were hoping for…

  4. alsatiannd - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    24 more games to go in our 28-game winning streak.

  5. barneysbullet - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    How many of us thought “and here we go with the comeback” after Lynch jumped offsides on 4th and 1?
    Falcons scored promptly, which could have been a huge momentum changing play. But credit our guys for roaring right back…
    THAT could have been THE crucial moment in this game for this 2011 team, and THAT to me is the difference between who we were at 0-2 (ok, more like 0-1) and who we are now with four straight wins.
    As Primetime says so well, “I BELIEVE IN YOU GUYS!”
    …and just think, it has nothing to do with luck but everything to do with these guys buying into what BK is selling. Go ND.

    • papadec - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM

      “selling” and developing. For the fans anxious to see more quality playing time, for the early arriving Freshman, be patient. Looking at the box scores, as the season has progressed, it seems to me that BK has been introducing those Spring Freshman gradually as he sees them ready to perform. Also, look at the playing time Hendrix got this past weekend. I think those fans who were concerned about Hendrix transferring can relax now – clearly BK has plans for him. I like the way BK has introduced those guys into the offense/defense schemes – new surprises for the opposing coaches on any game day. BK is playing his cards close to his vest – I’m anxious to see what he springs on usc.

  6. irish9314 - Oct 8, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    2 things… We better be ranked after this win. And the second thing, has anyone else noticed the ND highlights haven’t been played all night on ESPN? Just shows how much they hate us…

    • paulbrownsrevenge - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:29 AM

      Don’t feel bad, ESPiN hates my Buckeyes as well. I work in a steel mill in NE indiana, and I’m always talking Irish football with the old guys there. I’m an OSU fan, But I’m not a ND hater, I honestly think Kelly is your coach. He will get Notre Dame back on top. Screw the SEC.

    • alsatiannd - Oct 9, 2011 at 7:14 AM

      Don’t hold your breath. We’ll be lucky to break into the Top 20 before the Stanford game. Then a loss to Stanford throws us right out again and a win bumps us to 15 at best. Our position relative to MSU is the tell. Some of the polls have them still ranked and us barely having any votes.

      Our remaining schedule is weak: an unranked USC, Navy, a surprising but still Wake Forest, woeful Maryland and BC, then BCS-Stanford. We won’t get credit for beating the teams we’re supposed to and upsetting Stanford will be treated as a fluke.

      But that’s OK. Gives our guys something to chew on and use next year.

      • jimkress999 - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        USC isn’t ranked because they are on NCAA probation. If that were not the case, they’d be in the top 25.

        Wake Forest has a good team and should not be taken lightly.

        Navy will be a problem, unless the offense is magical again. The defense just can’t seem to figure out how to stop the option. Especially on the edge. This will also be a problem against USC and Stanford.

        Stanford will kill us if we cannot control the edge.

        The initial BCS poll will be interesting.

      • alsatiannd - Oct 10, 2011 at 8:53 AM

        Whether we like or not we’re just not going to go anywhere in the rankings. After the AFA win, Mich St., Penn State, and Houston (who’s toughest game of the entire year is UCLA) are in the Top 25 polls; we are not. Even in Sargarin’s computer rankings we’re on the outside looking in at 26.

        We will only advance as teams ahead of us lose. This past weekend only one Top 25 team lost. And just as we crawl into the BCS 25 by the end of the season we play Stanford.

        If our guys want it, they got to keep that chip on their shoulder, work harder and win harder.

        We may still be relevant, but we’re not respected.


    • terryb101 - Oct 9, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      well we aint ranked, texas a&m is still ranked, but we didnt make it,, weak schedule, doesnt help and it certainly wiil hurt us in the bsc poll even if we win the next 5 games.. go irish

  7. gtizzo - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:33 AM


    I have something I want everyone who reads this article to consider. Brain Kelly wasn’t worried about how many yards the Irish gave up in this game. Matter of fact I would say he really didn’t care about how his defense played mostly in the second have and here is why:
    1) Where was Manti Te’o? I watched the entire game and I don’t recall number 5 at middle linebacker for most or all of the second half. Matter of fact I don’t think the starting defense played much in the second half.
    2) The key to the season has moved from the defense to Tommy Reese. I seriously doubt Brain Kelly wants to be in the position of having to start Crist or either of the other two QB’s. I don’t think Kelly trusts Crist and starting either of the two younger QB’s would be a bad spot to put such young players.
    3) Great offense beats Navy. The offense scoring points and being consistent put the option attack of Navy behind the eight ball. The triple option takes time, and if the Irish are scoring points and puts them 2 TD’s behind, the only thing that beats ND is turning the ball over. The offense can give the defense time to sort it out.
    4) The only team playing great defense is Alabama. The tide have played great defense all year. LSU gave a bunch of yards to W. Virginia and the PAC-12 is such an awful conference that Stanford’s defense looks better then it should. Oklahoma’s defense doesn’t get any respect…I could go on and on but I just don’t have the time.

    • Troianolly - Oct 9, 2011 at 8:29 AM

      75% of your comments are just plain wrong, just sayin’

    • nudeman - Oct 9, 2011 at 10:45 AM

      It’s “Rees”

  8. jw731 - Oct 9, 2011 at 3:13 AM

    Yeah Baby!!!!!! This is another step towards the Meineke Car Care Bowl………

  9. seanb20124 - Oct 9, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Quit burning redshirts if u don’t have too

  10. nddan1 - Oct 9, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    a few things, to the poster on “where was tao”, what game were u watching? also to the poster who ?ed being ranked? if nd beats usc they will crack into the top 20. and after that if they were to beat stanford a bcs bowl game would be instore. that is if we win all the others. for me its one game at a time. they hane michigan ranked 12th. we tottally outplayed michigan and should have beaten them. im getting ahead of myself….first things first…go irish…beat trojans

    • tradertrik - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      nddan1 – I agree completely with your post. I was thinking that after yesterday’s game, combined with Florida State’s loss, we should break into the 25. Regardless of our strength of schedule there is such a thing as attrition and as the current Top 25 teams start to lose we’ll start to rise, assuming our Irish continue to play as they played yesterday.

      Personally I don’t think it’s a question of if we beat U$C, it’s a question of by how much. I hope we run up 100 on those b*tches.

      It’s interesting that we have our own Denard Robinson! Hendrix is the shit. We’ve got a couple of really up and coming guys under center and I couldn’t be more pleased with both guy’s play yesterday. Also, I noticed that Ben Turk dropped a punt around the 15, just as a good punter should. Seems like he may be finally kicking the ball the way Kelly sees him kicking in practice.

      Air Force played a great game yesterday. Sure, they were outmanned at every position but those guys are gonna score a lot of points during the rest of their schedule. Hats of to ’em and I believe they will deservedly win the CIC Trophy.

    • joeschu - Oct 10, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      The final score of the Michigan game was 35-31, meaning they both outplayed and beat us. Please do not perpetuate the myth that we somehow won that game. While you’re at it, be sure you put the USF game squarely in the loss column. Playing the “what if Jonas doesn’t fumble” game is the kind of shoddy thinking that is causing us to burn good redshirts left & right.

      While we’re at it, can we dispense with the 8-1 baloney? Yes, when he took the 1st snap, we’re 8-1. He played most of Tulsa, 1/2 of USF. The statistical fact obscures the truth.

      We need to win out and win the Gator Bowl to get any sort of rankings respect, which would be OK consolation for this team’s BCS potential and goal. Our current “ranking” reflects our performance relative to potential and expectations. At 4-2, with the quality of opponents and height of expectations, it is lunacy to expect to be rewarded with a ranking.

  11. cmack21 - Oct 9, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    who cares about ND… they dont play ANYBODY (except for USC and loose) and keep hiding behind their independent status because they could come close to competing in a BCS conference.

    • ndfanwabashman - Oct 9, 2011 at 8:14 PM

      Where are these trolls coming from? This a Notre Dame football blog. Everyone who reads this and comments on it cares about football by definition.

      Speaking of definitions: To lose is to fail in an attempt to defeat an opponent (e.g. cmack21 would lose a fifth grade spelling bee.) Loose is the opposite of tight (e.g. cmack21 has a loose collection of unrelated, idiotic statements.)

      • jimkress999 - Oct 9, 2011 at 8:53 PM

        When ND starts to win, the trolls come out from their hiding places to spew their filth and nonsense.

        Ignore the trolls and they will fade into the oblivion they so richly deserve.

    • ndbonecrusher - Oct 9, 2011 at 8:28 PM

      Cmack you are not the least bit intelligent. Not hatin’, just sayin’.

      First of all, ditto the last dude/dudette. If you don’t care about ND what the heck are you doing on this site?

      Second, most of ND’s opponents this year went to bowl games last year. That is a fact. Don’t play ANYBODY? Please.

      Finally, I think you meant to say “…they could NOT come close to competing in a BCS conference.” See how nice we are? We even correct your inaccurate, baseless jabs. Face it cmack21- everybody, including you, wants ND to be good. That’s one big reason why we matter. The haters want ND to be good so it matters if they beat us, and the reason the ND faithful want ND to be good should be obvious, even to you.

      Or do we need to explain that also, Einstein?

  12. irishinmichigan - Oct 9, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    The ND haters will hate more and more as ND wins more and more. If we win out the season, they will complain, or say we were lucky. You dont get lucky and almost go undefeated. If it weren’t for a couple screwy plays, we’d be in that position. I don’t care what anyone thinks. I let the results show on the field. Forget everything else.

  13. irishinmichigan - Oct 9, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    Go ND, beat USC!!! There are going to be a lot of recruits at that game. Let’s win and add to our recruiting. Next year could be our year!!!

  14. joeschu - Oct 10, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Keith, do you get the sense from the program that “this was the plan all along” with Hendrix, or was he just not ready until this week? The zone read option was a potent weapon (as it was with BK’s Cincy offenses). His arm looked every bit as strong as advertised, and he had a lot of burst in the running game.

    I know the world has a love affair with #2 QB’s (hell, I’m a Matt Flynn fan), but why do you suspect we waited until now to unveil this? Is it all about hammering USC next week? If that’s the case, why put it on tape in a way they can prepare for it? As much as I hate Troy, I hardly think they quake at the mention of our name, so intimidation can’t be the ploy here.

    I guess what is nagging me is: If Hendrix can help us win games, where was he in the two we lost? I would have loved to have seen this before the season imploded, not as some sort of consolation prize.

    • notredamegrad - Oct 10, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      I’m not Keith, but I’ll hazard a response based on what Kelly and Hendrix have said. It sounds like Hendrix was just plain not ready until this week. Hendrix was able to show off his athletic ability and strong arm against AFA because he finally achieved a strong enough grasp of the offense (his part in it, anyway) and minimized his youthful mistakes in practice. According to the QB himself, he practiced much better this past week than he had previously and really buckled down to learn his package. Kelly consequently felt confident throwing him into the game.

      If Hendrix had been able to do what he did against AFA when we played USF or Michigan, of course Kelly would have put him in there. But he wasn’t ready. Now, he’s ready, he’s got some game experience, and he’ll be able to contribute against USC. Hardly a “consolation prize.” And “the season imploded”? Good thing the team doesn’t seem to believe that’s the case.

      • joeschu - Oct 10, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        Perhaps “imploded” is hyperbolic, but let’s be clear. This is a team that certainly appeared to have BCS level talent, and made a BCS appearance their clearly articulated goal.

        To me, having Hendrix ready is critical:
        a) When Rees makes no mistakes, he sails through without any problems. When he makes them, they seem to compound (evidenced by the turnover numbers @USC and @Michigan). Perhaps having the change-of-pace guy bring another energy and let Rees get focused on the sideline would have been a good crutch to have ready early.

        b) As Keith posted, the wrinkle this throws at an opposing DC makes guys like Floyd, Wood, Gray, and Eifert all the more frightening.

        c) You need to know what you’ve got with Andrew. Does he have the mental motor and leadership to win games? Dayne Crist is a perfect example of a guy with every tool in the book, but there’s some intangible that just doesn’t add up to wins. You’ve got to think of this QB situation as a fluid 2-4 year thing.

        d) I still believe this team’s ceiling with Rees is generally 8-3 (plus a Gator Bowl win). Despite BK’s insistence that he’s 8-1 when he takes the 1st snap, Rees is 8-3 in games he takes a significant portion of the snaps. I respect people who think it is higher, and I understand where they’re coming from, I just don’t agree. It doesn’t pass my eye test like Hendrix does. This is purely subjective, personal opinion.

        I’m thrilled we’ve won 4 in a row. I’m ecstatic that we’ve stopped handing the ball to the opposition every time we’re in position to score. I’m just not sure how to eradicate that nagging feeling that this team could have been so much more than Gator Bowl champs.

  15. NDfan1224 - Oct 10, 2011 at 3:18 PM


  16. frankbjr - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    I agree that bk did not care about the second half, although it really pains me to see the offensive performance of a team that had to beat Navy in OT, yes OT! Navy qb taunted def after a td and caused the extra pt to be moved back and missed !

    AF scores and wins on PAT.

    As far as ND performance I like showcasing their ability to USC and it only makes USC that more concerned.

    Lets stop talking about Navy, they gave up 65 pts this past weekend to So. Miss.

    Also agree with Wake Forest assessment, much better than you think

  17. ohioirish - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    It drives me crazy to see these comments on these sites. I don’t understand how you people can say that BK didn’t care about the second half. He played a lot of 2nd and 3rd string players on defense and got them plenty of playing time and all you guys can do is b*tch that we didn’t beat AF by enough points. You guys are starting to sound like Ohio State Buckeye fans. You make me want to PUKE.

    The bottom line is:
    1)We beat a poor team and we beat them soundly.
    2)We also got plenty of playing time for a lot of players.

    End of story.
    Enjoy the wins and quit complaining about victories.

    Go Irish, Beat Trojans!

  18. frankbjr - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    to ohioirish,

    would have rather seen a 26-0 score (the differential) and not 565 yards of Air Force offense; although I agree with you that playing time is important, especially with those slated to step in either next year through attrition or right away due to injury

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