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What!? Notre Dame has a run defense. Well, you better believe it, and you can bet that after last year's embarrassing performance against Navy's triple option, Bob Diaco will have his defense primed for Air Force's rushing attack.
Notre Dame is ranked 19th nationally in run defense and has only given up one rushing touchdown all season and only two rushing touchdowns in its last nine games dating back to last year. Don't expect things to change on Saturday.
With a potential All-American linebacker in Manti T'eo having another phenomenal season (44 tackles, 27 solo, 3.0 sacks) and the veteran defensive line, the Notre Dame defense should be getting quick penetration into the backfield and not allowing the triple option to develop.
Also, the depth of the Irish's front seven on defense is a major factor in this game. Air Force will be pounding it up the middle and trying to get around the outside linebackers. So, young players like Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch will be called upon to get the job done. And well, based on their performances so far this year, Notre Dame fans will expect nothing but their best.
Air Force may get a rushing touchdown or two if they are lucky, but I do not see Notre Dame giving up many yards on the ground with their commitment to stop the run. I predict a 170 yards rushing from the Air Force offense. However, I would not be surprised if the Irish secondary, which has been very unreliable at times, to give up a few big yards and touchdowns through the air.
Although Air Force runs the ball the majority of the time, they are no stranger to dropping back and taking shots down the field to keep the defense honest.