The Notre Dame Fighting Irish started the 2011 season off with two losses that they could have allowed to doom their season.
Instead, the Irish have fought back, winning their last three games in impressive fashion. Michigan, the team they collapsed against in their second game has moved all the way up to No. 12 in the country. The Irish led 24-7 entering the fourth quarter and 31-28 with 30 seconds left, but were unable to hold on.
The Wolverines haven’t even been challenged in their other games, winning each contest by more than 20 points.
In Notre Dame’s next game, they handled the No. 15 Michigan State Spartans, winning 31-13. The Spartans have not allowed more than seven points in any other game, and are ranked second in the nation in points allowed.
Instead of phoning it in, the Irish came out to play. Three weeks later, they have gathered two crucial wins over Pittsburgh and Purdue to enter their matchup against Air Force with a 3-2 record.
The Falcons boast one of the best rushing offenses in the country, one that puts up over 364 yards on the ground per game. However, that stat is very influenced by the 595 rushing yards the Falcons put up against Tennessee State.
Against the only good opponent they’ve faced all season, the Falcons were defeated handily by the TCU Horned Frogs.
Notre Dame should have no problem containing the Air Force rushing game, which will force the Falcons to go to the air. Air Force averages under 150 yards a game through the air, so the Irish will be smart to pack the box against the Falcons.
Sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees will pick apart the Falcons secondary, keeping his streak of QB ratings over 100 going. Senior wideout Michael Floyd has been a catching machine, and this game will be more of the same for the standout receiver.
A convincing win over Air Force will give the Irish the momentum they need to take into a Oct. 22 game against USC.