Here is a quick look back at some of the highlights of Saturday afternoon’s victory over Air Force.
It Was Over When …
After swapping 3 and outs to start the 2nd half, Notre Dame forced Air Force to put for a second time and drove down the field and scored on a Jonas Gray TD run to make the score 49-16. (Admit it, plenty of you were still fairly worried up to this point)
Jamoris Slaughter’s highlight reel interception and the ensuing TD drive that culminated with Cierre Wood’s 8 yard TD run to make the game 35-9.
Three Good Stats
- 59 points! — ND’s highest scoring output since a 62-0 beatdown of Rutgers in 1996. The offense was impressive all day and Air Force was essentially unable to stop ND in any fashion
- 0 — 0 turnovers again(!) and 0 sacks allowed by the OL…again. As noted above, the efficiency that the offense operated out during the game was impressive
- 9.2/12 ypc — This is stolen from friend of the blog Keith Arnold’s Inside the Irish recap (link). So I’ll let him describe how well ND ran the ball.
The Irish ran for a gaudy 9.2 yards per carry, numbers that would have been even better if the Irish didnâ€™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 didnâ€™t need to put the weight on one manâ€™s back, and with Wood and Gray carrying the load, and Hendrix adding a zone-read wrinkle into the mix, the Irishâ€™s offense â€” led by some incredible work up front by Ed Warinnerâ€˜s troops â€” did some devastating work.
Three Bad Stats
- 5-5 — Air Force’s performance on 4th down. When you play an option team, you’re going to give up forth down conversions. It’s just the way it’s going to go and option teams are going to attempt to go for it a bunch. However, 2 of the conversions (1 of which probably isn’t part of the 5-5) were on special teams and led to AFA TDs. Aaron Lynch jumping offside on the FG attempt and the punt return failing to stop the fake punt were mistakes that could come back to haunt ND against better teams or in games in which the offense isn’t clicking like it was Saturday.
- 565 yards — The yards given up by the defense. Even removing the garbage time yards given up by the 3rd string defense, the defense did give up too many yards to feel comfortable. I understand BK’s comments after the game regarding that the yards don’t matter and the points do. It was true. The D certainly performed better in the red zone allowing only 19 points to Air Force’s first string Offense. Additionally, adjustments were made at halftime and the D definitely improved in the 3rd quarter.
- 78 yards — Yards run by Hendrix on his breakaway run in the 4th quarter. He needed 80 to get the TD, stumbled while checking trailing defenders, which allowed him to get tackled before the end zone. While it was nice of Hendrix to allow George Atkinson to get the first rushing TD of his career, he needs to finish that run if he wants to play against better teams! (Yes that was fairly tongue-in-cheek but when your starters beats a team 59-19, it’s hard to find many things to complain about.)
- Jamoris Slaughter — replacing Prince Shembo in the defensive scheme and playing in the box most of the day, Slaughter caused two major turnovers that led to Irish TDs. Both turnovers, which occurred early in the game, allowed ND to pull ahead easily and made Air Force play catch up all days which was a major advantage for ND.
- Andrew Hendrix — making his debut for the Irish, Hendrix shined. He completed all 4 of his passes, and ended up leading the Irish in rushing with 111 yards on 6 carries including the 78 yard scamper noted above. More importantly, he looked decisive with his passes and added a new wrinkle to the offense that future opponents will have to account for.
- Theo Riddick — After Purdue mindbogglingly decided to double team him instead of Floyd last week, leading to 0 catches, Riddick was all over the place on Saturday. Riddick finished with 8 catches for 75 yards and a TD and added another 14 yards on a 1 carry after lining up in the backfield. Riddick certainly forced future teams to worry about him and if Floyd and Riddick can get going, it will be hard to stop the Irish offense
- For those keeping track, Chase Hounshell and Josh Atkinson burnt their red shirts on Saturday so expect them to play even more in the weeks going forward. At quick recap (please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong), the following freshman have played so far this season: Aaron Lynch, Stephon Tuitt, Ben Koyack, Troy Niklas, Chase Hounshell, Josh Atkinson, George Atkinson III, Kyle Brindza, Ishaq Williams, Cam McDaniel.
- On a similar note, despite BK’s comments in the preseason, DaVaris Daniels will redshirt per his father on twitter. Additionally, BK indicated that Golson will almost definitely redshirt too.
- Tate Nichols & Anthony Rabasa had season ending surgeries this past week and both should be fully healthy for the Spring.
- Ethan Johnson did not play this week after suffering an injury early against Purdue. He should hopefully be good to go in 2 weeks.
Notre Dame has a bye week. Enjoy the stress-free Saturday you guys!
That said, Southern Cal is in 2 weeks which means we have a solid two weeks of hate to spread/enjoy/spew so don’t slack off! Remember, #BeatTheTrojans #FUSC. Also, both NDTex & myself will be on campus representing HLS.