On paper, Notre Dame looks ready to push the Falcons around, but thoughts of last season's debacle against Navy are inevitable this week...which leads us to our five questions/points of interest for the Irish faithful to consider before Saturday's kick-off.
Question One: Will Bob Diaco's defense struggle against the Air Force rushing attack?
Service academies play hard-nosed, disciplined football and Calhoun brings one of the best offensive attacks in the country to South Bend. This week the Irish must stop the Atlanta-area connection of running back Asher Clark and quarterback Tim Jefferson if they hope avoid a repeat of last year's humbling vs. Navy.
Question Two: Can Notre Dame's offensive line dominate at the point of attack?
The Irish have enjoyed a strong running game this season. Saturday the Falcons will look to test the Irish using quick, athletic play out of their 3-4 defensive scheme. The heaviest player in the two-deep in the Falcon's front three is 260-pound backup Cody Miller.
Question Three: Will the Irish look to air things out against the Falcons?
The Falcons have yet to be tested through the air this season. Michael Floyd and company should be able to stress the Falcons defense in this game. However, last week's rushing attack saw Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray combine for 285-yards...the running game cannot be ignored.
Question Four: Can the Irish improve upon their Red-Zone touchdown scoring against the Falcons?
One of the biggest issues for the Irish offense this season is the dearth of touchdowns scored in red zone opportunities. At just 53% through five games this season, the Irish must improve upon this crucial offensive area if they are to have success the rest of the season. Saturday should give them a chance to up their percentage as Notre Dame will undoubtedly move the football vs. the Falcons D.
Question Five: Can Tommy Rees play back-to-back solid games?
Last week's performance was solid for Rees. However, there is still major room for growth for the sophomore quarterback. Putting back-to-back solid performances together is a must for the overall development of Rees and the potent, but turnover-prone Irish offense.