Game Prediction

When the Irish play Air Force one can usually expect a good game. In fact, the last three times these two teams have played each other the average margin of victory is just over four points per game with the Falcons winning once. Will the Air Force give the Irish another scare on Saturday?

After watching the Falcons dismantle Army last week, 43-7, one might be concerned that the Falcons could put a big scare into the Irish this weekend as the two get set to play. Air Force completely dominated Army, and frankly they needed to after dropping two straight including a game to 1-7 San Diego State previously.

It's hard to know just how good the Falcons are. Many Irish fans remember an early game against Tennessee where the Volunteers hung on for dear life as the Falcons botched a two-point try to steal a game in Knoxville as time expired.

But then there's the loss to San Diego State, a come-from-behind win at 4-5 Colorado State, and the 33-14 loss to a good BYU team at home.

In fact, take a look at the Falcon's and you'll see a very average team. They're just 66th in total offense with 334 yards per game. They're No. 58 in scoring with a shade over 24 points per game. They're 55th in scoring defense, allowing almost 21 points per game.

They do rush for almost 267 yards per game, but they also average just 4.5 yards per carry. While a good number for a balanced offense, it's not a good number for an option team. To give you an idea, Navy averages 5.5 yards per carry.

When you look at every stat for Air Force, all you see is mediocrity. They're not overly good or overly bad at anything. But a lot of average teams have made the Irish look average over the years—Air Force included. The one stat that stands out is they don't turn the ball over often, and when a team doesn't turn the ball over, they have a chance to win any game.

However, Notre Dame is a pretty good team, and like Navy, they should have no problem moving the football on Air Force. The key is to score early and often, and more importantly, score touchdowns. They'll have to be efficient in the red zone, but that hasn't been a problem for ND all year.

I also think it's a big advantage that the Irish recently played Navy. The element of surprise is what these option teams bank on, and there won't be a lot of surprise for the Irish after having played Navy two weeks prior.

It's as simple as taking good angles to the ball, playing your assignment and making a sure tackle—something the Irish struggled with in the first half against Navy, but I only expect you'll see that for a quarter against Air Force if at all.

Throw in the fact that the Irish play their best football on the road and I think Irish fans should have a fairly easy day on Saturday.

Mike Frank Prediction

I see the Irish winning fairly easy in a business-like game on the road. I don't expect ND to blow out the Falcons, but I also don't think Irish fans will have much to worry about throughout the game.

I just don't see Air Force as having a strong offense or the pesky defenses that have given Notre Dame trouble in the past. Again, I think they're just a very average football team. One who will show up to play on Saturday, but also one who won't be able to handle the Irish firepower on offense, and will likely find it hard to move the ball on the Irish defense.

Notre Dame: 35 Air Force: 13 Top Stories