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Irish defense adjusts to slow down Air Force running attack

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Notre Dame didn’t have an answer for Air Force’s option offense in the Falcons’ opening drive Saturday.

Air Force went 71 yards, all on the ground, en route to a touchdown.

Notre Dame adjusted and the Falcons didn’t find the end zone again as the Irish won 45-10.

The Falcons came into the game ranked 12th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 268.6 yards per game.

Air Force finished with 290 rushing yards, but most of the damage came early. The Falcons rushed for 101 yards in the first quarter.

Air Force averaged 8.4 yards per carry in the first quarter. The average dropped to 3.7 in the second quarter.

“We had a different scheme and every time we would adjust to a formation, they would counter back the opposite way pre-snap,” said senior cornerback Bennett Jackson, who had four tackles. “We just started playing regular cover-2 instead of flipping over and moving around so much because the tempo was throwing us off.

“And then obviously we caught on to it.”

Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Dan Fox led Notre Dame with eight tackles.

Injury report: Notre Dame offensive lineman Chris Watt left the game with a “strained knee,” according to coach Brian Kelly.

Family affair: Notre Dame freshman defensive lineman Isaac Rochell saw a familiar face on the Air Force’s offensive line. His brother, Matt, is a sophomore starting at left tackle for the Falcons. Isaac Rochell collected four tackles Saturday.

Kicking it: Kyle Brindza made a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter. It was his third career field goal of at least 50 yards.



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