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Notre Dame takes down Air Force

Adam Llorens | Monday, October 10, 2011

Students relished a record-setting 59-33 victory over Air Force on a balmy Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.

En route to the triumphant Irish win, spectators bore witness to the most combined scored points in Stadium history and the most points scored by the Irish since 1996.

Junior Kevin McDermott said he was ecstatic to see the offense let loose and blow out an opposing team.

“Our offense performed really well, but we continued to struggle on defense defending the option as we did last year against Navy,” McDermott said. “I was a bit disappointed that Air Force continued to draw the game out, and I do not think the score is representative of how much we dominated the game.”

The comfortable atmosphere inside the student section was something never experienced before, McDermott said.

“Finally being able to win comfortably was awesome,” McDermott said. “From doing push-ups on just about every offensive drive to participating in the wave in the third quarter, a cheer generally reserved for the fourth quarter if we are well ahead, [the experience] was amazing.”

With the convincing performance Saturday, McDermott expects a victory against archrival USC.

“Seeing our offense perform at a high level this week, I think we should win,” McDermott said. “I just hope our secondary can stand up to USC’s high-octane offense.”

Saturday’s victory was one of the most important of the year because of the upcoming night game with the Trojans in two weeks, sophomore Mara Stolee said.

“A blowout victory was exactly what we needed,” Stolee said. “It has been a while since we had an exciting football experience.”

Stolee said it is imperative for both the team and student body to keep up the high emotions in preparation for the Trojans.

“Because we did so well early in the game, the excitement level went way down as the game progressed because the outcome was clear,” Stolee said. “I hope the atmosphere will be just as electric for the USC game as it was for Air Force because of the importance of it and its historical significance.”

Notre Dame’s convincing victory impressed sophomore Michael Vella.

“It was nice to see Notre Dame finally put away an opponent convincingly,” Vella said. “Moreover, it was also huge for the fans so we can have a confidence booster going into the USC game.”

Vella enjoyed seeing second-string players, including quarterback Andrew Hendrix, find success on the field.

“Everybody was in high spirits the entire game because there was no doubt in our mind that we were going to win, which is rare,” Vella said. “Because of this, it was nice to see [Irish coach Brian Kelly] put in some of the guys who do not see the field that often.”

Freshman Cailin Gillespie was pleased with the positive outcome of the game.

“I fully expected the Irish team to win, and it was nice for me to see them finally follow through,” Gillespie said. “The first half was especially exciting, as it was the first time this season I heard people complain about the number of touchdown push-ups we were doing.”