Halftime: Notre Dame 24, Air Force 10
Matthew DeFranks | Saturday, October 26, 2013
Senior quarterback Tommy Rees and the Irish passing attack gave Notre Dame a 24-10 lead over Air Force at halftime Saturday afternoon.
Rees completed 14 of 19 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He connected with freshmen receivers Corey Robinson and Will Fuller for their first career touchdown catches. Junior tight end Ben Koyack caught the other touchdown.
Since the beginning of the USC game a week ago, Rees has thrown for 390 yards and five touchdowns.
Air Force got on the board first after junior kicker Kyle Brindza’s 46-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Freshman quarterback Nate Romine became the fourth starting quarterback, the most in the nation, for Air Force this season when he took the field following a Brindza’s miss.
Romine and the Falcons needed just 3:40 to get on the board. Air Force had only two plays of less than five yards as it marched 71 yards in 10 plays for the first touchdown of the game. Junior receiver Colton Huntsman ran around the Irish defense and into the left corner of the end zone from 10 yards out. It was Huntsman’s first touchdown of the season.
Air Force rushed for 183 yards on 34 carries in the half.
The Irish answered with a quick five-play touchdown drive, capped by Robinson’s acrobatic leaping 35-yard catch down the sideline. The pass marked Rees’ 11th completion of 32 yards or longer, which matched the 2012 total. Rees also became the fourth Irish quarterback to throw for 50 touchdowns.
The Irish struck again when Rees found Fuller down the middle for a 46-yard touchdown strike. Rees hooked up with Koyack just a few minutes later when he lofted a 22-yard pass into the end zone. Koyack jumped above the Falcon defender and pulled down his second touchdown in three games.
By the end of the half, Rees tied former quarterback Ron Powlus with 52 career touchdown passes.
Notre Dame’s first three scoring drives each lasted less than 2:30 and took a combined 14 plays.
Brindza blasted a 51-yard field goal with 3:57 left in the half to give the Irish a 24-10 cushion. The make was Brindza’s third career field goal of 50 yards or more.
Notre Dame drove 51 yards on its opening possession but came up empty when junior kicker Kyle Brindza’s 46-yard field goal was blocked.
Air Force tacked on a 47-yard field goal by junior kicker Will Conant with 10:07 left in the half.
Notre Dame’s defensive line depth was tested when sophomore defensive end Sheldon Day limped off the field in the second quarter. The Irish were already without starting senior nose guard Louis Nix.
Graduate student left guard Chris Watt left the game in the second quarter. Junior offensive lineman Conor Hanratty filled in for Watt. Freshman offensive lineman Steve Elmer started at right guard after the Irish lost senior Christian Lombard for the season.
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