Sunday, October 27, 2013

Notre Dame Is Now Bowl Eligible After Manhandling Air Force

Notre Dame needed to make a statement against a struggling Air Force team and they did with a 45-10 blowout. Most impressive in the win was Tommy Rees. He threw for almost 300 yards and a career high 5 touchdowns. He actually had the highest rating of any quarterback in FBS play this weekend. What was really cool about the five touchdowns was that they were to five different receivers. Corey Robinson, Chris Brown, and William Fuller all had their first career touchdowns. Reserve tight end Ben Koyack also had one and finally Rees couldn't leave his favorite target TJ Jones out. Jones had another big day with 7 catches for 104 yards.

Rees' 5 touchdowns now gives him 15 for the year and he also has 1660 yards. Jones now has 37 catches for 527 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Defensively, it was another solid effort after giving up a touchdown on the first drive. But once the Irish got settled in to defending the triple option, Air Force could do nothing. They did not score another touchdown. The defensive star was Jaylon Smith who had 8 tackles and a fumble recovery. This freshmen is getting better every week and on his way to be the leader on defense for the next four years.

If there was a disappointment in this game, it was the running game. George Atkinson and Amir Carlisle have not lived up to expectations all year and this game was no exception. Both have been outperformed by Cam McDaniel all year and it is time for Coach Kelly to commit to him as the number one runner. He had 61 yards on only 10 carries against Air Force.

With the win, the Fighting Irish clinched bowl eligibility and set themselves up for a run at the BCS. Losses by #24 Nebraska and #25 Oregon State should be enough to get Notre Dame into the BCS top 25. Notre Dame would ultimately have to finish in the #12 to be eligible for a BCS bid. To be honest, I am not sure what bowl they will get an invite too. The Big East is now defunct and Notre Dame doesn't start it's agreement with the ACC until next season. That means there are no bowls that have any kind of Notre Dame clauses except the BCS. In other words, if Notre Dame does not get a BCS bid they could get an invite to a bowl that is well below Notre Dame standards just due to circumstance.

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