Oct 19, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell (6) and tight end Troy Niklas (85) celebrate in the fourth quarter against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 14-10. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Week 9 Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Air Force Falcons

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After a four game homestead, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are on the road again. This week, they’ll face the Air Force Falcons.

The Irish are fresh off a win against USC and boast a 5-2 record. The Falcons are in the midst of a terrible season and sit at 1-6 after a bye week.

Notre Dame holds the series by a wide margin, at 23-6. The Irish have had success on the road in this series and the last time Air Force won at home was 1985. 

The Falcons currently feature one of the worst defenses in the country, and have an offense that is almost completely one dimensional.

On defense, Air Force is giving up 37.6 points per game, but against FBS foes that number jumps to over 41 points. The Falcons are allowing 488 yards per game and have just eight takeaways this season. For a team that can run the ball so well, they are terrible at stopping the ground game and give up 221 yards per game. They’re equally bad against the pass, allowing over eight yards per passing attempt (Tommy Rees is just at 7.41 yards per attempt).

Offensively, this team can only do one thing: run the ball. The Falcons are 12th in the country in rushing with an average of 268 yards. Their passing game? Well, its terrible and checks in at about 102 yards per game, 121st in the country (is it irony that Air Force doesn’t have a better passing game?). Five different players have attempted passes for the Falcons, mostly due to injuries to their top two quarterbacks. The Falcons have yet to name a starter between Karson Roberts and Nate Romine.

The Falcons average 14 passing attempts per game, and a whopping 54 rushing attempts. Their rushing attack accounts for nearly 80-percent of all plays called. Five players have over 200 yards rushing for the Falcons, they can take a guy out and plug in a fresh one with no drop off in output. Simply put, you have to stop the run to beat the Falcons.

Notre Dame will be able to move the ball with ease against the Falcons and will likely be more diverse than in past weeks. The Irish should be able to find all of their receivers open consistently and be able to create lanes for anyone to run the ball.

The Irish have a big advantage on offensive with their line. The Falcons are giving up an average of over 20-pounds per player to Notre Dame’s line. That means bigger rushing lanes for Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson.

A win would likely mean the Irish will find themselves back in the Top 25 rankings. It also will go a long way towards cementing a quality bowl game.

Notre Dame runs away with a 45-21 win.

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Tags: Air Force Falcons Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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