Notre Dame football: Bowl dreams still (barely) alive for Air Force

SBT Report
ND Insider

Air Force enters this Saturday’s game with a 1-6 record, its only win coming against Colgate. So naturally, some of the talk this week was ...

Bowl game.

“I’m still hoping to get a bowl game,” safety Dexter Walker told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “It’s all or nothing these next five weeks.”

To qualify for a bowl game, the Falcons, 20-point underdogs to Notre Dame, would have to win their remaining five games, starting with the Irish, followed by Army, New Mexico, UNLV and Colorado State.

“Obviously, those dreams are still alive,” safety Christian Spears told the paper. “Right now, we’re 1-6 with five games left, so if we were to win out that would get us into a bowl game. But right now, we’re just completely focused on what’s going to happen this Saturday.

Notre Dame is 5-2, but the four teams after the Irish have a combined 12-17 record.

Air Force has played in bowl games for six straight seasons.

The last time

Notre Dame’s last visit to Falcon Stadium came in 2006, and the Irish didn’t take long in dispatching Air Force.

ND’s first drive lasted all of two plays, with Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija connecting on two passes, the second a 51-yard TD. Following a three-and-out, Quinn connected with John Carlson to give the Irish a 14-0 lead just over five minutes into the game.

The Falcons controlled the ball for all but 1:09 of the second quarter but went scoreless in the period. The Irish scored on a 78-yard Terrail Lambert blocked field goal return to take a 27-3 halftime lead.

Air Force actually outgained the Irish, 405-383, and won the time of possession battle 38:35-21:25.

Connections

  • Former Air Force linebacker Austin Niklas, who graduated last year, is the older brother of Irish tight end Troy Niklas.
  • ND freshman defensive lineman Isaac Rochell is the younger brother of Air Force offensive tackle Matt Rochell.
  • ND head football equipment manager Ryan Grooms was an assistant at Air Force from 2003-07.

Falcon notes

  • Air Force has scored in a school-record 253 consecutive games, the fourth longest active streak in the nation. The last time the Falcons were shut out was in a 13-0 loss to Mississippi in the 1992 Liberty Bowl.
  • According to this week’s Air Force media release, Air Force student-athletes carry an average of 19 hours of academics each semester.
  • Former Falcon Chad Hall, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, ran for 142 yards on 34 carries in Air Force’s 2007 win at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun served as the Houston Texans’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach prior to taking the job at his alma mater. He also was an assistant with the Denver Broncos.
  • Air Force is 29-12 at home under Calhoun, but 1-3 this season.
  • Air Force has scored a rushing touchdown in 54 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation.

Air Force Academy football players enter the field before the start of an NCAA college football game against San Diego State, at the Air Force Academy, Colo. Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)