Records: Irish (5-2); Falcons (1-6)
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: Falcon Stadium, Colorado Springs, Colo.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: 1380 AM, 107.3 FM
On the Web: To watch a video preview for the game, go to Irish Insights at www.journalgazette.net
3 matchups to watch
Notre Dames defense vs. Air Forces option offense: The Irish have fared much better against triple-option teams since giving up 367 rushing yards in a 35-17 loss to Navy on Oct. 23, 2010, in coach Brian Kellys first season. Notre Dame has faced four option teams since that game and held Army to 135 rushing yards in a 27-3 win Nov. 20, 2010, Air Force ran for 363 yards on Oct. 8, 2011, but Notre Dame won 59-33, and in the last two games against Navy, Notre Dame gave up 196 rushing yards in a 56-14 win Oct. 29, 2011, and 149 rushing yards in a 56-14 win to open last season. The Falcons will start quarterback Karson Roberts, who missed most of Air Forces last game with a concussion, meaning the Irish will also see plenty of traditional running plays mixed in with the triple option. The Falcons enter todays game ranked 12th in rushing, averaging 268.6 yards. The Irish are holding teams to 123.3 rushing yards, which is ranked No. 25.
Notre Dames passing game vs. Air Forces secondary: The Irish are able to go into the game with their starting quarterback as Tommy Rees was able to practice all week after missing most of the second half with a neck injury in last weeks win over USC. Rees has thrown for 1,660 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. Receiver TJ Jones has been his top target with 37 receptions for 527 yards with five touchdowns. Receiver DaVaris Daniels has 28 catches for 429 yards with four touchdowns, and tight end Troy Niklas has 18 receptions for 308 yards with five touchdowns. Air Force is giving up 267.4 passing yards per game, and teams have scored 17 passing touchdowns against the Falcons.
Notre Dames offensive line vs. Air Forces defensive line: Judging by weight this is a mismatch, even with freshman Steve Elmer having to step in and start for right guard Christian Lombard, who is lost for the year after undergoing back surgery on Wednesday. At 6-foot-5, 317 pounds, Elmer fits right in on an offensive line that also has 6-4, 308-pound left tackle Zack Martin, 6-3, 321-pound left guard Chris Watt, 6-4, 295-pound center Nick Martin and 6-5, 318-pound right tackle Ronnie Stanley. Air Forces starting defensive line consists of 6-4, 265-pound Nick Fitzgerald, 6-3, 245-pound Dana Luebbe and 6-2, 260-pound Alex Hanson. While the Falcons are smaller, they move the linemen around a lot before the snap to try and confuse offensive lineman and find different angles to attack from.
Prediction: Notre Dame 35, Air Force 10