Air Force takes on Notre Dame this Saturday on the road and the Falcons are the underdog; however the run-option offense is difficult to defend and this game should be close due to that run-based offense. Turnovers could be key to this game since Notre Dame sits at minus nine in turnover margin, whereas Air Force is at minus two. Whoever can protect the ball better should win this game.
Here are some predictions from various outlets about this matchup.
The Irish lead the series 22-6, but Air Force won the most recent meeting, in 2007. Before that, though, Notre Dame had won 11 of 12. The Irish have allowed just one rushing TD this season; Air Force has 15 of those.
The pick: Notre Dame 34-21
What Will Happen: It's Notre Dame. There will be turnovers. However, there won't be enough of them for Air Force to overcome good, balanced day from the Irish offense and a huge day from Michael Floyd. He might not come up with the 12 catches for 137 yards and a score he had against Purdue, but he'll have his fourth double-digit catch day of the season.
The pick: Notre Dame 34, Air Force 16
Hmm, this is a bad spot for Notre Dame. They're riding a three game win streak, have been on the road the last two weekends, and are only 60 minutes from a bye with rival USC the following Saturday.
Can you say trap game?
The pick: Notre Dame 28, Air Force 24
The Fighting Irish have a decided advantage on paper in this matchup, especially on the Offensive and Defensive lines, where they'll have anywhere between a 30 and 50 pound weight advantage over the Falcons. The Irish Offense will have to avoid the turnovers, like against Purdue, and let their playmakers take over. The key for the Irish defense will be the defensive line getting off of the cut blocks that will come on most plays, filling their correct hole, and getting to the QB when Air Force does decide to pass. The secondary will also need to play mistake free, as one bad step can lead to an easy 7 points going the other way.
The pick: Notre Dame 34, Air Force 24
My prediction is that this game will be close to the end, but ultimately I am going to predict Notre Dame to win a close game, 27-24.