Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cadets "Cloaked" by Irish on Vet's Day 39-17

Playing a service academy at home is tough enough, but flying in to play Air Force on Veteran's Day can be downright intimidating. Fortunately, the Fighting Irish had (today's saint) Martin of Tours on their side. The reluctant soldier who became Catholic conscientious objector after donating half his cloak to a beggar and then receiving a vision by Christ, obviously interceded for the Irish as Notre Dame sprinted to a 33-3 lead before coasting to a 39-17 victory.

Speaking of fast starts, Brady Quinn began 8-8 for 150 yards and 3 TDs before a couple of dropped passes slowed him down to a 14-19 for 207 yards and 4TD finish. Today, Jeff Samardzija (6 catches for 106 yards) was his favorite target, especially on the game's opening two play, 80-yard drive in which Jeff caught a 29-yarder and next a 51-yard touchdown bomb. Darius Walker went over 100 yards again, averaging an incredible 10 yards per carry with his 15 for 153-yard performance.

But either the Irish scored too quickly or the Falcons drove far too methodically for between the 1st and 4th quarters the Air Force ran 49 plays to 12 for Notre Dame, and the exhausted defense, lead by (Brady's roommate) Chinedum Ndukwe's 21 tackles finally tired and allowed two second half touchdowns.

Besides his panting and porous defense, Coach Weis had plenty of cause for concern despite the win. Starting TE John Carlson (who tight roped for a 1st quarter TD catch) left the game with a knee injury. And Carl Gioia had THREE PATs blocked - something that rarely even happens in high school. Fortunately ND's Terrail Lambert somewhat made up for these kicking gaffs with a 76-yard return of a blocked Falcon field goal. But if the Irish are looking ahead to their Southern Cal showdown two weeks from today, I'm already checking the calendar to see if that day's saint has anything to do with defending, or kicking, or both - and starting my novena now.

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