Scores

Final

Air Force 41

(8-3, 5-2 MW)

Notre Dame 24

(1-9)

2:43 PM ET, November 10, 2007

Notre Dame Stadium, NOTRE DAME, IN

1 2 3 4 T
AFA 10 7 14 1041
ND 0 10 0 1424

Top Performers

Passing: J. Clausen (ND) - 246 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: C. Hall (AFA) - 32 CAR, 142 YDS

Receiving: D. Grimes (ND) - 6 REC, 67 YDS, 1 TD

Fighting Irish suffer school-record ninth loss this season

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Air Force did Navy one better against Notre Dame.

A week after the Midshipmen eked out a triple overtime victory against the Fighting Irish for the first time since 1963, Air Force beat Notre Dame 41-24 for its worst loss to a service academy since that Navy victory 44 years ago.

Looking Forward to '08
Notre Dame

It's no surprise that Notre Dame lost again, but Fighting Irish fans can look forward to next season. Every time Notre Dame has lost seven or more games in a season, it went at least .500 in the next season.

Year Record Next season
2007 1-9 ?
2003 5-7 6-6
1999 5-7 9-3
1963 2-7 9-1
1960 2-8 5-5
1956 2-8 7-3

"It's special for this program, this football team, to the seniors," Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney said. "To come into a hostile environment and get a victory against a good football team is something we needed and something that we'll always remember."

Carney threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Chad Hall ran for 142 yards and had 272 all-purpose yards for Air Force. The Falcons (8-3) scored three straight touchdowns after Notre Dame (1-9) tied the score at 10, and the Irish didn't get any closer than two touchdowns the rest of the way.

"Winning here, against Notre Dame, it's big," Hall said.

The loss was a school-record ninth for the Irish. Notre Dame linebacker Maurice Crum said it's hard to believe how poorly this season has gone.

"I really just don't know what happened," he said. "It's happening, but I just think it's a dream and I'm going to wake up some day."

Hall did most of the work for Air Force despite never scoring himself, setting up the touchdowns. Carney threw a 7-yard pass to wide-open Sean Quintana in the end zone and an 8-yard TD pass to tight end Keith Madsen. He then scored on a 1-yard run on third-and-goal. Spencer Armstrong scored on an 8-yard run. Linebacker John Rabold returned a fumble 19 yards for a touchdown and Ryan Harrison kicked field goals of 19 and 37 yards.

"I thought it was a complete team effort," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. "That's really the way we've played here over these last six or seven games. That's the way at the Air Force Academy you have to play."

It was the largest margin of victory for Air Force in six wins over the Irish and the biggest by a military academy since Navy beat the Irish 35-14 in 1963 behind Roger Staubach.

Just like against Navy a week earlier, runners repeatedly ran through Notre Dame tackles and the Irish were gashed for big plays on pitches to the outside. The Falcons rushed for 285 yards.

Air Force, which strengthened a bid for its first bowl berth since 2002, improved to 8-0 this season when it has a 100-yard rusher. Hall, who rushed for an Air Force record 275 yards a week ago, added two catches for 31 yards and 99 yards on kickoff returns.

"He's our one weapon. That's something that goes with no surprise," Calhoun said. "I think the later you get in the year, his senior year, there aren't a whole lot left, I think naturally because of that he's wearing a little heavier harness. We're going to ride him."

Carney was 10-of-16 passing for 120 yards.

Notre Dame's offensive line continued a season-long struggle, giving up six sacks. Air Force repeatedly pressured Jimmy Clausen, once with just two rushers. Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said the sacks weren't all the fault of the line, saying backs missed some blitzes.

He said the Falcons didn't do anything surprising, but the Irish simply didn't adjust correctly. It's the type of problem that's plagued the Irish all season, Weis said.

"I'm still feeling we're way too inconsistent in how we play. Therefore you have to evaluate the teaching and then you have to evaluate the students," Weis said. "You have to evaluate the teacher and the teaching to see why you can't progress."

Making his first start after sitting for two games, Clausen was 22-of-40 for a career-high 246 yards. He threw three touchdown passes after throwing just one in seven previous games, six of them starts.

Clausen was one of the few bright spots for the Irish, especially in the second half when he was 17-of-29 for 192 yards with two touchdowns.

"I'd say if there's one thing you walked out of that game saying, 'We've got ourselves a quarterback,' " Weis said. "He was slinging it pretty good."

The Irish, who were held to 58 yards rushing, had lost eight games in a season twice before, going 2-8 in 1956 and 1960.

It was also the school-record sixth straight home loss. Notre Dame could finish the season winless at home if it doesn't beat Duke next week. The only other times that has happened were in 1887 (0-1), 1918 (0-0-1) and 1933 (0-3-1).

"As a team, we're at that low point, basically the lowest of lows," safety David Bruton said. "But we've got to keep plugging."

The loss dropped Weis' career record to 20-15. His predecessor, Tyrone Willingham, was fired after three seasons with a 21-15 record.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
AFA
ND
1st Downs2319
Total Yards405304
Passing120246
Rushing28558
Penalties3-402-30
3rd Down Conversions7-144-15
4th Down Conversions0-12-5
Turnovers22
Possession34:0625:54

Passing Leaders

Air ForceC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Carney10/161207.520
Notre DameC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Clausen22/402466.230

Rushing Leaders

Air ForceCARYDSAVGTDLG
Hall321424.4016
Ollis7537.6017
Notre DameCARYDSAVGTDLG
Aldridge14624.4016
Allen Jr.9273.009

Receiving Leaders

Air ForceRECYDSAVGTDLG
Root23618.0026
Hall23115.5025
Notre DameRECYDSAVGTDLG
Grimes66711.2121
Carlson45714.3128

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERAFAND
FG08:31Ryan Harrison 19 Yd
Drive: 14 plays, 56 yds, 6:11
30
TD00:40John Rabold 19 Yd Fumble Return (Ryan Harrison Kick) 100
SECOND QUARTERAFAND
FG08:29Brandon Walker 28 Yd
Drive: 13 plays, 52 yds, 4:27
103
TD02:32John Carlson 2 Yd Pass From Jimmy Clausen (Brandon Walker Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 50 yds, 3:06
1010
TD01:09Spencer Armstrong 8 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 66 yds, 1:23
1710
THIRD QUARTERAFAND
TD12:49Sean Quintana 7 Yd Pass From Shaun Carney (Ryan Harrison Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 67 yds, 2:11
2410
TD01:31Keith Madsen 10 Yd Pass From Shaun Carney (Ryan Harrison Kick)
Drive: 9 plays, 65 yds, 4:14
3110
FOURTH QUARTERAFAND
TD13:31David Grimes 21 Yd Pass From Jimmy Clausen (Brandon Walker Kick)
Drive: 10 plays, 57 yds, 3:00
3117
FG10:07Ryan Harrison 37 Yd
Drive: 7 plays, 13 yds, 3:24
3417
TD07:56Armando Allen Jr. 9 Yd Pass From Jimmy Clausen (Brandon Walker Kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 71 yds, 2:11
3424
TD01:55Shaun Carney 1 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 25 yds, 2:52
4124