So much for that neck strain.
A week after leaving the USC game in the 3rd quarter due to injury, Irish quarterback Tommy Rees showed he was right on form--throwing a career high five touchdown passes as Notre Dame romped Air Force 45-10 Saturday in Colorado Springs.
It's the 3rd straight win for Notre Dame, which improves to 6-2 as it returns home next Saturday to host 4-3 Navy at Notre Dame Stadium.
Rees was 17-of-22 for 284 yards. His five touchdown passes gives him more than 50 for his career, making him one of only four quarterbacks in Notre Dame history to surpass that plateau. Rees moved passed Ron Powlus for 3rd all-time on the Irish TD passing list. With 54 career TD passes, he's behind just Brady Quinn (95) and Jimmy Clausen (60).
The five touchdown passes went to five different receives (Corey Robinson, Will Fuller, Ben Koyack, TJ Jones, Chris Brown), marking the first time in history the Irish have accomplished such a feat.
It didn't start so great for Notre Dame, however.
The Irish had a solid opening drive that once again resulted in no points when Kyle Brindza's 46 yard field attempt was blocked. Air Force then drove the length of the field as Colton Huntsman rushed in for the 10 yard touchdown to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead in the 1st quarter.
Rees responded on the next drive with a 35 yard strike to Robinson. It was the first career TD pass for the Irish receiver, who is the son of Pro Basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson. Rees then hit another freshman for a first career touchdown--Will Fuller for 46 yards 29 seconds into the 2nd quarter to make it 14-7.
With Notre Dame up 24-10 late in the 1st half, Air Force had an opportunity to score but fumbled deep in Irish territory. It was all ND from there.
Rees came out of the game (this week to rest) late in the 3rd quarter. Andrew Hendrix, who played poorly in place of Rees last week, threw a 46-yard pass to Fuller. Hendrix then rushed for a touchdown to put ND up 45-10.
Saturday marked the 6th time this season, Notre Dame's opponent scored first. The Irish are 2-0 when scoring first and 4-2 when their opponent scores first.
The Irish did not turn the ball over on Saturday. They are now 13-0 in four seasons under Brian Kelly when they don't turn the ball over.
Saturday’s captains included linebacker Danny Spond, a native of Littleton, Colorado whose career has been cut short due to migraines.