Air Force hands Irish school record 9th loss

For the first time in the school's 119 years of football, Notre Dame has lost 9 games.

The Irish lost to Air Force 41-24 Saturday to drop to 0-6 at Notre Dame Stadium.

The Irish must win its final two games against Duke and Stanford to avoid the school's worst season ever.

Notre Dame was 2-8 in both 1956 and 1960.

Jimmy Clausen returned to the starting lineup for the Irish and was one of the lone bright spots, throwing for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns.

But things didn't start well for Clausen and the Irish.

On the first play of the game, Clausen completed a pass to John Carlson, but the senior was stripped of the ball and Air Force immediately recovered.

The fumble led to a field goal making it 3-0 Air Force.

With one minute left in the 1st quarter, fullback Asaph Schwapp fumbled at the Irish 20. The Ball shot up into the air and Falcon John Rabold caught it and ran it in for a touchdown to make it 10-0.

After Irish freshman Kerry Neal recovered an Air Force fumble, the Irish offense woke up.

James Aldridge had a big 16 yard run to start the ensuing drive. And It led to a Brandon Walker field goal to make it 10-3.

On the next Irish drive, Clausen found David Grimes for a 14 yard completion to the Falcon 18.

Aldridge then ran it 10 yards inside the Air Force 8.

On 3rd and goal, Clausen ran a play action and hit Carlson in the back of the endzone to tie it at 10.

But the Irish couldn't hold Air Force before the half.

Chad Hall, who had 272 all-purpose yards, including 142 yards rushing, had two 15 yard carries on the following drive.

That led to a Spencer Armstrong touchdown to make it 17-10 Air Force at the half.

The 3rd quarter belonged to the Falcons.

On the first drive, QB Shawn Carney connected with Mark Root for a 26 yard completion. Carney then found Sean Quintana to make it 24-10.

Carney threw another TD pass to Keith Madsen to make it 31-10.

The Irish attempted to make a comeback in the 4th quarter.

Clausen threw a 21-yd touchdown pass to David Grimes to cut the lead to 31-17.

After a Falcon field goal, Clausen dumped a screen pass to Armando Allen, who took it in for a score to make it 34-24.

With 5:00 left, ND went for it on a 4th and 1 at their own 25. But Clausen couldn't pick up the first down on the QB sneak.

Carney added a late touchdown to make it 41-24.

It's the first time since 1944 that the Irish have lost to two service academies in one season.

It's also the first time Notre Dame has lost 6 games at home in one season.

The Irish will have one last chance to salvage a home win next Saturday against Duke.


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