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QB Tommy Rees throws 5 touchdown passes in Notre Dame’s rout of Air Force

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees (11) passes against Air Force first quarter an NCAA football game Air Force Academy Colo.

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees (11) passes against Air Force in the first quarter of an NCAA football game in Air Force Academy, Colo., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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NOTRE DAME 45,
AIR FORCE 10

Notre Dame 7 17 14 7 — 45

Air Force 7 3 0 0 — 10

First Quarter

AFA—Huntsman 10 run (Conant kick), 5:05.

ND—Robinson 35 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), 3:41.

Second Quarter

ND—Fuller 46 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), 14:31.

AFA—FG Conant 47, 10:07.

ND—Koyack 22 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), 8:49.

ND—FG Brindza 51, 3:57.

Third Quarter

ND—T.Jones 30 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), 8:24.

ND—C.Brown 15 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), 3:07.

Fourth Quarter

ND—Hendrix 4 run (Brindza kick), 13:31.

A—44,672.

TEAM STATISTICS ND AFA

First downs 22 19

Rushes-yards 37-135 65-290

Passing 331 49

Comp-Att-Int 18-26-0 8-12-0

Return Yards 0 16

Punts-Avg. 3-44.3 5-36.0

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-2

Penalties-Yards 1-5 5-40

Time of Possession 29:10 30:50

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Notre Dame, McDaniel 10-61, Folston 11-47, G.Atkinson 6-18, Hendrix 4-9, T.Jones 1-7, Carlisle 3-3, Team 1-(minus 2), Rees 1-(minus 8). Air Force, Romine 21-76, LaCoste 8-59, Johnson 6-30, Hart 5-22, Solano 5-22, Gagliano 3-21, Huntsman 5-19, Rushing 4-18, Lee 5-16, Roberts 2-9, Brown 1-(minus 2).

PASSING—Notre Dame, Rees 17-22-0-284, Hendrix 1-4-0-47. Air Force, Romine 6-10-0-37, Roberts 2-2-0-12.

RECEIVING—Notre Dame, T.Jones 7-104, Fuller 2-93, Daniels 2-34, Koyack 2-29, Niklas 2-20, Robinson 1-35, C.Brown 1-15, G.Atkinson 1-1. Air Force, Huntsman 2-15, Lee 2-5, Hendricks 1-19, Brown 1-6, Rushing 1-5, Gagliano 1-(minus 1).

NOTRE DAME (6-2)

Aug. 31 Temple W, 28-6

Sept. 7 at Michigan L, 41-30

Sept. 14 at Purdue W, 31-24

Sept. 21 Mich. State W, 17-13

Sept. 28 Oklahoma L, 35-21

Oct. 5 Ariz. State W, 37-34

Oct. 19 USC W, 14-10

Oct. 26 at Air Force W, 45-10

Nov. 2 Navy 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 9 at Pittsburgh TBA

Nov. 23 BYU 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 at Stanford TBA

Updated: November 28, 2013 7:03AM



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Tommy Rees was forced to leave the USC game last week in the third quarter because of an injury.

He also exited the game Saturday against Air Force in the third quarter.

But this time, it was under different circumstances.

Rees threw a career-high five touchdown passes, leading Notre Dame to a 45-10 victory against the Falcons in front of 44,672 fans at Falcon Stadium.

“I feel really good with where we’re at as an offense,” Rees said. ‘‘We’ve had great practices and great timing developing. And it’s been clicking, especially throwing the ball the last couple of weeks has really taken off.”

He completed 17 of 22 passes for 284 yards. His performance came days after there was speculation about his availability.

Rees was sacked in the third quarter by the Trojans and had to leave with a sprained neck. He got cleared for practice Tuesday and by Thursday took every snap with the first-team offense.

He then picked the Falcons (1-7) apart.

“He threw the ball very efficiently,” coach Brian Kelly said. “He was on target and could really pick his spots. When we needed a play, he was able to make it.”

Rees became the first Notre Dame quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a game since Jimmy Clausen at Stanford in 2009. Rees has 54 career TD passes, third on the Irish all-time list.

“He played great,’’ wide receiver TJ Jones said. ‘‘He played as well as he can play, and we know he’s capable of that kind of play. He was able to showcase his talents.”

Jones and fellow receivers William Fuller, Corey Robinson and Chris Brown and tight end Ben Koyack caught the touchdown passes.

“It showcases the ability, the phrase ‘next man in,’ ” Jones said. “You never know whose chance it’s going to be. Whether it’s due to injury or rolling receivers through or running backs, you have playmakers at every position.”

Jones had seven catches for 104 yards. Fuller had two catches for 93 yards. His 46-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the second quarter gave the Irish the lead for good.

“[Fuller has] elite speed,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘And he will come down with the football. We really like the way he tracks the ball.”

Notre Dame (6-2) had great success with deep throws. The touchdown passes were for 35, 46, 22, 30 and 15 yards.

“We thought their corners and safeties were extremely aggressive, a lot more than they had shown,” Kelly said. “It gave us the opportunity for some one-on-one matchups that we didn’t think we were going to get. We were able to take advantage of them.”

The result was a career day for Rees and mop-up duty for backup quarterback Andrew Hendrix.

“We needed to come here and take care of business and be great going into next week,” Rees said.

Email: lpope@post-trib.com

Twitter: @lamondpope



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