- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Fighting Irish leave a wild first half leading the Falcons 42-16. Here's a quick look at what went down:
Turning point: This will get lost if the final score looks anything like this one, but Jamoris Slaughter's forced fumble on Air Force's first offensive play of the game cannot be underestimated. Jonathan Warzeka had rushed for 29 yards on the play before coughing the ball up and Air Force has moved the ball extremely well. Its defense cannot stop a snail, however, and one little miscue like that is something that can keep the Falcons from striking distance should the shootout continue.
Stat of the half: The teams have combined for a ridiculous 643 total yards of offense in the first half. Notre Dame clearly has more to show for it given a couple of key turnovers forced by Slaughter, but regardless, that is just an astounding number. The Irish currently hold the edge in total yards, 332-311.
Best player in the half: Slaughter has forced two turnovers, but it's impossible to overlook the offense. Theo Riddick has finally gotten in a groove, catching seven passes for 80 yards, rushing once for 14 yards and catching a 24-yard touchdown pass right before the half. Tommy Rees, who is 19-for-25 with 208 yards and four touchdowns, certainly deserves some credit as well, as Notre Dame scored touchdowns on all six of its first-half possessions.
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney