- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Lots of praise to go around after this one, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Let's get right to it.
Theo Riddick: The much-maligned receiver stepped up in a big way Saturday, catching eight passes for 83 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 14 yards on his only carry. Riddick finally showed what he is capable of and quieted concerns around his early-season performance.
Tyler Eifert: When will defenses figure him out? The tight end once again was a favorite target of Tommy Rees, especially on third downs. Eifert finished with eight catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Michael Floyd: Another typical day for the senior receiver, who has already re-written the Notre Dame record books. His spectacular 34-yard touchdown catch on the opening drive got the Irish on the board early, and he finished with six catches for 78 yards. He even was back to return a pair of punts as well.
Jonas Gray: Saturday's Irish game captain chipped in with another strong performance, scoring two touchdowns and finishing with 69 yards on just seven carries. Gray, a senior, had no career touchdowns going into Pitt two weeks ago and now has four.
Andrew Hendrix: Most figured he'd see his first game action after Brian Kelly's hint during the coach's radio show Thursday, but few saw this kind of performance coming. Hendrix, a sophomore, rushed for 111 yards on six carries, going 78 yards on one fourth-quarter run before being tripped up and falling at the 2-yard line. Hendrix also completed all four of his pass attempts for 33 yards.
Tommy Rees: We can't forget the man who directed this offensive onslaught. The sophomore quarterback built off his big performance last week at Purdue by directing Notre Dame touchdown drives on the Irish's first six possessions. He finished 23-of-32 for 261 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Manti Te'o: The junior linebacker was once again his usual self, which is good news for Notre Dame. Te'o finished with 10 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and nearly came up with a pick as well.
Jamoris Slaughter: The safety made his presence felt on Air Force's first offensive play, forcing Jonathan Warzeka to fumble and later picking off Tim Jefferson in the second quarter. Slaughter added six tackles and a pass break-up as well. Neither defense was very productive statistically, but forcing key turnovers early helped spring this game open.