Wishbone quarterback Marty Louthan ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and Sean Pavlich kicked three long field goals, leading Air Force to a 30-17 upset of 18th-ranked Notre Dame yesterday at the academy.
The Falcons (7-4) have won four in a row and have ensured their first winning season since 1973. Notre Dame (6-3-1) had never lost to Air Force in the 12 previous meetings.
"When we walked into the stadium, we all knew that we would win the game," Coach Ken Hatfield of Air Force said. "We were ready.
"Marty ran well and the team followed with some great plays. We knew we had to take control in the first quarter and we did."
"Give Air Force credit," Coach Gerry Faust of Notre Dame said. "They played a heck of a game. The wishbone is something we hadn't seen, plus Air Force played errorless football . . ."
Faust said the key play of the game probably came midway through the third quarter after the Irish had drawn within 17-3 and showed signs of rallying. The Falcons kept the pressure on, however, driving 80 yards for a score, with Louthan's 55-yard run the key play.
"On the play where he went up the middle, I would imagine he checked off," Faust said. "I don't know if that was the turning point, but we were getting back in there."
The Falcons capitalized on two turnovers for two touchdowns in the first half. Louthan scored both on two-yard runs, then Pavlich kicked a 40-yarder on the final play of the half for a 17-0 lead.