SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame showed just how its spread offense is supposed to work.
Tommy Rees found four different receivers with first-half TD passes and seven Irish players reached the end zone yesterday as Notre Dame scored its most points since the end of the Lou Holtz era 15 years ago and routed Air Force, 59-33.
"We have got very good diversity within our offense. We can run and throw it. We are hard to defend right now," coach Brian Kelly said after his team's fourth straight victory. "We are making the strides . . . We have not arrived."
Notre Dame (4-2) got TDs on all six of its first-half possessions and led 42-16 at intermission. The Irish head into a bye week with a four-game winning streak.
Rees was 19-for-25 for 208 yards in the first half and finished 23-for-32 for 261 yards.
"It's maybe a little bit of everything. Getting in a rhythm and getting in a groove with this offense," Rees said of his improved play, which has included no turnovers the last two games after having nine in the first four.
The wide-open game featured the most combined points at Notre Dame Stadium, breaking the previous mark of 90. The two teams combined for 1,125 yards total offense -- 565 by Air Force and 560 by Notre Dame.
"We want more," said receiver Theo Riddick, who had eight receptions, including a TD catch. "If we could have scored 75, we would have gotten 75."
Air Force tried everything -- a no-huddle and option offense that ran up big yards, an onside kick the Falcons' didn't recover, a fake punt that resulted in a 19-yard gain. Air Force finished the first half with 311 yards and was 5-for-5 on fourth-down conversions in the game.
But the Falcons (3-2) were no match physically for the Irish.
Two Falcons turnovers, a fumble by Asher Clark on Air Force's first play from scrimmage and an interception, helped send the Irish on to TD drives.-- AP