Notre Dame won the coin toss and elected to receive. Pittsburgh defended the North end zone.
A VICTORY OVER PITTSBURGH...
Improves Notre Dame to 9-0 for the first time since 1993.
Gives the Irish nine straight victories to open a season for the 16th time in school history.
Marks Notre Dame's 17th win over its last 20 games.
Gives the Irish their longest winning streak since capturing 17 straight during the 1992-93 seasons.
Gives Notre Dame its 20th winning streak in school history of at least nine games.
Improves the all-time record for the Irish to 862-300-42 (.733).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record at home to 465-118-13 (.791).
Improves the all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium for the Irish to 318-106-5 (.747).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top 25 to 418-133-15 (.752).
Improves the all-time Notre Dame Stadium record for the Irish when ranked in the top 25 to 210-
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top five to 179-44-7 (.793).
Improves the all-time Notre Dame Stadium record for the Irish when ranked in the top five to 82-20-
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top 25 against an unranked opponent to
Improves the all-time Notre Dame Stadium record for the Irish when ranked in the top 25 against an
unranked opponent to 156-27-0 (.852).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top five against an unranked opponent
to 121-17-2 (.871).
Improves the all-time Notre Dame Stadium record for the Irish when ranked in the top five against
an unranked opponent to 59-7 (.894).
Improves Notre Dame to 47-20-1 (.699) in the all-time series with Pittsburgh.
Improves the Irish to 21-10 (.677) at home in the all-time series with the Panthers.
Improves Kelly's record to 196-67-2 (.743) overall.
Improves Kelly's record at Notre Dame to 25-10 (.714).
Improves Kelly's record to 77-32 (.706) in FBS games.
Improves Kelly's record to 68-20 (.773) since 2006.
Improves Kelly's record to 119-34 (.778) since 2001.
Improves Kelly's record to 55-14 (.797) all-time in the month of November.
Improves Kelly's record to 7-1 (.875) in the month of November as Notre Dame head coach.
RIGHT DOWN TO THE WIRE
Notre Dame has become accustomed to thrilling finishes. The Irish have been involved in 26 games
decided by seven points or less since the start of the 2009 campaign. In fact, 15 of the last 21 losses for
the Irish have been decided by a touchdown or less, including seven by a field goal or less.
Notre Dame has played in 60 games in the 125-year history of the program where the winning
points have occurred in overtime or the game's final minute of regulation. Amazingly, 15 have come in
the past five years alone.
Notre Dame has played 16 games decided by a TD or less since the arrival of third-year head coach
Brian Kelly. The Irish went just 2-5 in the first seven such games under Kelly, but have since gone 8-1.
Notre Dame has already won five games this season by a touchdown or less. The school record for
victories by seven points or less in a single season is six, set in 1939 when that club had a 6-1 mark in
games decided by seven or less. The 1937 team was 5-1-1 and the 2002 club was 5-1-0 in games
decided by seven or less, while the 1929 (4-0), 1940 (4-1), 1974 (4-0), 1990 (4-3), 1997 (4-2), 1998
(4-1) and 2009 (4-6) teams all had four wins by seven or less over the course of the season.
Notre Dame is 5-0 (1.000) this season in games decided by a touchdown or less. In terms of winning
percentage in games decided by seven points or less, the `29 and `74 teams were both 4-0, while the
1926, 1928, 1954 and 1957 teams finished 3-0.
NEVER SAY DIE
Notre Dame overcame a 14-point fourth quarter deficit Saturday afternoon, the largest fourth quarter
deficit the Irish have overcome since the Sept. 24, 2006 when Notre Dame trailed Michigan State, 37-21,
and came back to win, 40-37. It is the largest fourth quarter deficit that the Irish have overcome in Notre
Dame Stadium since Oct. 16, 1999, when Notre Dame trailed USC, 24-10, and rallied for a 25-24 victory.
THAT'S A LOT OF PLAYS
Notre Dame tied the school record of 104 offensive plays. The Irish also ran 104 plays against Iowa on
Oct. 5, 1968.
INS-AND-OUTS OF OVERTIME
Notre Dame played in its second overtime game of 2012 and fifth over the past six years.
The Irish and Panthers have played one previous overtime game in the series. Pittsburgh outlasted
Notre Dame, 36-33, in four overtimes in 2009.
Notre Dame's last double overtime game came in 2009 against Connecticut (L, 33-30).
The last overtime contest for the Irish to advance past two overtimes -- the aforementioned `09
meeting with Pittsburgh. Notre Dame did play a triple overtime game against Navy in 2007 (L, 46-44).
It marked the third time in school history the Irish have played multiple overtime games in one
season (2000, 2009).
Notre Dame improved to 5-8 all-time in overtime games.
All five of Notre Dame's overtime wins have come at home (also Air Force in 2000, Washington State
in 2003, Washington in 2009 and Stanford in 2012).
All but two of Notre Dame's 13 overtime games have come at home (the Irish are 5-6 in home OT
games, 0-2 on the road). The home OT losses: Air Force in 1996, Nebraska in 2000, Michigan State in
2005, Navy in 2007, Pittsburgh in 2008 and Connecticut in 2009 (losses at USC in 1996 and Michigan
State in 2010).
BIG PLAYS HURT THE IRISH FOR FIRST TIME ALL SEASON
Entering today's game with Pittsburgh, the longest rush allowed by the Notre Dame defense was 31
yards and the longest reception allowed was 41 yards. The Panthers bested both with a 55-yard run by
Ray Graham and a 43-yard reception by J.P. Holtz.
Cameron Saddler of Pittsburgh added a 31-yard punt return in the third quarter, which also is the
longest allowed by Notre Dame in 2012. The previous long was just 13 yards.
Graham's 55-yard run on the Panthers' opening offensive play was the longest offensive play against
the Irish in 2012 and longest run by a Notre Dame foe since Sept. 18, 2010, when Edwin Baker of
Michigan State collected a 56-yarder.
Graham also had a 48-yard run in the third quarter.
Notre Dame's defense had allowed only one rush of 48 yards or longer over the previous 31 games
combined (Navy had a 54-yard run on Oct. 23, 2010), but Pittsburgh collected two this afternoon.
Lafayette Pitts of Pittsburgh added a 34-yard kick return, which was the fourth-longest allowed by
the Irish this season.
OFFENSE MISSES NUMEROUS OPPORTUNITIES IN THE RED ZONE
Notre Dame managed only a pair of field goals on its first two redzone opportunites against
Pittsburgh, including an 18-play drive that ate 9:26 off the game clock. The Irish had first and goal at the
Panthers' two-yard line and settled for a field goal.
Notre Dame did register a touchdown on its third red-zone chance today, but was victimized by a
critical interception in the end zone with 3:59 left in regulation.
After another touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the Irish managed just a field goal on its first two
opportunites in overtime, including a fumble at the Panthers' two-yard line in the second overtime.
Notre Dame has struggled with its red-zone offense for much of the season. After five touchdowns
in seven opportunities in the season opener against Navy, the Irish have totaled 16 touchdowns over their
last 39 trips.
NOTRE DAME IDES OF MARCH
Notre Dame registered its longest scoring drive in terms of both plays (18) and time of possession (9:26), but mananged just a field goal to grab a 6-3 lead in the second quarter. The 89-yard march was the second-longest scoring drive of the season for the Irish.
Notre Dame has not had a longer scoring drive in terms of plays since Oct. 21, 2006 when the Irish had a 20-play scoring drive against UCLA (also resulted in a field goal).
Notre Dame has not had a longer scoring drive in terms of time of possession since at least 1998.
IRISH ENGINE STALLS IN SECOND QUARTER
After racking up nine first downs and 145 total yards in the opening 15 minutes, the Irish managed only 63 in the second quarter. Notre Dame rushed for 30 yards and passed for 33. The Irish averaged 6.3 yards per play in the first quarter and just 3.1 in the second stanza.
ALWAYS BE CLOSING ... AND OPENING
Notre Dame has blanked six of its nine opponents in the first quarter this season. Miami, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh are the only foes to score against the Irish in the opening 15 minutes (all field goals). The Irish have not surrendered a touchdown in the first quarter since Nov. 26, 2011, against Stanford - a span that extends over 10 games.
Notre Dame has outscored its first nine opponents this season by a 47-10 margin in the first quarter.
Notre Dame collected nine first downs in the opening quarter. It was the third-most first downs in any quarter this season for the Irish. Notre Dame had 10 first downs in both the first and third quarters against Miami on Oct. 6.
Notre Dame collected 145 total yards in the opening period, the most total yards of any first quarter this season. The only quarter in which the Irish gained more total yards was the third period against the Hurricanes (230).
Notre Dame outgained the Panthers, 145-58, in the opening 15 minutes. The Irish also registered 11:32 of time of possession and ran 23 offensive plays compared to Pittsburgh's six.
The Irish had been nearly as successful coming out of the halftime locker room before this afternoon. Notre Dame had outscored Navy, Purdue, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, Miami, No. 17 Stanford, BYU and No. 8 Oklahoma by a combined 47-7 in the third quarter, but Pittsburgh outscored the Irish 10-0.
A Notre Dame opponent has not scored more points in a third quarter since Sept. 18, 2010 when Michigan State registered 14.
Notre Dame had allowed exactly 10 points over its last 14 third quarters combined entering today.
Notre Dame had blanked seven of its first eight opponents this season in the third quarter. In fact, the Irish had held 18 of their past 21 foes without an offensive score of any kind in the third quarter, dating back to the start of the 2011 season.
Notre Dame has dominated the fourth quarter and overtime of its games in 2012. The Irish have outgained Navy, Purdue, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, Miami, No. 17 Stanford, BYU, No. 8 Stanford and Pittsburgh in the final stanza, 992-551. Notre Dame has collected 56 first downs compared to its opponents 31.
NOTRE DAME OFF AND RUNNING
For only the seventh time in the last 60 years, and the 16th time in school history, Notre Dame has opened the season with nine straight victories. The last time that happened was 1993, when the Irish won their first 10 games before dropping a 41-39 decision to Boston College.
The 15 previous 9-0 starts led to nine undefeated seasons, eight national championships and six bowl berths (6-0 record).
Notre Dame's nine-game winning streak is tied for the 15th-longest in school history and longest since 2001-02. The Irish closed the `01 season with a victory before opening `02 with eight straight wins.
KELLY'S PROCESS REALLY COMES TO FRUITION IN YEAR THREE
Notre Dame third-year head coach Brian Kelly often speaks about the "process" of building a program. It definitely appears as though Kelly's "process" starts to take shape in year three. Here is a look back at his recent stops and where the program was after three years.
Year prior to Kelly's arrival
IRISH ON A PRETTY GOOD RUN
Since opening the 2011 season with an 0-2 record, Notre Dame has won 17 of its last 20 games--good for an .850 winning percentage. The Irish have the eighth-best overall FBS and sixth-best BCS winning percentage since Sept. 17, 2011.
KELLY'S WINNING WAYS
In his three years at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly is 132-23 when scoring first.
Kelly is 157-23-1 when outrushing his opponent.
Kelly is 38-14-2 in games decided by three points or less.
Kelly is 55-14 in the month of November, including a 21-2 mark since 2006.
Kelly is 127-6-1 when his team allows 19 points or less.
Kelly is 143-36-1 coming off a victory.
Since 2001, Brian Kelly has totaled the third-most wins among all active FBS coaches. Kelly is 119-34 over the last 11 seasons. He only trails Bob Stoops (125-31) and Mack Brown (121-30).
Since 2006, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has compiled the third-most wins of any active NCAA FBS coach. Kelly has gone on to win 60 contests (60-15 overall) over that span. The only coaches ahead of Kelly in that time frame are Chris Peterson of Boise State (68) and Gary Patterson of TCU (61).
Brian Kelly ranks as the third-most successful active NCAA FBS coach in winning percentage since 2007. Kelly's .820 winning percentage is bested only by Chris Peterson of Boise State (.902) and Nick Saban of Alabama (.823).
Brian Kelly ranks fifth and seventh among active NCAA FBS coach in both victories and winning percentage, respectively.
DEFENSE KNOWS HOW TO FINISH
Notre Dame's defense in the fourth quarter this season has been stellar. Irish opponents averaged just 4.3 yards of total offense per play in the final stanza - tied for the lowest average of any quarter (1st). u Notre Dame's foes had managed 29 first downs combined in the fourth quarter this season, which is second-lowest of any quarter this year (second quarter with 25).
The defense was even better today in the fourth quarter and overtime. Notre Dame limited Pittsburgh to two yards rushing on 14 carries, 19 yards passing and one first down in the final periods of the contest. The Panthers managed just 0.9 yards per play (21 total yards on 23 offensive plays).
KEY TO IRISH DEFENSIVE SUCCESS IS STOPPING THE RUN
Notre Dame's defense has allowed two rushing touchdowns in 2012 (and the first did not come until the eighth game of the year against No. 8 Oklahoma on Oct. 27). The Irish were the only team in the FBS that did not allow a rusing touchdown over their first seven games. Notre Dame still leads the FBS in fewest rushing touchdowns allowed.
Ray Graham hit the Irish with a 55-yard run on the Panthers' opening offensive play. It was the longest offensive play against the Irish in 2012 and longest run by a Notre Dame foe since Sept. 18, 2010 when Edwin Baker of Michigan State collected a 56-yarder.
Graham added a 16-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter to give the Panthers a 10-6 lead. It was the second rushing TD by an Irish opponent this season.
Notre Dame has given up 11 rushing touchdowns over its last 27 games (dating back to the Tulsa game in 2010). Even more amazing, only four of those rushing touchdowns have come from an opposing running back and two (Jonathan Lee's eight-yard TD run for Air Force with the Irish leading 59-27 with 33 seconds left in the fourth quarter on Oct. 8, 2011 and D.J. Adams' two-yard touchdown on Nov. 12, 2011 with the Irish leading Maryland, 45-14, with 37 seconds left) came against the Irish reserves.
USC's Mitch Mustain (2010) and Michigan's Denard Robinson each snuck in from one-yard out in 2011. Air Force's Tim Jefferson had a three-yard scoring run on Oct. 8, 2011 and Jarvi Cummings of Navy had a 12-yard touchdown run with the Irish leading 49-7 in the fourth quarter in 2011. Maryland's signal caller C.J. Brown had a 24-yard touchdown run on Nov. 12, 2011 and Boston College quarterback Josh Bordner had a two-yard touchdown run on Nov. 19, 2011. Even crazier, eight of the last 10 rushing touchdowns against the Irish have come from quarterbacks (including Ricky Dobbs' two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter of the game against Notre Dame on Oct. 23, 2010).
Over the last 31 games, only five running backs have recorded a rushing touchdown against Notre Dame (Gee Gee Greene, Navy, 2010; Jon Lee, Air Force, 2011; Josh Harris, Wake Forest, 2011; D.J. Adams, Maryland, 2011).
The only defense to allow fewer rushing touchdowns than the 10 by Notre Dame over the last 27 games-Alabama with seven.
DEFENSE PRETTY STINGY ON THE SCOREBOARD
Notre Dame's defense has allowed two offensive touchdowns or less in 21 of its last 26 games. The Irish have actually allowed one offensive touchdown or less in 12 of those outings.
Six of eight Notre Dame opponents scored more than 40 points in the game immediately preceding their date with the Irish. None of those six teams scored more than 26 points against Notre Dame's defense and the collective group of six combined total 81 points.
Points scored prior to meeting with ND
Points scored vs. ND
Notre Dame has limited five of its opponents (Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, Stanford and Oklahoma) to its lowest scoring output of the season.
Points/Game vs. ND
Points/Game vs. Everyone Else
IRISH TOUGH TO BEAT WHEN WINNING THE RUSHING BATTLE
Since the start of the 2005 season, Notre Dame has won 40 of its past 42 games when recording more rushing yards than its opponent.
The Irish 27-game winning streak when outrushing their opponent was snapped in the loss at Michigan on Sept. 10, 2011. Notre Dame had not previously lost a game when outrushing its foe since Dec. 28, 2004, when the Irish lost to Oregon State, 38-21, in the Insight Bowl. Notre Dame also collected more rushing yards than Florida State in last year's Champs Sports Bowl, yet ended up on the losing side of that game.
Third-year head coach Brian Kelly has his own fairly remarkable run when his teams outrush their opponent. He is 157-23-1 in his career and 19-2 at Notre Dame when winning the rushing battle.
DOUBLE CENTURY GROUND GAME
Notre Dame ran for 231 yards today. The Irish have won 13 consecutive games when rushing for at least 200 yards. The Irish have not lost a game with more than 200 yards on the ground since Nov. 3, 2007 against Navy.
Notre Dame is 25-1 since the start of the 2002 season when it gains 200 or more yards rushing.
Notre Dame has run for at least 200 yards five times in 2012, including four of the last five contests.
Over its last five games, Notre Dame has combined to rush for 1,242 yards (228 attempts) for 5.5 yards per carry and 10 rushing TDs.
The Irish have not posted more 200+ yard rushing games in a single season since 2001 when Notre Dame registered six games with at least 200 yards rushing.
Notre Dame has rushed for at least 200 yards eight times over the last two seasons--one more time than the combined total over the previous four years (2007-10).
JUST GOOD `OLE GOLSON FOOTBALL
Golson hooked up with junior WR TJ Jones on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 13:40 left in the foruth quarter to cut the Notre Dame deficit to 20-12.
Golson rushed for a career-best 74 yards today, including 59 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Golson finished second on the team in rushing behind Riddick (85 yards). Golson also had the game-winning rushing TD - a one-yard plunge on the final play of overtime.
Golson threw for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and overtime sessions. He also ran for 59 yards on nine carries, including a TD and two-point conversion. Golson accounted for 164 of Notre Dame's 223 total yards in the fourth quarter and overtime (73.5 percent).
Golson spotted senior RB Theo Riddick on a five-yard touchdown pass with 2:11 left in the foruth quarter to cut the Notre Dame deficit to 20-18.
Golson added a two-yard scramble on the ensuing two-point conversion to tie the score, 20-20.
In addition to the five-yard TD pass and two-yard two-point conversion run, Golson also added a 50-yard completion to sophomore WR DaVaris Daniels.
Lewis-Moore and sophomore DE Stephon Tuitt combined on a sack on another third down play in the foruth quarter. It gave him 3.5 for the season and 9.5 for his career.
Lewis-Moore picked up his first sack of the game on Pittsburgh's opening drive of the contest. The sack went for a loss of nine yards and forced the Panthers into a field goal.
TYLER'S EIFERT GARNERS PLENTY OF ALL-AMERICA ATTENTION
Eifert had a pair of catches on Notre Dame's opening drive of the game. He hauled in a pair of 11-yard passes and both picked up first downs, including one on a third down play.
The senior ended the game with six catches for 62 yards including a long of 11 yards on the opening drive.
BRINDZA OWNS QUITE THE LEG
Brindza connected on a 37-yard field goal with 8:28 left in the first quarter to give the Irish a 3-0 lead.
Brindza missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired in the opening half.
Brindza made a 37-yard field goal to send the game into a second overtime.
THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
Senior RB Theo Riddick hauled in his first touchdown catch of the season and seventh of his career at 2:11 left in regulation to cut the Irish deficit to 20-18.
Riddick led the team in rushing with 85 yards and was fifth in receiving with four catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. He ended the day with 120 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.
CONTROLLING THE CLOCK'
The Irish controlled the ball for much of the contest, churning up 35:23 off the game clock to just 24:37 for Pittsburgh. The first quarter was especially dominated by Notre Dame as they held a 11:32 to 3:28 advantage in the first frame.