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    #16/18 Irish Kick Off 2011 Season Saturday Against USF

    FIGHTING IRISH Senior quarterback Dayne Crist will lead the Fighting Irish into Saturday's season opener against USF at Notre Dame Stadium (3:40 p.m. ET, live on NBC).
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Senior quarterback Dayne Crist will lead the Fighting Irish into Saturday's season opener against USF at Notre Dame Stadium (3:40 p.m. ET, live on NBC).
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Aug. 29, 2011

    Notre Dame-USF - UND.com Gameweek Central Page
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    Game 1
    #16/18 Notre Dame (0-0) vs. USF (0-0)

    DATE: Saturday, September 3, 2011
    TIME: 3:40 p.m. ET
    SITE (CAPACITY): Notre Dame Stadium (80,795); Notre Dame, Ind.
    TELEVISION: NBC national telecast with Dan Hicks (play-by-play), Mike Mayock (analysis), Alex Flanagan (sideline), Tommy Roy (producer) and David Michaels (director).
    RADIO: IMG College Sports is the exclusive national rights-holder for Irish football radio broadcasts. IMG College manages, produces and syndicates the Irish national football radio network. Notre Dame games will be broadcast by Don Criqui (play-by-play), former Irish great Allen Pinkett (analysis) and Jeff Jeffers (sideline). This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 129). All Notre Dame home games may be heard in South Bend on Sunny 101.5 FM and NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM.

    TICKETS

  • Saturday is the 220th straight sellout at Notre Dame Stadium. Since 1966, every home game for the Irish has been a sellout except one - a 1973 Thanksgiving Day game vs. Air Force. Notre Dame has played in front of sellouts in 268 of its last 269 home games.
  • WEB SITES

  • Notre Dame (UND.com), USF (GoUSFBulls.com)
  • POLLS

  • Notre Dame enters the contest ranked No. 16 in the preseason Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the preseason USA Today Coaches' poll. USF is receiving votes in the coaches' poll.
  • REAL-TIME STATS

  • Live in-game statistics will be provided through CBS Sports.com College Sports GameTracker via UND.com.
  • SERIES INFO

  • Notre Dame and USF will meet on the gridiron for the first time in the 123-year history of Irish football. The Bulls are the 140th different opponent in Notre Dame football history. The Irish have faced 70 of the other 120 teams currently competing at the FBS level.
  • WHAT TO WATCH FOR SATURDAY

  • Notre Dame is 40-7-1 (.844) in season openers inside Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame will open a season at home for the fifth straight year after opening the 2004, '05 and '06 seasons all away from Notre Dame Stadium.
  • A VICTORY OVER USF...

  • Gives Notre Dame a victory in their season opener for the sixth time in seven years.
  • Makes the Irish 103-15-5 (.858) all-time in season openers and 98-19-5 (.824) in home openers.
  • Would be the 21st victory in the last 25 season openers and 13th win in the last 16 home openers.
  • Improves Notre Dame to 74-10-3 (.868) when opening a season at home.
  • Would be the ninth victory in the last 10 seasons when the Irish open the year at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Improves the Irish to 58-24-1 (.705) all-time against the BIG EAST.
  • Improves Notre Dame to 28-12 (.700) all-time against the BIG EAST at home.
  • Improves the all-time record for the Irish to 846-295-42 (.733).
  • Improves Notre Dame's all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 311-104-5 (.746).
  • Improves the Irish to 118-19-3 (.854) all-time when facing an opponent for the first time in school history.
  • Improves Notre Dame to 57-11-1 (.833) in games when the opponent was making its first visit to Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Improves the Irish to 46-8-1 (.845) since 1930 versus teams making their first overall visit to Notre Dame.
  • Improves Notre Dame to 104-13-5 (.873) in games versus all first-time visitors to Notre Dame (regardless of the site).
  • Improves Kelly's record to 180-62-2 (.742) overall, 61-27 (.693) in FBS games and 52-15 (.776) over the last five seasons.
  • Improves Kelly's record to 13-8 (.619) in season openers.
  • A DEFEAT TO USF...

  • Makes the Irish 102-16-5 (.850) all-time in season openers and 97-20-5 (.816) in home openers.
  • Drops Notre Dame to 73-11-3 (.856) when opening a season at home.
  • Drops the Irish to 57-25-1 (.693) all-time against the BIG EAST.
  • Drops Notre Dame to 27-13 (.675) all-time against the BIG EAST at home.
  • Drops the all-time record for the Irish to 845-296-42 (.732).
  • Drops Notre Dame's all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 310-105-5 (.744).
  • Drops the Irish to 117-20-3 (.846) all-time when facing an opponent for the first time in school history.
  • Drops Notre Dame to 56-12-1 (.819) in games when the opponent was making its first visit to Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Drops the Irish to 45-9-1 (.827) since 1930 versus teams making their first overall visit to Notre Dame.
  • Drops Notre Dame to 103-14-5 (.865) in games versus all first-time visitors to Notre Dame (regardless of the site).
  • Drops Kelly's record to 179-63-2 (.738) overall, 60-28 (.682) in FBS games and 51-16 (.761) over the last five seasons.
  • Drops Kelly's record to 12-9 (.571) in season openers.
  • ON THIS DATE

  • Notre Dame has played two previous games in its history on Sept. 3. The Irish are 2-0 all-time on this date. The Irish were ranked in the top 20 on one occasion.
  • IRISH NOTEBOOK

  • This game will mark the start of the 123rd football season at the University of Notre Dame dating back to 1887 ... The Irish did not field teams in 1890 or 1891.
  • Notre Dame enters the 2011 season with an all-time record of 845-295-42 (.733) winning percentage.
  • The Irish are 40-7-1 (.844) in season openers inside Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame will open a season at home for the fourth straight year after opening the 2004, '05 and '06 seasons all away from Notre Dame Stadium.
  • FIRST-TIME VISITORS

  • USF will become the 69th different team to visit Notre Dame Stadium (since its opening in 1930) when the Bulls face the Irish this week. Notre Dame owns a 56-11-1 mark (.831) in games when the opponent was making its first visit to the Stadium. Fourteen of those teams previously had played at Notre Dame (prior to 1930), with the Irish owning a mark of 45-8-1 (.843) since 1930 versus teams making their first overall visit to Notre Dame.
  • Notre Dame played a trio of first-time visitors to Notre Dame Stadium in 2010. The Irish routed Western Michigan, 44-20, on Oct. 16, lost to Tulsa, 28-27, on Oct. 30 and upended No. 15 Utah, 28-3, on Nov. 13.
  • The Irish had not hosted three first-time visitors to Notre Dame Stadium in the same season since 1972 when Notre Dame faced Miami (Fla.), TCU and Missouri.
  • Including this week's matchup with USF, each of Notre Dame's last four opponents at Notre Dame Stadium were first-time visitors to the "House that Rockne Built." The Irish have not played four consecutive games against first-time visitors to Notre Dame Stadium since 1931-32 - the second and third year of the stadium's history. The Irish hosted Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USC in '31 before opening with Haskell in '32.
  • The eight teams that have travelled to South Bend for the first time and come away with a victory at Notre Dame Stadium include (AP poll began in 1936): USC (1931), Texas (1934), Iowa (1940), Missouri (1972), No. 14 Clemson (1979), No. 20 Florida State (1981), Connecticut (2009) and Tulsa (2010). Purdue (1933), Michigan (1942) and Penn State (1982) also won their first games at Notre Dame Stadium but previously had played the Irish at Cartier Field.
  • Following the 1981 loss to Florida State, 12 consecutive opponents lost in their first trip to South Bend: Colorado (1984), Mississippi (1985), Boston College (1987), BYU (1992), Vanderbilt (1995), Rutgers (1996), West Virginia (1997), Arizona State (1999), Texas A&M (2000), Washington State (2003), San Diego State (2008) and Nevada (2009). Connecticut snapped that streak in the home finale in 2009.
  • Nine teams that were ranked at game time in the AP top-25 poll (which began in 1936) have lost in their first visit to Notre Dame, with the Irish being ranked lower in five of those games.
  • Notre Dame has played home games versus a total of 121 different teams, primarily at old Cartier Field (pre-1930) or Notre Dame Stadium, with an overall home record of 103-13-5 (.872) in games versus all first-time visitors to Notre Dame (regardless of the site).
  • NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

  • Notre Dame and USF will meet on the gridiron for the first time in the 123-year history of Irish football. The Bulls are the 140th different opponent in Notre Dame football history. The Irish own an all-time record of 117-19-3 (.853) when facing an opponent for the first time.
  • The Irish have already faced 70 of the other 120 teams currently competing at the FBS level (does not include USF).
  • Notre Dame posted a remarkable 38-game winning streak when facing an opponent for the first time in school history from 1921-76.
  • The Irish have played a number of first time foes over the last four years. Notre Dame hosted San Diego State in the 2008 season opener, Nevada in the 2009 season opener and Connecticut in the '09 home finale. The Irish also hosted Western Michigan, Tulsa and Utah in 2010.
  • HOLTZ RETURNS HOME

  • Skip Holtz, a former member of the Irish football team and assistant coach and son of former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz, returns to Notre Dame Stadium as he leads USF Bulls into Saturday's season opener for both teams.
  • Holtz' playing career at Notre Dame lasted one season, 1986, where he predominantly saw action with the special teams unit.
  • Following his graduation from the University with a bachelor's degree in business management, Holtz went on to land a graduate assistant position under legendary Florida State Seminoles head coach Bobby Bowden. In his two-year stint (1987-1988) in Tallahassee (Fla.), the Seminoles compiled a 22-2 record and final rankings of 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
  • Following a season at Colorado State as the wide receivers coach, Holtz got the chance to come back to Notre Dame and work as an assistant coach under his father for four seasons (1990-1993) - the first two as a wide receivers coach and the last two as offensive coordinator. During his time as offensive coordinator for the Irish, he captained one of the most prolific offensive units in all of college football. During his two seasons at the helm of the offense, the Irish compiled a 21-2-1 record with the help of scoring nearly 37 points per game and being ranked in the top 10 nationally in total offense.
  • Holtz will be the first Notre Dame alum to coach against the Irish in Notre Dame Stadium since 1998 when Gerry DiNardo ('75) brought LSU to South Bend. DiNardo is the last alum to beat the Irish. The Tigers upended Notre Dame, 27-0, in the 1997 Independence Bowl.
  • Prior to that, the last Notre Dame graduate to defeat the Irish was Eddie Anderson ('22). His 1939 and '40 teams at Iowa with Heisman winner Nile Kinnick beat Elmer Layden's Notre Dame teams 7-0 both times.
  • Knute Rockne had dozens of head coaches from his coaching tree. In addition to Layden, Harry Stuhldreher - also one of the Four Horsemen - coached Wisconsin from 1936-48. But his 1942 team tied Leahy's Irish 7-7, and lost the following year, 50-0.
  • Jack Chevigny, who scored the tying touchdown in the "One For The Gipper" game in 1928, was the junior head coach at Notre Dame from 1931-33, was at Texas from 1934-36. In the 1934 opener at Notre Dame, Chevigny's Longhorns won 7-6 to spoil Ladyen's debut.
  • Like Anderson at Iowa, Frank Thomas was a Rockne product and a Hall of Fame coach at Alabama.
  • SEASON OPENERS

  • The Irish are 102-15-5 (.857) in season openers and have taken 20 of the last 24.
  • Notre Dame is 97-19-5 (.822) in home openers and has won 10 of its last 13.
  • Michigan State (2001, 2005) and Georgia Tech (2007) have been the Irish opponents in those home opening losses.
  • There were no home games in 1929 due to construction of Notre Dame Stadium.
  • When Notre Dame's season and home openers are one and the same, the Irish are 40-7-1 (.844).
  • Notre Dame has captured eight of its last nine such openers (five-game winning streak was snapped against Georgia Tech in 2007).
  • Prior to the '07 defeat against Georgia Tech, the Irish last lost a season opener at home on Sept. 2, 1995 when Northwestern (who eventually captured the Big Ten title and appeared in the Rose Bowl) knocked off Notre Dame, 17-15.
  • MORE ON OPENERS

  • Notre Dame, which failed to score first in six consecutive season openers (2003-08), have now hit pay dirt first in each of its last two season openers. The Irish scored first in the 2009 opener against Nevada and did the same in last year's tilt against Purdue.
  • Notre Dame has captured its last 13 season openers when scoring first, a span that dates back to the 1986 defeat to Michigan.
  • Notre Dame dropped both the 1985 and 1986 openers against the Wolverines, both times opening with the game's initial score.
  • Since 1958 (when play-by-play became available), the Irish are 32-3 (.914) when scoring first and 13-5 (.722) when the opponent scores first.
  • OPENERS AN INDICATOR?

  • As stated previously, Notre Dame is 102-15-5 (.857) in season openers, but have they been foretelling of the season ahead? Take a look:
  • The 102 seasons Notre Dame has won its opener, the Irish went on to post winning records 93 times (91.2%), with four losing seasons and five .500 records.
  • The 15 seasons the Irish lost their opener, the Irish posted winning records six times and a losing mark eight times (with one .500 season).
  • The five seasons Notre Dame registered a tie in its opener, the Irish had four winning records and one losing record.
  • ONLY THE BIG BOYS

  • Notre Dame is one of just four NCAA FBS programs to have not faced a non-FBS opponent since the current setup was established in 1978. The three other remaining schools that have yet to play a non-FBS opponent are USC, UCLA and Washington.
  • The list will drop to three in 2011. The Huskies will open the year with defending FCS National Champion Eastern Washington.
  • RECRUITING CLASS OF 2011 FINISHES AT 24

  • Twenty-four high school seniors had their names added to the University of Notre Dame's football roster and will begin playing for the Irish in 2011.
  • The 24 student-athletes represented 14 states - four from Ohio, three each from California and Florida, and two each from Indiana, North Carolina and Texas, plus one each from Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
  • As listed by group, Notre Dame added nine power players, eight skill players, six big skill players and one specialist. As listed by position, Notre Dame added six defensive linemen, four defensive backs, four linebackers, four offensive linemen, two wide receivers, one quarterback, one running back, one tight end and one kicker/punter.
  • Sixteen were selected for postseason all-star games.
  • Six who were selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio: QB Everett Golson, OG Conor Hanratty (chose not to play), OT Matt Hegarty, DL Aaron Lynch, DL Stephon Tuitt and OLB Ishaq Williams.
  • Two who played in the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.: WR DaVaris Daniels and QB Everett Golson.
  • Four who played in the Offense-Defense Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C.: OT Brad Carrico, S Eilar Hardy, ILB Jarrett Grace and PK Kyle Brindza.
  • Five who played in the Team USA vs. The World All-Star Game in Austin, Texas: RB George Atkinson III, CB Josh Atkinson, OT Matt Hegarty, ILB Anthony Rabasa and DL Stephon Tuitt.
  • Two who played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in Spartanburg, S.C.: OLB Ben Councell and QB Everett Golson.
  • 12 members of the SuperPrep All-America Team: QB Everett Golson, TE Ben Koyack, RB George Atkinson III, WR DaVaris Daniels, OG Conor Hanratty, OT Matt Hegarty, DL Aaron Lynch, DL Stephon Tuitt, NG Tony Springmann, OLB Ishaq Williams, ILB Jarrett Grace and S Eilar Hardy.
  • Three members of the SuperPrep Elite 50: OLB Ishaq Williams (17th), TE Ben Koyack (27th), DL Aaron Lynch (36th).
  • Nine members of the MaxPreps Top 100: DL Aaron Lynch (22nd), DL Stephon Tuitt (42nd), TE Ben Koyack (54th), OT Matt Hegarty (56th), OLB Ishaq Williams (70th), OT Jordan Prestwood (72nd), WR DaVaris Daniels (75th), QB Everett Golson (79th) and RB George Atkinson III (83rd).
  • Eight members of the ESPNU 150: DL Aaron Lynch (15th), OT Matt Hegarty (36th), OLB Ishaq Williams (42nd), WR DaVaris Daniels (65th), TE Ben Koyack (78th), DL Stephon Tuitt (90th), ILB Anthony Rabasa (123rd) and OT Jordan Prestwood (130th).
  • 12 members of the 247Sports Top 247: DL Aaron Lynch (sixth), DL Stephon Tuitt (38th), OLB Ishaq Williams (45th), WR DaVaris Daniels (63rd), TE Ben Koyack (66th), OL Jordan Prestwood (70th), OT Matt Hegarty (83rd), OLB Ben Councell (97th), RB George Atkinson III (111th), S Eilar Hardy (170th), OLB Troy Niklas (222nd) and QB Everett Golson (227th).
  • 10 members of the Rivals.com 250: OLB Ishaq Williams (16th), DL Stephon Tuitt (22nd), DL Aaron Lynch (28th), OT Matt Hegarty (70th), TE Ben Koyack (82nd), OLB Ben Councell (91st), RB George Atkinson III (126th), WR DaVaris Daniels (178th), S Eilar Hardy (217th) and OLB Troy Niklas (221st).
  • 11 members of the Scout.com Top 300: DL Aaron Lynch (10th), OLB Ishaq Williams (20th), TE Ben Koyack (25th), DL Stephon Tuitt (44th), OLB Troy Niklas (75th), OT Jordan Prestwood (104th), OT Matt Hegarty (105th), WR DaVaris Daniels (161st), S Eilar Hardy (175th), OLB Jarrett Grace (235th) and QB Everett Golson (254th).
  • Four members of Sporting News Top 100: DL Stephon Tuitt (23rd), TE Ben Koyack (34th), OT Matt Hegarty (43rd), WR DaVaris Daniels (64th).
  • One Gatorade State Football Player of the Year: OLB Ishaq Williams (New York).
  • NOTRE DAME IN SEPTEMBER

  • Notre Dame is 126-54-4 (.696) all-time during the month of September.
  • The Irish are 78-22-2 (.775) in September home games.
  • Notre Dame has an all-time mark of 45-30-2 (.597) in road games during September.
  • The Irish are 67-22-1 (.750) in September games at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Notre Dame went 1-3 in September of 2010 and enter this week's contest with USF riding a three-game losing streak in the month.
  • HISTORIC NOTRE DAME STADIUM

  • The 2011 football season marks the 81st year of Irish football in fabled Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have played 419 games in the facility to date and own a 310-104-5 (.746) record in the "House that Rockne Built." The most wins in a season by the Irish at home is seven by the 1988 national championship team and the longest home winning streak in Notre Dame football history is 28 games (from 11/21/42 through 9/30/50).
  • KELLY'S WINNING WAYS

  • In his first year at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly helped the Irish secure a 6-1 record when leading after three quarters and a 8-1 mark entering halftime with a lead. That consistent success is nothing new to Kelly or his teams.
  • Kelly owns a 152-9 marking when taking a lead into the fourth quarter, an 88-3 record since 2001.
  • Kelly owns a 140-11 record when taking a lead into halftime, including an 85-3 mark since 2001.
  • Here are a couple other pretty remarkable win-loss records during Kelly's career:
  • Kelly is 12-1 coming off a bye week.
  • Kelly is 118-21 when scoring first.
  • Kelly is 144-21-1 when outrushing his opponent.
  • Kelly is 109-12 when his team wins the turnover battle.
  • Kelly is 33-13-2 in games decided by three points or less.
  • Kelly is 60-4-1 when his team gets a defensive or special teams touchdown.
  • Kelly's is 51-13 in the month of November, including a 17-2 mark since 2006.
  • Kelly is 116-6 when his team scores 30 or more points, including a 68-1 mark with 40 or more points.
  • Kelly is 113-5-1 when his team allows 19 points or less.
  • Since 2006, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has compiled the fourth-most wins of any active NCAA FBS coach. Kelly has gone on to win 51 contests (51-15 overall) to tie him with Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech over that span. The only coaches ahead of Kelly in that time frame are Chris Peterson of Boise State (61), Gary Patterson of TCU (55) and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma (54).
  • Since 2001, Kelly has totaled the third-most wins among all active FBS coaches. Kelly is 102-29 over the last 10 seasons and trails only Bob Stoops (109-26) and Mack Brown (106-23) for the best coaching record this decade.
  • Brian Kelly ranks as the fourth most successful active NCAA FBS coach in winning percentage and sixth in victories.
  • IRISH RETURN 51 MONOGRAM WINNERS, 17 STARTERS

  • Notre Dame opened fall practice with 51 returning monogram winners from 2010 - 21 on offense, 25 on defense and five on special teams.
  • ROSTER CHANGES

  • Four returning veterans changed jersey numbers for the 2011 season. Sophomore DB Bennett Jackson will don No. 2, junior WR Robby Toma sports No. 9, sophomore NG Louis Nix also wears No. 9 and sophomore QB Tommy Rees dons No. 11.
  • A quintet of Irish players underwent position changes during spring practice. Freshman Brad Carrico, who played defensive line in high school, moved to offensive line. Sophomore Austin Collinsworth moved from wide receiver to safety. Sophomore Justin Utupo moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker. Sophomore Bennett Jackson moved from wide receiver to defensive back. Sophomore Luke Massa moved from quarterback to wide receiver.
  • One other Notre Dame player entered the fall at a new position. Sophomore Bruce Heggie moved from defensive end to offensive guard/center.
  • WALK-ON PLAYERS JOIN THE IRISH SQUAD THIS SPRING

  • Nine walk-on players have been added to the 2011 roster. Junior S Blake Breslau (San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker), freshman S Connor Cavalaris (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest), freshman WR/RB Eric Lee (West Des Moines, Iowa/Dowling Catholic), sophomore WR Ryan Liebscher (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cheyenne Mountain HS), freshman LB Connor Little (Lake Elmo, Minn./Hill-Murray), sophomore TE Arturo Martinez (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit), sophomore RB Tyler Plantz (Frankfort, Ill./Providence Catholic), freshman ILB Joe Schmidt (Orange, Calif./Mater Dei) and senior WR Ryan Sharpley (Marshall, Mich./Marshall).
  • SIX FOOTBALL STUDENT-ATHLETES ENTER FIFTH YEAR

  • Six seniors on the University of Notre Dame football team were approved to return for a fifth year by the school's Faculty Board on Athletics.
  • OT Taylor Dever, CB Gary Gray, OL Andrew Nuss, TE Mike Ragone, PK David Ruffer and S Harrison Smith have all graduated. The sextet are currently enrolled in the graduate studies program at Notre Dame.
  • DEFENSE SO IMPROVED

  • Notre Dame drastically improved its defense in nearly every measurable defensive statistic in 2010.
  • Bob Diaco's defense was drastically better than the 2009 Notre Dame defense. The Irish allowed 5.69 fewer points per game, 40.5 fewer yards per game, averaged one half sack more per game and forced more turnovers in 2010 than 2009.
  • The 2010 defense was dramatically improved compared to the 2009 defense in almost every statistical category: scoring defense (from 63rd in '09 to 23rd in '10), pass efficiency (82nd to 25th), rushing defense (89th to 50th) and total defense (86th to 50th).
  • Notre Dame's NCAA defensive rankings in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and scoring defense improved by at least 22 spots in 2010 when compared to where the 2009 defense ranked. That marked just the first time since 1992 and only the second time in the last 30 years that an Irish defense jumped at least 20 spots in the NCAA rankings in each of those categories.
  • DEFENSE AWFULLY STINGY DOWN THE STRETCH

  • In the final three games of the regular season, Bob Diaco's defense limited teams averaging at least 31 points per game to 22 combined points - the fewest points allowed by a Notre Dame defense in three straight games since the 1993 season.
  • Only four touchdowns were scored against the Irish defense in the final five games of last season.
  • Notre Dame's defense allowed just two offensive touchdowns over its last four games of 2010 (Tulsa, Utah, Army and USC) of the regular season. The Irish then held Miami out of the end zone over the first three quarters.
  • Notre Dame's rush defense was dominant over its last four games of 2010 (victories over Utah, Army, USC and Miami). The Irish limited the Utes, Black Knights, Trojans and Hurricanes to an average of 91.8 yards on the ground.
  • Notre Dame held five opponents in 2010, Boston College (five yards), Western Michigan (37 yards), Utah (71 yards), USC (74) and Miami (87), to under 100 yards on the ground. The Irish had not held five opponents under 100 yards rushing in a game since the 2006 season when Notre Dame kept five opponents under the 100-yard rushing barrier, including three in back-to-back-to-back weeks.
  • Notre Dame limited Utah, Army, USC and Miami on the ground to significant worse numbers than those teams average against everyone else on the 2010 schedule.
  • Notre Dame limited Miami to a season-low 87 yards rushing. The Hurricanes' previous low total was 100 yards rushing in a 30-3 victory over Pittsburgh on Sept. 23. Miami has not been limited to fewer rushing yards in a game since Oct. 31, 2009 when Wake Forest held the Hurricanes to 26 yards on the ground.
  • IRISH HOT DOWN THE STRETCH

  • Prior to 2010, Notre Dame had not posted a four-game winning streak to end the season since 2005. The Irish captured their last five games of '05.
  • The Irish last posted an undefeated November in 2005. Notre Dame has only posted four undefeated Novembers over the last 15 years.
  • The Irish went 3-10 in November in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
  • Notre Dame entered its meeting with Miami, Fla. riding a three-game winning streak. The Irish registered their fourth consecutive victory, which was the longest winning streak since 2006 when Notre Dame captured eight straight games.
  • The Irish closed a season with four or more straight wins for the first time since 1992. Notre Dame closed the '92 season with seven consecutive victories.
  • WINNING FORMULA PRETTY SIMPLE FOR IRISH

  • In the eight Notre Dame wins, the average run/pass ratio was 34.9/30.3. In the five losses, the ratio was 27.0/47.6.
  • Notre Dame was 5-0 last season in games it rushed more times than it passed and 3-5 in games it passed more than it ran.
  • When Notre Dame opponents rushed more than they passed against the Irish, they were 5-1 but were 0-7 if they passed more than they rushed.
  • In the eight Notre Dame wins, no team averaged more than 3.5 yards per rush but in the five losses, only one Irish opponent averaged fewer than 4.7 yards per carry.
  • In 2010, Notre Dame averaged 126.6 rushing yards per game, however, the Irish averaged 140.1 rushing yards in games they won and only 104.0 yards rushing in games they lost.
  • Notre Dame outrushed seven of its 13 opponents in 2010, including all four opponents to close the season. The Irish went 7-0 in those contests (Purdue, Boston College, Western Michigan, Utah, Army, USC and Miami). Notre Dame owns a 27-game winning streak when outrushing its opponent. The Irish have not lost a game when outrushing their foe since Dec. 28, 2004 when Notre Dame lost to Oregon State, 38-21, in the Insight Bowl.
  • In those seven games, Notre Dame averaged 148.4 rushing yards on the ground. The Irish defense allowed a total of 84 points (12.0 per game) and only one team scored more than 17 (Western Michigan).
  • In the six games Notre Dame did not outrush its opponent, the Irish allowed 29.8 points per game and the only game the Irish were outrushed AND the opponent scored fewer than 28 points was Notre Dame's win against Pitt when the Panthers totaled 17 points.
  • Notre Dame rushed for a season-high 196 yards on a season-high 48 carries in the Hyundai Sun Bowl rout of Miami (Fla.). The 196 yards rushing was the most for the Irish since rumbling for 255 yards against Washington State on Oct. 31, 2009. The 48 carries were the most for Notre Dame since the same contest.
  • Since 1998, Notre Dame is 37-4 when it runs the ball for 200 yards, 55-11 when it runs the ball for 150 yards and 64-19 when it registers 38 or more carries in a game.
  • IRISH OFFENSIVE LINE KEEP THE QUARTERBACK UPRIGHT

  • Miami entered the Hyundai Sun Bowl matchup with Notre Dame ranked sixth in the FBS in sacks per game (3.08). The Irish did not allow a single sack in the game. The Hurricanes had registered at least one sack in 10 of their 12 regular season games.
  • The Irish offensive line allowed 20 sacks over their 13 games in 2010, which averages out to 1.54 sacks per game. Notre Dame has not allowed fewer sacks per game since 1998 when the Irish allowed only nine sacks in 11 games or 0.82 per game (NCAA did not recognize stats from bowl games).
  • BYE WEEK IMPROVEMENTS

  • In the first nine games of 2010, Notre Dame running backs rushed 254 times for 900 yards (average of 28 carries for 100 yards per game and 3.5 yard average). Following the bye week, Irish running backs rushed 127 times for 617 yards (average of 32 carries for 154 yards and 4.9 yard average).
  • Notre Dame's offensive line allowed 17 sacks through the first nine games but only three sacks in the last four games.
  • IRISH SHORT ON LAUNDRY

  • Notre Dame was called for one penalty in the victory at USC to close the 2010 regular season. It marked the fourth time in '10 that the Irish were whistled for two penalties or less. Notre Dame was called for one penalty in the loss vs. Navy (Oct. 23) and two penalties in victories over Boston College (Oct. 2) and Purdue (Sept. 4). Notre Dame has not gone a complete game without a penalty since Nov. 15, 1997 at LSU.
  • Notre Dame ranked tied for seventh in the FBS in penalties per game (4.46) and 15th in penalty yards per game (40.85).
  • SECURING THE ROCK

  • Notre Dame running backs only lost two fumbles in 359 combined rushes and receptions in 2010 (junior RB Cierre Wood fumble following a reception and Armando Allen fumble following a rushing attempt). In fact, both fumbles occurred at Boston College so the Irish running backs did not lose a fumble in 12 of 13 games last year. Over the past two seasons, Tim Hinton-coached running backs at Cincinnati and Notre Dame have only lost one fumble in 630 rushing attempts.
  • Harrison Smith LEADS ACTIVE IRISH SECONDARY

  • Senior S Harrison Smith collected three interceptions in the first half alone of the Hyundai Sun Bowl. The three interceptions not only equaled a school record, but is also equaled the Sun Bowl record. Smith became 14th Notre Dame player to accomplish the feat and first since Shane Walton against Maryland in 2002. Buddy McClinton of Auburn had three interceptions in the 1968 Sun Bowl.
  • Smith's three interceptions was an Irish bowl game record. It bested Elmer Layden's previous school record of two picks set against Stanford in the 1925 Rose Bowl.
  • Smith finished 2010 with seven interceptions, which ranked fourth nationally in total picks and interceptions per game. Smith also joined Jayron Hosley of Virginia Tech and Marco Nelson of Tulsa as the only three players in the FBS in 2010 to record three interceptions in one game.
  • The seven interceptions not only rank tied for the sixth-most in school history, but are the most for an Irish player since Shane Walton had seven in 2002.
  • In the last 20 years, only one group of Notre Dame defensive backs have totaled more interceptions in a season than the 15 picks the 2010 group recorded (2002 group had 16 interceptions).
  • The 11 touchdown passes against Notre Dame's defense in 2010 tied for eighth-fewest in the country.
  • The improved coverage and tackling by the Irish defensive backs under Chuck Martin and Kerry Cooks helped Notre Dame allow only 10.2 yards per completion in 2010, the fewest yards allowed by a Notre Dame defense since 1993. The 10.2 yards per completion average was seventh-best in the FBS in 2010.
  • TE'O PACKS A HAWAIIAN PUNCH

  • Junior LB Manti Te'o was named to the 2011 Lott Trophy Watch List, Ronnie Lott and the Pacific IMPACT Foundation recently announced.
  • Te'o paced the Irish last year with 133 tackles and his nine and a half tackles for loss ranked second on the team. He was named a second-team All-American by SI.com after the season and Te'o was also a semifinalist in 2010 for both the Bednarik Award (top collegiate defender) and Butkus Trophy (top collegiate linebacker).
  • Off the gridiron, Te'o has excelled in the classroom and in the community. He has earned a 3.487 cumulative grade-point average at Notre Dame and has volunteered dozens of hours at a local youth center. While he was in high school, the former Eagle Scout volunteered his time at Hawaii Special Olympics and with the Head Start preschool program.
  • Among FBS retuning players in 2011, Te'o ranks tied for eighth in total tackles (133), tied for eighth in assisted tackles (67), 12th in tackles per game (10.23) and 13th in solo stops (66).
  • JOHNSON, FLEMING ENJOYING THEIR SACK LUNCHES

  • Notre Dame senior LB Darius Fleming (6.0, 11.5) and senior DE Ethan Johnson (5.0, 12.5) combined for 11.0 sacks in 2010 and 24.0 for their career.
  • Fleming and Johnson are each gaining ground on both the season and career sack totals at Notre Dame. Sacks did not become an officially recognized statistics until 1982.
  • ROBERT "BIG PLAY" BLANTON

  • Junior DB Robert Blanton has played in 12 games in 2010 and has only started one contest, but it has not deterred him from making a number of big plays.
  • Blanton blocked a punt and returned it six yards for a touchdown against Utah on Nov. 13. He was the first Irish player to block a punt since Dec. 24, 2008, against Hawai'i in the Hawai'i Bowl. Blanton was also the first Notre Dame player to return a blocked punt for a touchdown since Toryan Smith (14 yards) on Nov. 15, 2008, against Navy.
  • The touchdown was the second of Blanton's career. He registered a 47-yard interception return for touchdown against Purdue on Sept. 27, 2008.
  • Blanton has registered 7.0 tackles for loss this season, which ranks third-best on the team. The 7.0 tackles for loss are the most by an Irish defensive back since A'Jani Sanders had 10.0 during the 1999 season.
  • FLOYD IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

  • Senior WR Michael Floyd is on track to break just about every Notre Dame receiving record. He already owns the school record for career touchdown receptions (28) and career receiving yards per game (84.6). Floyd also ranks second in career receptions (171), tied for second in career 100-yard receiving games (13) and third in career receiving yards (2,539).
  • Among FBS returning players in 2011, Floyd ranks tied for second in career receiving touchdowns (28), third in career receiving yards per game (84.6), fourth in career receiving yards (2,539) and fifth in career receptions per game (5.7).
  • Floyd recorded 79 catches for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010 despite missing one game due to injury. The 79 receptions were the second-most in single-season school history. His 12 touchdown receptions were tied for fourth-most in single-season school history. Floyd is the third wideout in Notre Dame history to have two separate seasons rank in the top 10 for receiving touchdowns in a single season (joined Golden Tate and Jeff Samardzija). His 1,025 receiving yards ranked seventh in single-season school history. Floyd was the sixth Notre Dame wideout to eclipse the 1,000 yard barrier in a single season. He is the only wide receiver in school history to have at least three seasons with four or more 100-yard receiving games.
  • Floyd has played in 30 career games, and in two of them (at Navy in 2008 and vs. Michigan State in 2009) he missed most of the action following an injury. Yet, Floyd has 13 career 100-yard receiving games over the other 28 games played.
  • Floyd was the first Notre Dame wideout to ever register four or more games with at least 10 catches.
  • Floyd recorded three touchdown receptions against Western Michigan on Oct. 16, 2010 - the second such feat in his career. He also had three touchdown catches against Nevada on Sept. 5, 2009. Floyd is the third Notre Dame wideout to have three or more touchdown receptions in multiple games (Maurice Stovall, 2005; Golden Tate, 2009).
  • Floyd hauled in an 80-yard touchdown reception on Notre Dame's first offensive play from scrimmage against Western Michigan in 2010. He was the first player in school history to register a touchdown catch of at least 80 yards more than once in his career. Floyd also had an 88-yard scoring catch on Sept. 5, 2009 against Nevada. He has actually recorded three touchdown catches of at least 70 yards. Floyd also registered a 70-yard touchdown reception in that game against the Wolf Pack.
  • Floyd enters 2011 with a reception in 16 straight games (excluding games he missed due to injury). Floyd has a reception in 29 of the 30 games he has suited up for the Irish. The only game he failed to make a reception came against Navy in 2008 when he was injured early in the first quarter while blocking down field.
  • Floyd still owns the school record for yards per reception in a single game. He recorded four catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the 35-0 rout of Nevada in the 2009 season opener. He averaged 47.3 yards per reception, which broke the previous school record of 41.6 yards per catch by Jim Morse against USC on Nov. 26, 1955.
  • Floyd's career-best reception went for 88 yards and a touchdown against Nevada in 2009. The 88-yard reception is the fourth-longest in Notre Dame football history. The 189 yards receiving in the rout of the WolfPack ranks 10th on the single-season list.
  • Floyd not only became the first Irish freshman to register a touchdown catch in a season opener (2008), but also became the first freshman to register Notre Dame's first points of a season by TD. Floyd had 48 receptions for 719 yards in 2009. He established new school records for receptions (48), receiving yards (719) and receiving touchdowns (seven) by an Irish freshman in 2008. He also set a freshman record with 10 receptions against Pittsburgh on Nov. 1, 2008.
  • Floyd was the fourth different rookie in the last 20 years whose first career catch was a TD. The others were Raghib "Rocket" Ismail and Derek Brown in 1988 and Derrick Mayes in 1992 - mighty impressive company for Floyd to join.
  • BY LAND, CIERRE

  • Junior RB Cierre Wood did not play as a freshman in 2009, but opened the 2010 campaign as the backup. He rushed for 58 yards on seven carries in the season-opener against Purdue, but managed just 19 yards on 10 carries over Notre Dame's next four games.
  • When Allen missed most of the Western Michigan game with injury, Wood stepped in and did not miss a beat. He ran for 94 yards on 11 rushes, including a 39-yard touchdown run.
  • The 39-yard run was the longest by an Irish running back since Robert Hughes rumbled 45 yards at Stanford on Nov. 24, 2007. It was also the longest touchdown run by a Notre Dame running back since Ryan Grant registered a 46-yard touchdown run at Stanford on Nov. 29, 2003.
  • Wood led the Irish in rushing with 603 yards on 119 carries, good for a 5.1 yard average per rush. He rushed for three touchdowns. Wood also collected 20 receptions for 170 yards and two receiving touchdowns. He added 15 kickoff returns for 300 yards and totaled 1,073 all-purpose yards (best on Irish).
  • Wood averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2010. Over the last 14 seasons, only one Notre Dame running back with at least 100 rushes in a single season posted a better yards per carry average than Wood (Julius Jones, 5.5 yards per carry in 2003).
  • Wood registered 15 plays last season of 20 yards or more, including eight rushes, one reception and six kickoff returns. He recorded 21 rushes of 10 yards or more, 27 of his 119 carries resulted in a touchdown or first down, six of 17 rushing attempts on third down plays resulted in a touchdown or first down and eight of 20 receptions resulted in a touchdown of first down.
  • Against Tulsa on Oct. 31, 2010, Wood became the first Irish running back with two or more touchdown receptions in a game since Tony Fisher had a pair in a 42-28 victory over West Virginia on Oct. 21, 2000. He caught a six-yard touchdown pass from freshman QB Tommy Rees with 8:47 remaining in the third quarter to give Notre Dame a 27-18 lead. The touchdown was his fourth of the season, fourth of his career and fourth in the last three games (Tulsa, Navy and Western Michigan). Wood caught a lateral from freshman WR TJ Jones and raced 23 yards for a touchdown 1:21 to go in the first quarter to give the Irish a 13-12 lead. It was Wood's first career touchdown reception.
  • Wood started each of the last four regular season games in 2010 (Tulsa, Utah, Army and USC). He rushed for 387 yards on 76 carries over the span.
  • Wood finished the Army game with 88 yards rushing on 14 carries, good for an average of 6.3 per rush. He registered 50 yards rushing on five carries during Notre Dame's opening drive of the game.
  • Wood led the Irish with 89 yards rushing on 15 carries in the victory at USC. He added a critical 26-yard run during Notre Dame's fourth-quarter go-ahead touchown drive.
  • CRIST ESTABLISHED HIMSELF DESPITE LIMITED ACTION

  • Senior QB Dayne Crist has made only nine career starts, all in 2010, and he entered last year following reconstructive knee surgery. Unfortunately, Crist was lost for the season after rupturing his patella tendon against Tulsa on Oct. 30. The injury occurred exactly one-day shy of the one-year anniversary of his torn ACL.
  • The signal caller completed 59.2% of his passes (174 of 294) for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns. Crist registered a passing efficiency of 129.3. He was ranked among the top 30 FBS quarterbacks in total passing yards (14th, 2,033), passing (22nd, 21.75 completions/game) and passing yards per game (27th, 254.13/game) prior to the injury.
  • Only one quarterback in the FBS (Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State) was ranked ahead of Crist in total passing yards that had started fewer career games prior to his season-ending injury against Tulsa. Weeden had thrown for 2,249 yards and started seven career games.
  • There were only four quarterbacks (Weeden, Corey Robinson of Troy, Alex Carder of Western Michigan and Dan Persa of Northwestern) in the FBS that were ranked ahead of Crist in passing yards per game that had started fewer contests prior to his season-ending injury against Tulsa.
  • There were only five quarterbacks (Carder, Weeden, Robinson, Persa and Matt Schilz of Bowling Green) in the FBS that were ranked ahead of Crist in passing that had started fewer games prior to his season-ending injury against Tulsa.
  • There were only nine quarterbacks in the FBS ranked ahead of Crist in passing efficiency that had started fewer games than the Notre Dame junior (Robinson, Persa, Weeden, Carder, Tino Sunseri of Pittsburgh, Darron Thomas of Oregon, Geno Smith of West Virginia, Taylor Martinez of Nebraska and Ryan Katz of Oregon State) prior to his season-ending injury against Tulsa.
  • Crist threw a touchdown pass in the first eight games of 2010 and his last nine games in an Irish uniform (which included the 2009 game against Washington State) before his season-ending injury against Tulsa (Crist played just one series). He registered at least two touchdown passes in four of those eight games. Crist twice threw three or more touchdown passes in 2010.
  • Crist recorded a career-best 12 consecutive completions against Pittsburgh. The 12 straight completions was tied for the third-longest streak in school history. It was the longest streak by a Notre Dame quarterback since Brady Quinn connected on 14 straight passes against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 2006.
  • Crist surpassed the 300-yard passing barrier in consecutive weeks against Michigan State and Stanford. He completed for 25 of 44 passes for 304 yards and one touchdown against the Cardinal.
  • Crist set career-highs in completions (32), attempts (55), passing yards (369) and touchdown passes (four) against Michigan State. No Irish quarterback has ever thrown for more touchdown passes in his first career start on the road. Crist's 32 completions, 55 attempts and four touchdown passes rank tied for fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in Notre Dame single-game history.
  • Crist eclipsed 300 yards passing for the first time in his career against the Spartans. He went 12 for 14 for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter alone.
  • Crist served as the quarterback for nine of Notre Dame's 17 possessions in the game against Michigan. The Irish offense totaled 363 of their 535 yards in those series. Notre Dame also scored all 24 points of the contest in those series and averaged 8.9 yards per play compared to zero points and 4.8 yards per play in other eight series without Crist.
  • Crist passed for 277 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in slightly more than one half of football against the Wolverines.

    CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK

  • Junior WR Theo Riddick still finished 2010 with 414 yards receiving, 40 catches and three touchdown receptions, each of which ranked second on the Irish, despite missing four games.
  • Riddick was somewhat slow in his progression at wideout over Notre Dame's first two games of 2010. He managed just four grabs for 52 yards vs. Purdue and Michigan, but the wide receiver found his form over a four-game stretch against Michigan State, Stanford, Boston College and Pittsburgh. Riddick totaled 33 receptions for 343 yards and three touchdowns (all team-highs over the four-game stretch). He managed just one catch against Western Michigan before he was sidelined by an injury.
  • Riddick entered the Michigan State game with four receptions for 52 yards, but finished the contest with a career-high 10 catches for 128 yards and one touchdown. He registered his first career 100-yard receiving game. Riddick posted two grabs for 42 yards on Notre Dame's opening scoring drive of the second half (an 18- and 24-yard grab). He hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Crist with 1:29 to go in the third quarter to tie the score, 21-21.
  • Riddick's 10 receptions against Michigan State are tied for the ninth-most in single-game school history. In fact, his output is tied for the third-most ever by an Irish sophomore wideout. Notre Dame junior WR Michael Floyd also hauled in 10 catches against Navy on Nov. 7, 2009. Jim Seymour, who was a first-year player, but a sophomore elgibility wise, has the two highest outputs. He had games with 13 and 11 catches in 1966.
  • REES PIECES TOGETHER WIN FOR IRISH

  • Sophomore QB Tommy Rees was the ninth freshman quarterback to start for the Irish in the last 60 seasons (1951-present), joining Ralph Guglielmi (1951), Blair Kiel (1980), Steve Beuerlein (1983), Kent Graham (1987), Paul Failla (1991), Matt LoVecchio (2000), Brady Quinn (2003) and Jimmy Clausen (2007) in that elite club.
  • Rees became the first Irish freshman quarterback to knock off a top 20 opponent since Blair Kiel helped Notre Dame get past No. 13 Miami, Fla., 32-14. Rees threw for the most touchdown passes (three) by a freshman in his first career start in school history. Rees also threw for the fourth-most yards ever by an Irish quarterback in his first start (second-most ever by a Notre Dame rookie quarterback in a victory).
  • Rees was the first Irish rookie quarterback to ever throw four touchdown passes in a single game. The four touchdown passes against Tulsa is tied with numerous others for the sixth-most in single-game school history. Rees completed 33 of 54 passes for 334 yards - the most ever by a quarterback that did not start the game. His 300-yard game was the 35th in school history and second-ever by a Notre Dame freshman. Brady Quinn is the only other freshman signal caller to throw for at least 300 yards in a single game (350, Oct. 25, 2003 at Boston College).
  • Rees became the first freshman quarterback in Notre Dame history to ever lead the Irish to a victory in a bowl game. He also was the first-ever, first-year starter (regardless of class) to lead Notre Dame to a bowl game victory.
  • Prior to Rees, freshmen or sophomore quarterbacks who are first-year starters at Notre Dame had a tough history in bowl games. From 1972 through 2004, they were 0-6 while averaging only 13 points per game.
  • They include 1972 sophomore Tom Clements (40-6 to Nebraska), 1980 freshman Blair Kiel (17-10 to Georgia), 1990 sophomore Rick Mirer (10-9 to Colorado), 1994 sophomore Ron Powlus (41-24 to Colorado), 2000 freshman Matt LoVecchio (41-9 to Oregon State) and 2004 sophomore Brady Quinn (38-21 to Oregon State). However, all but Quinn played a top-5 team.
  • Jimmy Clausen was a sophomore QB in 2008 when the Irish crushed Hawaii 49-21 in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, but it was Clausen's second season as a starter, not first.
  • Rees set a single-season freshman school record with 12 touchdown passes in 2010. He also established a single-season freshman record in completions percentage (.610).
  • TYLER'S EIFERT HAS NOT GONE UNNOTICED

  • Junior TE Tyler Eifert played in the 2009 season opener as a freshman, but missed the remainder of the year after suffering back injury. He entered the 2010 campaign behind junior All-American and John Mackey Award candidate Kyle Rudolph.
  • Eifert played somewhat sparingly in each of the first four games in 2010 (totaled one reception for 17 yards against Michigan) and then missed back-to-back games against Boston College and Pittsburgh.
  • Eifert was forced into the starting lineup following Rudolph's season-ending injury. He started seven consecutive games and made an immediate impact for the Irish.
  • Eifert's top game of his career came in the defeat of Army. He recorded four catches for a career-best 78 yards and one touchdown. He hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass from freshman QB Tommy Rees to give the Irish a 17-3 lead with 8:01 remaining before halftime. The touchdown reception was his second of the season and career. Eifert also had a 35-yard grab to setup senior RB Robert Hughes' one-yard touchdown plunge that gave the Irish a 10-3 advantage.
  • Eifert earned the John Mackey Tight End of the Week Award for his effort against Army.
  • Eifert registered six receptions of 20 yards or more and 14 of his 23 catches resulted in a touchdown or first down in 2010. In fact, five of seven receptions on third down plays resulted in a touchdown or first down.
  • David Ruffer HAS PERFECT 20/20 VISION

  • Senior PK David Ruffer converted the first 23 field goals of his career. The 23 straight field goals was the longest streak in school history.
  • Prior to his only career miss against Miami (Fla.) in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, Ruffer was the only kicker in the FBS in 2010 still perfect in field goal attempts. He also was the only kicker in the FBS still perfect for his career. Ruffer still leads all active kickers in field goal percentage.
  • Ruffer, who accumulated a 3.90 GPA in economics, was named to the 2010 First Team ESPN Academic All-America® Football Team. He became the 31st different Irish football player (37th overall selection) to be voted a first-team Academic All-American and the first since John Carlson in 2006. Ruffer gives the Irish football program 55 academic All-American honorees in program history, which ranks second best in the nation. Notre Dame ranks second all-time with 218 Academic All-Americans since the program's inception in 1952. What's more, 92 Irish student-athletes have earned the Academic All-America distinction during the past 11-plus years (2000-present), tops among any school in the country.
  • Ruffer's 23 straight field goals was the longest active streak in the FBS. The NCAA record for consecutive field goals converted is 30 by Chuck Nelson of Washington in 1981-82. He also holds the NCAA record for consecutive field goals made in a single season (25, 1982).
  • Ruffer's 18 field goals rank as the third-most in single-season school history.
  • Ruffer's 18 straight field goals in one season is an Irish school record.
  • Ruffer's 12 kicking points in the Hyundai Sun Bowl were a Notre Dame bowl record. His three field goals in the game also equaled another single-game Notre Dame bowl record (Scott Cengia had three in the 1997 Independence Bowl).
  • Ruffer's 50-yard field goal is tied for the sixth-longest in school history. Ruffer became the second Irish place kicker to ever register multiple field goals of 50 yards or longer in the same season. Harry Oliver had a pair of 50+ yard kicks in 1980. He also became the third kicker in school history to connect on multiple field goals of 50 yards or longer in his career.
  • NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL - A FAMILY AFFAIR

  • The Golic family is one of just several father-son combinations who have played for Notre Dame represented on the 2011 Irish roster. Mike Sr. earned four monograms at Notre Dame from 1981-84, while Mike Jr. is a senior C and Jake is a junior TE. In addition to their father, Mike and Jake's two uncles also played for the Irish. Bob was not only a four-year monogram winner from 1975-78, but he was a two-time All-American and helped the Irish to the 1977 National Title. Greg earned a pair of monograms in 1981 and 1983.
  • Other current Notre Dame players whose fathers also played for the Irish include sophomore WR TJ Jones (Andre, 1987-90), freshman OT Conor Hanratty (Terry, 1966-68) and senior OLB Jonathan Frantz (Mike, 1970-72).
  • The Irish feature a quartet of players who had elder siblings also suit up for Notre Dame. Junior WR Nick Fitzpatrick is the younger brother of former PK D.J. Fitzpatrick (2002-05). Senior RB Patrick Coughlin is the younger brother of former WR Brian Coughlin (2009). Senior WR Ryan Sharpley is the younger brother of former QB Evan Sharpley (2006-09). Senior S Dan McCarthy is the younger brother of former S Kyle McCarthy (2006-09).
  • In addition to the Golic brothers, the Irish 2011 roster has two other sets of brothers - Zack and Nick Martin as well as George III and Josh Atkinson. Zack is a junior OT and Nick is a freshman OT. George III is a freshman RB and Josh is a freshman CB.
  • NFL HAS LARGE INFLUENCE ON NOTRE DAME ROSTER

  • Several players also have family connections with the National Football League.
  • Senior C Mike Jr. and junior TE Jake Golic's father Mike Sr. played in the NFL forthe Houston Oilers (1986-87), Philadelphia Eagles (1987-92) and Miami Dolphins (1993). Their uncle, Bob, also played in the NFL for the New England Patriots (1979-81), Cleveland Browns (1982-88) and Los Angeles Raiders (1989-92).
  • Other players whose fathers played in the NFL include freshman WR DaVaris Daniels (Phillip, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins, 1996-2010), sophomore S Austin Collinsworth (Chris, Cincinnati Bengals, 1981-88), senior ILB Anthony McDonald (Mike, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, 1983-92, junior K Nick Tausch (Terry, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco, 1982-89) and freshman RB George Atkinson III and freshman CB Josh Atkinson (George Jr., Okaland Raiders, 1968-77).
  • Senior ILB David Posluszny's brother Paul has played in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills (2007-10) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2011-).
  • Junior P Ben Turk has two uncles that have played in the NFL. Matt is currently the punter for the Houston Texans (2007-10), but has also suited up for the St. Louis Rams (1996), Miami Dolphins (2000-01, 2003-05), New York Jets (2002) and Washington Redskins (1995-99). Dan played 15 years in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1985-86), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1987-88), Los Angeles Raiders (1989-94), Oakland Raiders (1995-96) and Washington Redskins (1997-99).
  • Freshman OLB Troy Niklas' uncle Bruce Matthews played 19 seasons for the Houston Oilers/Tennesse Titans (1983-01). A former 14-time Pro Bowl selection, Matthews was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
  • THE OFFICIAL NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL POSTGAME SHOW

  • The Official Notre Dame Football Postgame Show will again be broadcast live following every Notre Dame game on WSBT-AM NewsRadio 960 and Sunny 101.5 FM, and televised live on UND.com. The show is hosted by Jack Nolan and Irish All-Americans Reggie Brooks and Mirko Jurkovic. The televised version of the show on UND.com also features game highlights.
  • THE OFFICIAL NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL TAILGATE SHOW

  • The IMG College Notre Dame Football Radio Network will again originate the Notre Dame Football Tailgate show from outside Legends of Notre Dame south of the Football Stadium beginning one hour before the kickoff of each Notre Dame home game. The show features live guests and is hosted by Jack Nolan and Allen Pinkett.
  • THE OFFICIAL Brian Kelly RADIO SHOW

  • The Brian Kelly Radio Show begins Sept. 1 - and University of Notre Dame football fans can attend the show on the Notre Dame campus at Legends of Notre Dame, just south of Notre Dame Stadium. It will be telecast live on UND.com and broadcast live on WSBT-AM NewsRadio 960 in South Bend and WXNT-AM NewsTalk 1430 in Indianapolis. Sirius/XM College SportsNation will also broadcast the show twice each week on Friday night and again on Saturday morning. The show will air from 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET.
  • Dates for the shows are Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and 30; Oct. 6, 20 and 27; and Nov. 3, 10 and 17.
  • Hosted by Jack Nolan, the Brian Kelly Radio Show is a production of Notre Dame Sports Properties.
  • INSIDE NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL WITH Brian Kelly (TELEVISION SHOW)

  • Taped on Sunday afternoons, Inside Notre Dame Football will feature a recap of the week's contest, Notre Dame player features and more. The show can be seen locally Sunday evenings on WNDU-TV following the late local news. It will also re-air on WNDU-TV the following Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. as well as 90 minutes prior to kickoff of Notre Dame home games. All shows can also be viewed on www.und.com beginning on Monday of each week. Inside Notre Dame Football airs on a total of 25 affiliates nationwide reaching nearly 72 million households.
  • 2011 FOOTBALL PEP RALLIES

  • The traditional, season-opening Dillon Hall pep rally will be held on Friday, Sept. 2, in front of Dillon Hall on the South Quad of the University of Notre Dame campus.
  • The Sept. 17 rally prior to the home game against Michigan State will be held at Irish Green, south of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on the very south edge of campus.
  • The sites for the remaining home-game pep rallies will be determined at a later date.
  • Rallies are expected to be held from 6:00-7:30 p.m. All pep rallies are free of charge. Outdoor rallies are subject to cancellation due to inclement weather.
  • NOTRE DAME KICKOFF LUNCHEONS

  • Tickets are now on sale for the six Friday Notre Dame Football Live kickoff luncheons for the 2011 University of Notre Dame football season.
  • Those events are slated for noon (Eastern time) on Sept. 2 (South Florida) and 16 (Michigan State), Oct. 7 (Air Force), 21 (USC) and 28 (Navy), and Nov. 18 (Boston College) in the north dome (field house) of the Joyce Center.
  • Tickets are $23 each and can be ordered by writing to Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Checks can be made payable to University of Notre Dame. There is a $3 handling fee per order. There are 10 seats per table. You can also print an order form off the bottom of the front page of UND.com.
  • Irish head coach Brian Kelly, a combination of Irish players and assistant coaches, and other special guests will be in attendance.
  • Parking is available south of the Joyce Center. Entrances are Gate 1 or 2 of the Joyce Center. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern time).
  • FRIEND OR FOE

  • In addition to head coach Skip Holtz, another former Irish assistant coach will return to Notre Dame as a member of the USF coaching staff. Peter Vaas, the Bulls' quarterbacks coach, served in a similar capacity for the Irish over two separate stints in 1990-91 and 2005-06.
  • Notre Dame wide receivers coach Tony Alford and USF offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Todd Fitch worked together at Iowa State from 2004-06.
  • Bill Lewis , former Irish assistant coach and current manager of the athletics community relations department, was the head coach at East Carolina from 1989-91 and Georgia Tech from 1992-94. USF offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler served on Lewis' staff at both stops.
  • USF redshirt freshman DB Spencer Boyd originally enrolled early at Notre Dame in the spring of 2010, but transferred to USF.
  • Notre Dame's 2011 roster features nine players from the state of Florida, including junior LS Jordan Cowart, sophomore C Bruce Heggie, freshman DE Aaron Lynch, sophomore TE Arturo Martinez, junior S Zeke Motta, sophomore NG Louis Nix III, freshman LB Anthony Rabasa, junior P Ben Turk and sophomore CB Lo Wood.
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