Sept. 12, 2011
Notre Dame-Michigan State -- UND.com Gameweek Central Page
Full Notes Package in PDF Format(recommended for easy reading and enhanced statistical data
#15/15 Michigan State (2-0) vs. Notre Dame (0-2)
DATESaturday, September 17, 2011
TIME3:40 p.m. ET
SITE (CAPACITY)Notre Dame Stadium (80,795); Notre Dame, Ind.
TELEVISIONNBC national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Mike Mayock (analysis), Alex Flanagan (sideline), Rob Hyland (producer) and David Michaels (director).
RADIOIMG 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 both SIRIUS and XM Satellite Radio (channel 129).
All Notre Dame home games may be heard in South Bend on Sunny 101.5 FM and Newsradio 960 WSBT-AM.
TICKETSSaturday is the 221st 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 269 of its last 270 home games.
WEB SITESNotre Dame (UND.com), Michigan State (MSUSpartans.com)
POLLSNotre Dame is not ranked in either of this week's Associated Press or USA Today Coaches' poll, but Michigan State is ranked No. 15 in both polls.
REAL-TIME STATSLive in-game statistics will be provided through CBS College Sports GameTracker via UND.com.
SERIES INFOThis will be the 75th meeting between the rivals - Notre Dame's fourth-most played series in school history. The Irish hold a 45-28-1 lead in the series, but Michigan State took last year's meeting in overtime, 34-31, in East Lansing. Nine of the last 11 games in the rivalry have been decided by seven points or less (more on the series on pages 2-7 of the PDF version of this notes package).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR SATURDAYMichigan State enters this weekend ranked No. 15 - its highest ranking entering a matchup with Notre Dame since Sept. 29, 1979 when the Irish routed No. 7 Michigan State, 27-3, at Notre Dame Stadium. In fact, the Irish are 4-2-1 in the last seven meetings with a ranked Spartan squad.
MICHIGAN STATE HEAD COACH MARK DANTONIO
In just four seasons, Mark Dantonio has restored the pride and tradition of Spartan football.
A Zanesville, Ohio, native with Midwest ties, Dantonio has 31 years of experience and coached in his 15th bowl game as MSU faced Alabama in the 2011 Capital One Bowl. It marked Dantonio's second New Year's Day game as a head coach, as he guided MSU to a 2009 appearance in the Capital One Bowl against Georgia.
Dantonio, who led Michigan State to a school-record 11 wins in 2010 and a share of its first Big Ten Championship since 1990, was named the Dave McClain Big Ten Coach of the Year, as selected by the conference's media panel. A finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant, Eddie Robinson and Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year Awards, Dantonio helped manage the third-biggest turnaround among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams during the regular season, as the Spartans improved from 6-7 a year ago to 11-1 in 2010.
The 55-year-old Dantonio became the fifth coach in MSU history to earn Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, joining Denny Stolz (1974), Darryl Rogers (1978), George Perles (1987) and John L. Smith (2003). He was also named the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Region 3 Coach of the Year, and earned National Coach of the Year honors from CBSSports.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com.
Thanks to its 28-22 victory at Penn State in the regular-season finale, Michigan State recorded its first win in State College since 1965 - the year before Joe Paterno took over as Penn State's head coach - and finished in a three-way tie with Wisconsin and Ohio State for the 2010 Big Ten Championship. With successive wins over Minnesota, Purdue and Penn State to close out the regular season, the Spartans posted a perfect 3-0 record in November for the first time since 1999. MSU also dealt Wisconsin its only loss of the 2010 regular season, 34-24, in the Big Ten opener. The Spartans finished the season ranked No. 14 in both The Associated Press and USA TODAY/Coaches' Polls, giving MSU its highest finish in the final polls since 1999. It also marked MSU's second finish in the Top 25 in the past three years (No. 24 in 2008).
A total of 16 Spartans received All-Big Ten recognition on the first team, second team or honorable mention, including linebacker Greg Jones, punter Aaron Bates, running back Edwin Baker and placekicker Dan Conroy, who each earned All-Big Ten first-team honors from the media. One of the top linebackers in school history, Jones was named a first-team consensus All-American for the second straight season, becoming only the third Spartan to accomplish the feat. He also became just the seventh player in program history to receive first-team All-Big Ten honors three times.
Michigan State once again featured one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the Big Ten in 2010. MSU's offense ranked among the team single-season records for points (fourth with 383), passing yards (fifth with 3,073 yards) and total yards (seventh with 5,051 yards). The Spartans scored at least 30 points in nine games, including the first six in a row, both of which are school records.
The Spartans made significant strides defensively, fueling the team's remarkable turnaround. The biggest difference was takeaways - after forcing just 14 in 2009, MSU totaled 24 in 2010. The Spartans recorded 17 interceptions, its highest total since 2004, which ranked second in the Big Ten and tied for 23rd in the nation. Michigan State's +0.4 turnover margin was tied for 31st in the FBS.
With appearances in the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl, the 2009 Capital One Bowl, the 2010 Alamo Bowl and the 2011 Capital One Bowl, Dantonio is the first coach in Michigan State history to earn a postseason bowl bid in each of his first four seasons. He has 33 victories in his first four seasons at MSU, which are the most by any Spartan head coach in his first four years (Chester Brewer ranks second, with 30 wins from 1903-06). Overall, Dantonio's Spartan coaching record is 33-19, good for a winning percentage of 63 percent.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE SPARTANS LAST WEEK
EAST LANSING (AP) -- Jerel Worthy and the Michigan State Spartans had a long week to stew after a sluggish performance in their season opener.
Then they took the field against Florida Atlantic, ready to prove a point.
Worthy helped set the tone with an early sack, and No. 17 Michigan State held FAU to one first down in a 44-0 victory over the Owls on Saturday. Kirk Cousins threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans, who outgained FAU 434-48.
It was a much sharper performance by Michigan State, which was merely adequate when it opened the season with a 28-6 win over Youngstown State last Friday night.
B.J. Cunningham caught five passes for 73 yards, breaking a tie with Matt Trannon for Michigan State's career lead in receptions. The Spartans (2-0) led 27-0 at halftime.
Michigan State has held an opponent to one first down only one other time-- against Maryland in 1944.
NOTRE DAME - MICHIGAN STATE SERIES NOTESNotre Dame and Michigan State first met in 1897, with the Irish earning a 34-6 victory.
The two schools played nine times through 1910, with Notre Dame winning the first eight encounters by a combined score of 222-6. Following a six-year layoff, Notre Dame won five of the next six games with the Spartans from 1916-21.
Notre Dame leads the series with Michigan State by a 45-28-1 count, including a 27-13 record in South Bend and 16-13 in Notre Dame Stadium.
Michigan State has won 10 of the last 14 games in the series, including six straight in Notre Dame Stadium at one point (1997-2007). Notre Dame, though, has captured 15 of the last 20 in Spartan Stadium.
The Michigan State rivalry is the fourth-most frequent in Notre Dame history. Only Navy (84), Purdue (82) and USC (82) have faced the Irish more times than the Spartans.
Notre Dame's 45 victories in the series against the Spartans is the third-highest total against an opponent in school history behind Navy (71) and Purdue (54).
Since 1949, the winner of the Michigan State-Notre Dame game has been presented the Megaphone Trophy, sponsored jointly by the Detroit alumni clubs of both schools. The megaphone is printed half blue, with a gold ND monogram, and half white, with a green MSC. All previous game scores are listed on the trophy. Michigan State and Notre Dame played 36 consecutive seasons from 1959-94 until the two-year interruption of the series in 1995-96. The current series contract runs through the 2011 season.
Over the last 11 meetings (dating back to 2000), the Notre Dame-Michigan State game has been decided by a touchdown or less on nine different occasions, with the game-winning score coming late in the fourth quarter or overtime in eight of the 11 meetings. Here's a breakdown of the nail-biting heroics:
2000: Herb Haygood 68-yard TD pass from Jeff Smoker with 1:48 left in the 4th quarter (MSU 27-21).
2001: Charles Rogers 47-yard TD pass from Ryan Van Dyke with 7:51 left in the 4th quarter (MSU 17-10).
2002: Arnaz Battle 60-yard TD pass from Pat Dillingham with 1:15 left in the 4th quarter (ND 21-17).
2003: Greg Taplin 40-yard INT return with 6:55 left in the 4th quarter (MSU 22-16).
2004: Notre Dame builds a 28-7 third quarter lead before MSU rallies with 17 points in 31-24 ND win.
2005: Jason Teague's 19-yd TD run in the first overtime gave the Spartans a 44-41 victory in Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish had rallied from a 21-point deficit to force overtime.
2006: Notre Dame CB Terrail Lambert intercepts Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton and returns it 27 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:53 remaining as the Irish rallied from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 40-37 victory. Lambert added another interception on the Spartans final drive to ultimately secure the triumph.
2009: Notre Dame SS Kyle McCarthy's interception at the 4-yard line with 57 seconds sealed Notre Dame's 33-30 win after Jimmy Clausen threw for 300 yards, including the game-winning score on a 33-yard touchdown to Golden Tate with 5:18 left.
2010: Michigan State P Aaron Bates threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to TE Charlie Gantt on a fake field goal in overtime, giving the Spartans a 34-31 victory over the Irish. With Dan Conroy lining up for a 46-yard attempt to tie the game in the first overtime, Bates took the snap, stood up and had time to wait for Gantt to come open downfield. Gantt caught the pass for an easy touchdown.
SPARTANS OWN MOST OF THE BIG UPSETSSince the series resumed in 1948, the higher-ranked team (in the AP poll) has gone 43-10. In games when the higher-ranked team was in the AP top 10, the lower-ranked team is just 6-25-1.
Notre Dame has been ranked higher than Michigan State 33 times, with the Spartans pulling off the upset 10 times. Those upsets include eight games when the Spartans were unranked: 21-17 at home in 1968 over the No. 5 Irish, 10-3 at Notre Dame in 1975 (the Irish were No. 8), 28-23 at Notre Dame in 1983 (the Irish were No. 4), 20-15 at home over the No. 20 Irish in 1986, 45-23 at home in 1998 over the No. 10 Irish, 23-13 at Notre Dame in 1999 (the Irish were No. 24), 17-10 at Notre Dame in 2001 (the Irish were No. 23), 27-21 at Michigan State in 2000 and 44-41 in OT at Notre Dame in 2005 (the Irish were No. 10).
Michigan State's other two upsets came when the No. 13 Spartans won at home over the No. 4 Irish in 1955 (21-7) and the No. 23 Spartans won at home over the No. 16 Irish in 2000 (27-21).
Michigan State enters this weekend's tilt ranked No. 15 - its highest ranking entering a matchup with Notre Dame since Sept. 29, 1979 when the Spartans were No. 7. The Irish proceeded to rout Michigan State, 27-3, at Notre Dame Stadium. In fact, Notre Dame is 4-2-1 in the last seven meetings with a ranked Spartan squad.
IRISH AND SPARTANS FOLLOWING THE WOLVERINESThe game will mark the 22nd time in Notre Dame history the Irish have faced Michigan State the week following the Michigan game.
Notre Dame is 8-3 against the Spartans following a victory over the Wolverines, 5-4 following a defeat and 1-0 following a tie.
The Irish have knocked off Michigan and Michigan State in consecutive weeks eight different times (1980, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 2002 and 2004).
Notre Dame has dropped both rivalry games three times (1986, 2003 and 2007).
Overall, the Irish are 14-7 against the Spartans the week after playing Michigan.
IRISH RECORD SETTERS IN THE MICHIGAN STATE SERIES1987 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown returned two punts for touchdowns against MSU on Sept. 19, 1987.
Phil Carter set a school record for rushes in a single-game (40) against the Spartans on Oct. 4, 1980. He also rushed for 254 yards that game, third most ever by an Irish running back.
John Petitbon had a remarkable game against Michigan State on Oct. 28, 1950. Petitbon rushed for 170 yards on just 10 carries. The 17.0 yards per rush average is the second-highest in school history.
Brady Quinn attempted 60 passes and threw for 467 yards and five touchdowns in the 2005 game against Michigan State. The 60 pass attempts, 467 yards and five touchdowns are the second-most in school history. In the same game, Quinn equaled the then school record for completions in a single game with 33 (which now ranks third behind Jimmy Clausen's 37 against Navy in 2009 and Tommy Rees' 34 against Tulsa in 2010).
Ron Powlus completed a school record-tying 14 straight passes against Michigan State on Sept. 20, 1997.
Jeff Samardzjia (Sept. 17, 2005) and Jim Mutscheller (Oct. 28, 1950) each registered three touchdown receptions in a single-game against Michigan State. The three touchdown catches are tied for the second most in single-game school history.
In the 2006 meeting, Notre Dame overcame a 16-point fourth quarter deficit. It marked the largest fourth quarter deficit overcome by the Irish since the Nov. 29, 1986 meeting at USC when Notre Dame trailed the Trojans, 37-20, with just under 12 minutes to go in the game and came back to win, 38-37. Steve Beuerlein tossed a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns and John Carney booted a 19-yard field goal as time expired to secure the victory.
Senior QB Dayne Crist completed 32 passes on 55 attempts in last year's meeting with the Spartans. The 32 completions rank tied for fifth and the 55 attempts rank fifth in single-game Irish history.
NOTRE DAME VS. BIG TENNotre Dame has faced no other conference as often as the Big Ten. The Irish have played 368 all-time games against the 12 current members of the league (all 16 meetings with Nebraska came prior to its addition to the league in 2011). Notre Dame is 228-124-16 in those meetings. The Irish have played almost three times as many games against the Big Ten as any other conference. The Pac-10 (134) and ACC (111) are the only other conferences against which Notre Dame has played at least 100 games.
Notre Dame has faced Michigan State 74 times (45-28-1), second most of any Big Ten program. Purdue leads the Big Ten with 82 all-time games against Notre Dame (54-26-2) followed by the Spartans, Northwestern (37-8-2) and Michigan (15-23-1).
Notre Dame will face three members of the Big Ten in 2011 (Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State). The Irish face the Wolverines, Spartans and Boilermakers for the 10th straight season. Notre Dame has played a member of the Big Ten every season since 1915.
Notre Dame is 117-47-5 (.707) all-time against Big Ten opponents at home and 90-39-3 (.693) inside Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame has posted a 97-64-9 (.597) record against Big Ten opponents on the road and a 107-70-1 (.604) record against the league away from Notre Dame Stadium.
NOTRE DAME - MICHIGAN STATE CONNECTIONSNotre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio each previously served as head coach at Cincinnati. Dantonio (2004-06) and Kelly (2007-09) both spent three years with the Bearcats.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly spent 20 seasons on the sidelines in stints at two schools from the state of Michigan. Kelly started as a graduate assistant in 1987 at Grand Valley State and four years later was named head coach. He was the Lakers' head coach for 13 seasons and amassed a 118-35-2 overall record. Kelly then moved over to Central Michigan (2004-06) for three seasons and compiled a 19-16 mark.
Numerous Irish assistant coaches spent times on the staffs of schools from the State of Michigan. Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Bob Diaco was an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan (2001-03), Western Michigan (2004) and Central Michigan (2005). Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Charley Molnar was an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan (2002), Western Michigan (2003-04) and Central Michigan (2006). Tight ends coach Mike Denbrock was on the staffs at Grand Valley State (1986-87, 1992-98) and Michigan State (1988-89). Defensive line and special teams coordinator Mike Elston not only played at Michigan, but also served in a variety of roles on staff (1997-2000) with the Wolverines, Eastern Michigan (2001-03) and Central Michigan (2004-06). Safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin was an assistant at Eastern Michigan (1998-99) and Grand Valley State (2000-03) before succeeding Brian Kelly as head coach (2004-09).
Notre Dame assistant director of strength and conditioning Lorenzo Guess earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State in 2002, was a four-year letterman in football and also earned two letters with the Spartans' basketball team. He was part of two Big Ten titles and an NCAA Final Four appearance (1999) with the basketball team. As a defensive back, Guess helped Michigan State defeat Florida in the 2000 Citrus Bowl and Fresno State in the 2001 Silicon Valley Bowl. He was an academic all-Big Ten selection in 1998. Guess was a major component of the 1999 defense that ranked number one in the Big Ten and seventh nationally under head coach Nick Saban. During the 2000 and 2001 seasons, his defensive units led the Big Ten in pass defense and were among the nation's top 10 in those categories.
Michigan State's veteran play-by-play radio announcer George Blaha graduated from Notre Dame in 1966 with a degree in economics. Blaha is in his 36th season as the Spartans' radio voice.
Michigan State associate athletics director for media relations John Lewandowski is a 1984 graduate of Notre Dame, earning a degree in business administration.
Notre Dame director of recreational services and fitness Sally Derengoski is a native of East Lansing, Mich.
The 2011 Notre Dame roster features three players from the state of Michigan: freshman PK Kyle Brindza (Canton/Plymouth H.S.), senior RB Jonas Gray (Pontiac/Detroit Country Day H.S.) and senior CB Andrew Plaska (Zeeland/Zeeland West).
The 2011 Michigan State roster features two players from the state of Indiana: sophomore S Isaiah Lewis (Indianapolis/Ben Davis H.S.) and junior LB TyQuan Hammock (Fort Wayne/Bishop Luers H.S.).
NOTRE DAME AND THE GREAT LAKES STATENotre Dame owns an 84-52-4 all-time record against schools from the Great Lakes State, last playing a Michigan school (at Michigan) in 2011 (a 35-31 defeat). Other Irish series records vs. teams from Michigan include a 1-0 mark vs. Adrian, 3-1-1 vs. Albion, 4-0 vs. Alma, 2-0 vs. Detroit, 4-0-1 vs. Hillsdale, 7-0 vs. Kalamazoo, 15-23-1 vs. Michigan, 45-28-1 vs. Michigan State and 3-0 vs. Western Michigan.
Notre Dame's all-time varsity football roster includes over 2,700 players who have appeared in at least one career game, with 137 of those hailing from the state of Michigan.
Five of Notre Dame's more noteworthy all-time players from Michigan include All-American and legendary halfback George Gipp (Laurium, 1917-20) plus four other consensus All-Americans: offensive guard Heartley (Hunk) Anderson (Hancock, 1918-21), cornerback Clarence Ellis (Grand Rapids, 1969-71), cornerback Todd Lyght (Flint, 1987-90) and defensive tackle Greg Marx (Redford, 1970-72).
Other All-Americans from the state of Michigan include defensive end Earl Brown (Benton Harbor, 1936-38), defensive tackle Mike Kadish (Grand Rapids, 1969-71) and split end Jim Seymour (Berkley, 1966-68).
A VICTORY OVER MICHIGAN STATE ...Snaps Notre Dame's five-game losing streak in the month of September.
Prevents the Irish from an 0-3 start for the first time since 2007 and third time in school history.
Improves Notre Dame to 5-2 all-time when standing 0-2 on the season.
Gives the Irish consecutive victories over Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium for the first time since 1991, '93.
Improves the Irish to 46-28-1 (.620) in the all-time series with Michigan State.
Improves Notre Dame to 19-15-1 (.557) in the all-time series with the Spartans in South Bend, including 16-13-0 (.552) at Notre Dame Stadium.
Improves the all-time record for the Irish to 846-297-42 (.732).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record at home to 458-117-13 (.790), including 311-105-5 (.745) at Notre Dame Stadium.
Improves the Irish to 229-124-16 (.642) all-time against the Big Ten.
Improves Notre Dame to 118-47-5 (.709) all-time against the Big Ten in South Bend, including a 91-39-3 (.695) mark at Notre Dame Stadium.
Improves Notre Dame to 12-8 (.600) over its last 20 meetings with Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have won the last two meetings, while the Spartans captured the previous six. Notre Dame won 12 of the 14 meetings with Michigan State between 1967-93, including eight of nine and five straight during one stretch.
Improves an unranked Irish squad (post 1932) to 9-11 (.450) all-time against Michigan State.
Improves an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 6-7 (.462) all-time against Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium.
Improves an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 2-5 (.400) all-time against a top-25 Michigan State squad.
Improves an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 2-4 (.333) all-time against Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame Stadium.
Improves Notre Dame to 6-4 (.600) all-time against Michigan State the week following a loss to Michigan.
Improves the Irish to 15-7 (.682) all-time against the Spartans the week after playing the Wolverines.
Improves the Irish to 85-52-4 (.617) all-time against schools from the state of Michigan.
Improves Kelly's record to 180-64-2 (.736) overall.
Improves Kelly's record to 62-29 (.681) in FBS games.
Improves Kelly's record to 52-17 (.754) over the last six seasons.
Improves Kelly's record to 1-2 (.333) all-time against Michigan State.
Improves Kelly's record to 3-8 (.273) all-time against the Big Ten.
A DEFEAT TO MICHIGAN STATE ...Extends the Notre Dame losing streak in the month of September to six games.
Gives the Irish an 0-3 record for the first time since 2007 and third time in school history.
Drops Notre Dame to 4-3 all-time when standing 0-2 on the season.
Drops the Irish to 45-29-1 (.607) in the all-time series with Michigan State.
Drops Notre Dame to 18-16-1 (.529) in the all-time series with the Spartans in South Bend, including 15-14-0 (.517) at Notre Dame Stadium.
Drops the all-time record for the Irish to 845-298-42 (.731).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record at home to 457-118-13 (.788), including 310-106-5 (.742) at Notre Dame Stadium.
Drops the Irish to 228-125-16 (.640) all-time against the Big Ten.
Drops Notre Dame to 117-48-5 (.703) all-time against the Big Ten in South Bend, including a 90-40-3 (.688) mark at Notre Dame Stadium.
Drops Notre Dame to 11-9 (.550) over its last 20 meetings with Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium. The Spartans have captured seven of the last eight meetings in South Bend. The Irish won 12 of the 14 meetings with Michigan State between 1967-93, including eight of nine and five straight during one stretch.
Drops an unranked Irish squad (post 1932) to 8-12 (.400) all-time against Michigan State.
Drops an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 5-8 (.385) all-time against Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium.
Drops an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 1-6 (.143) all-time against a top-25 Michigan State squad.
Drops an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 1-5 (.167) all-time against Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame Stadium.
Drops Notre Dame to 5-5 (.500) all-time against Michigan State the week following a loss to Michigan.
Drops the Irish to 14-8 (.636) all-time against the Spartans the week after playing the Wolverines.
Drops the Irish to 84-53-4 (.610) all-time against schools from the state of Michigan.
Drops Kelly's record to 179-65-2 (.732) overall.
Drops Kelly's record to 61-30 (.670) in FBS games.
Drops Kelly's record to 51-18 (.739) over the last six seasons.
Drops Kelly's record to 0-3 (.000) all-time against Michigan State.
Drops Kelly's record to 2-9 (.182) all-time against the Big Ten.
OPENERS AN INDICATOR?Notre Dame is 102-16-5 (.850) 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.
NOTRE DAME IN SEPTEMBERNotre Dame is 126-56-4 (.688) all-time during the month of September.
The Irish are 78-23-2 (.767) in September home games.
Notre Dame has an all-time mark of 45-31-2 (.590) in road games during September.
The Irish are 67-23-1 (.742) in September games at Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame has now lost five consecutive games in the month of September for the second time in school history. The Irish dropped all five games in September, 2007.
ON THIS DATE
Notre Dame has played five previous games in its history on Sept. 17. The Irish are 2-3 all-time on this date. The Irish were ranked in the top 10 on all five previous occasions - four of which came against this week's opponent Michigan State.
HISTORIC NOTRE DAME STADIUMThe 2011 football season marks the 81st year of Irish football in fabled Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have played 420 games in the facility to date and own a 310-105-5 (.744) 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).
IRISH RETURN 51 MONOGRAM WINNERS, 17 STARTERSNotre Dame opened fall practice with 51 returning monogram winners from 2010 - 21 on offense, 25 on defense and five on special teams.
Notre Dame had 12 players named to a major preseason award watch list. Only Alabama's 13 players on various watch lists bests the Fighting Irish dozen.
FIRST-YEAR SUCCESSBrian Kelly was one of 22 head coaches at the FBS level that took over new programs in 2010. Out of the that group, Kelly was one of just five coaches that produced at least eight wins and one of just four that led their teams to a bowl victory. Jimbo Fisher at Florida State led the group with 10 wins, while three other coaches, Skip Holtz at USF, Lane Kiffin at USC and Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech, each secured eight victories. Out of the five coaches who won at least eight games, only Kelly, Fisher and Holtz exceeded their team's win total from the previous season. Kelly, Holtz, Tuberville and Louisville's Charlie Strong were the coaches that won bowl games.
Notre Dame has had 15 different head coaches, including Brian Kelly, walk the sidelines in the all-time series with rival USC. Kelly became the first Irish head coach to knock off the Trojans in his first meeting since Lou Holtz.
The other six coaches to knock off USC in their first matchup: Hugh Devore (1963), Joe Kuharich (1959), Terry Brennan (1954), Frank Leahy (1941), Elmer Layden (1934) and Knute Rockne (1926).
Kelly became the first Irish coach in school history to capture a bowl game in his inaugural season with Notre Dame.
KELLY'S WINNING WAYSIn 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. Kelly and the Irish were unable to continue that success last weekend at Michigan. The Wolverines rallied from a 17-point deficit heading into the final period for a 35-31 victory.
Prior to Saturday night, Kelly owned a 152-9 marking when taking a lead into the fourth quarter and an 88-3 record since 2001. He owned 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 118-22 when scoring first.
Kelly is 144-22-1 when outrushing his opponent.
Kelly is 109-12 when his team wins the turnover battle.
Kelly is 33-14-2 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 116-7 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 seventh-most wins of any active NCAA FBS coach. Kelly has gone on to win 51 contests (51-17 overall) to tie him with Bronco Mendenhall of BYU, Kyle Whittingham of Utah and Brett Bielema of Wisconsin over that span. The only coaches ahead of Kelly in that time frame are Chris Peterson of Boise State (62), Gary Patterson of TCU (56), Bob Stoops of Oklahoma (55), Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech (53), Mack Brown of Texas (52) and Les Miles of LSU (52).
Since 2001, Brian Kelly has totaled the third-most wins among all active FBS coaches. Kelly is 102-31 over the last 11 seasons and trails only Bob Stoops (110-26) and Mack Brown (108-23) for the best coaching record this decade.
Brian Kelly ranks as the fifth-most successful active NCAA FBS coach in winning percentage and sixth in victories.
ONLY THE BIG BOYSNotre Dame is one of just three NCAA FBS programs to have not faced a non-FBS opponent since the current setup was established in 1978. The two other remaining schools that have yet to play a non-FBS opponent are USC and UCLA.
2011 NOTRE DAME OPPONENT UPDATEAccording to the NCAA, no Football Bowl Subdivision school played a tougher regular season schedule based on opposition win-loss percentage than Notre Dame in 2010. Irish opponents had a combined record of 80-43 (.650). NCAA ratings includes opponent's record against only FBS schools and excludes result in meeting with the Irish.
Notre Dame's No. 1 ranking in the NCAA strength-of-schedule standings was its highest since a No. 1 ranking in 1995. The .650 winning percentage of Irish opponents made for its strongest schedule faced in 21 years - since a .655 percentage when Notre Dame finished tops in the toughest-schedule derby in 1989.
The Irish have a long history of playing challenging schedules - with Notre Dame ranking (since the NCAA began this rating in 1977) first in 1978, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1995 and 2010; third in 1986, 1999, 2003; and fourth in 1979 and 1990. That makes for 11 top-four finishes in that category in the 34 years the NCAA has calculated these numbers.
Notre Dame is one of six FBS schools to face an opponent from a Bowl Championship Series automatic qualifying conference over the first three weeks of the 2011 campaign. The remaining schools include BYU, Florida Atlantic, Miami (Fla.), Rice and USC.
Even more remarkable, only 17 schools faced two such opponents over the first two games of '11 and only four of those 17 schools compete in a BCS AQ conference - Maryland, Miami, Fla., Wake Forest and USC. Not one member from the SEC, Big Ten, BIG EAST or Big 12 can make such a claim.
This season could prove to be just as tough as the Irish face nine teams that went to bowl games last year and 10 teams that finished with a winning record.
NOTRE DAME DEBUTSJunior OG Chris Watt, junior ILB Dan Fox and sophomore OLB Prince Shembo all registered their first career start at Notre Dame in the season opener against USF.
The Irish played a total of seven freshmen against USF: OLB Ishaq Williams, DE Stephon Tuitt, DE Aaron Lynch, K Kyle Brindza, RB Cam McDaniel, RB George Atkinson III and OLB Troy Niklas.
The following Notre Dame players, excluding freshmen, made their first career appearance against the Bulls: ILB Kendall Moore, NG Louis Nix III, OT Christian Lombard and TE Alex Welch.
Freshman TE Ben Koyack and sophomore LB Justin Utupo made their first career appearances at Michigan.
Notre Dame has played a total of eight freshman over its first two games and another five sophomore players that did not see game action as rookies in 2010.
THE 2010 CAPTAINSNotre Dame reinstated an old tradition in 2010, designating captains on a game-by-game basis for only the third time in school history. Back in 1946, legendary head coach Frank Leahy elected to choose captains for each game - the result was an 8-0-1 record and the fifth of Notre Dame's 11 national championships. The Irish also designated captains on a game-by-game basis from 2002-04 as well, but the team voted on season captains following the regular season.
Senior S Harrison Smith is Notre Dame's lone season captain. He is the first Irish lone season captain since 1999 when Jarious Jackson held the individual honor. The other single individual captains for Notre Dame in the last 40 years include Jarious Jackson (1999), Rodney Culver (1991) and Mike Kovaleski (1986).
In addition to Smith, the Irish will continue to name gameday captains. The 2011 gameday captains have been as follows:
USF: Harrison Smith
, Robert Blanton
and Trevor Robinson
Michigan: Harrison Smith
and Zack Martin
HEARTBREAK CITYNotre Dame's two losses have come by a combined seven points - 23-20 vs. USF and 35-31 at Michigan.
Five of second-year head coach Brian Kelly's losses at Notre Dame have come by a combined 15 points.
Notre Dame regained a 31-28 lead with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter at Michigan last week. Had the Irish held on, the touchdown would have been the sixth-latest gamewinning touchdown in school history (excluding overtime), but Michigan added a touchdown with two seconds left to secure the victory.
The Wolverines' touchdown was the latest a Notre Dame opponent has ever recorded a winning touchdown. The previous mark was Matt Leinart's one-yard quarterback sneak for USC in 2005.
Last Saturday's game marked the 15th time in the program's history that a game involving Notre Dame has had the winning points scored with three seconds or less in a game (seven wins, eight losses).
Amazingly, in Notre Dame's eight losses with less than three seconds left in regulation, the Irish actually scored a touchdown to take the lead in the final 1:32 of the contests six times, including last week's touchdown reception by junior WR Theo Riddick with 30 seconds left.
The game marked the first in school history that featured a Notre Dame go-ahead touchdown in the final minute only to also include an opponent go-ahead touchdown. The other two games in school history the Irish took a lead in the final minute and lost came from field goals - Remy Hamilton's 42-yard field goal with two seconds left to give Michigan a 26-24 victory in 1994 and Frank Jordan's 37-yard field goal with two seconds left to give USC a 27-25 triumph in 1978.
REBOUNDING FROM DIFFICULT LOSSES Notre Dame is 13-6-1 all-time the week following a loss in the final 20 seconds of regulation. Three of those victories have come against this week's foe, Michigan State, and six have come over a top 25 opponent. In 2009, the Irish lost at Michigan 33-30 on a touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining in the game, but rebounded the following week for a 33-30 victory over the Spartans (snapped Michigan State's six-game winning streak in Notre Dame Stadium.)
GREAT FOR TELEVISIONNotre Dame has become quite accustomed to nailbiting finishes. In addition to each of the games in 2011 for the Irish, Notre Dame has been involved in 17 games decided by seven points or less since the start of the 2009 campaign. In fact, 14 of the last 19 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 56 games in the 123-year history of the program where the winning points have occurred in overtime or the game's final minute of regulation. Amazingly, 11 have come in the past five years alone.
IRISH, WOLVERINES PRODUCE EXCITING GAMESEleven of the last 21 Notre Dame-Michigan games have been decided by five points or less while only seven of the last 28 games have been won by more than 10 points: Michigan's 25-7 home win in 1981, Notre Dame's 26-7 victory at Michigan in 1987, Notre Dame's 36-20 triumph at home in 1998, Michigan's 38-0 victory in Ann Arbor back in 2004, the Wolverines 47-21 win at Notre Dame in 2006, Michigan's 38-0 triumph in 2007 and Notre Dame's 35-17 victory in 2008.
Eight of the last 26 games in the series have seen the winning points come in the final two minutes (1980, '88, '90, '94, '99, '09, '10 and '11), including three that were decided in the final seconds ('80, '94, '09, '10 and '11).
Michigan has defeated the Irish three straight times and the winning touchdown has been scored under 27 seconds left in regulation each time.
IRISH IN PLENTY OF BIG HOUSESLast Saturday's game with Michigan was the 21st time in school history Notre Dame played before a crowd of at least 100,000 people, and the first time since Sept. 12, 2009 against the Wolverines (110,278 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor). The Irish are now 10-11 in such games.
Saturday's NCAA-record crowd of 114,804 signaled the fourth time in the Notre Dame-Michigan series that the game has resulted in a new NCAA attendance mark (also 1993, '99 and 2003).
CRITICAL TURNOVERSNotre Dame has committed 10 turnovers in its first two games. The 10 turnovers lost ranks 120th in the FBS, which is dead last.
Notre Dame did managed to intercept three Denard Robinson passes last week, but still is minus-seven in turnover margin after two games, which also is last in the FBS.
In large part to its five turnovers inside its opponents' 20-yard line, Notre Dame is ranked 116th in the FBS in red zone offense.
Notre Dame committed five turnovers for the second consecutive game last week against Michigan. Prior to the past two weeks, the Irish had not committed five turnovers in a single-game since Nov. 15, 2008 against Boston College.
Notre Dame has not gone consecutive games with five turnovers since '08.
Two of Notre Dame's turnovers occurred inside the Michigan 20-yard line, including one inside the Wolverines' 10-yard line. The Irish have committed five turnovers inside their opponents' red zone over the first two games of the season, including four inside the 10-yard line.
Both of Notre Dame's turnovers inside the red zone against Michigan came on a first down play as well.
Notre Dame committed five turnovers in the loss to USF. The Irish had not had five turnovers in a home contest since Sept. 16, 2006 against Michigan.
Notre Dame was minus-five in turnover margin for the first time since Nov. 8, 2008 against Boston College. The Irish had not been minus-five in the turnover margin at home since Nov. 5, 1983 against Pittsburgh (to no surprise Notre Dame lost, 21-16). That's a span of 166 games over 28 years.
The minus-five turnover margin was also the worst in the FBS in week one.
Sophomore QB Tommy Rees fumbled on a first down play from the Michigan eight-yard line and also threw an interception on a first-down play from the Wolverines' 18-yard line.
Notre Dame had a pair of first-half turnovers inside the USF 10-yard line. Senior RB Jonas Gray fumbled on a 3rd and goal carry at the Bulls' one-yard line and senior QB Dayne Crist was picked off in the end zone on a 3rd and goal pass from the USF seven-yard line.
Notre Dame had marched a total of 137 yards (76 and 61) on the two drives, but failed to score on either attempt.
Notre Dame committed its third turnover in the first-half when junior WR Theo Riddick muffed a punt and USF recovered at the Irish 20-yard line. Notre Dame's defense allowed just a single yard and limited the Bulls to a field goal.
The Irish added a third turnover inside the USF 10-yard line on their first possession of the second half. On first and goal from the Bulls' five-yard line, sophomore QB Tommy Rees was intercepted when his pass deflected off shoulder of sophomore WR TJ Jones.
Twenty-five years ago, Lou Holtz made his debut at Notre Dame with a 24-23 loss at home to Michigan in which his Irish never punted but lost the ball inside the Wolverines 20-yard line three times. Twenty-five years later Holtz's son Skip was the beneficiary of Notre Dame's red zone difficulties last Saturday.
CONTINUED FIRST QUARTER DOMINANCENotre Dame outgained Michigan, 145-27, in the opening 15 minutes. The Irish outgained USF, 152-62, in the first quarter of the season opener. In total, Notre Dame has outgained its first two opponents of the 2011 season, 297-89.
Notre Dame averaged 8.5 yards per play and limited Michigan to 2.7 yards per play.
DEFENSE DOMINATES FIRST HALFMichigan did not register a first down until the third-to-last play of the first quarter. The Wolverines had gained 27 yards on its first nine plays of the game. Notre Dame limited Michigan to 2.7 yards per play in the first quarter.
Notre Dame forced its first turnover of the season on the ensuing play following Michigan's initial first down of the game.
Michigan did register a touchdown in the second quarter, on a 43-yard pass from Denard Robinson to Junior Hemingway, but was held to a total of 47 yards over its other 21 plays (that's a 2.1 per play average).
Notre Dame allowed just three first downs in the first half. The Irish forced the Wolverines into a trio of three-and-outs in the opening 30 minutes. Michigan's longest drive of the first half was four plays. Six of the Wolverines' seven first-half drives totaled 21 yards or less, including four that failed to even manage 10 yards.
The Wolverines managed just 223 yards and six first downs over the first three periods and 120 of those 223 yards came on two plays. The Wolverines managed just 103 yards on their other 33 plays in the first three quarters (an average of 3.1 yards per play).
FOURTH QUARTER OUT OF DEFENSIVE CHARACTERNotre Dame's defense thoroughly dominated Michigan over the first two quarters and most of the third period. The Irish outgained the Wolverines, 145-27 and 123-63, in the opening 30 minutes (good for a halftime advantage in total yards of 268-90). Notre Dame then outgained Michigan, 142-51, in the third quarter before Denard Robinson's 77-yard pass completion with an Irish nearly defender pulling him down for a sack in the process. Notre Dame led 24-7 with just under two minutes left in the period and had outgained the Wolverines, 410-141, prior to that long pass play.
Michigan then exploded for 28 points and 229 yards in the fourth quarter alone (306 over the final 16 minutes of the game).
Notre Dame had allowed a total of five offensive touchdowns over its previous six games entering last weekend's tilt with Michigan. The Irish then limited the Wolverines to a touchdown over the first three quarters of the game. In fact, Notre Dame's five offensive touchdowns allowed came over a stretch of 28 quarters. Michigan nearly equalled that output in the fourth quarter alone.
Notre Dame did not allow a single 20+ yard play to USF in the season opener and three to Michigan over the first three periods, but the Wolverines registered four in the final quarter.
OUTRUSH OPPONENT STREAK ENDSNotre Dame's 27-game winning streak when outrushing its opponent was snapped in the loss at Michigan. The Irish had 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.
NOTRE DAME OFFENSE, DEFENSE QUARTER BY QUARTER BREAKDOWNNotre Dame continued its statistical dominance of Michigan over the first two quarters and most of the third period. The Irish outgained the Wolverines, 145-27 and 123-63, in the opening 30 minutes (good for a halftime advantage in total yards of 268-90). Notre Dame then outgained Michigan, 142-51, in the third quarter before Denard Robinson's 77-yard pass completion with an Irish nearly defender pulling him down for a sack in the process. Notre Dame led 24-7 with just under two minutes left in the period and had outgained the Wolverines, 410-141, prior to that long pass play.
Michigan then exploded for 28 points and 229 yards in the fourth quarter alone. The Wolverines managed just 223 over the first three periods and 120 of those 223 yards came on two plays. The Wolverines managed just 103 yards on their other 33 plays in the first three quarters (an average of 3.1 yards per play).
Notre Dame statistically dominated USF in three of four quarters in the season opener. The Irish out-gained the Bulls, 152-62, in the first quarter but trailed 13-0. USF's touchdown came on a 96-yard fumble return and its two field goals were assisted by a 23-yard Notre Dame punt and 34-yard punt return set up great field position. The two Bulls' scoring drives in the first quarter totaled 80 yards.
The Irish also outgained USF in the third quarter, 159-48, and fourth quarter, 156-24. USF held an advantage in the second quarter, 82-39.
IRISH OFFENSE IN MID-SEASON FORMNotre Dame has piled up 508 and 513 yards, respectively, over its first two games of this season. The 1,021 total yards are the most for the Irish in consecutive weeks since they compiled 1,104 yards on Oct. 31 (vs. Washington State, 592) and Nov. 7 (vs. Navy, 512) of 2009. In fact, it is the most total yards over the first two weeks of a season since the Irish registered 1,051 yards of total offense to open the 1974 campaign.
Notre Dame has rushed 315 yards on 62 carries over its first two games. That averages out to a 5.08 per rush average, which ranks 30th in the FBS. No team has averaged more in two games against BCS AQ conference opponents.
Notre Dame is one of four offenses among the 120 FBS schools that has a wide receiver, quarterback and running back rank among the top 21 in receiving yards per game, passing yards per game and rushing yards per game. Senior WR Michael Floyd ranks seventh (156.5 ypg), sophomore QB Tommy Rees ranks 14th (305.5 ypg) and junior RB Cierre Wood ranks tied for 21st (119.0 ypg). The other three schools all play in the Big 12 - Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Notre Dame's offense tallied 10 explosive plays (five rushes of at least 15 yards and five passes at least 20 yards) at Michigan, the most in the Brian Kelly era. The previous high of eight was accomplished twice, including the season opener against USF and last year's 2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl victory over Miami (Fla.).
Notre Dame has recorded 55 first downs over its first two games. The 55 first downs is tied for sixth in the FBS. The Irish had 28 first downs against Michigan, tied for the most in the Kelly era, and 27 against USF - tied for the second-most in the Kelly era.
Notre Dame has not registered more first downs over a two-game span since the same Washington State-Navy span in 2009.
Notre Dame has recorded a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game in consecutive outings for the first time since Sept. 12 and Sept. 19, 2009 against Michigan and Michigan State.
Notre Dame's offensive line allowed 1.54 sacks per game in 2010, the best by an Irish group since 1998. The position has improved this year as Notre Dame has attempted 90 passes through two games but have been sacked only twice.
RED-ZONE REPORTNotre Dame has had little trouble moving the ball up and down the field, ultimately entering the red zone, but have struggled mightily with turnovers inside its opponent's 20-yard line.
Notre Dame has already committed five turnovers inside the red zone, including four inside its opponents' 10-yard line. Three of the five turnovers inside the 10-yard line have come on a first down play.
Prior to the recent two-game stretch, Notre Dame had only six turnovers in the red zone over its previous 35 games.
There are 84 teams in the FBS that have yet to commit five turnovers, period, let alone in the red zone.
NEVER A DRY MOMENTNotre Dame Stadium was evacuated due to inclement weather and lightning just moments after halftime in the season opener against USF. The first half ended at 5:12 p.m. ET. The game resumed at 7:22 p.m. The contest was delayed two hours and 10 minutes at halftime. The game was halted a second time in the fourth quarter for a total of 43 minutes. In all, the game was suspended for two hours and 53 minutes, lasted five hours and 59 minutes and ended at 9:39 p.m. ET.
It is believed to be the first weather related delay in Notre Dame history - home or away.
According to Steve Boda, long-time NCAA statistics staffer and a particular expert on Notre Dame football history, the closest a Notre Dame game came to being postponed by weather was the 1923 season finale at St. Louis University. The game was played on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 29). There was a drenching, non-stop rain and the field was ankle-deep in mud. Knute Rockne proposed the game be postponed until the following day, but there already were 9,000 fans in attendance and St. Louis did not agree. The game went on as scheduled, Notre Dame won 13-0 and the teams' combined for 22 fumbles in the game.
The game officially goes into the record books as the longest in terms of time in school history. Longest recent Notre Dame games included the 4:01 quadruple overtime loss at home to Pitt in 2008 and another 4:01 marathon in the 44-41 overtime defeat to Michigan State at home in 2005.
DEFENSE DOES ITS PART VS. USFNotre Dame limited USF to a total of 254 yards of offense, including 110 yards after halftime. Notre Dame allowed just 3.0 yards per rush, 3.5 yards per play, 4.3 yards per pass attempt, one offensive touchdown and 2-of-14 on third-down conversions.
In the second half with a lead and looking to run the football, USF managed a grand total of 43 yards on the ground on 21 carries or a 2.0 per rush. The Bulls' needed 37 plays from scrimmage to collect those 110 second-half total yards. USF averaged a shade under 3.0 yards per play after intermission.
USF wide receiver Lindsey Lamar had the longest scamper of the game against Notre Dame (a 17-yard run). Otherwise, the Irish contained the Bulls' running game. If you eliminate Lamar's 17-yard run and the Bulls averaged just 2.7 yards per carry over their other 41 rushes. USF had 22 carries for two yards or less.
The Bulls did mount one touchdown drive and marched 80 yards on 14 plays. On USF's other 14 drives against the Irish defense, it never gained fore than 45 yards. In fact, the Bulls had nine drives in which they failed to advance the ball more than 17 yards. Six drives did not even garner 10 yards.
Notre Dame forced USF into a punt on five of its seven second-half drives and one of those drives included the final play of the contest - a kneel down.
USF benefitted from great field position on two of its scoring drives (both field goals). The Bulls opened a drive at the Irish 20-yard line following a muffed punt by junior WR Theo Riddick and opened another drive at the Notre Dame 40-yard line following a 34-yard punt return.
The longest drive of the opening half for USF was 45 yards and it took the Bulls 12 plays to accumulate that total.
Notre Dame did not allow USF a third-down conversion in seven first-half attempts.
Notre Dame limited USF to 48 total yards in the third quarter, including five yards rushing on six carries.
The Irish collected two sacks against one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the country - B.J. Daniels. Notre Dame's starting defensive ends senior Kapron Lewis-Moore and senior Ethan Johnson combined for 12 tackles. The nose guard tandem of senior Sean Cwynar and sophomore Louis Nix III amassed 10 tackles, six for Nix in his first collegiate appearance. In all, the Irish defensive line registered 23 tackles. If you include senior OLB Darius Fleming, who spends significant action on the line of scrimmage in the Notre Dame 3-4 look, the group totaled 31 stops.
Notre Dame used 16 different players on defense via rotation during its first series on the field that lasted eight plays. Seeing action off the bench right away were freshmen DEs Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch, sophomore NG Louis Nix III, junior ILB Carlo Calabrese and junior S Zeke Motta.
STATS TURNED IRRELEVANTNotre Dame racked up 27 first downs and 508 total yards (both were the third-most under head coach Brian Kelly). The only totals higher came against Michigan in 2010 and 2011 (both defeats).
Notre Dame's 508 total yards in the game were exactly twice as many as USF (254).
The 254 yards allowed were the second-fewest by an Irish defense under Kelly.
Notre Dame outgained USF, 152-62, in the first quarter, but the Bulls led 13-0.
The Irish outgained USF, 317-110, in the second half.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES, LET ME COUNT THE WAYSUSF won the turnover battle, 5-0, including a trio inside the Bulls' 10-yard line. Senior All-America candidate PK David Ruffer missed a 30-yard field goal attempt with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter as well. Notre Dame left anywhere from 12 to 28 points on the field in those four failed red zone chances.
Notre Dame had five more turnovers in the loss at Michigan, including two inside the Wolverines' red zone. Sophomore QB Tommy Rees fumbled on a first down play from the Michigan eight-yard line and also threw an interception on a first-down play from the Wolverines' 18-yard line.
SECURING THE ROCKNotre 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.
Prior to senior RB Jonas Gray's fumble at the USF four-yard line, Notre Dame running backs had not lost a fumble in a span of 224 rushes.
Sophomore RB Cierre Wood fumbled, following a collision with an Irish offensive lineman, in the loss at Michigan.
Over the previous two seasons (2009 and 2010), Tim Hinton-coached running backs at Cincinnati and Notre Dame lost one fumble in 630 rushing attempts.
USF, WEBSTER ENTER THE IRISH RECORD BOOKNotre Dame took the opening kickoff and marched 76 yards in eight plays, but senior RB Jonas Gray fumbled at the USF four-yard line. Kayvon Webster recovered the fumble and raced 96 yards for a touchdown. It is the longest fumble return for touchdown by an Irish opponent in school history. The previous school record was a 94-yard fumble return by Leroy Keyes of Purdue on Sept. 24, 1966.
TAILS IT ISNotre Dame opened each of its first 11 games in 2010 with the football. The Irish then won the coin toss and elected to receive against USF in the '11 season opener. Notre Dame has opened 13 of its last 15 games with the football. The only exceptions? Notre Dame won the coin toss against USC and Michigan last week, but elected to defer.
Harrison Smith LEADS ACTIVE IRISH SECONDARYSenior S Harrison Smith has 230 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 18 pass breakups and seven interceptions over his Irish career. He is the first Notre Dame player to ever register 200 or more tackles, 15 or more tackles for loss and 15 or more pass breakups.
Smith is Notre Dame's lone season captain. He is the first Irish lone season captain since 1999 when Jarious Jackson held the individual honor. The other single individual captains for Notre Dame in the last 40 years include:
2011 - Harrison SmithSmith collected three interceptions in the first half alone of the Hyundai Sun Bowl in 2010. 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.
1999 - Jarious Jackson
1991 - Rodney Culver
1986 - Mike Kovaleski
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.
Smith's seven career interceptions are tied for the 17th most among active FBS players.
In the last 20 years, only one group of Notre Dame defensive backs 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.
JOHNSON, FLEMING ENJOYING THEIR SACK LUNCHESNotre Dame senior LB Darius Fleming (12.0) and senior DE Ethan Johnson (12.5) have combined for 24.5 sacks over their career.
Fleming and Johnson are each gaining ground on the career sack totals at Notre Dame. Sacks did not become an officially recognized statistics until 1982.
TE'O PACKS A HAWAIIAN PUNCHJunior LB Manti Te'o has been named to a number of preseason award lists, including the Bednarik, Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski. He was also named to numerous preseason All-American teams.
Te'o finished with a game-high 14 tackles in the season opener against USF. He had seven solo stops, seven assisted tackles and one sack. The 14 tackles were the second-most in his career. Te'o has eclipsed 10 or more tackles in a single-game on 10 different occasions.
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).
The 133 tackles by Te'o in 2010 were the most by a Notre Dame player since Tony Furjanic made 147 in 1983.
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).
ROBERT "BIG PLAY" BLANTON Senior DB Robert Blanton played in 12 games in 2010 and only started one contest, but it did not deter 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 registered 7.0 tackles for loss in 2010, which ranked third-best on the team. The 7.0 tackles for loss were the most by an Irish defensive back since A'Jani Sanders had 10.0 during the 1999 season.
Blanton picked up his first interception of 2011 and seventh of his career last week against Michigan.
REES PIECES TOGETHER IRISH OFFENSESophomore QB Tommy Rees will make his sixth career start this weekend against Michigan State. He is 4-1 as the Irish starting quarterback, including victories at Notre Dame Stadium against 15th-ranked Utah, at Yankee Stadium against Army and at the LA Coliseum against arch-rival USC (snapped Trojans eight-game winning streak in series). Rees capped off the streak as the starting signal caller in Notre Dame's rout of Miami, Fla. in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Rees, who was mere seconds from becoming the third Irish quarterback in school history to record road victories over both USC and Michigan in a career, completed 27-of-39 for 315 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan. He exceeded 300 yards passing for the second time in his career. He has now tossed 17 career touchdown passes.
Rees spotted junior WR Theo Riddick for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds left to give the Irish a 31-28 lead.
Rees hooked up with junior WR Theo Riddick on a seven-yard touchdown pass with 9:05 left in the opening quarter to give the Irish a 7-0 lead. He completed both of his pass attempts on the drive for 28 yards.
Rees continued his torrid start on Notre Dame's second scoring drive of the first quarter. He connected on all six of his pass attempts for 66 yards. He ultimately completed his first eight passes of the game and 10 straight dating back to the fourth quarter of the USF game. Rees completed 15 of 17 passes over the first two drives against Michigan and the final drive against the Bulls.
Rees found sophomore WR TJ Jones alone across the middle and Jones raced 15 yards for a touchdown to give the Irish a 24-7 lead with 2:13 left in the third quarter.
Rees is the fourth Irish sophomore quarterback to throw for 300 yards in a game. He joins the likes of Terry Hanratty (1966), Brady Quinn (2004) and Jimmy Clausen (2008).
Rees came off the bench and sparked the Irish in the second half against USF. He completed 24-of-34 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns - all after halftime.
The 296 yards passing in a half ranks as the fourth-most in a half by a Notre Dame signal caller in school history.
Rees quickly led the Irish on a scoring drive early in the third quarter against the Bulls. Rees found senior WR Michael Floyd open for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 7:12 left in the third quarter to cut the Irish deficit to 16-7. Rees went 3-of-5 on the drive for 66 yards.
Rees hooked up with Floyd again late in the fourth quarter to bring Notre Dame within a field goal, 23-20.
On his first drive of the contest, Rees' led the Irish down to the USF five-yard line, completing his first four passes for 31 yards, before an interception ended the drive.
Rees completed 10-of-14 for 140 yards and one touchdown in the third quarter and 14-of-20 for 156 yards and one touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Interestingly enough, two of Rees' three best passing games have come in games he did not start. Rees replaced an injured Dayne Crist on Oct. 30, 2009 against Tulsa and threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 33-of-54 passes against the Golden Hurricane.
Rees was the ninth freshman quarterback to start for the Irish in the last 60 seasons (1951-present). The group includes Ralph Guglielmi (1951), Blair Kiel (1980), Steve Beuerlein (1983), Kent Graham (1987), Paul Failla (1991), Matt LoVecchio (2000), Brady Quinn (2003), Jimmy Clausen (2007) and Rees (2010).
Rees, who started in the 28-3 victory over No. 15 Utah last year, was 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). Rees ranked among the top-five in the following categories for Irish freshman quarterbacks.
FLOYD IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHTSenior WR Michael Floyd finished the Michigan game with a career-high 13 receptions for 159 yards. The 13 catches are tied for the second-most in school history.
Floyd became Notre Dame's all-time leader in career receiving yards following his 21-yard catch early in the first quarter. Floyd bested the previous school record of 2,707 held by Golden Tate (2007-09).
Floyd surpassed 100 yards receiving in the first half alone. It was his 15th career 100-yard receiving game. Floyd moved into a tie with Golden Tate (2007-09) for the most career 100-yard receiving games in school history.
Floyd eclipsed 10 receptions in a single-game for the sixth time in his career and second time in as many weeks. He had never posted back-to-back games with 10 or more catches before last Saturday night.
Among FBS receivers in 2011, Floyd ranks first in receptions (25), tied for second in receptions per game (12.5), third in receiving yards (313) and sixth in receiving yards per game (156.5).
Among active FBS receivers, Floyd ranks second in career receiving touchdowns (30), second in career receiving yards (2,852), third in career receiving yards per game (89.1), fourth in career receptions per game (6.1), fifth in career receptions (196) and 14th in career receiving yards per catch (14.6).
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 32 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 15 career 100-yard receiving games over the other 30 games played.
Floyd is the first Notre Dame wideout to ever register four or more games with at least 11 catches.
Floyd has recorded eight multi-touchdown games over his Irish career, including four in his last eight contests.
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 is the first player in school history to register a touchdown catch of at least 80 yards more than once in his career. He actually has recorded three touchdown catches of at least 70 yards.
Floyd has a reception in 30 of the 31 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. 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, CIERREJunior RB Cierre Wood rushed for 134 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown at Michigan. He set career-highs in both carries and rushing yards for the second straight week.
Wood eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the second time in his career and second time in as many weeks. He is the first Irish running back to exceed 100 yards on the ground in consecutive weeks since Armando Allen Jr. in 2009 (against both Michigan and Michigan State). Wood is the first Notre Dame running back to eclipse 100 yards rushing in the opening two weeks of a season since Darius Walker in 2005 (who actually had 100 yards on the ground in the first four games of the year).
Wood rushed for 29 yards on four carries, including a pair of 11-yard bursts on Notre Dame's first scoring drive of the game.
Wood raced up the middle from the four-yard line for a touchdown to give the Irish a 14-0 lead. The touchdown run was Wood's second of the season and fifth of his career.
Wood rushed for 104 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown in the season opener against USF.
Wood surpassed the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career. He became the first Irish running back to eclipse 100 yards since Armando Allen against Connecticut on Nov. 21, 2009.
Wood scored from one-yard out with 7:35 left in the fourth quarter against USF to bring Notre Dame within 23-13. The touchdown run was the fourth of his career.
Wood hauled in a career-long 31-yard reception on the game's opening offensive play from scrimmage. It bested his previous career-long grab of 23 yards set last season against Tulsa.
Wood finished the game against the Bulls with a career-best 148 all-purpose yards, 104 on the ground and 44 through the air.
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 Armando 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.
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.
Wood has started at running back in six of the last seven games dating back to the Tulsa game of 2010. He rushed for 491 yards on 97 carries over the span.
CHRONICLES OF RIDDICKJunior WR Theo Riddick had six catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns against Michigan. It was Riddick's first career multi-touchdown receiving game. He now has five carer receiving touchdowns.
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 were tied for the ninth-most in single-game school history at the time. In fact, his output is tied for the third-most ever by an Irish sophomore wideout. Notre Dame senior 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 eligibility wise, has the two highest outputs. He had games with 13 and 11 catches in 1966.
TYLER'S EIFERT HAS NOT GONE UNNOTICEDJunior TE Tyler Eifert posted career-highs in both receptions (six) and receiving yards (93) in the season opener against USF. He also hauled in a 37-yard grab, the second-longest reception of his career.
Among FBS tight ends on the FBS receiving report, Eifert ranks second in receptions (10), second in receiving yards (144), second in receiving yards per catch (14.4), second in receiving yards per game (72.0) and third in receptions per game (5.0).
Eifert, a 2011 Mackey Award candidate, 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 has now started nine consecutive games and made an immediate impact for the Irish.
Eifert earned the John Mackey Tight End of the Week Award in 2010 for his effort against Army.
David Ruffer HAD PERFECT 20/20 VISIONSenior 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 first career miss against Miami (Fla.) in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in 2010, 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'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 in 2010 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 is the second Irish 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.
Ruffer missed two straight kicks after the 23 straight, including a 30-yarder in the loss to USF, but connected on his only attempt against Michigan. He is now 24-for-26 in his career.
ROSTER CHANGESFour 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 SPRINGNine 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 YEARSix 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.
RECRUITING CLASS OF 2011 FINISHES AT 24The 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 FOOTBALL - A FAMILY AFFAIRThe 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 ROSTERSeveral 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.
OFFICIAL NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL POSTGAME SHOWThe 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.
OFFICIAL NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL TAILGATE SHowThe 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 Alan Pinkett.
OFFICIAL Brian Kelly RADIO SHOWThe Brian Kelly Radio Show began 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