#4/4 Notre Dame (9-0) vs. Boston College (2-7)
Saturday, November 10, 2012
8:12 p.m. ET
Alumni Stadium (44,500); Chestnut Hill, Mass.
ABC national telecast with Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analysis), Heather Cox (sideline), Bill Bonnell (producer) and Derek Mobley (director).
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 both SIRIUS and XM Satellite Radio (channel 129).
All Irish games may be heard in South Bend on News & Sports Radio 96.1 FM & 960 AM WSBT.
The Last Meeting
November 19, 2011
Notre Dame, Ind.
Irish Outlast Eagles, 16-14
Jonas Gray rushed for a touchdown, David Ruffer kicked three field goals and No. 24 Notre Dame recovered an onside kick with just under 2 minutes to play to hold off Boston College 16-14 on Saturday.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 4 in this week's Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls. The Irish slipped from No. 3 to No. 4 in the season's fourth BCS standings. Boston College is unranked in each poll.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Boston College, 12-9, but trails, 4-3, when the series shifts to Chestnut Hill.
The winner of this game earns the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl, given by the Notre Dame Club of Boston, and the Ireland Trophy, presented by Notre Dame student government. The Ireland Trophy is intended to inspire a spirit of sportsmanship and friendly competition between the schools.
COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF
10 - Sophomore DE Stephon Tuitt has 10 sacks and ranks fifth in total sacks among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players. Tuitt's 10 sacks rank third in Notre Dame history behind Justin Tuck (13.5, 2003) and Victor Abiamiri (10.5, 2006). (Page 24)
9 - Notre Dame is 9-0 for the first time since 1993 and 16th time in school history. (Page 5)
8 - The Irish defense ranks in the top 20 among FBS schools in eight different categories. (Page 15)
7 - Sophomore QB Everett Golson is 7-0 as a starter, tying him with Matt LoVecchio for the fourth-most consecutive wins by a QB to start a Notre Dame career. Only Bob Williams (11), Kevin McDougal (nine) and Terry Hanratty (eight) have won more consecutive games at the beginning of their respective careers. (Page 29)
6 - Sophomore K Kyle Brindza ranks sixth in the nation with 17 made field goals. Brindza also ranks sixth all-time at Notre Dame for most converted field goals in a season. (Page 34)
5 - Notre Dame is 5-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less this year. The school record for most wins by seven points or less is six, set by the 1939 team. The 1937 and 2002 teams also won five games by seven points or less. (Page 7)
4 - Since Nov. 13, 2010, a span of 26 games where Notre Dame has a 21-5 record, the Irish defense ranks in the top four among FBS schools in rushing touchdowns allowed (11, 2nd), total touchdowns allowed (45, t-2nd), total points allowed (413, 4th) and points per game (15.9, 4th). (Page 12)
3 - Senior LB Manti Te'o has recorded three interceptions against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 at the time of the game, tied for most in the nation. Te'o has totaled seven takeaways this season, tied for the third-most of any FBS player. (Pages 21-22)
2 - The Irish offense is currently averaging 200.3 rushing yards per game and 204.1 passing yards per game. Only two Notre Dame offenses have averaged at least 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards in the same season - the 1970 team that finished the season No. 2 in the nation and the 1977 national championship team. (Page 28)
1 - The Irish ran 104 plays vs. Pittsburgh last week to tie the school record for most offensive plays in a single game. Notre Dame ran 104 plays vs. Iowa in 1968. (Page 28)
0 - It is believed that Notre Dame's comeback from a 14-point deficit entering the fourth quarter is the largest rally in the final quarter by an Irish team in Notre Dame Stadium history. The Irish also rallied from 14 points down entering the fourth quarter vs. USC in 1999. (Page 5)
A VICTORY OVER BOSTON COLLEGE ...
Improves Notre Dame to 10-0 for the first time since 1993.
Gives the Irish 10 straight victories to open a season for the eighth time in school history.
Marks Notre Dame's 18th win over its last 21 games.
Gives the Irish their longest winning streak since capturing 17 straight during the 1992-93 seasons.
Gives Notre Dame its 15th winning streak in school history of at least 10 games.
Improves the all-time record for the Irish to 863-300-42 (.734).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record on the road to 283-144-23 (.654).
Improves the all-time record away from Notre Dame Stadium for the Irish to 397-182-29 (.677).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top 25 to 419-133-15 (.752).
Improves the all-time away record for the Irish when ranked in the top 25 to 146-61-8 (.698).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top five to 180-44-7 (.794).
Improves the all-time away record for the Irish when ranked in the top five to 67-18-3 (.776).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top 25 against an unranked opponent to 302-57-6 (.836).
Improves the all-time away record for the Irish when ranked in the top 25 against an unranked opponent to 102-27-5 (.780).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top five against an unranked opponent to 122-17-2 (.872).
Improves the all-time away record for the Irish when ranked in the top five against an unranked opponent to 41-9-2 (.808).
Improves Notre Dame to 13-9 (.591) in the all-time series with Boston College.
Improves the Irish to 4-4 (.500) on the road in the all-time series with the Eagles.
Improves Kelly's record to 197-67-2 (.744) overall.
Improves Kelly's record at Notre Dame to 26-10 (.722).
Improves Kelly's record to 78-32 (.709) in FBS games.
Improves Kelly's record to 69-20 (.775) since 2006.
Improves Kelly's record to 120-34 (.779) since 2001.
Improves Kelly's record to 56-14 (.800) all-time in the month of November.
Improves Kelly's record to 8-1 (.889) in the month of November as Notre Dame head coach.
A LOSS TO BOSTON COLLEGE ...
Drops Notre Dame to 9-1 for the first time since 2006.
Denies the Irish 10 straight victories to open a season for the eighth time in school history.
Marks Notre Dame's fourth loss in its last 21 games.
Denies the Irish their longest winning streak since capturing 17 straight during the 1992-93 seasons.
Denies Notre Dame its 15th winning streak in school history of at least 10 games.
Drops the all-time record for the Irish to 862-301-42 (.733).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record on the road to 282-145-23 (.652).
Drops the all-time record away from Notre Dame Stadium for the Irish to 396-183-29 (.675).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top 25 to 418-134-15 (.750).
Drops the all-time away record for the Irish when ranked in the top 25 to 145-62-8 (.693).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top five to 179-45-7 (.790).
Drops the all-time away record for the Irish when ranked in the top five to 66-19-3 (.767).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top 25 against an unranked opponent to 301-58-6 (.833).
Drops the all-time away record for the Irish when ranked in the top 25 against an unranked opponent to 101-28-5 (.772).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record when ranked in the top five against an unranked opponent to 121-18-2 (.865).
Drops the all-time away record for the Irish when ranked in the top five against an unranked opponent to 40-10-2 (.789).
Drops Notre Dame to 12-10 (.546) in the all-time series with Boston College.
Drops the Irish to 3-5 (.375) on the road in the all-time series with the Eagles.
Drops Kelly's record to 196-68-2 (.741) overall.
Drops Kelly's record at Notre Dame to 25-11 (.694).
Drops Kelly's record to 77-33 (.700) in FBS games.
Drops Kelly's record to 68-21 (.764) since 2006.
Drops Kelly's record to 119-35 (.773) since 2001.
Drops Kelly's record to 55-15 (.786) all-time in the month of November.
Drops Kelly's record to 7-2 (.778) in the month of November as Notre Dame head coach.
NOTRE DAME IN NOVEMBER
Notre Dame is 316-122-27 (.709) all-time during the month of November.
Notre Dame is 147-44-7 (.760) in November home games.
The Irish are 114-65-16 (.626) in November road games.
Notre Dame is 55-13-4 (.792) in November neutral games.
The Irish are 169-78-20 (.670) in November games away from Notre Dame Stadium.
The Irish are 99-37-2 (.725) in November games at Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame is 143-48-8 (.739) all-time in the month of November as a ranked team.
The Irish are 73-15-1 (.826) all-time in the month of November as a ranked team at Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame is 47-29-4 (.613) all-time in the month of November as a ranked team on the road.
Notre Dame is 7-1 in the month of November under head coach Brian Kelly. Notre Dame had lost eight of its last nine November games before Kelly's arrival in 2010.
For the fourth time in school history, Notre Dame defeated multiple top-10 opponents at their home stadiums in the same season-winning at No. 10 Michigan State on Sept. 15 and No. 8 Oklahoma on Oct. 27.
The 1966 squad was the last Irish team to accomplish the feat en route to the '66 national championship.
Notre Dame also achieved a pair of top-10 road victories in both 1943 and 1952.
The Irish have never bested three top-10 foes on the road in the same season. Notre Dame did go unbeaten in three matchups with top-10 opponents away from home in '66, but one included the famous 10-10 tie at Michigan State.
Notre Dame's 17-point (20-3) victory at No. 10 Michigan State on Sept. 22 was its largest over a top-10 foe on the road since the top-ranked Irish upended No. 2 USC, 27-10, on Nov. 26, 1988.
The Irish answered with another 17-point triumph (30-13) at No. 8 Oklahoma on Oct. 27.
Notre Dame has registered 27 victories over top-10 opponents with a winning margin of at least 17 points in school history, including twice in 2012. The Irish have not accomplished such a feat since 1987 (Lou Holtz's first season) when Notre Dame bested Michigan (26-7) and Alabama (37-6).
Of those 27 victories, only 10 have come on the road and two this season.
UNBEATEN AND UNTIED
With a 9-0 record, No. 4/4 Notre Dame is one of only six FBS teams which is still unbeaten this season, five of which are ranked in the latest Associated Press and USA Today polls. The others are No. 1/1 Alabama (9-0), No. 2/2 Oregon (9-0), No. 3/3 Kansas State (9-0), No. 5/- Ohio State (10-0, coached by former Irish assistant Urban Meyer) and No. 11/10 Louisville (9-0, coached by former Irish assistant Charlie Strong).
None of the six remaining unbeaten are slated to face one another in the regular season.
Of the six remaining undefeated teams, the win-loss percentage of Notre Dame's past opponents is the best of the unbeaten teams. The win-loss percentage of Notre Dame's opponents is .631. The next best of the current unbeaten is Alabama's .578.
NOTRE DAME OFF AND RUNNING
For only the seventh time in the last 60 years, and the 16th time in school history, Notre Dame has opened the season with nine straight victories. The last time that happened was 1993, when the Irish won their first 10 games before dropping a 41-39 decision to Boston College.
The 15 previous 9-0 starts led to nine undefeated seasons, eight national championships and six bowl berths (6-0 record).
Notre Dame's nine-game winning streak is tied for the 15th-longest in school history and longest since 2001-02. The Irish closed the '01 season with a victory before opening '02 with eight straight wins.
Notre Dame remained fourth in the latest editions of the Associated Press and USA Today polls. The Irish have not been ranked higher in the AP poll since Sept. 10, 2006, when they were ranked second following a 41-17 rout over No. 19 Penn State.
NEVER SAY DIE
Notre Dame overcame a 14-point fourth quarter deficit (20-6) on Nov. 3 against Pittsburgh, the largest fourth quarter deficit the Irish have overcome since Sept. 24, 2006, when Notre Dame trailed Michigan State, 37-21, and came back to win, 40-37.
It is the largest fourth quarter deficit the Irish have overcome in Notre Dame Stadium since Oct. 16, 1999, when Notre Dame trailed USC, 24-10, and rallied for a 25-24 victory.
The Irish have never had a larger fourth-quarter comeback win at home in Notre Dame Stadium's 82-year history.
Notre Dame rallied from halftime deficits in back-to-back weeks against Stanford (10-3) and against BYU (14-7). The Irish had not recorded comeback victories when trailing at the half in consecutive weeks since Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, 1920 (nearly 92 years to the day).
Notre Dame then trailed Pittsburgh at haltime (10-6) but rallied with 14 points in the fourth quarter and outlasted the Panthers in three overtimes (29-26) to register a third straight victory at Notre Dame Stadium when trailing at halftime. The Irish have never previously rallied from halftime deficits in three consecutive home games in school history.
ALWAYS BE CLOSING ... AND OPENING
Notre Dame has blanked six of its nine opponents in the first quarter this season. Miami, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh are the only foes to score against the Irish in the opening 15 minutes (all field goals). The Irish have not surrendered a touchdown in the first quarter since Nov. 26, 2011, against Stanford - a span that extends over 10 games.
Notre Dame has outscored its first nine opponents this season by a 47-10 margin in the first quarter.
Notre Dame collected nine first downs in the opening quarter against Pittsburgh on Nov. 3. It was the third-most first downs in any quarter this season for the Irish. Notre Dame had 10 first downs in both the first and third quarters against Miami on Oct. 6.
Notre Dame collected 145 total yards in the opening period against the Panthers, the most total yards of any first quarter this season. The only quarter in which the Irish gained more total yards was the third period against the Hurricanes (230).
Notre Dame outgained Pittsburgh, 145-58, in the opening 15 minutes. The Irish also registered 11:32 of time of possession and ran 23 offensive plays compared to the Panthers' six.
The Irish had been nearly as successful coming out of the halftime locker room before Nov. 3 against Pittsburgh. Notre Dame had outscored Navy, Purdue, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, Miami, No. 17 Stanford, BYU and No. 8 Oklahoma by a combined 47-7 in the third quarter, but the Panthers outscored the Irish, 10-0.
A Notre Dame opponent has not scored more points in a third quarter since Sept. 18, 2010 when Michigan State registered 14.
Notre Dame had allowed exactly 10 points over its last 14 third quarters combined entering Nov. 3.
Notre Dame had blanked seven of its first eight opponents this season in the third quarter. In fact, the Irish had held 18 of their past 21 foes without an offensive score of any kind in the third quarter, dating back to the start of the 2011 season, before Nov. 3.
Notre Dame has dominated the fourth quarter and overtime of its games in 2012. The Irish have outgained Navy, Purdue, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, Miami, No. 17 Stanford, BYU, No. 8 Stanford and Pittsburgh in the final stanza, 992-551. Notre Dame has collected 56 first downs compared to its opponents 31.
INS-AND-OUTS OF OVERTIME
Notre Dame played in its second overtime game of 2012 on Nov. 3 and fifth over the past six years.
The Irish and Panthers have played one previous overtime game in the series. Pittsburgh outlasted Notre Dame, 36-33, in four overtimes in 2009.
Notre Dame's last double overtime game came in 2009 against Connecticut (L, 33-30).
The last overtime contest for the Irish to advance past two overtimes - the aforementioned '09 meeting with Pittsburgh. Notre Dame did play a triple overtime game against Navy in 2007 (L, 46-44).
It marked the third time in school history the Irish have played multiple overtime games in one season (2000, 2009).
Notre Dame improved to 5-8 all-time in overtime games.
All five of Notre Dame's overtime wins have come at home (also Air Force in 2000, Washington State in 2003, Washington in 2009 and Stanford in 2012).
All but two of Notre Dame's 13 overtime games have come at home (the Irish are 5-6 in home OT games, 0-2 on the road). The home OT losses: Air Force in 1996, Nebraska in 2000, Michigan State in 2005, Navy in 2007, Pittsburgh in 2008 and Connecticut in 2009 (losses at USC in 1996 and Michigan State in 2010).
RIGHT DOWN TO THE WIRE
Notre Dame has become accustomed to thrilling finishes. The Irish have been involved in 26 games decided by seven points or less since the start of the 2009 campaign. In fact, 15 of the last 21 losses for the Irish have been decided by a touchdown or less, including seven by a field goal or less.
Notre Dame has played in 60 games in the 125-year history of the program where the winning points have occurred in overtime or the game's final minute of regulation. Amazingly, 15 have come in the past five years alone.
Notre Dame has played 16 games decided by a touchdown or less since the arrival of Brian Kelly. The Irish went just 2-5 in the first seven such games under Kelly, but have since gone 8-1.
Notre Dame has already won five games this season by a touchdown or less. The school record for victories by seven points or less in a single season is six, which was set in 1939 when that Irish club had a 6-1 mark in games decided by seven or less. The 1937 team was 5-1-1 and the 2002 club was 5-1-0 in games decided by seven or less, while the 1929 (4-0), 1940 (4-1), 1974 (4-0), 1990 (4-3), 1997 (4-2), 1998 (4-1) and 2009 (4-6) teams all had four wins by seven or less over the course of the season.
Notre Dame is 5-0 (1.000) this season in games decided by a touchdown or less. In terms of winning percentage in games decided by seven points or less, the '29 and '74 teams were both 4-0, while the 1926, 1928, 1954 and 1957 teams finished 3-0.
Notre Dame sophomore PK Kyle Brindza connected on a 27-yard field goal with seven seconds left in regulation to give the Irish a 20-17 victory over Purdue on Sept. 8.
The Irish had not won a game in regulation with less time on the clock since Nov. 8, 2003 when D.J. Fitzpatrick kicked a field goal as time expired to top Navy, 27-24.
Notre Dame has recorded only nine victories in school history with less time remaining in regulation.
IRISH LEAD THE NATION IN TOP-25 VICTORIES
Notre Dame has recorded four victories over teams ranked in the AP top 25 at the time of the game (No. 10 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, No. 17 Stanford and No. 8 Oklahoma). No FBS team in the country has more victories over AP top-25 foes than the Irish. (See pdf version for charts.)
Notre Dame (4-0) is one of 13 FBS teams to own a perfect record against AP top-25 opponents. Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State (all 3-0) are the only other FBS teams with at least three such victories without a defeat.
Notre Dame had not defeated four AP top-25 opponents in the same season since 2002. The only Notre Dame squads to register more top-25 wins in one season than the 2012 edition are 1990, 1989, 1953 and 1943.
2012 NOTRE DAME OPPONENT UPDATE
Notre Dame has or will face six opponents in 2012 that have already been ranked at one point or another in the Associated Press top 25 poll, including future foe USC (No. 21). Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford and Oklahoma were ranked No. 10, No. 18, No. 17 and No. 8, respectively, when the Irish knocked them off (all in the last seven weeks and Notre Dame allowed one offensive touchdown to the quartet). The Cardinal and Sooners remain in the top-25 AP poll this week at No. 14 and No. 16, respectively. BYU was ranked No. 25 in the AP poll on Sept. 9. Oklahoma (No. 13), Stanford (No. 15) and USC (No. 22) are ranked in this week's USA Today coaches' poll.
The slate is even more difficult when you consider that three of those meetings (USC, Oklahoma and Michigan State) have or will come on the road. Only one other team in college football plays at least three teams ranked among the preseason top 10.
Notre Dame played No. 10 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, No. 17 Stanford and No. 8 Oklahoma. That concluded a stretch of four top-25 opponents in six weeks (the two unranked foes along the way were BYU and Miami, Fla.).
Twenty-seven FBS teams won at least 10 games in 2011 and Notre Dame faces six of those squads, including three on the road.
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 35 years the NCAA has calculated these numbers.
IRISH ON A PRETTY GOOD RUN
Since opening the 2011 season with an 0-2 record, Notre Dame has won 17 of its last 20 games-good for an .850 winning percentage. The Irish have the sixth-best overall FBS and fifth-best BCS winning percentage since Sept. 17, 2011. (See PDF for chart.)
Notre Dame has won 17 of its last 19 regular season games - good for a .895 winning percentage - since starting 0-2 in 2011. Only four FBS schools have a better regular season winning percentage over the same span: Oregon (19-1, .950), Alabama (18-1, .947), Georgia (18-2, .900) and Kansas State (18-2, .900).
ANOTHER ROAD GAME VS. TOP 10, ANOTHER STREAK ENDS
Notre Dame snapped Oklahoma's 18-game winning streak at home against non-conference foes.
Notre Dame ended No. 10 Michigan State's 15-game home-field win streak (fourth longest in country at the time) - dating back to a 42-14 Spartan loss to Penn State in 2009.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Notre Dame's all-time record in Norman, Okla., is now 5-0 - one of the more amazing feats in college football history. Just as notable is four of those five victories came against Sooner teams that were ranked in the top 10: No. 6 in 1953, No. 2 in 1957, No. 10 in 1966 and No. 8 this year. The Irish are 9-1 overall against Oklahoma, and this time they did it in front of a school record 86,031 in attendance.
The Sooners entered the contest against the Irish sporting a number of impressive stats under Bob Stoops. Oklahoma was 79-4 at Owen Field overall, 68-4 when ranked and 34-1 in non-conference games.
OU's average margin of victory at home has been 22 points or higher each of the past six seasons and 11 of 13 seasons under Stoops.
The Sooners previous four losses at home in the last 14 seasons under Stoops had come by a combined 18 points.
Notre Dame's 17-point victory over Oklahoma was the largest by a Sooner opponent at Owen Field since Nov. 15, 1997.
IRISH OUT IN FRONT
Notre Dame has scored first in eight of its nine games in 2012. Oklahoma is the only Irish opponent to buck that trend grabbing a 3-0 lead on Oct. 27.
Notre Dame played 323:54 this season before it finally found itself trailing on the scoreboard. The Irish trailed No. 17 Stanford, 10-3, at the 6:06 mark of the second quarter on Oct. 13.
The Irish were the last team in the FBS to not trail in a contest this season, and it was the first time since 1947 Notre Dame had not fallen behind during its first five games of a campaign.
NO TURNOVERS = VICTORIES
Notre Dame is 9-0 under Brian Kelly when playing an entire game without a turnover.
Notre Dame has won its last nine games, including Oct. 27 at Oklahoma, in which it failed to commit a turnover. The Irish have not lost a game without a turnover since Oct. 17, 2009 when USC upended Notre Dame, 34-27.
Notre Dame is 23-4 in its last 27 games in which it failed to commit a turnover.
TIDE TURNING IN IRISH FAVOR WITH TURNOVERS
Notre Dame has forced 18 turnovers in 2012. The Irish forced a grand total of 14 all of last season (over 13 games)-the fewest dating back to 1951.
Notre Dame is on pace to record 26 takeaways this season (including a bowl game). The 26 takeaways would be the most for an Irish defense since 2003 when Notre Dame forced 28.
Notre Dame force one Oklahoma turnover, an interception, on Oct. 27. The Irish failed to commit a single turnover en route to a 30-13 victory over the No. 8 Sooners.
Notre Dame has ended up on the wrong end of the turnover battle twice this season (Oct. 13 against No. 17 Stanford and Nov. 3 against Pittsburgh). The Irish committed three turnovers in each contest, but mananged to win both games.
Notre Dame outlasted Pittsburgh, 29-26, in triple overtime on Nov. 3 despite being minus-three in turnover margin. The Irish have not won a game with three or more turnovers without creating one of their own since Sept. 6, 1980 when Notre Dame defeated Purdue, 31-10.
Notre Dame has either won the turnover battle or drawn even in seven of its nine games in 2012. The Irish won the turnover battle on just three occasions in 2011 and not surprisingly went 3-0.
Notre Dame dominated the turnover battle in the 13-6 win over No. 18 Michigan on Sept. 22. The Irish forced a season-high six turnovers. It was the most turnovers forced by an Irish defense since Sept. 13, 2008 when Notre Dame forced six in another triumph over the Wolverines.
The Irish were plus-four in turnover margin against Michigan on Sept. 22. Notre Dame had not finished a game plus-four in turnover margin since Dec. 31, 2010, against Miami in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Brian Kelly understands the importance of turnover margin. He is a remarkable 118-12 when his team wins the turnover battle. In fact, Kelly is 15-1 at Notre Dame when the Irish win the turnover battle.
Notre Dame ranks tied for 19th in the FBS in turnover margin (+0.78), tied for 10th in interceptions (13), tied for 18th in fewest turnovers (11) and tied for 35th in turnovers forced (18) - a remarkable turnaround when compared to the first eight games of 2011. (See PDF for Chart.)
Notre Dame ranks tied for 20th in the FBS in fewest fumbles lost (five) and tied for 33rd in fewest interceptions (six).
Senior Cierre Wood was the first Notre Dame running back to lose a fumble in 2012 and it came in the ninth game (Nov. 3 against Pittsburgh). It happened to occur in the Pittsburgh end zone in the second overtime with the score tied at 23. The Irish quartet of running backs (Wood, senior Theo Riddick, sophomore George Atkinson III and sophomore Cam McDaniel) totaled 277 carries before losing a fumble.
Notre Dame went on the road against a pair of top-10 foes with a first-year starting quarterback making his first couple career road starts and failed to commit a single turnover (vs. Michigan State on Sept. 15 and vs. Oklahoma on Oct. 27).
The Irish had not gone consecutive road games without a turnover since 2004 (Tennessee and USC).
Prior to this season, Notre Dame had not played a turnover-free game against a top-10 foe on the road since Nov. 27, 2004 against USC.
Notre Dame finished 2011 with 29 turnovers. The 29 turnovers were the most by an Irish squad since 1999. Notre Dame committed at least three turnovers in six different games.
Notre Dame ranked 73rd or worse in each of the four FBS turnovers categories. The Irish were tied for 112th in interceptions thrown (17), tied for 73rd in fumbles lost (12), tied for 110th in total turnovers (29) and 118th in turnover margin (-1.15).