Nov. 22, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
8:12 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (93,607); Los Angeles, Calif.
ABC regional telecast with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analysis), Shelly Smith (sideline), Mark Loomis (producer) and Scott Johnson (director).
ISP Sports is the exclusive national rights-holder for Irish football radio broadcasts. ISP manages, produces and syndicates the Irish national football radio network. Notre Dame games will be broadcast by Don Criqui (play-by-play) and former Irish great Allen Pinkett (analysis). This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 159) and XM Satellite Radio (channel 117).
All Notre Dame home games may be heard in South Bend on Sunny 101.5 FM and NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM.
Notre Dame has played before a sellout in 77 of its last 88 games away from the friendly confines of Notre Dame Stadium. In fact, the Irish have played in front of sellout crowds in 228 of their previous 262 games, including 103 of their last 114 dating back to the 2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Notre Dame (und.com), USC (usctrojans.com)
Neither Notre Dame nor USC are ranked in either the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches' poll.
Live in-game statistics will be provided through CBS College Sports Gametracker via und.com.
This meeting will be the 82nd all-time meeting in NCAA college football's top intersectional rivalry. USC has captured each of the past eight meetings and 11 of 14 overall. Notre Dame did not lose to the Trojans over the previous 13 meetings (1983-95), including an 11-game winning streak. USC's eight-game winning streak is its longest in series history (more on the series history on pages 40-46).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR SATURDAY
Notre Dame will look for its third consecutive victory this weekend when it travels to the West Coast to face rival USC. With a victory, the Irish would register their first three-game winning streak to end the regular season since 2005 and only the 10th such streak in the last 40 years. Brian Kelly will also look to become the first Irish head coach since Lou Holtz to knock off the Trojans in their first meeting.
ON THIS DATE
Notre Dame has played 15 previous games in its history on Nov. 27. The Irish are 6-7-2 (.467) all-time on this date. The Irish were ranked in the top 25 entering six of those contests. Notre Dame and USC have met five different times on this date and the Trojans have taken three of the five meetings.
Nov. 27, 1943: Angelo Bertelli is handed a telegram in boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina informing him that he had won the Heisman Trophy for 1943.
Nov. 27, 1985: Notre Dame names Lou Holtz as its 25th coach.
Junior WR Michael Floyd celebrates his 21st birthday.
NOTRE DAME IN NOVEMBER
The Irish are 311-121-27 (.707) all-time in November.
Notre Dame is 145-44-7 (.758) in November home games.
The Irish are 114-65-16 (.626) in road games during November.
Notre Dame is 52-12-4 (.794) in November neutral games.
The Irish are 22-16-2 (.575) against USC all-time in the month of November.
Notre Dame is 11-13-2 (.462) on the road against USC in the month of November.
The following players extended active starting streaks last week: senior OG Chris Stewart 25, senior S Harrison Smith 23, junior DE Kapron Lewis-Moore 20, sophomore ILB Manti Te'o 20, senior DB Gary Gray 18, junior DE Ethan Johnson 14, senior DB Darrin Walls and OG Trevor Robinson 14.
HOW DO THEY STACK UP? Average weight of the offensive and defensive lines: Notre Dame OL 306.8 lbs. vs. USC DL 291.3 lbs. Notre Dame DL 282.7 lbs. vs. USC OL 294.0 lbs.
Average height of the receivers and the secondaries: Notre Dame WR/TE 6' 2 3/4" vs. USC DB 5' 11 3/4" Notre Dame DB 6' 0 3/4" vs. USC WR/TE 6' 2"
NOTRE DAME IN REGULAR SEASON FINALES
The Irish are 63-44-12 (.580) all-time in regular season finales (excludes 1887, 1889 seasons when Notre Dame played just one game).
Notre Dame is 22-22-4 (.500) all-time against USC in regular season finales.
The Irish are 39-37-10 (.512) all-time on the road in regular season finales.
Notre Dame is 16-21-4 (.439) all-time against USC on the road in regular season finales.
FIRST-YEAR NOTRE DAME HEAD COACHES AGAINST USC
Notre Dame has had 15 different head coaches, including current head coach Brian Kelly, walk the sidelines in the all-time series with USC.
Irish first-year head coaches are 7-7 in their first meeting with USC. Lou Holtz is the last first-year head coach to upend the Trojans in their first meeting. Holtz's 1986 squad finished up the season with a thrilling, come-from-behind 38-37 victory. The Irish trailed 37-20 with just under 12 minutes left in the contest.
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).
A WIN THIS WEEK ...
Improves Notre Dame to 7-5 for the first time since 1997.
Gives the Irish a three-game winning streak for the second time this season.
Gives Notre Dame a three-game winning streak to end the regular season for the first time since 2005 (only the 10th time in the last 40 years).
Gives the Irish their first victory over USC since Oct. 20, 2001.
Gives Notre Dame its first victory over the Trojans in the LA Coliseum since Nov. 25, 2000.
Snaps USC's eight-game winning streak overall in the all-time series.
Snaps USC's four-game winning streak in the LA Coliseum.
Improves Notre Dame to 43-34-5 (.555) in the all-time series with the Trojans.
Improves Notre Dame to 18-24-1 (.430) in the all-time series with USC in Los Angeles.
Improves an unranked Notre Dame squad to 12-10-1 (.543) all-time against USC.
Improves an unranked Notre Dame squad to 6-6-1 (.500) all-time against the Trojans in Los Angeles.
Improves an unranked Notre Dame squad to 7-2-0 (.778) all-time against an unranked USC team.
Improves an unranked Notre Dame squad to 3-1-0 (.750) all-time against an unranked Trojans team in Los Angeles.
Improves Notre Dame to 83-45-6 (.642) all-time against the Pac-10.
Improves Notre Dame to 33-26-5 (.555) all-time against the Pac-10 on the road.
Improves Notre Dame to 37-28-5 (.564) all-time against the Pac-10 outside of South Bend, Ind. (includes neutral site contests).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record to 844-295-42 (.732).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record on the road to 279-143-23 (.653).
Improves Notre Dame's all-time record to 387-179-29 (.675) outside of South Bend, Ind. (includes neutral site contests).
Improves Kelly's record to 178-62-2 (.740) overall, 60-27 (.690) at the FBS level and 40-11 (.784) over the last four seasons.
Makes Kelly the first Irish head coach to knock off USC in his inaugural season since Lou Holtz on Nov. 29, 1986.
A LOSS THIS WEEK ...
Drops Notre Dame to 6-6 for the third consecutive season.
Extends USC's overall winning streak in the all-time series to nine games.
Extends USC's home winning streak in the all-time series to five games.
Drops Notre Dame to 42-35-5 (.543) in the all-time series with the Trojans.
Drops Notre Dame to 17-25-1 (.407) in the all-time series with USC in Los Angeles.
Drops an unranked Notre Dame squad to 11-11-1 (.500) all-time against USC.
Drops an unranked Notre Dame squad to 5-7-1 (.423) all-time against the Trojans in Los Angeles.
Drops an unranked Notre Dame squad to 6-3-0 (.667) all-time against an unranked USC team.
Drops an unranked Notre Dame squad to 2-2-0 (.500) all-time against an unranked Trojans team in Los Angeles.
Drops Notre Dame to 82-46-6 (.634) all-time against the Pac-10.
Drops Notre Dame to 32-27-5 (.539) all-time against the Pac-10 on the road.
Drops Notre Dame to 36-29-5 (.550) all-time against the Pac-10 outside of South Bend, Ind. (includes neutral site contests).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record to 843-296-42 (.732).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record on the road to 278-144-23 (.651).
Drops Notre Dame's all-time record to 386-180-29 (.673) outside of South Bend, Ind. (includes neutral site contests).
Drops Kelly's record to 177-63-2 (.736) overall, 59-28 (.678) at the FBS level and 39-12 (.765) over the last four seasons.
THE 2010 CAPTAINS
Notre 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. The 2010 captains have been as follows:
Purdue: Michael Floyd, Darrin Walls Michigan: Armando Allen Jr., Ethan Johnson Michigan State: Kyle Rudolph, Ian Williams Stanford: Chris Stewart, Ian Williams Boston College: Armando Allen Jr., Harrison Smith Pittsburgh: Kerry Neal, Trevor Robinson Western Michigan: Dayne Crist, Gary Gray Navy: Robert Blanton, Zack Martin Tulsa: Michael Floyd, Manti Te'o Utah: Michael Floyd, Harrison Smith Army: Michael Floyd, Harrison Smith
Junior WR Michael Floyd leads all Irish players with four selections. Senior S Harrison Smith has three selections, while senior RB Armando Allen Jr. and senior NG Ian Williams have been chosen on two separate occasions.
NOTRE DAME'S MASH UNIT
The Irish have been beset by injuries in 2010. Notre Dame has undergone season-ending injuries to senior C Dan Wenger (before the season), junior QB Dayne Crist following the Tulsa game, junior TE Kyle Rudolph following the Pittsburgh game, senior RB Armando Allen Jr. following the Navy game, senior NG Ian Williams following the Navy game and possibly sophomore WR Theo Riddick following the Western Michigan game. The Irish also lost the services of junior WR Michael Floyd (vs. Navy), freshman WR TJ Jones (vs. Utah), junior RB Jonas Gray (vs. Boston College, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Western Michigan, vs. Navy and vs. Tulsa), sophomore ILB Carlo Calabrese (vs. Tulsa, vs. Utah), senior OT Taylor Dever (at Boston College and vs. Pittsburgh) and junior S Jamoris Slaughter (vs. Michigan and Navy). Notre Dame even lost its starting short snapper for the remainder of the season when senior Bill Flavin suffered a broken ankle against Tulsa.
It has been 44 years since Notre Dame lost both its No. 1 quarterback and No. 1 running back to an injury prior to the end of the regular season. The 2010 duo of Crist and Allen Jr. are the first since 1966, when quarterback Terry Hanratty and running back Nick Eddy were sidelined from playing in the season finale at USC. The Irish still won 51-0 over the Trojans to capture the national title. While the '66 Notre Dame squad had the luxury of missing the tandem for just one game, the '10 Irish squad will play the final four games without Crist and Allen Jr.
On the offensive side of the ball against Utah alone, Notre Dame played without Allen Jr., Crist, freshman WR TJ Jones, Riddick, Rudolph and Wenger.
Riddick (38 rec., 406 yards, 3 TD), Rudolph (28 rec., 328 yards, 3 TD), Jones (22 rec., 287 yards, 3 TD) and Allen (17 rec., 138 yards) entered the game against the Utes as four of the top five receivers for the Irish on the year. They had combined for 105 receptions, 1,159 yards and nine touchdowns.
Rudolph has missed five games, Riddick has missed four games, Jones has missed one game and Allen has missed three complete games and the majority of a fourth.
Allen underwent season-ending surgery on a hip flexor. He leads the Irish in rushing with 514 yards on 107 carries and two touchdowns.
Crist, who was lost for the season with a torn patella tendon just seven plays into the game against Tulsa, had thrown for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns prior to the injury.
In all, Notre Dame's starting offense has lost a total of 18 games to injury this season (does not include Wenger).
TAILS IT IS
Notre Dame has opened each of its 11 games this season with the football. The Irish won the coin toss and elected to receive against Purdue, Michigan State, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Navy, Utah and Army. Notre Dame lost the coin toss against Michigan, Boston College, Western Michigan and Tulsa, but each opponent deferred to the second half.
ONLY THE BIG BOYS
Notre Dame is one of just four NCAA FBS programs to have not faced a non-FBS opponent since the current setup was established in 1978. The three other remaining schools that have yet to play a non-FBS opponent are USC, UCLA and Washington.
2010 NOTRE DAME OPPONENT UPDATE
According to the NCAA, only one FBS school (Texas A&M) has played a tougher schedule based on opposition win-loss percentage. Notre Dame's 2010 opponents have a combined record of 71-39 (.645). The Irish currently rank second according to the NCAA's toughest schedule standings. NCAA ratings includes opponent's record against only FBS schools and excludes result in meeting with the Irish.
Since 1977, the NCAA has produced a list of toughest schedules based on the record of FBS opponents when not playing the team in question (bowl games are not included). In those 32 years, Notre Dame's schedule (in 1978, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1995) has been rated as the most difficult in the country five times, three other times finished third (1986, 1999 and 2003) and placed fourth twice (1979 and 1990).
Notre Dame has played three opponents that rank in this week's AP top 25, including No. 7 Stanford, No. 11 Michigan State and No. 25 Utah. The Irish have also faced three other teams receiving votes in this week's AP poll.
Notre Dame was one of only two Football Bowl Subdivision schools to have played teams from a BCS conference in each of the first six weeks (LSU was the other).
The Irish hope to see continued dividends from playing one of the more difficult football schedules in the country to date. Notre Dame's past opposition is rated second nationally by NCAA in degree of difficulty with a combined 71-39 record for a .645 percentage (rating includes opponent's record against only FBS schools and excludes result in meeting with the Irish). The five teams that have beaten Notre Dame to date are a combined 43-12 - with No. 11 Michigan State 10-1 (only loss coming on the road against No. 13 Iowa), No. 7 Stanford 10-1 (only loss coming on the road against unbeaten and top-ranked Oregon), Michigan (7-4), Navy (8-3) and Tulsa (8-3).
Nine Notre Dame opponents are currently eligible for a bowl game. No other school in the Football Bowl Subdivision has played more bowl-eligible teams than the Irish. Western Michigan could become bowl eligible with a win at Bowling Green. Purdue and USC are the only teams on Notre Dame's schedule that are not eligible to play in a bowl game.
NOTRE DAME AND TOP-RANKED FOES
The Irish have registered 133 victories in school history over opponents ranked in the top 20 of the AP poll, including 23 when Notre Dame entered the game unranked as they did against No. 15 Utah. Nine of those 23 victories when the Irish were unranked have occurred at Notre Dame Stadium. Prior to Utah, Notre Dame's last victory over a top 20 opponent when unranked came on Nov. 6, 2004 at No. 7 Tennessee (17-13). The last victory for the Irish over a top 20 opponent when unranked at home came on Sept. 11, 2004 against No. 8 Michigan (28-20).
Notre Dame's margin of victory (25 points) over No. 15 Utah was the largest in a game against an AP top 20 opponent since Oct. 12, 1996 against Washington. Under the direction of head coach Lou Holtz, the Irish defeated the No. 16 Huskies, 54-20.
Notre Dame's victory was the program's 21st in school history over an AP top 20 foe by 25 or more points.
The three points allowed by Notre Dame against No. 15 Utah were the fewest allowed by the Irish against an AP top 20 foe since Jan. 1, 1993. Notre Dame defeated No. 4 Texas A&M, 28-3, in the Cotton Bowl.
The three points allowed by the Irish marked the 34th time in school history that the Notre Dame held a top 20 opponent to seven points or less and the 20th time to three points or less.
Last Saturday's victory over No. 15 Utah was the highest ranked opponent that Notre Dame has defeated since Sept. 10, 2005 when the Irish upended No. 3 Michigan, 17-10.
Notre Dame now owns an all-time record of 133-124-10 (.517) against teams ranked in the top 20 of the AP poll, including a 60-52-3 (.535) mark in Notre Dame Stadium.
IRISH SHORT ON LAUNDRY
Notre Dame was called for one penalty in the loss to Navy. It marked the third time this season that the Irish were whistled for two penalties or less. Notre Dame was called for two penalties in victories over Boston College (Oct. 2) and Purdue (Sept. 4). The Irish had not completed a game with one penalty since Nov. 26, 2005 (a 38-31 victory at Stanford). Notre Dame has not gone a complete game without a penalty since Nov. 15, 1997 at LSU.
Notre Dame ranks tied for 14th in the FBS in penalties per game (4.91) and tied for 31st in penalty yards per game (45.55). The Irish ranked 69th and 73rd, respectively, in the same categories in 2009.
WINNING FORMULA PRETTY SIMPLE FOR IRISH
Notre Dame has outrushed five of its 11 opponents this season. The Irish are 5-0 in those contests (Purdue, Boston College, Western Michigan, Utah and Army). Notre Dame owns a 25-game winning streak when outrushing its opponent. The Irish have not lost a game when outrushing their foe since Dec. 28, 2004 when Notre Dame lost to Oregon State, 38-21, in the Insight Bowl. The Irish registered 59 yards on the ground, while the Beavers totaled 20.
Since 1998, Notre Dame is 37-4 when it runs the ball for 200 yards, 54-11 when it runs the ball for 150 yards and 63-19 when it registers 38 or more carries in a game.
Notre Dame's 38 carries against Army were a season-high and most since 48 rushes against Washington State on Oct. 31, 2009.
NO TURNOVERS = VICTORY (USUALLY)
Notre Dame is 56-4-1 since 1985 when it does not commit a turnover. The Irish had an amazing 41-game unbeaten streak (40-0-1) in games without a turnover snapped in 2004 against USC. Prior to that game, the last time a Notre Dame team lost a game without committing a turnover was a 34-30 loss at Penn State on Nov. 12, 1983.
The Irish did not commit a turnover in their 28-3 rout of No. 15 Utah. It was the second turnover-free contest of the season. Notre Dame failed to commit a turnover against Pittsburgh earlier in the year as well. It was the first turnover-free contest for the Irish in 10 games, dating back to the 40-14 victory against Washington State on Oct. 31, 2009.
Two of Notre Dame's six victories in 2009 were keynoted by errorless outings in the turnover department as the Irish collected wins over Nevada (35-0) and Boston College (20-16) while not losing the ball via a turnover.
NOTRE DAME OFFENSE, DEFENSE QUARTER BY QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Notre Dame amassed 51 yards rushing in the first quarter against Army. The 51 yards on the ground in the opening quarter were the most by the Irish in a first quarter since Oct. 2 at Boston College when Notre Dame totaled 60 in the opening 15 minutes.
Notre Dame totaled 262 yards (169 in the air and 93 on the ground) before halftime versus the Black Knights. The 262 yards were the most in a first half this season for the Irish and second-most in any half this year (only bested by the 297 total from the second half against Michigan).
Army rushed for 61 yards on 14 carries in the opening quarter against Notre Dame, but managed just 26 yards on 11 carries in the second quarter. The Black Knights then rushed for only 48 yards on 18 carries in the entire second half.
Notre Dame established a number of new quarter lows in the triumph over Army. The 27 pass yards by the Black Knights in the first quarter were the fewest in the air in the opening quarter by an Irish foe. The zero passing yards and 26 total yards allowed in the second quarter were the fewest in both categories in any second quarter this year. The 12 yards passing in the third quarter and zero yards passing in the fourth quarter were the fewest in any third and fourth quarter this season. The 23 total yards in the fourth quarter was the fewest in any final quarter this year.
Notre Dame totaled just nine total yards (six rushing, three passing) in the first quarter against Utah. The six yards rushing in the opening quarter were the second-fewest in any first quarter this season and sixth-fewest any quarter this season. The three yards passing and nine total yards in the first quarter were both the fewest in any quarter this year, but the Irish led 7-3 entering the second quarter in large part to junior CB Robert Blanton's blocked punt for touchdown.
Notre Dame managed just 256 total yards in the contest versus the Utes, the fewest in a victory since Oct. 6, 2007 when the Irish totaled 140 yards in a 20-6 victory over UCLA. The 129 yards passing were the fewest in a victory since Nov. 15, 2008 when Notre Dame threw for just 110 yards in a 27-21 triumph over Navy.
Notre Dame limited Utah to minus-three yards rushing in the fourth quarter and 16 yards on the ground in the second-half of its 28-3 victory over the Utes. In fact, the Irish allowed 36 yards on the ground over the game's final three quarters after Utah rushed for 35 yards in the opening quarter.
Notre Dame rushed for minus-four yards on 10 carries in the opening half against Western Michigan (the fewest total of any half this season). The Irish responded with a dominant ground attack after halftime. Notre Dame galloped for 153 yards on 24 carries in the second half, which was the most yards rushing in any half this season.
The Irish offense single-game highs by quarters are as follows: rushing (86, 4th quarter vs. Western Michigan), passing (171, 4th quarter vs. Stanford) and total yards (180, 4th quarter vs. Stanford).
The Notre Dame defense single-game lows by quarters are as follows: rushing (minus-16, 3rd quarter at Boston College), passing (0, 2nd and 4th quarter vs. Army and vs. Navy) and total yards (1, 3rd quarter at Boston College).
The Irish have outgained seven of their 11 opponents in the fourth quarter.
Here is a interesting look at quarter-by-quarter breakdown of rushing, passing and total yards allowed and gained.
RED ZONE REPORT
The Irish have capitalized on 31 of their 38 trips inside the red zone this season. Notre Dame has come away with seven rushing touchdowns, 15 passing touchdowns and nine field goals from David Ruffer, while its opponents have 13 field goals in addition to the 14 touchdowns (three passing and 11 rushing). The red zone chances include one each for the Irish and Michigan State in overtime.
KELLY'S WINNING WAYS
Notre Dame first-year head coach Brian Kelly ranks as the seventh most successful active NCAA FBS coach in victories and eighth in winning percentage. Here is a look at the top 10 winningest active coaches in the FBS (min. five years completed as FBS head coach, record at four-year colleges only):
DEFENSE AWFULLY STINGY AS OF LATE
Notre Dame has registered 11 consecutive quarters without surrendering a touchdown. After yielding a touchdown on Tulsa's first possession on Oct. 30, the Irish allowed only two field goals to the Golden Hurricane and one three-pointer apiece to Utah and Army. The last time an Irish defense allowed one touchdown over a three-game stretch was during the 1988 national title season against Navy (22-7), Rice (54-11) and Penn State (21-3).
Notre Dame's defense has not surrendered an offensive touchdown in 184 plays. The stretch has snapped 170 minutes and 12 seconds on the game clock.
Notre Dame has not gone 11 consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown since a three-game stretch during the 1981 season (Oct. 31 vs. Navy, Nov. 7 vs. Georgia Tech and Nov. 14 vs. Air Force). In fact, an Irish defense has not posted a longer span without allowing a touchdown since 1980. Notre Dame went a remarkable 23 quarters, spanning six games, without allowing a single touchdown (Oct. 18 vs. Army, Oct. 24 vs. Arizona, Nov. 11 vs. Navy, Nov. 8 vs. Georgia Tech, Nov. 15 vs. Alabama and Nov. 22 vs. Air Force).
DEFENSE FINALLY ON THE BOARD
Notre Dame, specifically senior DB Darrin Walls, registered its first defensive touchdown of the season last week against Army. Walls returned an interception 42 yards for a score to five the Irish their first defensive touchdown since Sept. 27, 2008 against Purdue (Robert Blanton had a 47-yard interception return for a TD versus the Boilermakers). Notre Dame had failed to record a defensive touchdown in the previous 31 games.
IRISH DEFENSE DOMINATES FOR SECOND STRAIGHT GAME
In the last three contests, the Irish defense faced teams that were averaging 38 points (Tulsa), 41 (Utah) and 31 (Army) per game, yet yielded only one touchdown on offense, combined, to that trio. Such a three-game stretch has not occurred at Notre Dame since 1988.
Notre Dame has now allowed just a pair of field goals (both on the opposition's opening drive) over the last two weeks against No. 15 Utah and Army. Notre Dame has surrendered just one offensive touchdown over its last three games.
The Irish had not gone consecutive games without allowing a touchdown since Nov. 5 (Rice) and Nov. 19 (Penn State) of the 1988 season.
Army marched 78 yards on 17 plays (totaled 88 yards of total offense when you include penalty) on its opening drive of the game. The Black Knights went three-and-out on their next three drives. In fact, Army's longest drive in terms of yards over its final 11 drives of the game was 24 yards. The Irish limited the Black Knights to eight drives of less than 10 yards following the opening drive of the game.
Army ran 34 offensive plays following its opening drive of the game and only two plays occurred inside Notre Dame territory. The deepest the Black Knights drove into Irish territory following the opening drive was the 43-yard line. Army did not finish a drive inside Irish territory after its first drive of the game.
Notre Dame held Army without a touchdown for the first time in 2010. It was the first time the Black Knights failed to score a touchdown since Dec. 12, 2009 against Navy.
Army came into today's game averaging 272.8 yards per game rushing, which ranked eighth in the FBS, and 4.7 yards per carry. The Irish limited the Black Knights to 135 yards rushing and only 3.1 per rush.
The 135 yards on the ground for Army tonight was its fewest this season and fewest since the Black Knights managed just 110 against Navy on Dec. 12, 2009. Army's previous low total for rush yards was 233 yards.
Army managed just 174 total yards, which was also a season-low for the Black Knights. Army's previous low total for offensive yards was 308 yards against Hawai'i on Sept. 11.
The 174 total yards by the Black Knights is the fewest by an Irish opponent since Oct. 25, 2008 when Notre Dame limited Washington to 124 total yards.
The Irish held Army to just eight first downs, including three after the Black Knights opening drive of the game. The eight first downs by a Notre Dame foe are the fewest since Maryland managed only eight first downs on Aug. 31, 2002. In fact, an Irish defense has not limited an opponent to fewer first downs since Rutgers registered six first downs on Nov. 23, 1996.
Army amassed 61 yards rushing (14 carries) on its opening drive of the contest (which resulted in a field goal), but the Irish limited the Black Knights to just 26 yards on the ground the rest of the first half (11 carries). In fact, Army totaled 74 yards (29 carries) on the ground the rest of the game following the opening drive.
Army's opening drive gained 88 yards on 17 plays. The Black Knights managed only 26 yards on their final 11 plays of the half. In fact, Army managed just 86 total yards (34 plays) the rest of the game following the opening drive.
Army totaled just 39 yards passing. The 39 yards in the air were the fewest by an Irish foe since Oct. 24, 1998 against the Black Knights.
DEFENSE CARRIES IRISH TO VICTORY
Notre Dame limited No. 15 Utah well below almost all of its season averages in numerous offense categories. The Utes came into the contest averaging 175.89 yards on the ground (36th in the FBS), 245.89 yards in the air (41st in the FBS) and 421.78 yards of total offense (30th in the FBS). Utah was ranked among the top 20 in the FBS in scoring offense (9th, 41.00) and passing efficiency offense (12th, 158.65). The Utes had eclipsed 56 points in four of their first nine games in 2010, including 68 at Iowa State. Here is a comparison between Utah's current season averages and its totals from the game against Notre Dame.
Notre Dame held No. 15 Utah without an offensive touchdown and three points. The Utes, who kicked a field goal on their opening drive of the game, were held scoreless over their final 11 drives and 60 plays. Utah had not been held to three points or less since Sept. 22, 2007 -- a span of 45 games.
Notre Dame did not allow the Utes to register a drive of longer than 24 yards over their first nine drives of the game. Utah did drive 65 and 61 yards on back-to-back drives in the third and fourth quarter, but the Utes needed 12 plays for each drive and both ended when the Irish stopped Utah on fourth down. In all, Utah was stifled to nine drives of less than 24 yards, including eight of 20 yards or less.
Utah has eclipsed 400 yards of total offense in seven of its 10 games this season, including 648 against Colorado State, 593 at Iowa State and 500 versus San Diego State. Notre Dame limited the Utes to 265 total yards, 194 in the air and 71 on the ground. The 265 total yards are the second-fewest allowed by an Irish opponent this season (was the fewest until Notre Dame held Army to 174 yards of total offense on Nov. 20). The 71 rushing yards are the third-fewest for an Irish opponent on the season (season-low total was five yards at Boston College). The 194 yards in the air are the third-fewest by a Notre Dame foe this season (season-low total is 39 yards passing yards vs. Army).
The Irish defense limited the Utah offense to 118 total yards (56 on the ground and 62 in the air) in the first half.
Notre Dame finished the game with eight quarterback hurries, the most for the Irish in any home game this season (stat is tracked in Notre Dame home games only). The previous single-game high was five quarterback hurries on Oct. 16, 2010, against Western Michigan. The Irish registered seven quarterback hurries, an interception and two pass breakups in the opening half alone.
NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE MAKING SERIOUS STRIDES
Notre Dame's run defense was victimized over its first three games of 2010 against Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State. The trio averaged 197.7 yards per game and 5.1 yards per rush, but the Irish improved drastically over their four games against Stanford, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Western Michigan. Notre Dame limited the quartet to 318 total yards on the ground or 79.5 rushing yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry.
Notre Dame limited Boston College, Pittsburgh and Western Michigan to five, 110 and 37 yards on the ground respectively. It was the fewest rushing yards allowed by an Irish defense over a three-game span since surrendering only 97 yards on the ground in three consecutive games during the 1982 season (Sept. 25 vs. Purdue, 11; Oct. 2 vs. Michigan State, 19; Oct. 9 vs. Miami, Fla., 67).
Notre Dame has held three opponents this season, Boston College (five yards), Western Michigan (37 yards) and Utah (71 yards), to under 100 yards on the ground. The Irish have not held more than three opponents under 100 yards rushing in a game since the 2006 season when Notre Dame kept five opponents under the 100-yard rushing barrier, including three in back-to-back-to-back weeks.
Notre Dame has limited Purdue, Stanford, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Western Michigan, Utah and Army on the ground to significant worse numbers than those teams average against everyone else on the 2010 schedule.
Notre Dame actually limited Purdue, Michigan State, Stanford, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Western Michigan, Utah and Army to 103.6 yards per game and 3.1 yards per rush. The Black Knights (8th), Cardinal (18th), Boilermakers (40th), Spartans (41st) and Utes (45th) each average over 160 yards rushing per game and rank among the top 45 rushing offenses in the FBS.
Pittsburgh entered the game with the Irish ranked 52nd in the FBS in rushing yards per game (169.8). Pittsburgh also averaged 5.0 yards per rush. Ray Graham was ranked third in the FBS in yards per game at 164.0. Notre Dame limited the Panthers to a total of 110 yards on 31 carries, just 3.5 per carry. Graham collected only 44 yards on eight carries. Dion Lewis, who ran for 1,799 yards as a freshman in 2009, including 154 on 21 carries against the Irish, posted 64 yards on 13 rushes in this year's meeting.
The Irish held the Eagles to five yards rushing on 23 carries (0.2 yards per rush). It was the fewest yards rushing allowed by Notre Dame since the Irish held Stanford to minus-11 yards on the ground on Nov. 26, 2005. In fact, it was the fewest yards rushing allowed by Notre Dame on the road since the same game. It was also the third fewest yards rushing by an Irish foe since the start of the 1996 season. Notre Dame limited Vanderbilt (Sept. 5) and Rutgers (Nov. 23) to two yards and minus-six yards rushing, respectively, that year.
IRISH DEFENSE REAPING IMMEDIATE REWARDS FROM NEW SYSTEM
Notre Dame is allowing 10.1 yards per completion this year, the fewest yards allowed since the 1993 defense allowed only 9.5 yards per completion.
Notre Dame registered only 20.0 sacks in the entire 2009 season, which ranked 89th in the FBS.
The Irish have already recorded 26.0 sacks over their first 11 games of 2010, which ranks tied for 33rd in the FBS. Notre Dame is on pace for 28.0 sacks this season (based on a 12-game regular season). It would be the most sacks for an Irish defense since 2006 when Notre Dame had 31.0 on the year. The Irish have also faced both Army and Navy, whom each rank among the top 10 in the FBS in fewest sacks allowed in large part to their triple option offenses.
Sacks became official by the NCAA prior to the 1982 season. Here are Notre Dame's top 10 single-season sack totals and where the 2010 defense might project.
Utah entered its matchup with Notre Dame on Nov. 13 having allowed just four sacks over its first nine games of the season. The Irish registered two sacks against the Utes.
The Irish tied their season-best total of five sacks in a game against Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane entered the contest having allowed only nine sacks in the previous seven games.
Notre Dame has registered at least 4.0 sacks in five of its 11 games in 2010. The Irish have not posted five games with 4.0 or more sacks in the same season since 2002. In fact, a Notre Dame defense has not had more 4.0+ sack games in a single season since 1996 when the Irish had six.
Notre Dame sacked Boston College five times in its 31-13 victory on Oct. 2. It was the most sacks by the Irish since they picked up 5.0 against Washington State on Oct. 31, 2009. In fact, a Notre Dame defense has not had more sacks in a single game season since Dec. 24, 2008 when the Irish had eight against Hawai'i.
Notre Dame registered 4.0 sacks in the season-opening victory over Purdue. The 4.0 sacks ranked eighth-best by an NCAA FBS school in the opening week. In fact, only three of the seven schools that finished with more sacks than Notre Dame in its opener faced an FBS opponent and only two played a BCS conference foe.
Notre Dame blanked Boston College in the second half.
Notre Dame limited Boston College to 13 first downs in the game and only two first downs on the ground. It was the fewest rushing first downs by an Irish opponent since UCLA managed only two on Oct. 26, 2006. In fact, a Notre Dame defense has not allowed fewer rushing first downs in a single game since Vanderbilt registered just one rushing first down on Sept. 5, 1996.
The Irish limited Boston College to minus-21 yards rushing in the second half.
Boston College had 17 possessions in the game and 11 went for 10 yards or less, including six drives for five yards or less.
Notre Dame forced the Eagles into nine drives that were three plays and out. The Irish also forced Boston College into 11 punts. Notre Dame has not forced an opponent into as many punts since Rutgers punted 11 times on Nov. 23, 1996. In fact, the Irish have not forced an opponent into more punts since Oct. 20, 1973 against Army when the Cadets punted 12 times in a 62-3 Notre Dame rout.
Notre Dame registered 5.0 sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss. The 11.0 tackles for loss were the most by Notre Dame since Nov. 19, 2005 when the Irish had 12.0 against Syracuse.
Notre Dame limited Boston College to a total of one yard on 14 plays in the third quarter.
Boston College finished the game with 270 total yards, 93 yards came on the Eagles final two drives which predominantly came against the Irish second-team defense. The Eagles averaged 3.9 yards per play for the game. Ironically, it was the fewest yards per play allowed by Notre Dame since posting the same exact number in its last trip to Boston College. The Irish defense has not posted a better yard per play average since Washington managed only 2.6 yards against the Irish on Oct. 25, 2008.
If you take away the 58-yard touchdown pass play, Boston College managed 212 yards on its other 69 plays or 3.1 yards per play.
The 13 points allowed by the Irish were the fewest against Boston College since 1995 when Notre Dame was victorious 20-10.
Notre Dame registered 4.0 sacks against Michigan State, the second time in the first three games that the Irish recorded 4.0 or more sacks. Notre Dame also picked up 8.0 tackles for loss against the Spartans. It was the highest single-game total for the Irish against Michigan State since they registered 9.0 in the 2005 meeting. Notre Dame also forced the Spartans into four three-and-outs.
The Irish won the battle on third down in each of their first three contests against Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State. Notre Dame limited the Spartans to 6 of 17 on third down, including denying Michigan State on each of its final five third-down plays. Even more impressive, the Spartans average length on its 17 third down plays was nine yards.
The Irish limited their first three opponents (Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State) to just 28% on third down (14 for 50). In fact, Notre Dame's third down defense held the Spartans and Wolverines to a combined 27% (9 of 23).
Notre Dame limited Purdue's offense to only 10 points and allowed just 3.2 yards per carry. The Irish forced Purdue into a trio of three-and-outs. The Boilermakers completed 31 passes on the afternoon, but the longest went for just 16 yards. Purdue averaged just 5.2 yards passing per attempt and 7.1 yards per completion. Notre Dame also limited the Boilermakers to 4.4 yards of total offense (322 yards on 74 plays) per play.
Notre Dame held Purdue to three points in the opening half. It was the fewest points allowed by the Irish against Purdue in a half since the opening 30 minutes of the 2005 contest (Notre Dame led 28-0 at intermission). The 23 points by Notre Dame were the fewest by the winning team in the Irish-Boilermaker series since 2003 when Notre Dame beat Purdue, 20-14.
Purdue finished with 12 points, which is the fewest for the Boilermakers in the series with Notre Dame since 1996 when the Irish blanked Purdue, 35-0.
TE'O PACKS A HAWAIIAN PUNCH
Notre Dame sophomore LB Manti Te'o leads the Irish in total tackles (118), tackles on running plays (83), tackles on passing plays (32), solo tackles (60) and assisted tackles (58). He also ranks second on the team in tackles for loss (8.5). Te'o has already been named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and Dick Butkus Award.
Te'o could become the first Notre Dame defender to eclipse 100 total tackles and lead the team in tackles for loss since Melvin Dansby in 1997. He also could become the first Irish defender to lead the team in total tackles and tackles for loss since Brandon Hoyte in 2005.
Te'o ranks 13th in the FBS in tackles per game (10.73), 13th in total tackles (118), tied for 16th in assisted tackles (58) and tied for 22nd in solo stops (60).
Te'o has registered 10 or more tackles in six of the 11 games this season. He has only failed to reach double digits in tackles in five games this season (vs. Purdue in the season opener, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, Utah and Army). Te'o finished with nine tackles against the Black Knights, nine tackles against the Boilermakers, nine tackles against the Utes and eight versus the Golden Hurricane. He has recorded 10 or more tackles in a game eight times over his brief career.
Te'o established a career-high in tackles with 21 against Stanford. He was the first player in the FBS this season to eclipse the 20-tackle barrier. In fact, no player in the FBS has had more tackles in one game against a BCS conference foe since Durell Mapp of North Carolina had 23 stops against North Carolina State on Nov. 10, 2007. It was the most tackles by a sophomore against a BCS opponent since Austin Thomas of Indiana had 22 against Michigan State on Oct. 13, 2007 before Luke Kuechly totaled 21 on Nov. 13, 2010 against Duke.
It was the most tackles by a Notre Dame player since Chinedum Ndukwe had 22 in a victory over Air Force on Nov. 11, 2006. Te'o's 21 tackles against Stanford not only rank as the sixth-most in single-game school history, but also the second-most ever by an Irish sophomore. Bob Crable was a sophomore when he tied the school record with 26 stops against Clemson on Nov. 17, 1979. His previous career-high for tackles in a game was 13 set earlier this year against Michigan.
With one game remaining in the 2010 regular season, Te'o could be headed towards one of the best tackle seasons in Irish history. He is on pace for 129 total tackles, which would rank just outside the top 10 all-time and the most since Tony Furjanic had 147 in 1985. The total would also rank as the third most ever by a Notre Dame sophomore. Crable's school record total of 187 in 1979 and Furjanic's total of 142 in 1983 came during each of their second year in an Irish uniform.
Te'o has already accounted for 181 career tackles in just 23 games in an Irish uniform, good for an average of 7.9 tackles per game.
Since becoming a full-time starter in the fifth game of the 2009 season, Te'o has started 20 consecutive games. In that time, he has totaled 176 tackles (8.8 tackles per game).
Te'o registered 63 tackles in 2009, the third most tackles ever by a Notre Dame freshman. The only two players to register more tackles in their rookie campaign were All-Americans Bob Golic (82, 1975) and Ross Browner (68, 1973).
JOHNSON, FLEMING ENJOYING THEIR SACK LUNCHES
Notre Dame junior LB Darius Fleming (6.0, 11.5) and junior DE Ethan Johnson (5.0, 12.5) have combined for 11.0 sacks this season and 24.0 for their career.
The duo rank tied for 73rd and tied for 89th, respectively, in the FBS in sacks.
Fleming and Johnson are each gaining ground on both the season and career sack totals at Notre Dame. Sacks did not become an officially recognized statistics until 1982.
ROBERT "BIG PLAY" BLANTON
Junior DB Robert Blanton has played in 11 games in 2010 and has only started one contest, but it has not deterred him from making a number of big plays.
Blanton blocked a punt and returned it six yards for a touchdown against Utah on Nov. 13. He was the first Irish player to block a punt since Dec. 24, 2008, against Hawai'i in the Hawai'i Bowl. Blanton was also the first Notre Dame player to return a block punt for a touchdown since Toryan Smith (14 yards) on Nov. 15, 2008, against Navy.
The touchdown was the second of Blanton's career. He registered a 47-yard interception return for touchdown against Purdue on Sept. 27, 2008.
Blanton has registered 7.0 tackles for loss this season, which ranks third-best on the team. The 7.0 tackles for loss are the most by an Irish defensive back since A'Jani Sanders had 10.0 during the 1999 season.
WILLIAMS (ALMOST), NEAL IN INK
Senior LB Kerry Neal played in his 48th career game last week. He is the only Irish player to see action in every game since 2007.
Senior NG Ian Williams had played in 45 consecutive games before missing the Tulsa, Utah and Army games with an injury he suffered against Navy.
Prince Shembo STARTING TO MAKE A ROYAL IMPRESSION
Freshman LB Prince Shembo had just three tackles, including half a tackle for loss, in Notre Dame's first four games of the season. The rookie linebacker then recorded 2.5 sacks, forced fumble and quarterback hurry in the two games against Boston College and Pittsburgh.
Shembo picked up his first career sack and forced fumble on the same play late in the third quarter against Boston College. He added a second sack in the fourth quarter.
Shembo registered a quarterback hurry and half sack in the victory over Pittsburgh.
Shembo recorded a career-high five tackles, including two solo, and one sack in the victory over No. 15 Utah. He now has 3.5 sacks this season.
Harrison Smith A RARE COMMODITY IN THE IRISH SECONDARY
Irish senior S Harrison Smith has played in 36 games for the Irish and started at both safety spots and outside linebacker over his career. He is the lone player in Notre Dame history to register more than 200 career tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss and 15 pass break-ups. Smith has recorded 207 tackles, including 124 solo stops, added 16 pass break-ups and 16.0 tackles for loss.
WALLS QUITE STURDY
Irish senior DB Darrin Walls picked off a pass and raced 42 yards for a touchdown with 14:00 remaining in the third quarter to extend the Irish lead to 24-3 over Army on Nov. 20. The interception return for touchdown was Walls' second of his career. He recorded a 73-yard interception return for a touchdown at Penn State on Sept. 8, 2007.
Walls has registered four pass break-ups this season. He now has 20 career PBUs, which ranks tied for sixth all-time in Notre Dame history. He is tied with Ralph Stepaniak (1969-71).
Brian Smith ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF 'NEXT MAN IN'
Notre Dame senior LB Brian Smith entered 2010 having started more games than any other player on Irish roster. He had played in 34 games at Notre Dame and started 24 contests. Smith started his career as an OLB in a 3-4 defense, but moved to ILB as sophomore and junior. Smith entered his final year as the active Irish leader in career tackles with 150 and also had totaled 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, forced two fumbles and broken up two passes. Smith had also tallied two touchdowns in his career, returning interception against Boston College's Matt Ryan 25 yards for a score as freshman and rumbled 35 yards for a touchdown against Michigan in 2008 following fumble recovery.
Smith moved back to OLB during 2010 spring drills and spent the better part of the first eight games of this season in the position in a reserve roll, but slipped back inside following the injury to sophomore ILB Carlo Calabrese. He has not missed a beat. Smith has totaled 18 tackles in the last three games (Tulsa, Utah and Army), all starts, with a sack, forced fumble, interception and two pass break-ups.
REES PIECES TOGETHER WIN FOR IRISH
Freshman QB Tommy Rees is the ninth freshman quarterback to start for the Irish in the last 60 seasons (1951-present), joining Ralph Guglielmi (1951), Blair Kiel (1980), Steve Beuerlein (1983), Kent Graham (1987), Paul Failla (1991), Matt LoVecchio (2000), Brady Quinn (2003) and Jimmy Clausen (2007) in that elite club. Rees was the first freshman quarterback to start for Notre Dame since Clausen got the call against Stanford on Nov. 24, 2007.
Notre Dame is 7-2 since 1951 when a freshman quarterback makes his first-ever start for the Irish. Rees got the nod in game 10 of 2010 (vs. Utah) following the season-ending injury to junior QB Dayne Crist. Clausen's start against Penn State came in the second game of the year, which was the earliest start into a season for an Irish freshman quarterback since 1951.
Rees became the first Irish freshman quarterback to knock off a top 20 opponent since Blair Kiel helped Notre Dame get past No. 13 Miami, Fla., 32-14. Rees threw for the most touchdown passes (three) by a freshman in his first career start in school history. Rees also threw for the fourth-most yards ever by an Irish quarterback in his first start (second-most ever by a Notre Dame rookie quarterback in a victory).
Rees' total of eight touchdown passes already ranks third in a single season by an Irish freshman quarterback. LoVecchio set the school record with 11 touchdown passes in 2000 and Quinn tossed nine touchdown passes in 2003. Clausen registered seven touchdown passes in 2007.
Rees already ranks in the top five in the following Irish freshman quarterback single-game and season records:
Rees has already thrown eight touchdown passes in his career, all of which have come in the last three games. He threw seven touchdown passes in back-to-back outings against Tulsa (four) and Utah (three). In fact, he threw for the third-most touchdown passes over a two-game stretch in school history. Only former All-American Brady Quinn has ever thrown more touchdown passes in two consecutive games. Quinn had nine touchdown passes over back-to-back games in 2009 and twice had eight touchdown passes in consecutive games in 2006.
Rees was 8 of 13 for 43 yards and one touchdown in the first half against Utah, but connected on his first four passes of the third quarter for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
Rees was the first Irish freshman 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).
The 33 completions are tied for the second-most in school history. The 54 attempts are the fifth-most in school history.
REES/CRIST REKINDLE QUARTERBACK FIRST-START MAGIC
Freshman QB Tommy Rees extended Notre Dame's winning streak under first-time starting quarterbacks to two games following Notre Dame's 28-3 rout of No. 15 Utah.
Since 1975, the Irish are 19-10 under a first-time starting quarterback. Interestingly enough, Notre Dame is 13-4 under a first-time starting quarterback when playing in Notre Dame Stadium (also since 1975).
Rees completed 13 of 20 passes for 129 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was the second quarterback to throw three touchdown passes or more in his first career start and first since Ron Powlus tossed four against Northwestern on Sept. 3, 1994. Rees' completion percentage of 65.0 was the third-highest of any first-time starting quarterback with more than eight pass attempts since 1975.
Junior QB Dayne Crist snapped Notre Dame's four-game losing streak with a first-time starting quarterback under center.
Crist's completion percentage of 73.1 was the second-highest of any first-time starting quarterback with more than eight pass attempts since 1975. Ron Powlus completed 75.0% (18 of 24) of his passes against the Wildcats in 1994.
Crist's 19 completions are the second-most by a first-time starting Irish quarterback since 1975. Brady Quinn completed 29 passes against Purdue on Sept. 23, 2003. His 205 yards passing are the third-most by a first-time starting signal caller since 1985. Quinn threw for 297 yards against Purdue on Sept. 27, 2003, and Ron Powlus had 291 yards against Northwestern on Sept. 3, 1994.
Crist was the first junior quarterback to make his starting debut since Arnaz Battle in 2000.
From 1985-98, Notre Dame was victorious in nine straight games in which an Irish quarterback was making his first career start, including four coming in a season opener. Those openers were won by Rick Mirer (No. 1 Notre Dame def. No. 4 Michigan 28-24 in '90), Kevin McDougal (No. 7 Notre Dame def. Northwestern 27-12 in '93), Ron Powlus (No. 3 Notre Dame def. Northwestern 42-12 in '95) and Jarious Jackson (No. 22 Notre Dame def. No. 5 Michigan 36-20 in '98).
Notre Dame's nine-game, first-start winning streak ended in the 10-0 loss at USC on Nov. 28, 1998, when Eric Chappell started in place of the injured starter Jackson (then-freshman Arnaz Battle also played a large chunk of that game).
Following the snap of the nine-game winning streak under first-time starters, the Irish won three consecutive games under first-time signal callers. In fact, all three came during the same season (2000) and occurred over the year's first five contests. Arnaz Battle (Notre Dame def. No. 24 Texas A&M, 24-10), Gary Godsey (Notre Dame def. Purdue, 23-21) and Matt LoVecchio (No. 25 Notre Dame def. Stanford, 20-14).
Carlyle Holiday dropped his first career start on Sept. 29, 2001, against Texas A&M, but senior walk-on Pat Dillingham was victorious against Stanford on Oct. 5, 2002.
Notre Dame used a trio of first-time signal callers in 2007, including one in each of the first two games of the season. Demetrius Jones (Georgia Tech def. Notre Dame, 33-3), Jimmy Clausen (No. 14 Penn State def. Notre Dame, 31-10) and Evan Sharpley (No. 13 USC def. Notre Dame, 38-0) all failed to walk away with a victory.
Last 29 starting debut games by Irish QBs (Notre Dame is 19-10 in those contests).
Tommy Rees, freshman (Notre Dame vs. No. 15 Utah, Nov. 13, 2010, 10th game of season) ... win, 28-3 ... 13 of 20 passing, 129 yards, 3 TDs.
Dayne Crist, junior (Notre Dame vs. Purdue, Sept. 4, 2010, first game of season) ... win, 23-12 ... 19 of 26 passing, 205 yards, 1 TD.
Evan Sharpley, sophomore (Notre Dame vs. No. 13 USC, Oct. 20, 2007, eighth game of season) ... loss, 38-0 ... 17 of 33 passing, 117 yards, 1 INT.
Jimmy Clausen, freshman (Notre Dame at No. 14 Penn State, Sept. 8, 2007, second game of season) ... loss, 31-10 ... 17 of 32 passing, 144 yards, 1 INT.
Demetrius Jones, sophomore (Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech, Sept. 1, 2007, first game of season) ... loss, 33-3 ... 1 of 3 passing, 4 yards, 2 fumbles ... 12 rushes for 28 yards.
Brady Quinn, freshman (Notre Dame at No. 22 Purdue, Sept. 27, 2003, fourth game of season) ... loss, 23-10 ... 29 of 59 passing, 297 yards, 4 INT, TD ... 8 rushes for 25 yards.
Pat Dillingham, sophomore (Notre Dame vs. Stanford, Oct. 5, 2002, fifth game of season) ... win, 31-7 ... 14 of 27 passing, 129 yards, 2 TDs.
Carlyle Holiday, sophomore (Notre Dame at Texas A&M, Sept. 29, 2001, third game of season) ... loss, 24-3 ... 6 of 13 passing, 73 yards, 2 INT ... 12 rushes for 23 yards.
Matt LoVecchio, freshman (No. 25 Notre Dame vs. Stanford, Oct. 7, 2000, fifth game of season) ... win, 20-14 ... 10 of 18 passing, 100 yards, 2 TDs ... 13 rushes for 36 yards, TD.
Gary Godsey, sophomore (Notre Dame vs. Purdue, Sept. 16, 2000, third game of season) ... win, 23-21 ... 14 of 25 passing, 158 yards, INT ... 7 rushes for 3 yards, TD.
Arnaz Battle, junior (Notre Dame vs. No. 24 Texas A&M, Sept. 2, 2000, first game of season) ... win, 24-10 ... 10 of 16 passing, 133 yards ... 12 rushes for 50 yards.
Eric Chappell, junior (No. 9 Notre Dame at USC, Nov. 28, 1998, 11th game of season) ... loss, 10-0 ... 0 of 3 passing, 2 INT ... 7 rushes for 33 yards.
Jarious Jackson, senior (Notre Dame vs. No. 5 Michigan, Sept. 5, 1998, first game of season) ... win, 36-20 ... 4 of 10 passing, 96 yards, 2 TDs, INT ... 16 rushes for 62 yards.
Tom Krug, junior (No. 8 Notre Dame at Air Force, Nov. 18, 1995, 11th game of season) ... win, 44-14 ... 8 of 13 passing, INT ... 3 rushes for 13 yards ... started due to Powlus' collarbone injury, in previous week versus Navy.
Ron Powlus, sophomore (No. 3 Notre Dame at Northwestern, Sept. 3, 1994, first game of season) ... win, 42-15 ... 18 of 24 passing, 291 yards, 4 TD ... 2 rushes for 6 yards.
Kevin McDougal, senior (No. 7 Notre Dame vs. Northwestern, Sept. 4, 1993, first game of season) ... win, 27-12 ... 6 of 8 passing, 135 yards ... 5 rushes for -16 yards.
Paul Failla, freshman (No. 8 Notre Dame at Purdue, Sept. 28, 1991, fourth game of season) ... win, 45-20 ... 1 of 1 passing, 10 yards ... 2 rushes for 11 yards ... started in place of Mirer due to team policy of "no practice, no start" (Mirer had pulled rib cartilage during the week) ... Mirer replaced Failla beginning with the second series.
Rick Mirer, sophomore (No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Michigan, Sept. 15, 1990, first game of season) ... win, 28-24 ... 14 of 23 passing, 165 yards, TD, INT ... 10 rushes for 12 yards, TD.
Kent Graham, freshman (No. 9 Notre Dame vs. Boston College, Nov. 7, 1987, eighth game of season) ... win, 32-25 ... 6 of 8 passing, 11 yards, INT ... 3 rushes for 7 yards.
Tony Rice, sophomore (No. 11 Notre Dame at Air Force, Oct. 17, 1987, fifth game of season) ... win, 35-14 ... 1 of 5 passing, 10 yards, INT ... 9 rushes for 70 yards, 2 TD ... played due to Andrysiak's broken collarbone injury, in previous game at Pittsburgh.
Terry Andrysiak, sophomore (Notre Dame vs. Mississippi, Nov. 9, 1985, eighth game of season) ... win, 37-14 ... 4 of 8 passing, 60 yards, TD ... 2 rushes for -7 yards.
Rick Slager, senior (#9 Notre Dame vs. Boston College, @Foxboro, Sept. 15, 1975, first game of season) ... win, 17-3 ... 7 of 12 passing, 72 yards.
Joe Montana, sophomore (#8 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State, Oct. 4, 1975, fourth game of season) ... loss, 10-3 ... 2 of 5 passing, 19 yards, 1 INT.
Rusty Lisch, sophomore (#3 Notre Dame vs. Miami, Nov. 20, 1976, 10th game of season) ... win, 40-27 ... 5 of 11 passing, 102 yards, 1 TD ... 15 rushes for 9 yards, 3 TD.
Tim Koegel, sophomore (#5 Notre Dame at #17 Purdue, Sept. 22, 1979, second game of season) ... loss, 28-22 ... 6 of 18 passing, 81 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT ... four rushes for 0 yards.
Blair Kiel, freshman (#7 Notre Dame vs. #13 Miami, Oct. 11, 1980, fourth game of season) ... win, 32-14 ... 4 of 17 passing, 35 yards ... 11 rushes for 28 yards, 1 TD.
Ken Karcher, sophomore ... (Notre Dame at #1 Pittsburgh, Nov. 6, 1982, eighth game of season) ... loss, 31-16 ... 2 of 4 passing, 21 yards, 1 INT ... 1 rush for -10 yards ... replaced by senior Jim O'Hara in second quarter.
Steve Beurelein, freshman (Notre Dame vs. Colorado, Oct. 1, 1983, fourth game of season) ... win, 27-3 ... 8 of 12 passing, 133 yards.
Scott Grooms, senior (Notre Dame vs. Air Force, Oct. 13, 1984, sixth game of season) ... loss, 21-7 ... 12 of 35 passing, 117 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT ... 12 rushes for -9 yards.
FLOYD IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Junior WR Michael Floyd, who missed the game against Navy, is listed on the NCAA FBS active career charts in receiving yards, receiving yards per game, receptions per game and receiving touchdowns. Floyd's 83.7 yards receiving per game ranks fourth in the nation among active players, while his 5.5 catches per game ranks eighth. He also ranks ninth on the active career chart for receiving touchdowns with 25 and 19th in career receiving yards with 2,344.
Floyd hauled in a 33-yard reception in the first quarter against Army on Nov. 20. It moved him into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time Notre Dame receiving yards list. He continues his climb up the Irish all-time receiving lists. He also recently moved past Jim Seymour (138, 1966-68) on the all-time Irish receptions list. Floyd now has 154 career catches and trails Tom Gatewood (1969-71) and Golden Tate (2007-09) by just three receptions for third place. He already became the ninth Notre Dame wideout to ever register 2,000 career receiving yards and now has 2,344 yards receiving and trails Tim Brown (2,493, 1969-71) by 149 yards for fourth place.
Floyd hauled in a three-yard touchdown pass from freshman QB Tommy Rees to give Notre Dame a 14-3 lead against No. 15 Utah with 12:25 remaining before halftime. Floyd now has 25 career receiving touchdowns in just 28 games for Notre Dame. He ranks third on the all-time Notre Dame receiving touchdowns list.
Floyd has nine touchdown receptions this season, which ranks tied for eighth on the single-season list. 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).
Floyd recorded a career-high 11 receptions for 104 yards against Tulsa. It marked his third career outing with at least 10 catches in a game. He is the third Notre Dame wideout joining Jim Seymour (1966-68) and Tom Gatewood (1969-71) to ever register three or more games with at least 10 catches.
Floyd has eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark three times this season and 12 times in his career (which ranks third all-time). He trails only Golden Tate (15, 2007-09) and Tom Gatewood (13, 1969-71).
Floyd has played in 28 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 12 career 100-yard receiving games over the other 26 games played.
Floyd recorded nine receptions for 157 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over Western Michigan.
Floyd recorded three touchdown receptions for the second time in his career. He had three touchdown catches against Nevada on Sept. 5, 2009. Floyd has caught two or more touchdown passes in three games this season and six times in his career. He is the third Notre Dame wideout to have three or more touchdown receptions in multiple games (Maurice Stovall, 2005; Golden Tate, 2009).
Floyd hooked up with freshman QB Tommy Rees on a 10-yard touchdown reception with 6:13 to go in the first quarter to cut the Tulsa lead to 7-6. He then hauled in a four-yard touchdown pass from Rees with 8:10 to go in the second quarter to give the Irish a 20-12 lead.
Floyd hauled in an 80-yard touchdown reception on Notre Dame's first offensive play from scrimmage against Western Michigan. He was the first player in school history to register a touchdown catch of at least 80 yards more than once in his career. Floyd also had an 88-yard scoring catch on Sept. 5, 2009 against Nevada. He has actually recorded three touchdown catches of at least 70 yards. Floyd also registered a 70-yard touchdown reception in that game against the Wolf Pack .
Floyd hooked up with junior QB Dayne Crist on a one-yard touchdown reception with 2:36 to go in the first quarter to give the Irish a 7-3 lead against Pittsburgh.
Floyd has now recorded a reception in 15 straight games (excluding games he missed due to injury). Floyd has a reception in 24 of the 25 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 finished the game against Stanford with eight catches for 110 yards.
Floyd has registered a touchdown pass against Michigan State in each of the last three years. He registered a 24-yard touchdown reception with 13:20 to go in the fourth quarter to give the Irish a 28-21 lead. He hauled in a seven-yard touchdown reception from Crist with 5:28 left in first quarter to give Irish a 7-0 lead.
Floyd had five catches for 66 yards in the loss to Michigan.
Floyd had five receptions for 82 yards in the victory over Purdue.
Had Floyd met the NCAA requirement of playing in 75 percent of the team's games in 2009 his 113.6 yards per game would have ranked sixth nationally. Floyd and Golden Tate would have been the only receiving tandem to rank top 10 nationally in that statistic. His 18.1 yards per catch would have also earned him 12th place on the NCAA season leader list as well.
Floyd led all FBS wideouts in the nation with a 29.09 yards per catch average and was tied for the nation's lead in receiving touchdowns with four (among NCAA qualifying receivers) before suffering a broken collarbone in the second quarter of Notre Dame's 33-30 victory over Michigan State in 2009.
Floyd recorded four catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the 35-0 rout of Nevada in last season's 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 set a career-high for longest reception when he raced 88 yards for a touchdown with 10:12 left in the third quarter against Nevada in 2009. The 88-yard reception is the fourth-longest in Notre Dame football history and was the longest since Nov. 7, 1981, when Blair Kiel found Joe Howard for a school-record 96 yards.
Floyd not only became the first Irish freshman to register a touchdown catch in a season opener (2008), but also became the first freshman to register Notre Dame's first points of a season by TD. Floyd had 48 receptions for 719 yards in 2009. He established new school records for receptions (48), receiving yards (719) and receiving touchdowns (seven) by an Irish freshman in 2008. He also set a freshman record with 10 receptions against Pittsburgh on Nov. 1, 2008.
Floyd was the fourth different rookie in the last 20 years whose first career catch was a TD. The others were Raghib "Rocket" Ismail and Derek Brown in 1988 and Derrick Mayes in 1992 - mighty impressive company for Floyd to join.
BY LAND, CIERRE
Sophomore RB Cierre Wood did not play as a freshman in 2009, but opened the 2010 campaign as the backup to senior RB Armando Allen Jr. He rushed for 58 yards on seven carries in the season-opener against Purdue. Wood managed just 19 yards on 10 carries over Notre Dame's next four games. When Allen missed most of the Western Michigan game with injury, Wood stepped in and did not miss a beat. He ran for 94 yards on 11 rushes, including a 39-yard touchdown run.
The 39-yard run was the longest by an Irish running back since senior RB Robert Hughes rumbled 45 yards at Stanford on Nov. 24, 2007. It was also the longest touchdown run by a Notre Dame running back since Ryan Grant registered a 46-yard touchdown run at Stanford on Nov. 29, 2003.
Wood has totaled 433 yards on 92 carries this season with a pair of rushing touchdowns and two more receiving touchowns.
Against Tulsa on Oct. 31, Wood became the first Irish running back with two or more touchdown receptions in a game since Tony Fisher had a pair in a 42-28 victory over West Virginia on Oct. 21, 2000. He caught a six-yard touchdown pass from freshman QB Tommy Rees with 8:47 remaining in the third quarter to give Notre Dame a 27-18 lead. The touchdown was his fourth of the season, fourth of his career and fourth in the last three games (Tulsa, Navy and Western Michigan). Wood caught a lateral from freshman WR TJ Jones and raced 23 yards for a touchdown 1:21 to go in the first quarter to give the Irish a 13-12 lead. It was Wood's first career touchdown reception.
Wood has started each of the last three games for Notre Dame against Tulsa, Utah and Army. He has rushed for 217 yards on 49 carries over the span.
CHECK OUT THAT SHINY KAMARA
Senior WR Duval Kamara finished the 2007 season, his rookie campaign, with 32 receptions for 357 yards and four touchdowns. He set a pair of Notre Dame rookie receiving single-season records in 2007 (both were bested in 2008 by Michael Floyd). Kamara's 32 receptions were the most ever by an Irish freshman receiver at the time, breaking the previous mark of 28 held by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown in 1984. His four receiving touchdowns were also the most ever by a Notre Dame freshman at the time.
Kamara entered 2010 with 75 career catches for 892 yards and six touchdowns, but the wideout slipped down the depth chart and managed only seven catches over Notre Dame's first nine games this season. However, following injuries to sophomore WR Theo Riddick and freshman WR TJ Jones, Kamara found himself back in the starting lineup and responded on Senior Day against No. 15 Utah.
Kamara grabbed a 26-yard touchdown pass to give Notre Dame a 21-3 lead over the Utes with 14:47 left in the third quarter. He then added a 12-yard touchdown pass to give the Irish a 28-3 lead with 9:09 to go in the third quarter. The touchdown catch was his second of the game, second of the season and eighth of his career.
The touchdown receptions were the first for Kamara since Oct. 31, 2009, against Washington State.
The two-touchdown game was the second multi-TD game of his career. Kamara had a pair of touchdown catches against Navy on Nov. 3, 2007.
TYLER'S EIFERT HAS NOT GONE UNNOTICED
Sophomore TE Tyler Eifert played in the 2009 season opener as a freshman, but missed the remainder of the year after suffering back injury. He practiced this past spring without limitations, but 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 this season (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 since started five consecutive games and made an immediate impact for the Irish.
Eifert's top game of his career came in last week's defeat of Army. He recorded four catches for a career-best 78 yards and one touchdown. He hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass from freshman QB Tommy Rees to give the Irish a 17-3 lead with 8:01 remaining before halftime. The touchdown reception was his second of the season and career. Eifert also had a 35-yard grab to setup senior RB Robert Hughes' one-yard touchdown plunge that gave the Irish a 10-3 advantage.
Eifert has totaled five receptions of 20+ yards over the last five games and 13 of his 20 catches this season have either resulted in a touchdown or given Notre Dame a first down.
TJ Jones MAKING AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Freshman WR TJ Jones was the first Irish freshman wideout in school history to catch touchdown passes in each of his first two career games.
Jones connected with junior QB Dayne Crist on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 6:07 left in the second quarter to bring Notre Dame within a field goal, 14-10, against Navy. The TD reception was Jones' third of his career. He finished with a career-best five receptions.
Jones hooked up with junior QB Dayne Crist for 37 yards to help set up a Notre Dame field goal in the second quarter against Pittsburgh. The 37-yard grab was the second longest of Jones' brief career. He had a 53-yard touchdown catch against Michigan on Sept. 11.
Jones hauled in a 53-yard touchdown pass from Crist with 12:42 to go in the third quarter against Michigan to bring the Irish with seven points, 21-14. He recorded a five-yard touchdown reception with 10:20 left in the third quarter against Purdue to give Notre Dame a 20-3 lead.
Jones had already became the second freshman wideout in Notre Dame history to register a touchdown in the Irish season opener.
IT'S NOT A TOMA
Sophomore WR Robby Toma saw action in only three games as a freshman in 2009. The wideout registered three receptions for 21 yards. Toma only saw action in two of Notre Dame's first six games this season, but following the injuries to sophomore WR Theo Riddick and freshman WR TJ Jones, Toma has responded with 12 catches over the last five games, including four grabs for 62 yards in the victory over Army on Nov. 20.
Ten of Toma's 12 receptions this season have resulted in a first down.
Chris Stewart MAN OF THE LAW
Senior OG Chris Stewart has gone through the rarest of double duties this fall by playing college football while also undertaking the rigors of life as a law school student. He is believed to be the first football player in Irish history to suit-up for games on Saturday and attend graduate law classes during the week. According to a survey of FBS sports information directors, Stewart, who graduated cum laude in December '09 with a degree in history and two internships in immigration and labor law, is one of two FBS football players who will be enrolled in law school this fall (Michael Cklamovski, PK, Northern Illinois).
Stewart is enrolled in Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Research and Legal Writing I.
Stewart, along with senior PK David Ruffer and senior DB Barry Gallup, were named ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District Team for District 5 in 2010.
Stewart has been selected a 2010 National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation. As a National Scholar-Athlete, Stewart receives an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and is one of 16 finalists for the 21st William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation and often referred to as "The Academic Heisman." Renamed last fall in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the National Football Foundation's Gold Medal, the award comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening
Stewart is the 16th Irish football player to receive the scholarship and second in the past four years. Only Nebraska (20) and Ohio State (19) have had more players selected since the program began in 1959.
A 2009 and 2010 ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-District selection, Stewart finished his undergraduate studies in history in only three and a half years. He was a member of the History Honors Program and was inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta honor fraternity.
Stewart has started more career games (33) than any other Irish player on the current roster. He also carries a 25-game starting streak into this weekend's contest with USC. Stewart helped the Irish finish last season as the eighth-best offense in the country, averaging 451.8 yards per game, and is helping the Notre Dame passing attack outgain opponents 288.6-228.6 yards per game this season.
Stewart journeyed to Haiti during his 2009 spring break to help with the relief efforts following the deadliest earthquake in the nation's history. He volunteered all last summer at the South Bend Youth Center and has participated in a fine arts initiative for area children. Stewart has also visited local children's hospitals and raised funds for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
Armando Allen JR., JACK OF ALL TRADES
Notre Dame senior RB Armando Allen Jr. has been one of the most versatile running backs in Irish history, but will miss the rest of the season following surgery to repair torn cartilage in both hip flexors. Allen Jr. not only rushed for 2,144 yards in his career, but hauled in 119 receptions for 833 yards, added 1,247 yards on kickoff returns and another 113 yards on punt returns. In all, Allen Jr. totaled 4,337 all-purpose yards in his career.
At the time of his season-ending injury, Allen Jr. ranked in the top 20 among all active players in all-purpose running plays (12th, 651), all-purpose running yards per play (17th, 6.66) and all-purpose running yards (19th, 4,337). He was also tied for 19th in two-point conversions made with two.
Allen Jr. moved past Raghib Ismail (4,187; 1988-90) into fifth-place on the all-time Notre Dame all-purpose yards list following a six-yard run early in the first quarter against Pittsburgh. He only trails Julius Jones (5,462; 1999-2003), Autry Denson (5,327; 1995-98), Allen Pinkett (5,259; 1982-85) and Tim Brown (5,024; 1984-87).
Allen Jr. rushed for a team-high 66 yards on 11 carries in the loss to Navy (which likely turned out to be his final game in an Irish uniform). He not only averaged 6.0 yards per rush, but also added two receptions for 24 yards. Allen moved into fourth on the all-time receiving yards list by an Irish running back. He trails Jim Morse (902, 1954-56), Bob Gladieux (947, 1966-68) and Joseph Heap (1,137, 1951-54).
Allen Jr. led the Irish in rushing in each of their first six games, but failed to do so against Western Michigan (an injury limited him to no yards rushing on three carries). He did lead Notre Dame in rushing against Navy.
Allen Jr. now ranks tied for 10th all-time in Notre Dame history in career carries (469). He needed just 131 yards rushing to move into the top 10 all-time at Notre Dame in career rushing.
Allen Jr. registered a career-long 30-yard run on Notre Dame's opening touchdown drive against Boston College.
Allen Jr. registered a six-yard rush before fumbling, but the yards moved him past Golden Tate (2007-09) on the all-time Notre Dame all-purpose yards list.
Allen Jr. scored from two yards out to give Notre Dame a 31-13 lead with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter. The touchdown rush was Allen's second of the season and eighth of his career.
Allen Jr. totaled 141 all-purpose yards against Michigan State. He rushed 13 times for 71 yards (5.5/carry) and collected six catches for 70 yards. Allen became the eighth player in the history of Notre Dame football to eclipse 4,000 career all-purpose yards.
With his sixth reception against Michigan State, Allen moved into first place all-time on the Irish receptions list for running backs with 110 career catches. He bested the previous school record of 109 held by Darius Walker (2004-06). Allen's 18-yard reception in the first quarter was also his longest of the season.
Allen Jr. recorded a then career-best 29-yard run in the third quarter against Michigan. It bested his previous career-long rush of 26 yards against Connecticut on Nov. 21, 2009.
Allen Jr. rushed for a team-high 89 yards on 15 carries in the loss to Michigan. He added a nine-yard reception and nine-yard punt return.
Allen Jr. rushed for a game-high 93 yards on 18 carries in the victory over Purdue. He also added a career-best 38-yard punt return.
Allen Jr. did not participate in enough games in 2009 to qualify (missed the Purdue, Washington State, Navy and Stanford games due to an ankle injury), but would have ranked among the top FBS running backs in the nation in rushing yards per game (87.1, 41st) and yards per rush (4.91, t-66th). He would have also ranked 70th in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (114.1).
Allen Jr. became the second running back in Notre Dame history to eclipse 100 career receptions. His 117 career receptions rank atop the all-time list for Notre Dame running backs. He eclipsed Darius Walker's (109, 2004-06) previous school record. Allen Jr. also ranks tied for fifth all-time in career receiving yards by an Irish running back.
CRIST ESTABLISHED HIMSELF DESPITE LIMITED ACTION
Junior QB Dayne Crist has made only nine career starts, all this season, and he entered the year following reconstructive knee surgery. Unfortunately, Crist was lost for the season after rupturing his patella tendon against Tulsa on Oct. 30. The injury occurred exactly one-day shy of the one-year anniversary of his torn ACL. Crist underwent surgery on Oct. 31 and may miss six months.
The signal caller completed 59.2% of his passes (174 of 294) for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns. Crist registered a passing efficiency of 129.3. He was ranked among the top 30 FBS quarterbacks in total passing yards (14th, 2,033), passing (22nd, 21.75 completions/game) and passing yards per game (27th, 254.13/game) prior to the injury.
Here was a comparison between Crist and the more notable quarterbacks in Notre Dame history over their first eight career starts.
Only one quarterback in the FBS (Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State) was ranked ahead of Crist in total passing yards that had started fewer career games prior to his season-ending injury against Tulsa. Weeden had thrown for 2,249 yards and started seven career games.
There were only four quarterbacks (Weeden, Corey Robinson of Troy, Alex Carder of Western Michigan and Dan Persa of Northwestern) in the FBS that were ranked ahead of Crist in passing yards per game that had started fewer contests prior to his season-ending injury against Tulsa.
There were only five quarterbacks (Carder, Weeden, Robinson, Persa and Matt Schilz of Bowling Green) in the FBS that were ranked ahead of Crist in passing that had started fewer games prior to his season-ending injury against Tulsa.
There were only nine quarterbacks in the FBS ranked ahead of Crist in passing efficiency that had started fewer games than the Notre Dame junior (Robinson, Persa, Weeden, Carder, Tino Sunseri of Pittsburgh, Darron Thomas of Oregon, Geno Smith of West Virginia, Taylor Martinez of Nebraska and Ryan Katz of Oregon State) prior to his season-ending injury against Tulsa.
Crist had thrown a touchdown pass in all eight of Notre Dame's games this season and each of his last nine games in an Irish uniform (which includes the 2009 game against Washington State) before his season-ending injury against Tulsa (Crist played just one series). He had registered at least two touchdown passes in four of Notre Dame's first eight games this season. Crist had also thrown three or more touchdown passes in two games this season.
Crist connected with junior WR Michael Floyd on an 80-yard touchdown reception on Notre Dame's first offensive play from scrimmage against Western Michigan. The 80-yard touchdown pass was the second-longest of Crist's career. He hooked up with junior TE Kyle Rudolph for 95 yards against Michigan earlier this season.
Crist scampered in from nine yards out for a touchdown with 9:16 remaining in the second quarter to give the Irish a 20-7 lead against Western Michigan. The touchdown run was Crist's fourth of the season and career. In fact, the four touchdown runs are the most by an Irish quarterback in a single season since Jarious Jackson had seven in 1999.
Crist hooked up with sophomore TE Tyler Eifert on a 39-yard touchdown pass with 2:19 remaining before halftime to extend Notre Dame's lead to 27-10 over the Broncos. He then spotted Floyd for a two-yard touchdown pass with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter to extend Notre Dame's lead to 41-17.
Crist connected with junior WR Michael Floyd on a one-yard touchdown reception with 2:36 to go in the first quarter to give the Irish a 7-3 lead against Pittsburgh. He scampered 10 yards with 8:25 remaining in the first half to give Notre Dame a 14-3 lead.
Crist recorded a career-best 12 consecutive completions against the Panthers. The 12 straight completions was tied for the third-longest in school history. It was the longest streak by a Notre Dame quarterback since Brady Quinn connected on 14 straight passes against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 2006.
Crist raced seven yards for a rushing touchdown to give the Irish a 7-0 lead with 13:12 remaining in the first quarter against Boston College. He added a two-yard touchdown pass to junior TE Kyle Rudolph with 6:26 remaining in the first quarter to push the Irish lead to 14-0 over the Eagles. Crist connected with sophomore WR Theo Riddick for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 2:19 remaining in the first quarter to give Notre Dame a 21-0 lead.
Crist accounted for three touchdowns in the 31-13 victory over Boston College. He rushed for one score and threw two more.
Crist surpassed the 300-yard passing barrier in consecutive weeks against Michigan State and Stanford. He completed for 25 of 44 passes for 304 yards and one touchdown against the Cardinal.
Crist set career-highs in completions (32), attempts (55), passing yards (369) and touchdown passes (four) against Michigan State. No Irish quarterback has ever thrown for more touchdown passes in his first career start on the road. Crist's 32 completions, 55 attempts and four touchdown passes rank tied for fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in Notre Dame single-game history.
Crist registered a 24-yard touchdown pass to junior WR Michael Floyd with 13:20 to go in the fourth quarter to give the Irish a 28-21 lead over Michigan State. The touchdown pass was Crist's fourth of the game.
Crist eclipsed 300 yards passing for the first time in his career against the Spartans. He went 12 for 14 for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter alone. Crist registered a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore WR Theo Riddick with 1:29 to go in the third quarter to tie the score, 21-21. He was 7 of 8 for 75 yards on the scoring drive.
Crist connected on a 10-yard TD pass to junior TE Kyle Rudolph with 12:25 to go in the third quarter to tie the score, 14-14. He was 5 for 6 for 74 yards and a touchdown on the opening scoring drive of the first half. Crist connected on a seven-yard TD pass to Floyd with 5:28 left in the first quarter to give Notre Dame a 7-0 lead. He completed 11 of 18 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown in the opening 15 minutes.
Crist hooked up with freshman WR TJ Jones for 53 yards with 12:42 to go in the third quarter against Michigan to bring the Irish with seven points, 21-14.
The 53-yard completion was the longest of the season for Notre Dame until junior TE Kyle Rudolph's 95-yard grab late in the fourth quarter.
Crist served as the quarterback for nine of Notre Dame's 17 possessions in the game against Michigan. The Irish offense totaled 363 of their 535 yards in those series. Notre Dame also scored all 24 points of the contest in those series and averaged 8.9 yards per play compared to zero points and 4.8 yards per play in other eight series without Crist.
Crist passed for 277 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in slightly more than one half of football against the Wolverines.
CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
Sophomore WR Theo Riddick, who has missed the last four games with an injury, started out his Irish career as a running back. He rushed for 160 yards on 29 attempts as a rookie in 2009, but first-year head coach Brian Kelly liked the idea of moving Riddick to the slot in his spread offense. Riddick was somewhat slow in his progression at wideout over Notre Dame's first two games of 2010. He managed just four catches for 52 yards against 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 hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from junior QB Dayne Crist with 2:19 remaining in the first quarter to give the Irish a 21-0 lead over Boston College. The touchdown reception was Riddick's third of the season and career. Riddick registered a touchdown catch in three consecutive weeks (Michigan State, Stanford and Boston College).
Riddick entered the Michigan State game with four receptions for 52 yards, but finished the contest with a career-high 10 catches for 128 yards and one touchdown. He registered his first career 100-yard receiving game. Riddick posted two grabs for 42 yards on Notre Dame's opening scoring drive of the second half (an 18- and 24-yard grab). He hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Crist with 1:29 to go in the third quarter to tie the score, 21-21.
Riddick's 10 receptions against Michigan State are tied for the ninth-most in single-game school history. In fact, his output is tied for the third-most ever by an Irish sophomore wideout. Notre Dame junior WR Michael Floyd also hauled in 10 catches against Navy on Nov. 7, 2009. Jim Seymour, who was a first-year player, but a sophomore elgibility wise, has the two highest outputs. He had games with 13 and 11 catches in 1966.
RETURN OF THE MACK (EY) AWARD SEMIFINALIST
Junior TE Kyle Rudolph's return for the 2010 season made him the only member of the eight announced semifinalist's for the 2009 Mackey Award to come back for another year. Rudolph was not only named John Mackey Tight End of the Week on Sept. 15 following his record-setting performance against Michigan, but was also named a semifinalist for the award despite being lost for the year with an injury.
Rudolph underwent surgery on a torn hamstring on Oct. 15. Prior to the injury, Rudolph had 28 receptions for 328 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Rudolph was on pace to break Ken MacAfee's single-season school record for receptions by a tight end. Rudolph had 28 catches over Notre Dame's first six games in 2010 and was on pace for 56. MacAfee recorded 54 receptions in 1977. Rudolph also had 328 yards receiving through the halfway point of the season. He was on pace for 656 yards receiving, which would have been the second-most in school history for a tight end.
Rudolph became the fourth Irish tight end to ever eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving barrier following a nine-yard catch in the first quarter against Pittsburgh.
Rudolph hauled in a two-yard touchdown pass from junior QB Dayne Crist with 6:26 remaining in the first quarter against Boston College to push the Irish lead to 14-0. The touchdown catch was Rudolph's third of the season and eighth of his career.
Rudolph backed up his record setting day against Michigan with another top-notch effort at Michigan State. He matched his career-high of eight catches (established the week prior) for 80 yards and one touchdown.
Rudolph ranked among the top five tight ends in the FBS in overall receptions, receiving yards, yards per reception, receiving yards per game and receptions per game before being sidelined for the rest of the 2010 season.
Rudolph hooked up with junior QB Dayne Crist for a 17-yard reception in the first quarter against Michigan State. He moved past Dean Masztak (1978-81) into fourth place on the all-time receiving list for Irish tight ends on the grab. Rudolph hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Crist with 12:25 to go in the third quarter to tie the game, 14-14.
Rudolph's 95-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter against Michigan was the second-longest reception in Notre Dame history. The school record pass play was a Blair Kiel to Joe Howard connection against Georgia Tech in 1981. It also was the longest by a Notre Dame tight end, breaking the previous mark of 78 by Mike Creaney versus Pitt in 1970.
Rudolph equaled his career single-game high in receptions with eight and receiving yards with 164 against the Wolverines. He set a single-game school record for receiving yards by a tight end and fell one catch shy of the tight end record for catches in a game. Rudolph's total surpassed Anthony Fasano's previous mark of 155 yards in a 41-16 loss to Purdue in 2004.