|GAME DAY INFORMATION|
|Date||Friday, November 27, 2020|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|Site:||Kenan Memorial Stadium
Chapel Hill, NC
Capacity 50,500 (Synthetic Grass)
Chris Fowler (play-by-play)
Kirk Herbstreit (analyst)
Maria Taylor (reporter)
|Radio:||Notre Dame Radio Network|
|Head Coach||At School||Overall||vs. Opponent|
|Notre Dame||Brian Kelly||100-37 (11th year)ˆ||271-94-2 (30th year)ˆ||2-0|
|North Carolina||Mack Brown||82-54-1 (12th year)||257-130-1 (32nd year)||0-0|
|IRISH VS. Tar Heels - BY THE NUMBERS|
|.903||QB Ian Book is 28-3 (.903) as a starter, making him one of only two FBS quarterbacks to boast a .900 or above win rate (min. 20 wins), even as Book ranks 14th overall in total QB career starts (31). His 28 wins are fourth among all FBS quarterbacks.|
|2||Saturday’s matchup marks the first meeting between Brian Kelly and Mack Brown, the top two winningest active coaches in the FBS by number of wins (Kelly, 271ˆ; Brown, 257). They have also coached the most games (Kelly, 367; Brown, 388) and are the two longest-tenured among active FBS coaches (Kelly, 30th year; Brown, 32nd year).|
|3||Of the five longest regular-season winning streaks in college football history, Notre Dame has single-handedly ended three of those streaks: Oklahoma’s 45 (1953-57), Miami’s 36 (1985-88) and Clemson’s 36 (2017-20).|
|3||QB Ian Book became the first quarterback in Notre Dame history (modern era) to rush for three touchdowns in a half in the first vs. South Florida. It marked the second time in his career in which he has rushed for three touchdowns in a game. The last time he rushed for three touchdowns in a single game was against Wake Forest in 2018.|
|4||Since the start of 2018, Notre Dame is 31-3 (.912). That rate ranks fourth among all teams who have made an appearance in the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014. Among those teams, Notre Dame is one of just four teams that have totaled three or fewer losses (Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State) since the start of 2018.|
|4||With the 52-0 shutout of South Florida, Brian Kelly became the first Irish coach to post four or more shutouts in his Notre Dame career since Lou Holtz. The last Irish shutout took place in 2019 vs. Bowling Green (52-0), and Kelly’s first shutout as the Notre Dame head coach came vs. Wake Forest in 2012 (38-0).ˆ|
|7||With the 45-31 win over Boston College, the Irish have won seven-straight ACC road games.|
|9||Notre Dame’s victory over No. 1 Clemson was Notre Dame’s ninth win over an AP No. 1 opponent, which ties for second-most all-time (Miami). Only Alabama has more (10).|
|14||The Irish boast a current win streak of 14 games, the longest among all FBS teams.|
|16.6||The defense has yielded just 16.6 points/game through the first eight games of the season. That figure ranks fourth among all Power 5 teams.|
|17||In the win vs. No. 1 Clemson, K/P Jonathan Doerer matched the Notre Dame record for kicking points in a game, accounting for 17 kicking points vs. Clemson. His 17 points tie for the most kicking points in a single game by any FBS player this season, and were the most by any FBS player that weekend. He made four field goals on the day, matching his previous career high in the 2019 Camping World Bowl vs. Iowa State.|
|23||Notre Dame has won 23-consecutive games at home, setting the modern-era record for longest home win streak. Only two Power 5 programs have a longer streak.|
|30:29||The Irish have only trailed for 30:29 minutes out of a total 480:00 minutes of regulation.|
|31||Notre Dame has held 31-of-34 opponents during Clark Lea’s tenure as defensive coordinator to 30 points or less. That includes includes ranked opponents LSU, Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia and Navy.|
|36:15||Notre Dame is one of three Power 5 teams to post three performances of 36:15 or more possession time this season. No other FBS teams have produced more than three games this season with at least 36:15 in possession time (Wisconsin, Louisville, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina and Liberty have also marked three such performances). The Irish held control of the ball for 40:59 minutes of possession time at Pitt, the second-most by an ACC team in a single game this season. Notre Dame has won time of possession in seven of eight games.|
ˆ Includes 20 regular-season wins and two postseason appearances vacated under discretionary NCAA penalty.
- Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly announced five team captains for Notre Dame’s 2020 football campaign this fall. They include returning 2019 captains QB Ian Book and OL Robert Hainsey, as well as first-time captains S Shaun Crawford, DL Daelin Hayes and DL Adetokunbo Ogundeji.
- Book and Hainsey earn the role as rare two-time captains, just the 23rd and 24th Notre Dame players in the program’s 131-season history to ever serve multiple seasons as a team captain. More than 200 players have served in the captain role for Irish Football.
home field win streak
- Notre Dame has won 23-straight games at home dating back to Sept. 30, 2017, starting with a victory over Miami (Ohio) and extending to the 2020 win over Clemson (47-40).
- It continues the modern-era record for longest home winning streak for the Irish (28-straight from 1942-50). With the 52-0 shutout of South Florida, the Irish topped the previous modern streak of 19-straight from 1987-90.
- Clemson and Ohio State are the only Power 5 programs that boasts a home streak of more than 23 games:
- The Irish completed an undefeated home slate for the second-consecutive season in 2019. Notre Dame had not achieved back-to-back undefeated home seasons since 1988-89.
- Notre Dame completed an undefeated season at Notre Dame Stadium in 2019 for the third time in five seasons (2015, 6-0 and 2018, 6-0) after finishing 7-0 following a 40-7 win over Boston College. From 1990-2011, only the 1998 campaign (6-0) saw a perfect Notre Dame home slate.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
- For the first time in the 132-year history of the Notre Dame Football Program, the Fighting Irish are playing the 2020 football season as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (131 years were spent as an independent. The 132nd season is the first in the ACC). Each ACC squad will play 10 conference games, in addition to one non-conference matchup, to complete a modified 11-game schedule. The two squads with the best records will face off in the ACC Championship in December.
- In the ACC Preseason Order of Finish, the Irish were ranked second behind Clemson, who entered the season as the top-ranked team in the nation. On Nov. 7, Notre Dame beat Clemson at Notre Dame Stadium (47-40, 2OT)
- In a partnership that began in 2014, Notre Dame and the ACC agreed to schedule the Irish to play, on average, five ACC opponents each season. Originally scheduled through the 2025 season, the games have now been scheduled through the 2037 campaign.
- Notre Dame is 30-7 (.811) against ACC opponents since the scheduling agreement began during the 2014 season, and including 2020 play as a conference member
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
- The Irish are ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll, their highest ranking since 2012.
- Through the Brian Kelly era (11 seasons), the Irish have been ranked in the AP Top 10 at least one week in each of the last seven seasons, and eight of the last nine.
- The Irish have been ranked in the AP Top 10 for their first game in November in five of the seven seasons of the College Football Playoff’s existence, within striking distance of a playoff spot.
- Notre Dame has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 57-consecutive weeks, the longest such streak for the Irish since the 1994 season (124 weeks).
- The 57-week run currently ranks fourth among all FBS active streaks, which do not include teams who were not listed in the initial AP polls at the beginning of the season (Big Ten and Pac-12).
TAKING ON THE BEST
- Notre Dame’s victory over No. 1 Clemson was Notre Dame’s ninth win over an AP No. 1 opponent, which ties for second-most all-time (Miami). Only Alabama has more (10).
- The matchup with Clemson was the first game for the Irish against the No. 1 team in the Brian Kelly era. Notre Dame has played one other Top 10 team at home in that span: No. 8 ND winning 38-17 over No. 7 Stanford (2018).
- Notre Dame has won six of the last seven games when playing No. 1 as a top-five team.
- Notre Dame’s 47 points vs. Clemson are the most an Irish team has ever scored against a No. 1 opponent.
- Of the five longest regular-season winning streaks in college football history, Notre Dame has single-handedly ended three of those streaks: Oklahoma’s 45 (1953-57), Miami’s 36 (1985-88) and Clemson’s 36 (2017-20).
- Since the start of 2018, Notre Dame is 31-3 (.912). That rate ranks fourth among all teams who have made an appearance in the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014.
- Among those teams, Notre Dame is one of just four teams that have totaled three or fewer losses since the beginning of 2018.
LAST TIME: NORTH CAROLINA
- October 7, 2017 –Notre Dame 33, North Carolina 10:
- QB Ian Book made his first-career start in the 33-10 win over the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. The sophomore, who had thrown just eight passes this season, was 17 of 31 for 146 yards and a touchdown while running for 45 yards.
- Josh Adams ran for 118 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown. Adams, ranked among the national rushing leaders, carried the ball just 13 times before leaving the game. Deon McIntosh added 124 yards rushing and two scores for the Irish (5-1), who won a third-straight road game against a power-conference opponent despite not having starting QB Brandon Wimbush due to a right foot injury.
- “I had some nerves when I first got out there,” Book said after the game. “But the 10 guys on that offense with me make my job a lot easier, so I had all the confidence in the world.”
- Still, the Fighting Irish had no trouble earning their fourth-straight win by at least 20 points since a 20-19 loss to Georgia on Sept. 9, the first time they had accomplished that feat since 2005.
THE BOOK OF IAN
- Grad student QB Ian Book’s return as the starter in 2020 marks the first time the Irish have entered a season with a quarterback boasting at least two seasons of majority of games started (23-of-26 games from 2018-19) since Jimmy Clausen in 2009 (22-of-25 games from 2007-08).
- Book is 28-3 (.903) as a starter, which ranks second nationally among all FBS quarterbacks (min. 20 wins), even as Book ranks 14th overall in total QB career starts (31). His 28 wins are fourth among all FBS quarterbacks.
- Book has totaled 195-consecutive passing attempts without an interception, the third-longest among all FBS QBs. Only one Power 5 quarterback has a longer streak (Sam Hartman, Wake Forest):
- Book’s 195-consecutive attempts without an interception are the second-longest such streak in Notre Dame quarterback history. The only longer streak in Irish QB history is Brady Quinn’s 226 (Michigan State-Army, 2006).
- Book went 20-of-27 for 283 yards and three touchdowns in the 45-31 win over Boston College. Posting zero sacks and zero interceptions, he also added 10 rushes for 85 yards and a touchdown, leading the team in rushing yards.
- With a 74.1 completion PCT., Book led all ACC quarterbacks on the weekend. He was also the only ACC quarterback not to take a sack on the weekend (among eligible QBs).
- His 10.48 yards/attempt were the second-most in the ACC for the week. Book’s 198.8 passer rating ranked sixth on the weekend among all FBS quarterbacks.
- Accounting for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), Book’s game marked the first time a Notre Dame player has been responsible for four or more touchdowns in a single game since he did it at Stanford in 2019.
- Taking down No. 1 Clemson in double-overtime, Book was awarded the game ball for a performance in which he completed 22 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown, also rushing 14 times for 67 yards.
- His 310 passing yards came against the then second-ranked passing defense in the ACC (behind Notre Dame) in Clemson (allowed 174.9 avg./game entering the game), marking the eighth 300-yard game of his career. He now ranks third all-time in 300-yard passing games among all Irish QBs, passing offensive coordinator Tommy Rees (7).
- Book went 5-for-5 to start the game, not throwing his first incompletion until 13:20 remained in the second quarter.
- His 67 rushing yards alone outpaced the entire Clemson offense, which posted 34 rushing yards.
- Thirteen of Book’s 22 completions were for gains of 10 yards or more, and four gained 28 yards or more. Six of Book’s completions resulted in successful third-down conversions.
- In the game at Georgia Tech, Book completed 18 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 46 yards. Three of his rushes resulted in first downs, and two of those first-down runs were 13 yards or longer.
- Book was named to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 List for his performance in the 45-3 road win over Pitt. Book completed 16 passes for 312 yards and three TDs with zero interceptions. His three passing touchdowns led all ACC quarterbacks that week, along with his TD pct. (10.0, min. 20 attempts). His 312 passing yards were the second-most in the conference that week, and his 173.7 rating was the second-highest in the ACC for the week.
- Book’s three TD passes against Pitt ranked second among all Power 5 quarterbacks that week (just four other Power 5 quarterbacks threw three or more TD passes that week).
- Book’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Ben Skowronek was the third-longest pass in the FBS that week and second-longest among ACC quarterbacks.
- Notre Dame posted 11 rushing first downs against the ACC’s top-ranked rushing defense (Pitt), and Book was responsible for three of those first downs, including an 18-yard dash to later set up the 73-yard TD pass to Skowronek.
- In the win over Louisville, Book passed for 106 yards and rushed for 47, also fooling a Louisville defender to gain extra yardage on an impressive go-ahead touchdown run.
- In the 12-7 victory over Louisville, Book and the offense held the ball for 36:15, including an impressive 7:55, 57-yard drive to end the fourth quarter and preserve the win.
- Book quarterbacked ND to 554 yards of total offense in the 42-26 win over Florida State, the most for Notre Dame since 2019 vs. Bowling Green (573 yards).
- Book recorded three rushing touchdowns in the first half against South Florida – the second time in his career in which he has rushed for three touchdowns in a game (Wake Forest – 2018). He became the first quarterback in Notre Dame history (modern era) to rush for three touchdowns in a half, and his three rushing TDs are still the ACC’s single-game high.
- In the 52-0 win over South Florida, Book completed 12-of-19 passes for 144 yards, also managing an offense that scored five rushing touchdowns, traveled 430 yards, posted zero turnovers and only punted twice.
- In the season opener vs. Duke, Book completed 19-of-31 passes, including a 75-yard long, for 236 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 12 yards. Book quarterbacked the Irish offense to five scoring drives, the first of which went 96 yards in 12 plays, to take the lead in the second quarter. It was the longest drive by the Irish since a 97-yard drive in the 30-27 home win over Southern Cal in 2019. Notre Dame also added an 83-yard touchdown drive later in the game.
- In all, the Irish offense outrushed (178-75), outpassed (263-259) and outgained (441-334) the Blue Devils, and were 3-4 in the redzone.
HEADED FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
- With his 28th-career win as a starting QB over Boston College, Book moves into a tie for second all-time in victories as a Notre Dame starting quarterback.
- Thanks to his 283 passing yards at Boston College, Book moved into third all-time in Notre Dame history for career passing yards, passing John and Bobbie Arlotta Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees (7,670) in the Irish quarterback rankings. Book currently boasts 7,936 career passing yards.
- Also at Boston College, Book passed Rees (627) in career pass completions to move into third all-time among Irish QBs. Book now totals 634.
- With his rushing touchdown at Boston College, Book moved into a tie for eighth in QB rushing touchdowns with Everett Golson and Joe Montana, all with 14.
- Book has now racked up 35-consecutive games completing a pass, which moves him to third all-time in Notre Dame history.
- With 310 passing yards against Clemson, Book moved into sole possession of third place all-time in career 300-yard passing games among Irish QBs, passing offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.
- With his three-yard rush early in the first quarter at Pitt, Book became just the second quarterback in Notre Dame history to eclipse the 8,000 total offensive yards plateau in his career – joining Brady Quinn ‘07 (11,944).
- With three TD passes at Pitt, Book moved into second place in Irish QB history for career touchdown passes (63), passing Rees (61).
- At Pitt, Book moved into sole possession of third place all-time among Notre Dame quarterbacks in career pass completions (Book now totals 634-career completions). He was previously tied with associate athletics director for football Ron Powlus.
- With his 47 yards rushing vs. Louisville, Book passed Brandon Wimbush (1,155) to move into second all-time in Notre Dame QB rushing yards. He now owns 1,397.
- Book is the all-time leader among Irish QBs in career completion percentage, currently boasting a .632 completion rate. The closest Notre Dame quarterback in the category is Jimmy Clausen (2007-09) with .626.
- Bookbecame the first Notre Dame quarterback with 2,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 30 TD passes in a season with his 2019 regular-season. Jalen Hurts was the only other collegiate student-athlete to hit these marks in the 2019 regular season, while Trevor Lawrence and Sam Ehlinger joined the group, but not until the postseason. Since 2017, only Book, Hurts, Kyler Murray, JT Barrett and D’Eriq King have hit these marks in the regular season.
- In 2019, Book was named Notre Dame Offensive Player of the Year and earned spots on the Davey O’Brien Award Great 8 List three times and as the Manning Star of the Week twice. He finished the season 240-for-399 with 3,034 yards and 34 touchdowns, throwing just six INT. He also ran 112 times for 546 yards and four TDs.
- Just five players in the FBS were responsible for more points than Book’s 222 (33 passing TDs, four rushing TDs) in the 2019 regular season.
AND THE BASE KEEP RUNNIN’
- RBs Kyren Williams, C’Bo Flemister and Chris Tyree have each posted at least one 100-yard rushing game. Notre Dame is the only team in the ACC to have three different student-athletes mark a 100-yard rushing game this season, and no Power 5 team has more than three.
- Irish running backs have reached the 100-yard mark six times this season, a figure which ranks third in the ACC.
- With a 127-yard performance by Williams vs. Louisville, it marked Notre Dame’s fifth-consecutive game with a 100-yard rusher (beginning with Tony Jones Jr. in the 2019 Camping World Bowl). The last time the Irish strung together five-straight games with a 100-yard rusher was in 2017 (Miami – OH to Wake Forest).
WHEN THERE’S A WILL[IAMS]
- RB Kyren Williams has reached the 100-yard rushing mark in four of seven total games this season, the second-most individual 100-yard rushing performances in the ACC. Williams ranks fourth in the ACC in rushing yards per game, running for an average of 105.7 yards.
- Williams rushed for three touchdowns vs. Clemson (two in overtime), marking his first three-touchdown game. He is the second Irish player to rush for three touchdowns in a single game this season (Ian Book vs. South Florida).
- He posted 140 yards against the third-ranked rushing defense in the ACC, as Clemson entered the game allowing just 99.9 rushing yards per game. Prior to the matchup, Clemson’s defense had allowed just three rushing touchdowns all season. Williams single-handedly doubled that figure.
- Williams broke through for a 65-yard rush on the first official play of the game’s opening drive vs. Clemson, tying his career-long rush (Florida State) and marking the longest scoring rush of his career. Only one player in the ACC this weekend had a longer scoring rush.
- Taking just 0:33 seconds, Williams’ one-play scoring drive was the fastest Notre Dame scoring drive since the 2019 Camping World Bowl, when Tony Jones Jr. broke off an 84-yard rush for a one-play, 00:15 second drive.
- Williams’ 486 yards in the first four games of a season was the best opening slate for an Irish RB since Dexter Williams in 2018 (512). Kyren Williams reached three 100-rushing yard performances in just four games, as did Dexter Williams, while it took Josh Adams five games to reach that mark in 2017.
- The academic sophomore (redshirt freshman) totaled 15 carries for 76 yards and two TDs at Georgia Tech, as well as two receptions for 24 yards. His two touchdowns marked his third multi-TD game of the season (now boasts four: also vs. Duke, vs. Florida State, vs. Clemson). Williams was one of just five ACC players to rush for two or more touchdowns on the weekend, and the only freshman to reach the mark.
- Williams was responsible for seven of Notre Dame’s 24 first downs at Georgia Tech, posting three plays of 10 or more yards, and two of 19 or more yards.
- In a grind game vs. Louisville, Williams showcased his power run ability, plowing for 127 rushing yards alone against a defense that had only allowed 156.8 rushing yards per game entering the matchup with the Irish.
- Williams shattered his previous career-high mark of 112 yards set vs. Duke in the season-opener, rushing for 185 yards on 19 carries vs. Florida State. His 185 rushing yards rank as the third-highest in a single game by any ACC player this season, and the most by any freshman or sophomore ACC player this season (Williams is an academic sophomore, a freshman in eligibility).
- Entering the game, Florida State allowed just 141.3 rushing yards per game. Williams surpassed that total on his own by more than 40 yards. His 185 yards vs. FSU still rank tied the ninth-most in a single game among FBS players this season, and the fourth-most in a single game that week in the FBS. His total is also the highest for a Notre Dame player since 2018. Williams was responsible for 10 of Notre Dame’s 15 rushing first-downs in that game.
- Williams posted 117 yards on five carries vs. Florida State, including runs of 65 and 46 yards, in the first quarter. The last time a Notre Dame player rushed for more yards on five or fewer carries was Josh Adams vs. Miami – OH in 2017 (151 yards).
- His 65-yard run in the first quarter vs. Florida State was the longest rush of his career, and his performance marked the second time this season (and in his career) he broke the 100-rushing-yard plateau.
- Williams exploded onto the scene in his first-career start vs. Duke, leading all FBS players in all-purpose yards (205) after rushing for 112 yards and tacking on 93 more in the air. His performance marked the first time an Irish player has reached the 90-yard plateau in both rushing and receiving in a single game since at least 1996.
- In the season-opener vs. Duke, the sophomore back averaged 5.9 yards-per-carry (12 carries) and rushed for two touchdowns, also accounting for two receptions that resulted in 91 yards-after-catch, including a career-high 75-yard reception on a screen pass to bring the Irish in the red zone. Williams the first Irish player to record two or more rushing touchdowns since Tony Jones Jr. had three against Virginia in 2019, and was awarded the game ball vs. Duke for his efforts.
- RB Chris Tyree surpassed the 100-yard mark for the first time in his young career, with 11 carries for 103 yards and boosted by a 45-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, vs. Florida State. Tyree was responsible for five of Notre Dame’s 15 rushing first downs that day.
- His performance was the only 100-rushing yard performance by a true freshman in the ACC that week. On the season, only three ACC true freshmen have recorded 100-rushing yard games, including Tyree.
- Tyree scored his first-career touchdown vs. South Florida. He later would set a then-career mark for longest rush after scampering 31 yards in the second quarter.
- Tyree has also served four games in the kickoff return role for the Irish.
- RB C’Bo Flemister was awarded the game ball for his performance at Boston College as he rushed for two touchdowns, the most in a single game for Flemister’s career. He now totals 10 rushing TDs for his career and five for the season. On the day, he posted 10 rushes for 53 yards.
- Flemister’s performance marks the sixth game this season that an Irish player has produced a multi-rushing TD game.
- Flemister posted a career game vs. South Florida, rushing for a career-high 127 yards (13 carries) to go along with a rushing touchdown. His 31-yard run in the fourth quarter was the longest rush of his career, and his performance marked the first time he has broken the 100-rushing-yard plateau in his career.
HANDS IN THE AIR
- WR Javon McKinley surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark in the win over Clemson, hauling in five passes for 102 yards. Just five ACC players posted 100 or more receiving yards on the weekend, and only one eligible ACC player posted a higher reception average than McKinley (20.4 yards per catch).
- Of McKinley’s five receptions, four resulted in first downs and were for a gain of more than 10 yards. McKinley reeled in a 45-yard pass from Book in the third quarter for his longest reception of the season thus far.
- McKinley led the Irish in receptions and receiving yards vs. Florida State with five receptions for 107 yards, and was the first Irish receiver to reach the 100-yard plateau since Chase Claypool in the 2019 Camping World Bowl. McKinley surpassed his previous career-high in receiving yards (104) with the 38-yard reception in the third quarter vs. Florida State.
- The Book-McKinley connection was solid vs. FSU, as McKinley was Notre Dame’s most successful receiver, while also matched up with Preseason All-ACC selection Florida State CB Asante Samuel for much of the evening.
- McKinley posted his first-career rush, a 15-yard run, in the third quarter vs. Louisville.
- WR Avery Davis continued his deep ball dominance at Boston College, posting two receptions for 70 yards, including a 48-yard long. He also tacked on a team-long 29-yard rush in the win.
- Davis made the game-changing play vs. Clemson to keep Irish hopes alive on their final drive of the fourth quarter. WIth less than two minutes remaining in regulation, Davis sped downfield and reeled in a 53-yard pass from Book, brought down at the Clemson four-yard line. Two plays later, Book hit Davis for the equalizing touchdown to send the game to overtime.
- The 53-yard reception in the fourth quarter was Davis’ longest of the season. The touchdown pass to Davis from Book was Davis’ second TD reception of the season and fourth of his career.
- WR Joe Wilkins Jr. caught the first touchdown pass of his career on an eight-yard dart from Book, completing Notre Dame’s opening drive at Georgia Tech. Wilkins Jr.’s first-career reception came earlier this season when he hauled in a five-yard pass from Book in the final minute of the second quarter vs. Duke.
- WR Ben Skowronek reeled in three touchdown receptions in the first half at Boston College, marking his first-career game with three receiving touchdowns. The last time a Notre Dame player caught three touchdown passes in a single half was Chase Claypool vs. Navy (2019). It marked Skowronek’s second multi-TD game this season (at Pitt), and the third of his career (while playing at Northwestern, scored two touchdowns against Bowling Green in 2017).
- Skowronek now totals five touchdown receptions on the season, which leads the team.
- Skowronek’s 18 points at Boston College led all ACC players in scoring for the week. The next closest players totaled 12 points. He was the only ACC player to record three touchdowns of any kind that weekend.
- His three receiving touchdowns tie for the ACC’s single-game high, and he is the only ACC player in the month of November to reach the mark. Just two other ACC players have caught three touchdown passes in a single game this season.
- His three receiving touchdowns tied for the national lead among all FBS players that week, and only one other player nationally also noted three touchdown receptions with just five total receptions on the week.
- Skowronek is one of just three ACC players this season with more than one multi-receiving touchdown game, and one of only two ACC players who have multiple multi-receiving TD games and have recorded three touchdown receptions in at least one of those games.
- Skowronek’s other multi-receiving TD game came at Pitt, catching two passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Skowronek’s two receiving TDs tied for the lead in the ACC that week, and his 107 yards were the third-most among all ACC players that week. His 53.5 yards per catch vs. Pittsburgh is the best mark of the season in the ACC thus far.
- Skowronek’s 73-yard touchdown reception was the third-longest among all FBS players on the week, and the second-longest in the ACC.
- His 34-yard touchdown later in the game also ranked as the seventh-longest touchdown reception in the ACC on the week.
- On Notre Dame’s opening drive vs. Louisville, WRs Kevin Austin Jr. (18-yard catch) and Skowronek (16-yard catch) each posted their first receptions of the season.
- Often referenced as “Tight End U,” every Notre Dame tight end who has started in the opening game of the season has been drafted, starting with Anthony Fasano in 2003.
- The Irish have started multiple tight ends in three of the four total games this season, also starting Brock Wright, Tommy Tremble and Michael Mayer all in the game vs. South Florida.
- Five tight ends have caught passes this season: Mayer (21-247, two TDs), Tremble (15-158), Wright (3-21), junior George Takacs (1-7) and freshman Kevin Bauman (1-5).
- TE Michael Mayer posted his career-long reception vs. Clemson as he powered for a 29-yard reception, keeping a fourth-quarter drive alive that resulted in a field goal.
- The freshman was named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for his performance at Pittsburgh, posting five receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. Mayer’s five receptions vs. Pittsburgh were the most by a true freshman, and tie for the most by a tight end, in the ACC last week.
- All five of Mayer’s receptions at Pitt resulted in first downs, and all were for a gain of 10 yards or longer. Notre Dame totaled 11 passing first downs.
- Mayer averaged 14.6 yards per catch, the third-best mark in the ACC that week (min. five receptions). Of the 11 ACC pass-catchers who posted five or more catches that week, just three players also recorded a receiving touchdown, including Mayer.
- Mayer scored his first-career TD vs. Florida State, marking him as the first true freshman tight end to score a touchdown since Kyle Rudolph in 2008 against Purdue.
- Mayer made his first-career start vs. South Florida. He previously notched his first-career reception in the second quarter vs. Duke, hauling in a 17-yard reception from Ian Book for a first down.
- Bauman’s first-career catch came vs. USF, also serving as freshman QB Drew Pyne’s first-career completion.
- Notre Dame’s starting offensive line boasts 147-career starts between the five veterans (Eichenberg, Banks, Patterson, Kraemer and Hainsey), the fifth-most starts among a starting offensive line nationally, and third-most in the FBS.
- The Irish lead the ACC in sacks allowed (13) and are also tied for second in the ACC in rushing offense (233.5 yards per game) with a 208-yard rushing performance vs. Clemson and 274 yards at Boston College.
- Entering the game at Boston College, Notre Dame was averaging 34:01 time of possession, a figure which led the ACC. The Irish have now won the time of possession battle in seven of eight games this season, posting 34:27 minutes at Boston College. The Eagles entered the weekend averaging 32:05 per game, and were held to just 25:33.
- Boston College entered the game allowing 373.0 yards of offense per game. Through the first half alone, the Irish racked up 327 yards, and ended the day with 561 yards.
- Notre Dame’s 561 yards of offense at Boston College were the most this season for Notre Dame, and the most by an Irish team since their 573 vs. Bowling Green in 2019. It was the most Notre Dame has racked up on the road since their 584 against Navy in 2018.
- Led by OL Tommy Kraemer, who was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week at Boston College, the offensive line allowed zero sacks on the day facing a Boston College defense that entered the day averaging 2.75 sacks per game on opposing QBs.
- With Kraemer’s ACC weekly honor, four of Notre Dame’s five starting lineman have been named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Wee this season.
- The Irish have scored 45 or more points in two-consecutive games for the first time since 1996 (vs. Pitt 60-6, vs. Rutgers 62-0). Entering the day, Boston College’s scoring defense ranked fourth in the ACC, allowing 24.6 yards per game. Notre Dame surpassed that mark in the first half alone with 31 points in the first 30 minutes.
- Notre Dame continues to lead the ACC in third-down conversions, executing successfully at a 54.1 percent rate.
- The Irish posted 208 rushing yards against Clemson, which, entering the day, had allowed just 99.9 rushing yards per game. Notre Dame’s three rushing touchdowns doubled Clemson’s season total of rushing touchdowns allowed (was three entering the game, then totaled six).
- In a performance vs. Clemson that earned OL Aaron Banks ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors, the line made it possible for Ian Book to pass for 310 yards against the ACC’s then-second-ranked passing defense, as Clemson entered the game allowing 174.9 passing yards per game.
- In the 45-3 road win over Pitt, the line paved the way for 434 yards of total offense. Notre Dame’s 115 rushing yards were the second-most Pittsburgh has given up in a game this season. Entering the game, Pitt had allowed just 61.5 yards per game, the ACC’s top-ranked rushing defense.
- Notre Dame’s two rushing TDs against Pitt marked the first time the Panthers allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in a single game since October 5, 2019 vs. Duke.
- In a performance against Louisville that saw OL Liam Eichenberg receive Pro Football Focus Team of the Week honors, Notre Dame rushed for 232 yards, earning Kyren Williams his third 100-yard performance of the season. Entering that game, Louisville had allowed just 156.8 rushing yards per game.
- In the victory over Florida State, the unit allowed zero sacks on QB Ian Book, while making it possible for the Irish to rush for 353 yards total, with two different players reaching the 100-yard mark. Prior to that contest, Florida State had allowed just 141.3 rushing yards per game.
- Notre Dame averaged 8.4 yards-per-carry vs. Florida State, the third-highest single-game figure in the conference this season.
- OL Robert Hainsey received ACC co-Offensive Lineman of the Week honors for his role in the O-Line’s performance vs. South Florida. The line allowed zero sacks on Irish quarterbacks in the 52-0 shutout win and paved the way for six rushing touchdowns, tied for the ACC’s most in a single game this season.
- Notre Dame’s 281 rushing yards were the most by any ACC team that week, and only one ACC team had posted more rushing yards in a single game prior to that occurrence.
- The 6.2 yards-per-rush by Notre Dame vs. South Florida ranked as the most that week.
- Notre Dame posted 16 rushing first downs, then the most in a single game this season by any ACC team.
- The Irish won Pro Football Focus’ Offensive Line of the Week after the season-opener vs. Duke, producing the highest-combined pass-block grade of any line that week.
POISED TO ATTACK
- The Irish rank third in the ACC in total offense (462.2 yards per game) and T-second in rushing offense (233.5).
- Tthe Irish maintained their lead in the ACC in third-down percentage this season (54.1 percent).
- Notre Dame continues to lead the ACC in average time of possession (34:05 game). The Irish have won the time of possession battle in seven of eight games this season, and the Irish have controlled the ball for at least 36 minutes in three games.
- Notre Dame is one of three Power 5 teams to post three performance of 36:15 or more possession time this season. No other FBS teams have produced more than three games this season with at least 36:15 in possession time (Wisconsin, Louisville, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina and Liberty have also marked three such performances).
- Through BC, the Irish have only trailed for 30:29 total minutes this season out of a total 480:00 minutes.
- The Irish have scored 45 or more points in two-consecutive games for the first time since 1996 (vs. Pitt 60-6, vs. Rutgers 62-0). Entering Saturday, Boston College’s scoring defense ranked fourth in the ACC, allowing 24.6 points per game. Notre Dame surpassed that mark in the first half alone with 31 points in the first 30 minutes.
- Notre Dame has outscored opponents 117-25 in the second quarter this season, including 21 points at Boston College.
- Boston College also entered the game allowing 373.0 yards of offense per game. Through the first half alone, the Irish racked up 327 yards, and ended the day with 561 yards.
- Scoring on the first official play of the game’s opening drive vs. Clemson, the Irish posted a one-play, 75-yard drive, marking the fewest plays and shortest amount of time in an Irish scoring drive this season. Taking just 0:33 seconds, it is the fastest Notre Dame scoring drive since the 2019 Camping World Bowl, when Tony Jones Jr. broke off an 84-yard rush for a one-play, 00:15 second drive.
- Notre Dame’s two rushing touchdowns against Pitt marked the first time the Panthers allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in a single game since October 5, 2019 vs. Duke.
- The Irish held control of the ball for 40:59 minutes of possession time against Pitt, the second-most by an ACC team in a single game this season, and 12th-most in a single game among all FBS teams this season.
- Notre Dame’s 115 rushing yards were the second-most Pitt had given up in a game this season. Entering the game, the Panthers were the ACC’s top-ranked rushing defense, allowing just 61.5 yards per game.
- In the win over Louisville, the offense held the ball for 36:15, including an impressive 7:55, 57-yard drive to finish out the fourth quarter and preserve the win. In all, the Irish had seven offensive drives on the day, and four of those drives took five minutes or more off the clock.
- In the 42-26 win over Florida State, Notre Dame racked up 554 yards of total offense, the most since 2019 vs. Bowling Green (573 yards). It also marked the first game with two 100-yard rushers (Kyren Williams & Chris Tyree) and a 100-yard receiver (Javon McKinley) since 2015 (Stanford).
- The last time Notre Dame had two players with more than 100 yards rushing in a game was in 2017 vs. Southern Cal (Josh Adams and Brandon Wimbush), and the last time the Irish posted more than 300 yards rushing was in 2019, also against Southern Cal.
- The win over Florida State also marked the first time since 2000 the Irish have scored 42 points in consecutive games.
- Notre Dame marked the 12th time the Irish scored at least 50 points in head coach Brian Kelly’s (12-0) 11-year tenure in the 52-0 win over South Florida. The 11 years prior to Kelly’s arrival, Notre Dame hit the 50-point mark once.
- The Irish held a 35-0 margin at halftime vs. South Florida, the largest halftime lead since last season’s 52-0 win against Bowling Green (also 35-0).
- Notre Dame rushed for six touchdowns against South Florida, the most in a game since 2018 (six versus Wake Forest) and the most in a single game this season among ACC teams.
- In addition to allowing zero sacks in the victory over USF, the offensive line paved the way for Notre Dame’s 281 rushing yards, the most by any ACC team that week.
- The 6.2 yards-per-rush by Notre Dame vs. South Florida ranked as the most that week. Notre Dame posted 16 rushing first downs, the most that week and the highest value at that point in the season. The figure was topped the next week.
- In the season opener vs. Duke, the Irish offense outrushed (178-75), outpassed (263-259) and outgained (441-334) the Blue Devils, and were 3-4 in the redzone.
- Book quarterbacked the Irish offense to five scoring drives vs. Duke, the first of which went 96 yards in 12 plays, to take the lead in the second quarter. It was the longest drive by the Irish since a 97-yard drive in the 30-27 home win over Southern Cal in 2019. Notre Dame also added an 83-yard touchdown drive later in the game.
EXPERIENCED & EXPLOSIVE
- The Irish boast two long-tenured veterans in the secondary with sixth-year Shaun Crawford and gradaute transfer Nick McCloud. They are coupled with young standouts Kyle Hamilton, TaRiq Bracy, Houston Griffith and Clarence Lewis, all of whom have started at least one contest for the Irish this season.
HAMILTON, A STAR
- A preseason All-America Second Team selection (USA TODAY), S Kyle Hamilton leads the team in tackles with 39 (33 solo).
- In the win over Clemson, Hamilton posted eight solo tackles and a TFL. Hamilton’s TFL came in the second quarter vs. Clemson when he brought down Travis Etienne. The Clemson drive later ended in a field goal.
- He was called into run defense duties vs. Clemson, and according to Pro Football Focus, posted a 79.2 run-defense grade.
- In the win at Georgia Tech, Hamilton led the defense with six tackles, adding 2.0 TFL (-8 yards) and one PBU.
- Hamilton’s 2.0 TFL at Georgia Tech tied for the lead among all ACC defensive backs on the weekend. On the weekend, only two ACC defensive backs posted 2.0 or more TFLs. One of Hamilton’s TFL came on a Georgia Tech fourth-down attempt, as he stopped Georgia Tech for a loss of six yards to give the Irish possession.
- Hamilton started in the win over Louisville, posting a diving pass breakup on third-and-11 on Louisville’s opening drive to force a punt. In the fourth quarter, Hamilton posted tackles on consecutive plays, second-and-26 and third-and-17, to force a punt, ending what would be Louisville’s final drive of the game to secure the win.
- He accounted for four tackles and a PBU on the opening drive for Duke. His QB hurry came in the second quarter, which forced an incomplete pass on a Duke third-and-seven. On the day, he marked seven tackles, the second-most for the Irish and the 13th-most in the ACC. His five solo tackles ranked 10th in the ACC at that point.
- S Shaun Crawford returns for his sixth season, due to a medical redshirt year of eligibility granted by the NCAA. After playing corner for five seasons, Crawford won the starting safety job entering 2020.
- Crawford was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week for his performance against Boston College, in which he posted nine tackles (five solo), 1.0 sack (-8 yards) and 1.5 TFL (-9 yards). Crawford was the only DB in the ACC that weekend to post at least nine tackles and a sack. Just two DBs in the conference posted more tackles than Crawford’s nine on the weekend.
- Crawford led the team in tackles, also notching a sack on Boston College’s opening drive, his second of the season and bringing his career total to 3.5.
- With nine tackles at Boston College, he marked a career high for single-game tackles, and his 1.5 TFL on the day also were a career high. His previous high in tackles was seven (2017 vs. Navy) and in TFL, he had notched 1.0 five times previously.
- The graduate student posted three solo tackles in the win at Georgia Tech, also marking his first sack of the season on a third down in the third quarter to force a field goal attempt, which Georgia Tech missed. The sack brings Crawford’s career total to 2.5.
- The graduate student earned the game ball for his performance vs. Louisville, when he tied for the team lead in tackles (six), also executing a crucial pass breakup, punching the ball out of the receiver’s hands, to end the third quarter and stall Louisville’s drive.
- Crawford was called to start at corner due to team need in the victory over Florida State, and posted the first interception of the season for the Irish in the fourth quarter as he intercepted QB Jordan Travis at the Notre Dame goal line to prevent a score. The interception helped seal the game for the Irish. It was the fifth interception of his career, and his second-career forced or recovered turnover inside the Notre Dame five-yard line.
- Crawford made several impact plays vs. FSU including coverage on a third-down pass from Jordan Travis to Camren McDonald in the first quarter, which fell incomplete and forced a Florida State punt
- He also recovered a fumble in the win over Duke, setting Notre Dame up at its own 41 for a touchdown drive.
McCLOUD-Y WITH A CHANCE OF INTs
- Coming to Notre Dame as a grad transfer from NC State, CB Nick McCloud recovered two fumbles in the win over No. 1 Clemson, also posting 1.0 TFL and three tackles. His two fumble recoveries marked the first time an Irish player has recovered two fumbles in a single game since Julian Love vs. Vanderbilt (2018). The second FR for McCloud came on the final play of OT, as McCloud gained control of the ball on Clemson’s fourth-down attempt to end the game.
- McCloud’s first fumble recovery of the season came on a Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah FF, and set up an Irish field goal. The second fumble recovery came on the final play of double overtime, as McCloud gained control of the ball on Clemson’s last-chance play to seal the Irish win.
- McCloud was named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for his performance at Pitt, in which he snagged his first interception in an Irish uniform, marking the fourth of his career (three while playing at NC State). McCloud’s interception came on the first play of a Pitt third-quarter drive to give the Irish possession at the Panthers’ 35-yard line, and the resulting series ended in an Irish rushing TD.
- His four tackles at Pitt tied for second on a defense that held Pitt to just a field goal. According to Pro Football Focus, McCloud’s receivers were targeted six times at Pitt, making just three catches. He earned an 80.1 PFF tackle grade and a 76.2 coverage grade, resulting in a 75.6 overall defensive grade.
SQUAD ROLLS DEEP
- S Houston Griffith and true freshman CB Clarence Lewis made their first-career starts vs. South Florida. Both finished the game with five solo tackles including 1.0 for loss each, and Lewis tacked on three pass breakups.
- Junior CB TaRiq Bracy was named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for his play against Duke. According to PFF, Bracy forced a contested target and incompletions on two of three targets, and did not allow any yards.
BACK IT UP
CAN I GET A WU-WU-WU?
- Named to the Preseason All-ACC team, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah boasts a total of 8.5 TFL on the season, which ranks T-14th in the ACC. His 35 total tackles rank third on Notre Dame’s defense.
- In the victory over No. 1 Clemson, Owusu-Koramoah posted nine tackles (seven solo), 0.5 sack, 2.0 TFL (-6 yards), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery touchdown (23 yards).
- Owusu-Koramoah recovered a Clemson fumble and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter vs. Clemson, marking the only fumble returned for a touchdown that week in the ACC.
- It was the first touchdown of the senior’s career, and the third fumble recovery of his career (first this season, last came in 2019 vs. Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl).
- Owusu-Koramoah’s touchdown marks the first true defensive touchdown of the season, as both prior non-offensive touchdowns were on opponent punts.
- Three plays later, Owusu-Koramoah forced a Clemson fumble, which was recovered by cornerback Nick McCloud. It led to an Irish field goal.
- In a performance that saw him named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week, Owusu-Koramoah posted his first-career interception at Pitt, giving the Irish possession at the Pitt 49-yard line to set up a Notre Dame TD drive.
- “Wu” led the Irish defense in TFL with 2.0 vs. Louisville, adding two other tackles, one of which resulted in no gain for the offense. Two of his tackles came on third down to force a fourth-down play.
- Owusu-Koramoah forced the first turnover of the season after breaking the ball loose from Duke’s Jalon Calhoun in the third quarter. Owusu-Koramoah led the Irish in tackles (nine) and got to Duke QB Chase Brice for the third Irish sack of the day in the fourth quarter, pinning him for a loss of six yards on what would be Duke’s final drive.
JUST LIKE HE DREW IT UP
- Senior LB Drew White tied for the team lead in tackles in the win over No. 1 Clemson with nine, also posting 1.0 TFL (-1) and a pass breakup.
- Overall, White ranks second on the Irish defense in total tackles with 38 on the season.
BE A DOG
- Junior LB Bo Bauer snagged his first-career interception, returning it 16 yards, in the second quarter at Pitt. The turnover gave the Irish possession at the Pitt 46 to set up a touchdown drive.
- LB Jack Kiser posted his first-career interception at Boston College in the third quarter, giving Notre Dame possession at the Boston College 44-yard line. It was Notre Dame’s fifth interception of the season.
- Kiser made a statement in his first-career start against South Florida, leading the team in tackles (eight) in his first game action on defense. Kiser’s 2.0 tackles-for-loss led the team (tied), and he also posted a QB hurry. After not being listed on the depth chart leading up to the game, Kiser was called up to start at the BUCK position, and his efforts earned him the game ball. Pro Football Focus named Kiser its “Secret Superstar of the Week,” giving him a 90.0 PFF grade in the first half.
PUT THE PRESSURE ON
- Notre Dame’s defensive line has combined for the best rishing defense in the ACC, allowing just 85.1 yards/game. Notre Dame’s rushing defense ranks fourth nationally.
- At Boston College, the defensive line held the Eagles to just 85 rushing yards, marking the sixth time (of eight games) this season that the Irish have held an opponent to fewer than 100 rushing yards.
- In the win over No. 1 Clemson, the defensive line led the way. Through the first seven games of the season, Clemson averaged 167 rushing yards per game. In the first half, Notre Dame limited Clemson to just five rushing yards. The Tigers finished with 34 yards rushing on 33 carries. It marked the second time this season that Notre Dame has held an opponent to single-digit rushing yards in a half (First half at Pitt). The last time Clemson was held to less than 34 yards of rushing was January 1, 2009 vs. Nebraska (four yards).
- Travis Etienne, the ACC’s all-time leading rusher, averaged 86.6 yards per game this season entering Saturday. The Irish defense held him to 28 yards on 18 rushes.
- That game was the only game of Travis Etienne’s career in which he had 10 or more carries (18) and was held to 30 yards or less (28). This was also the fewest yards per carry of Etienne’s career (1.6).
- On Clemson’s final possession of double overtime, Notre Dame’s defense sacked the quarterback on back-to-back plays, as Ade Ogundeji and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah combined for the first sack, and Daelin Hayes produced the second sack immediately following. It set Clemson up for third-and-24, and they were unable to convert.
- DL Daelin Hayes recovered a Boston College errant snap for his first FR of the season and fifth of his career.
- Hayes totaled 2.0 sacks and two forced fumbles at Georgia Tech, both career-high single-game marks for the graduate student. Both forced fumbles came on the sacks. Hayes’ two forced fumbles tied for the most in a single game among all FBS players this season, and he was the only player in the Power 5 to reach the mark on the weekend. Hayes’ game at Georgia Tech earned him the game ball.
- The Irish D-Line held Georgia Tech to just 88 rushing yards, while entering the game, Georgia Tech had averaged 180.7 rushing yards per game (sixth in the ACC).
- With the help of Hayes’ 2.0 sacks, the Irish sacked Georgia Tech a total of 5.0 times. Entering the game, Georgia Tech had allowed just 1.67 sacks per game (10 total). Other Notre Dame players to post a sack on Georgia Tech were DL Isaiah Foskey, DL Ade Ogundeji and S Shaun Crawford. DL Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa posted a fumble recovery on one of Hayes’ FFs.
- In the 45-3 win over Pitt, Notre Dame sacked Panther QBs three times. Tagovailoa-Amosa posted a sack for a loss of six yards, S Isaiah Pryor dropped the QB for a loss of seven yards and Foskey and DL Ovie Oghuofo combined for a sack (-6 yards).
- DL Jayson Ademilola made his first-career start at defensive tackle in place of Tagovailoa-Amosa vs. Florida State. He also started against Louisville.
- Hayes made an impact play with his TFL vs. Louisville, reading the screen pass and pinning Louisville’s Javian Hawkins for a loss of six in the fourth quarter, helping to stall a Louisville drive on first-and-20 and preserve the win.
- Ogundeji posted 2.0 sacks against Florida State for a total loss of nine yards, the leading sack figure on Notre Dame’s defense. In total, he posted four tackles and a QBH.
- Sophomore Foskey tallied his first-career sack vs. Duke to force a Blue Devil field goal. The sophomore made noise in a reserve role against Duke, responsible for the sack (loss of 10 yards) and a QB hurry earlier in the game at the 11-yard line also forced a Duke field goal. Foskey broke up a pass on the next drive to help lead to a punt. His final TFL came in the fourth quarter, when he combined with DL Jacob Lacey to bring down Duke’s Deon Jackson on second-and-13, setting up a Duke punt.
- Foskey also blocked a Pitt punt with 0:11 remaining in the first half, returning it for a touchdown. It was Foskey’s first-career score, and the second touchdown on a blocked punt for the Irish this season (vs. USF). It also marked his second-career blocked punt.
- Freshman DL Alexander Ehrensberger notched his first-career sack in the third quarter vs. South Florida, while sophomore LB JD Bertrand posted his first-career tackle.
DEFEND THE GRIDIRON
- Notre Dame’s defense is ranked No. 1 in the ACC in total defense (304.1 avg./game), scoring defense (16.6/game) and rushing defense (85.1 avg./game).
- The Irish defense (304.1 avg/game) ranks ninth nationally. The Irish rank third in passing defense (219.0 avg/game).
- The Irish lead the ACC in opponent third-down conversions, allowing just a 26.0 percent success rate. It is the fifth-best rate among all FBS teams. At Boston College, the Irish held the Eagles to converting just four of 11 third-down tries.
- Notre Dame is second in the ACC in opponent first downs, allowing just 133 on the season thus far.
- Allowing just 85.1 rushing yards per game, which ranks fourth in the nation in rushing defense, the Irish have allowed opponents to rush for more than 100 yards in just two games this season.
- The defense has yielded just 16.6 points per game through the first eight games of the season. That figure ranks fourth among all Power 5 teams
- In 2019, the Notre Dame defense ranked No. 12 among FBS teams in scoring defense, allowing just 17.9 points per game (26 touchdowns and 17 field goals).
- Through the first seven games of the season, Clemson averaged 167 rushing yards/game. In the first half, Notre Dame limited Clemson to just five rushing yards. The Tigers finished with 34 yards rushing on 33 carries. It marked the second time this season that the Irish have held an opponent to single-digit rushing yds. in a half (First half at Pitt). The last time Clemson was held to less than 34 yards of rushing was January 1, 2009 vs. Nebraska (four yards).
- The Irish defense went eight total quarters without giving up a TD, beginning with the fourth quarter vs. Louisville, and ending in the fourth quarter at Georgia Tech.
- Notre Dame held Georgia Tech to just 88 rushing yards, while entering the game, Georgia Tech had averaged 180.7 rushing yards per game (sixth in the ACC).
- At Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets only entered the red zone twice, and were only successful in scoring once. In the win at Pittsburgh, not only did the Irish limit Pitt to just a field goal, they also kept the Panthers out of the red zone entirely. Prior to the game, Pitt had totaled 27 appearances in the red zone through six games.
- The Irish held back-to-back opponents (Pitt and Louisville) to fewer than 10 points for the first time since 2012 (Boston College – 6, Wake Forest – 0).
- The Irish held Pitt to just a field goal; the last time Notre Dame held a team without a TD on the road or at a neutral site was Iowa State in the 2019 Camping World Bowl.
- Notre Dame limited Pittsburgh to just 44 rushing yards, sacking Panthers QBs a total of three times. Pittsburgh’s longest drive of the day was just 43 yards, and with just 19:01 of total possession time for the Panthers, none of their 13 drives lasted longer than 2:31.
- The Irish held Pitt to -3 rushing yards in the first quarter, the fewest in a single quarter by an opposing team since Notre Dame held Iowa State to -13 rushing yards in the fourth quarter of the 2019 Camping World Bowl.
- Notre Dame held Pitt to two rushing yards in the first half, the fewest in a half since the Irish held Iowa State to 1 rushing yard in the second half of the 2019 Camping World Bowl. Pitt entered the game averaging 107.0 rushing yards per game.
- In the win over Louisville, the defense limited Louisville to just 96 rushing yards. Entering the game, the Cardinals averaged 177.8 rushing yards per game.
- On the day, Louisville posted just 14 first downs and held the ball for only 23:45 minutes of possession time. Entering the game, the Cardinals ranked second in the ACC in time of possession, averaging 32:59 per game.
- Notre Dame marked the second shutout in as many seasons with a 52-0 victory over RV South Florida in Week Two. The Irish allowed the Bulls in the red zone just one time on the day, and the attempt was unsuccessful for South Florida. In all, the Bulls were held to 11 first downs, including just one first down in the first half.
FOLLOW HIS LEA-D
Notre Dame has held 31-of-34 opponents during Clark Lea’s tenure as defensive coordinator to 30 points or less. That includes ranked opponents LSU, Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia and Navy.
- The Irish rank second in the ACC in kick-return defense, allowing an average of just 17.69 yards per return. The ACC-leading mark is 17.37 yards/return (Virginia Tech).
- True freshman RB Chris Tyree owns the fifth-best kick return average in the ACC, bringing back kicks at a rate of 21.3 yards per game.
- The Irish have blocked two punts, returning both for touchdowns, thus far this season.
- Notre Dame is the only Power 5 team to boast two different players with punt return touchdowns this season. No other Power 5 team has more total punt return touchdowns this season than Notre Dame’s two. Only two other FBS teams have two different players with punt return touchdowns this season (Georgia Southern and Liberty).
- DL Isaiah Foskey blocked a Pitt punt with 0:11 remaining in the first half, returning it for a touchdown. It was Foskey’s first-career score, and the second touchdown on a blocked punt for the Irish this season (vs. USF). It also marked his second-career blocked punt.
- Foskey was the only player in the ACC to record a punt return TD that week. There have been just 19 this season in the FBS, and only one FBS player boasts two.
- True freshman DL Jordan Botelho recovered a blocked South Florida punt for a touchdown in the 52-0 shutout win, marking the only punt return TD in the ACC that week and just the second at that point in the season. DL Osita Ekwonu was responsible for the block. It was the first blocked punt returned for a TD by the Irish since 2015 vs. Southern Cal.
- Botelho was the only player in the FBS that week to post a punt return touchdown.
- Botelho also provided pressure on another South Florida punt, forcing a rushed punt that traveled just one yard and gave the Irish possession at the South Florida 25-yard line.
- P Jay Bramblett made his mark vs. Duke, bombing six punts in the season-opener, including punts of 53, 52 and 45 yards. His play of the day came in the second quarter on a fake punt play, when he rushed for 14 yards, cutting to get the Irish the first down and keeping Notre Dame’s drive alive to end in a touchdown. On the day, Bramblett marked a 43.8-yard average punt.
- K/P Dawson Goepferich scored his first points for the Irish on a PAT vs. South Florida.
- LS Michael Vinson made his debut as the first-string player in the season-opener after the graduation of LS John Shannon, recipient of the inaugural Patrick Mannelly Award in 2019, honoring the nation’s top long snapper.
- K/P Jonathan Doerer is 12-16 on field-goal attempts through the season, connecting on all 36 PAT attempts. He has now connected on 98-consecutive PATs, a streak which extends to 2018 vs. Navy and ranks 10th among all FBS active streaks. The streak is the fourth-longest current streak in the ACC.
- Doerer ranks tied for sixth overall in scoring in the ACC (9.0 pts./game) and ranks fourth among kickers in scoring.
- In the win vs. No. 1 Clemson, Doerer matched the Notre Dame record for kicking points in a game, accounting for 17 kicking points vs. Clemson. His 17 points tie for the most kicking points in a single game by any FBS player this season, and were the most by any FBS player that weekend.
- He made four field goals on the day, matching his previous career high in the 2019 Camping World Bowl vs. Iowa State. His previous single-game point high was 15 in the 2019 Camping World Bowl.’
- Doerer’s five field goal attempts match a single-game high in the ACC this season.
- In the win vs. Louisville, Doerer made both field goal attempts, giving the Irish an early lead in the 12-7 contest on a day that experienced wind gusts upwards of 30 MPH.
- On the season, Doerer owns an 77.8 FG percentage in conference games, tying for fifth in the ACC.
- In 2019, Doerer compiled a 85.0 FG-make percentage (17-20), the fifth-best by an Irish kicker in a single season since 1996. In 2019, Doerer was perfect on PAT attempts (57-of-57), totaling 108 points between field goals and PAT.
- In 2019, Doerer scored 108 points for the Irish, the most in a single season by any Notre Dame kicker. He topped Kyle Brindza’s 2013 mark of 98 with his performance in the Camping World Bowl vs. Iowa State, in which Doerer netted 15 points on four field goals and three PATs.
- In 2019, Doerer inscribed his name in Notre Dame record books vs. Southern Cal, becoming the first Irish kicker since Dave Reeve (1977) to make three field goals of 40 or more yards in a single game. Doerer made a career-long 52-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half vs. Southern Cal, also making a 45-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining in the first half. Doerer added a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. All three surpassed his previous career-long (36 yards).