Sept. 14, 2009
Game #3 — Michigan State (1-1) vs. Notre Dame (1-1)
Saturday, September 19, 2009
3:42 p.m. ET
Notre Dame Stadium (80,795); Notre Dame, Ind.
NBC national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Alex Flanagan (sideline), Rob Hyland (producer) and David Michaels (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), former Irish great Allen Pinkett (analysis) and Jeff Jeffers providing pre-game, sideline and post-game reports. This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 159) and XM Satellite Radio (channel 117).
- All Notre Dame games may be heard in South Bend on Sunny 101.5 FM and NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM. A full listing of stations around the country carrying Notre Dame Football/ISP Sports broadcasts may be found by CLICKING HERE.
Saturday is the 207th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium. Since 1966, every Irish home football game has been a sellout except one – a 1973 Thanksgiving Day game vs. Air Force. Notre Dame has now played in front of sellouts in 255 of their last 256 home games.
- Notre Dame has now played in front of sellout crowds in 214 of its previous 246 games, including 89 of its last 98 contests dating back to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2000 season (the 2001, ’03, ’05 and ’07 games at Stanford, the 2004 game vs. Navy at the Meadowlands, the 2005 and ’08 game at Washington, the 2007 game at UCLA and the 2008 Hawai’i Bowl were not sellouts).
Notre Dame (und.com), Michigan State (msuspartans.com)
Live in-game statistics will be provided through CBS College Sports Gametracker via each school’s respective official athletic website.
Notre Dame is unranked, but receiving votes in both the AP and coaches polls. Michigan State is not receiving votes in either poll.
This meeting will be the 73rd all-time between the rivals. It is Notre Dame’s fourth-most played series overall (trailing only Navy, USC and Purdue) and the second-most frequent with any school in the Big Ten. The Irish hold a 44-27-1 lead in the series, but have dropped each of the last two in the series, including last year’s meeting, 23-7, in East Lansing. Michigan State has won nine of the past 12 games in the series, including six consecutive wins in Notre Dame Stadium (23-7 in 1997, 23-13 in 1999, 17-10 in 2001, 22-16 in 2003, 44-41 in overtime in 2005 and 31-10 in 2007). The Spartans are the only school to ever win six straight games at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have not defeated the Spartans at home since 1993. (more on the series history on pages 18-23).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Notre Dame has now lost 16 games in school history in either overtime or the final 12 seconds of regulation. The Irish own an impressive 6-2-1 record the week following those last second defeats (Notre Dame did not play the following week in seven of those games). However, the Irish have dropped their last two such games. Notre Dame lost to Boston College last season the week following its four overtime defeat to Pittsburgh and lost to Air Force the week after the three overtime defeat to Navy in 2007.
AN IRISH VICTORY THIS WEEK WOULD…
- Improve Notre Dame to 2-1 for the second consecutive year and the fourth time in five years.
- Snap Michigan State’s six-game winning streak at Notre Dame Stadium.
- Be the first for Notre Dame over the Spartans at Notre Dame Stadium since 1993.
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record to 7-2-1 (.750) the week following a loss in either OT or the final 12 seconds of regulation.
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record to 5-3 (.625) against the Spartans the week following a loss to Michigan.
- Improve Notre Dame to 45-27-1 (.623) in the all-time series with Michigan State.
- Improve Notre Dame to 27-13 (.675) in the all-time series with the Spartans in South Bend.
- Improve Notre Dame to 219-113-15 (.653) all-time against the Big Ten.
- Improve Notre Dame to 113-45-5 (.709) against Big Ten opponents at home and 92-40-3 (.693) at Notre Dame Stadium.
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record to 833-285-42 (.736).
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 304-98-5 (.753).
- Improve Notre Dame to 83-49-4 (.625) all-time against schools from the state of Michigan.
- Improve an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 8-10 (.444) all-time against Michigan State (would be the eighth victory in the last 12 such meetings).
- Improve an unranked Notre Dame squad to 5-7 (.417) all-time against Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium.
- Improve Notre Dame to 8-5 (.615) all-time against Michigan State when both teams are unranked.
- Improve Notre Dame to 4-3 (.571) all-time against Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium when both teams are unranked.
- Improve Weis’ record to 31-22 (.585) overall and 8-9 (.471) against the Big Ten.
- Improve Weis’ home record to 17-11 (.607) overall and 5-3 (.625) against the Big Ten.
- Improve Weis’ record to 12-9 (.571) in September games.
- Improve Weis’ record to 25-17 (.595) in afternoon games.
AN IRISH DEFEAT THIS WEEK WOULD…
- Drop Notre Dame to 1-2 for the first time since 2003.
- Give Michigan State a seven-game winning streak at Notre Dame Stadium (already the longest by an Irish opponent in school history).
- Deny Notre Dame its first victory over the Spartans at Notre Dame Stadium since 1993.
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 6-3-1 (.650) the week following a loss in either OT or the final 12 seconds of regulation.
- Even Notre Dame’s all-time record to 4-4 (.500) against the Spartans the week following a loss to Michigan.
- Drop Notre Dame to 44-28-1 (.610) in the all-time series with Michigan State.
- Drop Notre Dame to 26-14 (.650) in the all-time series with the Spartans in South Bend.
- Drop Notre Dame to 218-114-15 (.650) all-time against the Big Ten.
- Drop Notre Dame to 112-46-5 (.702) against Big Ten opponents at home and 91-41-3 (.685) at Notre Dame Stadium.
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 832-286-42 (.735).
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 303-99-5 (.751).
- Drop Notre Dame to 82-50-4 (.618) all-time against schools from the state of Michigan.
- Drop an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 7-11 (.389) all-time against Michigan State.
- Drop an unranked Notre Dame squad to 4-8 (.333) all-time against Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium.
- Drop Notre Dame to 7-6 (.538) all-time against Michigan State when both teams are unranked.
- Drop Notre Dame to 3-4 (.429) all-time against Michigan State in Notre Dame Stadium when both teams are unranked.
- Drop Weis’ record to 30-23 (.566) overall and 7-10 (.412) against the Big Ten.
- Drop Weis’ home record to 16-12 (.571) overall and 4-4 (.500) against the Big Ten.
- Drop Weis’ record to 11-10 (.524) in September games.
- Drop Weis’ record to 24-18 (.571) in afternoon games.
ON THIS DATE
Notre Dame has played four previous games in its history on Sept. 19. The Irish are 3-1 all-time on this date. The Irish were ranked inside the top 10 on all four previous occasions.
HISTORIC NOTRE DAME STADIUM
The 2009 football season marks the 79th year of Irish football in fabled Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have played 407 games in the facility to date and own a 304-98-5 (.753) record in the “House that Rockne Built.” The most wins in a season by the Irish at home is seven by the 1988 national championship team and the longest home winning streak in Notre Dame football history is 28 games (from 11/21/42 through 9/30/50).
OPENERS AN INDICATOR?
Notre Dame is 101-15-5 in season openers, but have they been foretelling of the season ahead? Take a look:
- The 100 previous seasons Notre Dame has won its opener, the Irish went on to post winning records 92 times (92.0%), with four losing seasons and four .500 records.
- The 15 seasons Notre Dame has lost its opener, the Irish posted winning records six times and a losing mark eight times (with one .500 season).
- The five seasons Notre Dame registered a tie in its opener, the Irish had four winning records and one losing record.
- Many have discussed the difficulty (or lack thereof) of Notre Dame’s schedule for the 2009 season. However, looking at the top 15 pre-season rankings from the four most popular season previews (Athlon, Lindy’s, Phil Steele & Rivals) shows that Notre Dame’s slate is very comparable to the other top 15 teams in the nation.
- Notre Dame is one of eight schools with an average opponent ranking between 51 and 56, while being ranked ninth over all.
- In addition to having a strong average ranking among the best teams in the nation, Notre Dame plays fewer teams on the bottom levels of college football. Notre Dame is one of six schools in the group to play no FCS teams (along with Texas, USC, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and LSU). In addition, Notre Dame’s only opponents that ever appear in the bottom 40 of college football are still members of a major BCS conference, a distinction no other program can claim.
- Mark Schlabach and Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com recently updated their bowl projections list of the 2009 season. They both picked the Irish to play in the Gator Bowl (Schlabach against Georgia Tech and Feldman against Miami), but more interesting was the appearance of eight of Notre Dame’s opponents in bowl games on Schlabach’s list and seven on Feldman’s.
ONLY THE BIG BOYS
Notre Dame is one of just four NCAA FBS programs to have not faced a non-FBS opponent since the current setup was established in 1978. The three other remaining schools that have yet to play a non-FBS opponent are USC, UCLA and Washington. The list shrunk from five following Michigan State’s contest with Montana State on Sept. 5.
Junior offensive tackle Matt Romine changed his uniform number from #70 to #77. Mike Turkovich previously wore #77 before graduating after the 2008 season.
HOW DO THEY STACK UP?
Average weight of the offensive and defensive lines:
Notre Dame OL 315.0 lbs. vs. Michigan State DL 273.5 lbs.
Notre Dame DL 273.8 lbs. vs. Michigan State OL 301.4 lbs.
Average height of the receivers and the secondaries:
Notre Dame WR/TE 6′ 2 2/3″ vs. Michigan State DB 6′ 0 1/2″
Notre Dame DB 6′ 1″ vs. Michigan State WR/TE 6′ 3″
NOTRE DAME IN SEPTEMBER
- Notre Dame is 124-49-4 (.712) all-time during the month of September.
- The Irish are 79-18-2 (.808) in September home games.
- Notre Dame has an all-time mark of 40-29-2 (.577) in road games during September.
- The Irish went 3-1 in September last season (San Diego State, W, 21-13; Michigan, W, 35-17; at Michigan State, L, 7-23; Purdue, W, 38-21). Notre Dame was 0-5 in the first month of the season in 2007.
The following players made their Notre Dame debuts in the season opener against Nevada: sophomore LB Anthony McDonald, freshman S Zeke Motta, freshman RB Theo Riddick, senior TE Bobby Burger, freshman LB Manti Te’o, sophomore LB David Posluszny, sophomore CB Jamoris Slaughter, sophomore DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, sophomore QB Dayne Crist, freshman PK Nick Tausch, freshman LS Jordan Cowart, freshman WR Shaquelle Evans, sophomore DT Hafis Williams, sophomore WR Deion Walker, freshman TE Tyler Eifert, sophomore OT Lane Clelland, sophomore WR John Goodman, sophomore DB Dan McCarthy, junior WR Chris Gurries, sophomore OC Mike Golic, Jr. and sophomore DT Sean Cwynar.
LEAVE NO DOUBT
Notre Dame dominated Nevada in every facet of the game, including, and most importantly, the scoreboard. The 35-point margin of victory was the largest under head coach Charlie Weis and the largest since Sept. 25, 2004 when the Irish defeated Washington 38-3.
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME GRADUATES
The 2009 Notre Dame roster features eight players who have already earned their undergraduate degree from the University. Paul Duncan, Evan Sharpley, Mike Anello, Ray Herring, Kyle McCarthy, Scott Smith, Barry Gallup and Chris Stewart all graduated from Notre Dame in May of 2009. Here is a list of the graduates on the 2009 Notre Dame football team.
- OT Paul Duncan: degree in management-entrepreneurship from the Mendoza College of Business.
- QB Evan Sharpley: degree in history from the College of Arts and Letters.
- CB Mike Anello: degree in finance from the Mendoza College of Business.
- S Ray Herring: degree in sociology from the College of Arts and Letters.
- S Kyle McCarthy: degree in finance from the Mendoza College of Business.
- LB Scott Smith: degrees in management from the Mendoza College of Business and sociology from the College of Arts and Letters.
- WR Barry Gallup: degree in finance from the Mendoza College of Business.
- OG Chris Stewart: degree in history from the College of Arts and Letters.
- Notre Dame’s eight graduates is tied with Auburn, Penn State, Texas Tech, UNLV and East Carolina for the fourth-most graduates on a 2009 FBS roster.
LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE ’09
Junior QB Jimmy Clausen, senior SS Kyle McCarthy, senior OC Eric Olsen and senior LB Scott Smith have been selected captains of the 2009 Notre Dame football team.
Voting was conducted Friday, Aug. 14, with the results announced to the team by head coach Charlie Weis. Clausen and Olsen will captain the offense, McCarthy will serve as the defensive captain and Smith will represent the special teams. The results from the vote also helped form the leadership committee. Joining the four captains on the leadership committee are: senior fullback James Aldridge, senior cornerback Mike Anello, senior safety Sergio Brown, sophomore wide receiver Michael Floyd, junior defensive end Kerry Neal, sophomore tight end Kyle Rudolph, senior defensive end John Ryan, junior linebacker Brian Smith and senior offensive tackle Sam Young.
- The following players extended active starting streaks last Saturday afternoon against Michigan: senior OT Sam Young 40, senior OC Eric Olsen 21, junior QB Jimmy Clausen 18, sophomore TE Kyle Rudolph 15, senior SS Kyle McCarthy 15 and junior DE Kerry Neal.
THREE NEW COACHES ADD TO EXPERIENCED STAFF
- Head coach Charlie Weis added three experienced assistant coaches to the Irish coaching staff this offseason giving Notre Dame a coaching staff with 189 years of coaching experience.
- Running backs coach Tony Alford (14 years), defensive line coach Randy Hart (39 years) and offensive line/running game coordinator Frank Verducci (27 years) combined to add 80 years of coaching experience to Notre Dame’s coaching roster.
- Head coach Charlie Weis adds the second-most years coaching to the staff (30 years), followed by Jon Tenuta (28 years), Rob Ianello (22 years), Brian Polian (12 years), Corwin Brown (eight years), Bernie Parmalee (seven years) and Ron Powlus (two years).
YOUNG PUPS NOW GROWING UP
- Notre Dame had 20 scholarship players make their respective Irish debut in the season opener against Nevada. That group included seven freshmen and 12 more sophomores for a total of 19 first-year players.
- Of the 24 players that started the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (including punter and placekicker), 18 players return in 2009 and 11 of those players have at least two seasons of eligibility remaining.
- Freshman DB Robert Blanton picked up his first career start against Navy in 2008. Blanton was the sixth different Irish rookie to start a game last season. Blanton joined WR Michael Floyd, TE Kyle Rudolph, OG Trevor Robinson, DE Ethan Johnson and LB Darius Fleming.
- Notre Dame’s duo of WR Michael Floyd and TE Kyle Rudolph each established school records for receptions and receiving yards by first year players at their respective positions. Floyd’s total was also a freshman record for any position.
- The Irish scored 40 touchdowns in 2008 and 33 came from either freshmen or sophomores, including six of the seven touchdowns against Hawai’i in the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl. The only touchdowns scored last season by upperclassmen were RB James Aldridge (3), WR David Grimes (3) and LB Toryan Smith.
- The 33 of 40 touchdowns by underclassmen did not include QB Jimmy Clausen, who tossed 25 touchdown passes last season.
CHARLIE AND THE IRISH OFFENSIVE FACTORY
Fifth year head coach Charlie Weis came to Notre Dame with a tremendous reputation as one of the premier offensive minds in all of the NFL. The Irish saw immediate results in 2005, setting 11 school records, including passing yards (3,963), touchdown passes (32, bested in 2006 and equalled in 2008), total offense yards (5,728) and total points (440). Notre Dame has surpassed the 40-point barrier on 12 different occasions in Weis’ 52 games as head coach. Prior to his arrival, Notre Dame had eclipsed 40 points just nine times in its previous 97 contests. In addition, the Irish had 83 separate 100-yard receiving games over its first 116 seasons of football, but Notre Dame has had 32 under Weis. To put those numbers in perspective, Notre Dame averaged a 100-yard receiving effort every 13 games. Under Weis, the Irish is recording a 100-yard receiving effort a little better than every other game.
MORE ON WEIS’ OFFENSE
Notre Dame has registered three of its top four passing seasons in school history under Weis. The Irish averaged 330.3 yards (1st) in the air in 2005, 264.7 (second) in 2006 and 245.38 (fourth) in 2008. Over its first two games of 2009, Notre Dame has averaged 334.0 yards per game passing.
- The Irish have eclipsed 475 or more total yards in 11 games under Weis, including each of Notre Dame’s last three games. All of which, Weis has served as offensive coordinator and play caller.
- Notre Dame racked up 27 first downs against Michigan – the most by an Irish squad since Oct 7, 2006 against Stanford.
IRISH OFFENSE IN MID-SEASON FORM
- Notre Dame has piled up 510 and 490 yards, respectively, over its first two games of this season. The 1,000 total yards are the most for the Irish in consecutive weeks since they compiled 1,083 yards on Nov. 19 (Syracuse, 420) and Nov. 26 (at Stanford, 663) of 2005. In fact, it is the most total yards over the first two weeks of a season since the Irish registered 1,051 yards of total offense to open the 1974 campaign.
- Notre Dame’s offense has gotten out to fast starts this year as well, scoring on eight of 11 first half possessions (six touchdowns, two field goals) over the Nevada and Michigan games.
- Notre Dame is the only offense among all 120 FBS schools that has a running back rank among the top 25 in rushing yards per game, a wide receiver rank among the top 25 in receiving yards and a quarterback rank among the top 25 in passing yards per game. Sophomore WR Michael Floyd ranks second (160.0 ypg), junior QB Jimmy Clausen ranks eighth (325.5 ypg) and junior RB Armando Allen ranks 23rd (105.5 ypg).
- The trio has also made its fair share of big plays already in 2008. Clausen has 10 completions over 20 yards, Floyd has collected five passes over 20 yards and Allen has ripped off seven runs over 10 yards.
IRISH MOST EFFICIENT ON FIRST DOWN
- Notre Dame has a 73-percent completion percentage (19-26) on first down. Junior QB Jimmy Clausen is 17-for-24 (.70%) for eight first downs and two touchdowns on first down.
- Junior RB Armando Allen is averaging 5.9 yards per carry over Notre Dame’s first two games, but is even better on first down. He is gaining 6.5 yards per rush on first down and 6.4 yards on second down. The Irish, which are averaging 4.7 yards per carry as a team, are ripping off 5.7 yards per rush on second down.
- Notre Dame and its ’09 opponents could not have less similar “red-zone’ success, with the Irish totaling 39 red-zone points (converting 6-of-7 chances) while the first two opponents have combined for a lower red-zone point total of 21 and conversion rate (3-of-7). The Notre Dame defense has allowed just three red zone touchdowns (in seven opponent chances) while the Irish offense has cashed in six touchdowns after crossing the opponent’s 20-yard line (in seven chances).
- The only drive in which Notre Dame failed to produced points when entering the red zone came last week against Michigan. The Irish took the opening kick and marched 69 yards, but missed a 28-yard field goal. The other drive for Notre Dame that entered the red zone and did not result in a touchdown also came last week. The Irish drove to the Wolverine 17-yard line before settling for a field goal (Notre Dame did have a touchdown overturned on the drive).
- Despite scoring five touchdowns in the 2009 opening win over Nevada, Notre Dame ventured into the “red zone” just twice (other three touchdowns, all by sophomore WR Michael Floyd, came from 24, 70 and 88 yards). The Irish scored two touchdowns in red zone chances against the Wolf Pack, which marched inside the Irish 20 three times and failed to score a single point.
- Notre Dame in 2008 came away with points in 31 of 44 red-zone chances (70.5 percent) – including touchdowns on 52.2 percent – while opponents posted points on 81.8 percent of their chances, but barely half of the opposing chances, 22 of 44, produced touchdowns.
AGAINST THE WOLVERINES
- Michigan scored the winning touchdown with 11 seconds remaining in the game. It marked the third meeting between the two rivals where the deciding points were scored with less than 12 seconds to go in the contest. The Wolverines last captured a meeting decided so late into the contest in 1994 when Remy Hamilton kicked a field goal with two seconds left to secure a 26-24 victory in Notre Dame Stadium.
- Junior QB Jimmy Clausen’s 336 yards are the most ever by an Irish signal caller against Michigan.
- Notre Dame racked up 27 first downs and 490 yards on the afternoon, the most ever by an Irish squad in the all-time series with the Wolverines.
- Sophomore WR Michael Floyd recorded the second-most receiving yards in a season opener and followed up that performance with 131 receiving yards against Michigan, the most ever by a Irish wide receiver in the all-time series with the Wolverines. The previous record was 127 set last season by junior WR Golden Tate.
- Tate’s nine receptions are the most by an Irish player in the all-time series with the Wolverines, besting the previous high of seven set by three different players (most recently Darius Walker in 2006).
- Tate also tied five other Irish players (most recently junior RB Robert Hughes in 2008) with the most touchdowns against the Wolverines in the series.
- Notre Dame managed just 10 first downs and 79 total yards on 55 plays in the 2007 meeting with Michigan, the last trip to Ann Arbor for the Irish. Notre Dame registered 15 first downs and piled up 302 yards on 37 plays, good for an average of 8.2 per play in the first half.
- The Irish were also held to minus-seven yards on 33 carries in that meeting. Notre Dame rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries, good for a 5.9 average, in today’s first half.
IRISH DON’T GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE
- Since Charlie Weis became head coach at Notre Dame, the top priority of every game has been to win the turnover battle. In games the Irish have won the turnover battle, Notre Dame is 21-8.
- Last season, the Irish did not commit a turnover in five games. In fact, Notre Dame has not turned the ball over in 16 games since 2005.
- Quite often in a season opener a team is sloppy in terms of penalties and turnovers, but the Irish committed just three penalties and did not commit a single turnover. Notre Dame was one of two schools in the county among FBS teams that had fewer than three penalties and no turnovers on opening day. In addition, only seven FBS schools had fewer penalties in its season opener than the Irish.
IRISH OFFENSE ROLLS IN SEASON OPENER AGAINST NEVADA
- Notre Dame finished with 510 yards of total offense, the most since recording 663 yards at Stanford on Nov. 26, 2005.
- The Irish recorded those 510 yards on just 61 plays, good for an average of 8.36 yards per play (best in the Charlie Weis era).
- Notre Dame set new highs for the Weis era in most passing yards per attempt (16.6), yards per completion (19.5), highest passing efficiency (290.44) and yards per play (8.4).
- The Irish have now eclipsed 500 yards of total offense in eight games under Weis.
- Notre Dame not only converted both of its third downs of nine or more yards (nine and 16 yards) in the first half, but did so each time with touchdown passes. Jimmy Clausen’s touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph in the first quarter came on a third and 16, while Clausen’s second quarter touchdown pass to Michael Floyd came on a third and nine.
- The Irish totaled exactly 300 yards on 34 plays in the opening half, good for an average of 8.8 yards per play.
- Notre Dame averaged just 3.3 yards per rush in 2008. Weis and the Irish coaching staff have established 4.5 yards per carry as a standard for the season. Notre Dame equalled that mark prior to its final drive of the game against the Wolf Pack (158 yards on 35 carries). The Irish also accomplished the feat against a Nevada defense that ranked sixth in the nation against the run in 2008 (88.62 yards per game). Notre Dame finished the afternoon with 178 yards on the ground.
- The Irish offensive line did not allow Nevada a single sack. The Wolf Pack ranked 10th in the nation in sacks a season ago, averaging 2.85 per game.
- Notre Dame registered touchdowns on four of its first five drives against Nevada. The Irish marched 67, 78, 79 and 80 yards. In fact, Notre Dame added a school record-tying 99-yard drive for its fifth and final touchdown of the game. The average scoring drive by the Irish went for 80.6 yards on seven plays.
- Notre Dame was limited to just one three and out over the course of the entire game.
- The Irish quarterbacks completed passes to seven different receivers.
IRISH OFFENSIVE LINE PASSES CENTURY MARK FOR CAREER STARTS
- First-year offensive line coach Frank Verducci is charged with improving the Irish rushing attack in 2009 and will attempt to do so with one of the most experienced offensive line units in Notre Dame’s recent history.
- Six players having starting experience for the Irish, led by right tackle Sam Young’s 40 starts. Eric Olsen (21 starts), Dan Wenger (18 starts), Paul Duncan (14 starts), Chris Stewart (12 starts) and Trevor Robinson (FIVE starts) help bring the Irish total to 110 combined career starts. Notre Dame’s total of 100, entering this season, was the second most in the past decade at Notre Dame.
HIGH RETURNS ROLLING IN FOR IRISH OFFENSE
- The Irish offense returns an unprecedented high percentage of its 2008 offense. All 3,190 passing yards (including senior Evan Sharpley’s 18 yards) return this fall as quarterback Jimmy Clausen guides the Irish attack again.
- Almost 99 percent of the rushing yards from 2008 return and over 89 percent of the receiving yards are available this year. In fact, Notre Dame totaled 4,616 total yards of offense in 2008 and only 17 yards of total offense will not suit up for the Irish this fall.
- The only skill-position players lost from the ’08 squad are wide receiver David Grimes and fullback Asaph Schwapp.
IRISH 2008 UNDERCLASSMEN AMONG NATION’S ELITE
- Notre Dame’s freshmen and sophomores in 2008 proved to be not just the most productive classes in school history but also one of the best in the country. Led by sophomore Golden Tate and freshman Michael Floyd, Irish underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) combined to record 2,793 receiving yards, third most in the nation.
IRISH PITCH SHUTOUT AGAINST NEVADA
- Notre Dame posted its first shutout since blanking Rutgers 42-0 on Nov. 23, 2002 — a span of 76 games.
- Notre Dame posted its first shutout in a season opener since blanking Maryland, 22-0, on Aug. 31, 2002.
- Notre Dame posted its first shutout in a season opener inside Notre Dame Stadium since Sept. 22, 1973 when the Irish beat Northwestern, 44-0.
- Nevada was shut out for the first time since Dec. 12, 2007 versus New Mexico. The shutout was also just the third in Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault’s 25-year coaching career at Nevada. This comes after Nevada averaged 37.6 points, 509 total yards and 278 rushing yards per game (school record) last season.
- Notre Dame limited the Wolf Pack to 307 total yards and 153 yards rushing, well below their explosive output from a year ago, and, obviously, no points.
- Notre Dame was one of two FBS schools, Kentucky being the other, to shut out another FBS school in its season opener.
TENUTA AND BROWN’S BOYS MAKE QUITE AN OPENING IMPRESSION
- Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick not only threw two interceptions in the game after throwing just seven all of last year, but he also averaged only 3.9 yards per rush compared to his near 7.0 yards per carry average in 2008.
- Notre Dame forced three Wolf Pack turnovers, including two in the red zone, and denied another possible scoring opportunity for Nevada on a 4th and short stop.
- Notre Dame ranked 20th in the country in 2008 in third down defense (32.76%). The Irish continued their success on third down against Nevada. Notre Dame limited the Wolf Pack to just 2-for-11.
- The Irish red zone defense was equally impressive. Notre Dame did not allow Nevada any points despite the Wolf Pack’s three trips in the red zone. The Irish were the only team in the FBS to deny their season-opening opponent points on three drives that crossed the 20-yard line.
TENUTA AWFULLY TOUGH IN SEASON OPENING GAMES
Notre Dame co-defensive coordinator and play-caller Jon Tenuta has had his way over his career in season-opening games. A Tenuta defense has limited its opponents to 14 points or less in 11 of his 16 years as a defensive coordinator.
IRISH DEFENSE STINGY OUT OF THE GATE
- Notre Dame was quite impressive defensively coming out of the locker room in 2008. The Irish allowed only three touchdowns in the first quarter over the entire 2008 campaign and just one over their last nine games of the year. Notre Dame continued that trend, blanking Nevada last weekend over the first 15 minutes.
- The Irish surrendered 14 points in the first quarter last week against Michigan. Notre Dame had allowed just 19 points in the first quarter over their last 10 games.
— ND —