Sept. 21, 2009
Game #4 — Notre Dame (2-1) vs. Purdue (1-2)
Saturday, September 26, 2009
8:00 p.m. ET
Ross Ade Stadium (80,795); West Lafayette, Ind.
ESPN national telecast with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analysis), Erin Andrews (sideline), Mark Loomis (producer) and Ken Dennis (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.
Saturday’s game is not officially sold out. Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 72 of its last 81 road games. In fact, the Irish have played in front of sellout crowds in 216 of their previous 248 games, including 91 of its last 100 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), Purdue (purduesports.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. Purdue is not receiving votes in either poll.
This meeting will be the 81st all-time between the rivals. It is Notre Dame’s second-most played series (trailing only Navy). The Irish hold a 52-26-2 lead in the series and captured last year’s meeting, 38-21, in Notre Dame Stadium, but dropped their last meeting in Ross Ade Stadium, 33-19, in 2007. Notre Dame has won six of the last nine and 18 of the past 23 in the series. The Irish have dropped four of their last six meetings in West Lafayette (more on the series history on pages 18-23 of the PDF version of this notes package).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Senior SS Kyle McCarthy is the first Notre Dame player to register an interception in each of the first three games to open a season since Tom Schoen in the 1966 season. McCarthy could become the first Irish player since 1950 to open a season with an interception in four straight games.
AN IRISH VICTORY THIS WEEK WOULD…
- Improve Notre Dame to 3-1 for the second consecutive year and the fourth time in five years.
- Give Notre Dame a victory over Purdue for the fourth time in five years.
- Improve the all-time record for Notre Dame to 17-3 (.850) against Purdue the week after facing Michigan State.
- Improve Notre Dame to 53-26-2 (.667) in the all-time series with Purdue.
- Improve Notre Dame to 26-14-2 (.643) in the all-time series with the Boilermakers in West Lafayette.
- Improve an unranked Notre Dame squad to 11-6 all-time against Purdue and 10-4 against an unranked Boilermaker team.
- Improve an unranked Notre Dame squad to 5-4 all-time against Purdue in West Lafayette and 4-3 against an unranked Boilermaker team in Ross Ade Stadium.
- Improve Notre Dame to 220-113-15 (.654) all-time against the Big Ten.
- Improve Notre Dame to 96-72-9 (.568) all-time on the road against the Big Ten Conference.
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record to 834-285-42 (.736).
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record on the road to 292-142-22 (.664).
- Improve Weis’ record to 32-22 (.593) overall and 9-9 (.500) against the Big Ten.
- Improve Weis’ road record to 12-9 (.571) overall and 4-5 (.444) against the Big Ten.
- Improve Weis’ record to 13-9 (.591) in September games.
- Improve Weis’ record to 7-5 (.583) in night games.
AN IRISH DEFEAT THIS WEEK WOULD…
- Drop Notre Dame to 2-2 for the first time since 2000.
- Deny Notre Dame a victory over Purdue for the fourth time in five years.
- Give Purdue consecutive victories at Ross Ade Stadium over Notre Dame for the first time since 1997, 1999.
- Drop the all-time record for Notre Dame to 16-4 (.800) against Purdue the week after facing Michigan State.
- Drop Notre Dame to 52-27-2 (.654) in the all-time series with Purdue.
- Drop Notre Dame to 25-15-2 (.619) in the all-time series with the Boilermakers in West Lafayette.
- Drop an unranked Notre Dame squad to 10-7 (.588) all-time against Purdue and 9-5 (.643) against an unranked Boilermaker team.
- Drop an unranked Notre Dame squad to 4-5 (.444) all-time against Purdue in West Lafayette and 3-4 (.429) against an unranked Boilermaker team in Ross Ade Stadium.
- Drop Notre Dame to 219-114-15 (.651) all-time against the Big Ten.
- Drop Notre Dame to 95-73-9 (.562) all-time on the road against the Big Ten Conference.
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 833-286-42 (.736).
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record on the road to 291-143-22 (.662).
- Drop Weis’ record to 31-23 (.574) overall and 8-10 (.444) against the Big Ten.
- Drop Weis’ road record to 11-10 (.524) overall and 3-6 (.333) against the Big Ten.
- Drop Weis’ record to 12-10 (.545) in September games.
- Drop Weis’ record to 6-6 (.500) in night games.
ON THIS DATE
Notre Dame has played 10 previous games in its history on Sept. 26. The Irish are 8-1-1 all-time on this date. The Irish were ranked inside the top 25 on six occasions and five games came against this weekend’s opponent Purdue.
HOW DO THEY STACK UP?
Average weight of the offensive and defensive lines:
Notre Dame OL 315.0 lbs. vs. Purdue DL 277.5 lbs.
Notre Dame DL 275.0 lbs. vs. Purdue OL 303 lbs.
Average height of the receivers and the secondaries:
Notre Dame WR/TE 6′ 3 1/3″ vs. Purdue DB 6′ 0 3/4″
Notre Dame DB 6′ 1″ vs. Purdue WR/TE 6′ 2″
Junior OT Matt Romine changed his uniform number from #70 to #77. Mike Turkovich previously wore #77 before graduating after the 2008 season.
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.
NOTRE DAME IN SEPTEMBER
- Notre Dame is 125-49-4 (.713) all-time during the month of September.
- The Irish are 80-18-2 (.810) 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.
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 FB James Aldridge, senior CB Mike Anello, senior S Sergio Brown, sophomore WR Michael Floyd, junior DE Kerry Neal, sophomore TE Kyle Rudolph, senior DE John Ryan, junior LB Brian Smith and senior OT Sam Young.
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, Miami, Fla. and East Carolina for the fourth-most graduates on a 2009 FBS roster.
- The following players extended active starting streaks last week against Michigan: senior OT Sam Young 41, senior OC Eric Olsen 22, junior QB Jimmy Clausen 19, sophomore TE Kyle Rudolph 16 and senior SS Kyle McCarthy 16.
YOUNG PUPS NOW GROWING UP
- Notre Dame had 20 scholarship players make their respective Irish debuts in the season opener against Nevada. That group included seven freshmen and 12 more sophomores for a total of 19 first-year players.
- The Irish have already had 15 different players start on defense over their first three games. Of those 15 players, 10 have at least one year of eligibility remaining and six have at least two years remaining.
- Notre Dame has a tremendous amount of experience on its offensive line. The Irish have a total of 115 combined starts amongst six different players. As experienced as Notre Dame’s front line is on the offensive side of the ball, the defensive line is equally inexperienced. Sophomore DE Kapron Lewis-Moore made his first career start against Michigan State and sophomore DT Ethan Johnson made just his seventh career start.
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
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’ 53 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 33 under Weis. To put those numbers in perspective, Notre Dame averaged a 100-yard receiving effort every 13 games before Weis. Under Weis, the Irish are recording a 100-yard receiving effort a little better than every other game.
- Junior QB Jimmy Clausen has passed for at least 300 yards in four consecutive games, a first in Notre Dame history. It began with 401 at Hawaii last December, followed by efforts of 315 (Nevada), 336 (Michigan) and 300 (Michigan State) this season. Former All-American QB Brady Quinn, another Weis protege, had three consecutive 300 yard passing games during his record setting 2005 season.
- Notre Dame has had 10 players register 54 or more receptions in a single season. Six of those 10 players have come during the Weis era, including former All-American WR Jeff Samardzija’s school record of 78 in 2006.
- Five of the top eight best individual receiving yard seasons have come under Weis.
- Notre Dame has eclipsed 5,000 total yards in a season just seven times over its 119 years of football entering 2009. The Irish have registered 5,000 yard seasons twice under Weis. The 2009 edition is well on its way to giving Weis a third season with 5,000 or more total yards.
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 (2nd) in 2006 and 245.4 (4th) in 2008. Over its first three games of 2009, Notre Dame has averaged 324.0 yards per game passing.
- The Irish have eclipsed 475 or more total yards in 11 games under Weis, including three of Notre Dame’s last four games (the only game in which the Irish failed to eclipse 475 yards came against Michigan State and Notre Dame still managed 437 yards). Weis has served as offensive coordinator and play caller for each of those games.
- Notre Dame racked up 27 first downs against Michigan – the most by an Irish squad since Oct 7, 2006 against Stanford.
- The Irish followed up the offensive outburst against Michigan with an equally impressive output against Michigan State. Notre Dame registered 25 more first downs.
- The Irish have recorded 52 first downs over their last two games (Michigan, Michigan State). Notre Dame has not produced more first downs in consecutive weeks since Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 of 2006 against Purdue and Stanford.
POINTS A PLENTY
Notre Dame has scored 33 or more points in four consecutive games and each of its three games in 2008. The last time a Notre Dame team scored at least 33 points in three games to open the season was the 1943 national championship season that began with victories of 41-0 over Pittsburgh, 55-13 over Georgia Tech and 35-12 over #2 Michigan.
- The Irish have not had a longer streak of consecutive 30+ point games since setting the school record of eight straight games during the 2005 season.
- Notre Dame set a school record in 2005 under Weis with 10 games of 30 or more points. The previous school record was nine such games by the 1991 Irish.
IRISH OFFENSE IN MID-SEASON FORM
- Notre Dame piled up 510 and 490 yards, respectively, over its first two games of this season. The 1,000 total yards were 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 11 of 16 first half possessions (eight touchdowns, three field goals) over the Nevada, Michigan and Michigan State games.
- The Irish have also been exceptional in 2009 over their opening drives of each half. Notre Dame registered a touchdown on its opening drive of both the first and third quarter against Michigan State. The Irish have recorded touchdowns on four of their six drives to open each half. In fact, Notre Dame has averaged 6.5 plays and more impressively 65.8 yards per drive to open a half. That stat is even more remarkable when you consider the Irish opened the third quarter against Michigan with a three-play, six-yard drive ending with a fumble. Excluding that drive, Notre Dame averages 7.2 plays and 77.8 yards per drive.
- Notre Dame leads the nation in passing efficiency. The Irish have a 186.14 rating over their first three games. The Irish also rank ninth in total first downs (72), 10th in time of possession (33:12), 10th in passing offense (324.0) and 14th in total offense (479.0).
- Notre Dame is the only offense among all 120 FBS schools that has a running back rank among the top 20 in rushing yards per game, two wide receivers rank among the top 20 in receiving yards per game and a quarterback rank among the top 20 in passing yards per game. Sophomore WR Michael Floyd ranks seventh (119.33 ypg), junior QB Jimmy Clausen ranks eighth (317.0 ypg), junior RB Armando Allen ranks tied for 15th (108.67 ypg) and junior WR Golden Tate ranks 20th (100.33 ypg).
- The quintet has also made its fair share of big plays already in 2009. Clausen has 14 completions over 20 yards, Floyd has collected six passes over 20 yards, Tate has five 20+ yard receptions and Allen has ripped off 10 runs of at least 10 yards. Sophomore Kyle Rudolph has even added two receptions over 20 yards from the tight end position.
- Notre Dame did not have a single three-and-out in the victory over Michigan State. In fact, the Irish have just four three-and-outs over their first three games and three came against Michigan.
THE LONG MARCHES
The Irish have produced numerous long scoring drives during 2009. Throw out Notre Dame’s one touchdown after senior SS Kyle McCarthy’s interception in Michigan’s territory and Notre Dame has traversed an average of 75.8 yards on its 12 conventional touchdown drives through the first three games. Those drives have averaged 7.2 plays and include four drives of 80 or more yards and five more of longer than 70 yards. Here’s the breakdown:
Nevada: 67 yards on 12 plays, 78 yards on nine plays, 79 yards on two plays, 80 yards on eight plays and 99 yards on four plays.
Michigan: 76 yards on seven plays, 69 yards on seven plays and 80 yards on 14 plays.
Michigan State: 84 yards on four plays, 55 yards on five plays, 70 yards on six plays and 73 yards on eight plays.
IRISH OFFENSE QUICK OUT OF THE BLOCKS
Notre Dame has averaged 273.3 net offensive yards in the first half (820 total) of its first three games, compared to 205.7 in the second half (617 total).
- The Irish have been even more impressive in the opening 15 minutes of their first three games. Notre Dame has totaled 131, 142 and 152 yards of total offense in the opening quarter of its first three games this season against Nevada, Michigan and Michigan State.
NOTRE DAME WINNING TIME-OF-POSSESSION BATTLE
While Notre Dame’s offense has been piling up the yardage this season (averaging 479.0 yards per game), it also has won the time of possession battle in all three games this season. Overall, Notre Dame averages 33:12 minutes per game with the ball, compared to 26:48 for its opponents.
- Notre Dame is 2-1 this season and 24-7 under Weis when the Irish win the time of possession battle.
IRISH EFFICIENT ON FIRST & SECOND DOWN
- Notre Dame has a 71.7% completion percentage (33-for-46) on first down. Junior QB Jimmy Clausen is 31-for-43 (72.1%) for 13 first downs and two touchdowns on first down. The Irish (22-for-30) and Clausen (21-for-29) are even better on second down.
- Junior RB Armando Allen is averaging 5.5 yards per carry over Notre Dame’s first three games, including 5.1 yards per carry on first down. He is also gaining 7.0 yards per rush on second down. The Irish, which average 4.5 yards per carry as a team, are ripping off 6.2 yards per rush on second down.
- Allen has also proven he is able to advance the chains on third down. He is averaging 4.0 yards per carry for eight first downs on third down. He is a perfect 6-for-6 on third down and short (two yards or less) on the season. In fact, Allen is averaging 5.2 yards per carry on third and short. As a team, Notre Dame has converted seven of its 10 third down and short rushing plays.
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 41 starts. Eric Olsen (22 starts), Dan Wenger (18 starts), Paul Duncan (15 starts), Chris Stewart (13 starts) and Trevor Robinson (six starts) help bring the Irish total to 115 combined career starts. Notre Dame’s total of 100, entering this season, was the second most in the past decade at Notre Dame.
IRISH RUNNING GAME REAPING MAJOR BENEFITS FROM EXPERIENCED OFFENSIVE LINE
Notre Dame posted its two worst rushing seasons in school history in 2007 (75.25 ypg) and 2008 (109.69 ypg), but the Irish have made significant strides in 2009. Notre Dame is averaging 155.0 yards per game on the ground over its first three games of the season.
- Notre Dame’s wideouts and running backs had just two negative rushes against Michigan State. Junior WR Golden Tate was tackled for a one-yard loss on a reverse and junior RB Armando Allen had a minus four-yard rush when he was brought down after colliding with Tate. The Irish equalled that total on their first two carries of the game against the Spartans in 2008.
- The Irish struggled mightily on the ground against both Michigan and Michigan State in 2008, but rebounded with impressive efforts against each in 2009 (again, excluding sacks and QB rushes). The Spartans had allowed just 2.2 yards per rush over their first two games.
- Notre Dame has outrushed both Nevada and Michigan State this season and not coincidentally, the Irish are 2-0 in those contests. In fact, since Weis arrived in South Bend, Notre Dame is 17-0 when outrushing its opponent.
- Notre Dame and its ’09 opponents could not have less similar red-zone success, with the Irish totaling 56 red-zone points (converting 9-of-10 chances) while the first three opponents have combined for a lower red-zone point total (41) and conversion rate (6-of-11). The Notre Dame defense has allowed six red zone touchdowns (in 11 opponent chances) while the Irish offense has cashed in seven touchdowns after crossing the opponent’s 20-yard line (in 10 chances).
- The only drive in which Notre Dame failed to produced points when entering the red zone came against Michigan. The Irish took the opening kick and marched 69 yards, but missed a 28-yard field goal. The other drives for Notre Dame that entered the red zone and did not result in a touchdown came against Michigan and Michigan State. 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). Notre Dame also kicked a field goal against the Spartans after driving down to the MSU one-yard line before a fumble on third down forced the field goal.
- 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 out). 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.
- Michigan and Michigan State have each scored three touchdowns on four red zone attempts the last two weeks.
- 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.
TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF
The Irish are tied for 12th in the nation with a +1.33 turnover ratio. Just five FBS squads have fewer turnovers than Notre Dame’s two: Arizona State, UTEP, Texas A&M, California and Oregon State.
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 were 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’s 131 yards against Michigan set a school record for receiving yards by an Irish player in the 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 the 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 22-8.
- 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 (158 yards on 35 carries). The Irish also accomplished the feat against a 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 a single sack. Nevada 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. The Irish marched 67, 78, 79 and 80 yards. In fact, Notre Dame added a school record-tying 99-yard drive for its final touchdown of the game. The average scoring drive by the Irish went for 80.6 yards.
- 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 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.
IRISH RUSH DEFENSE STEPS UP IN SECOND HALF AGAINST MICHIGAN STATE
- Notre Dame struggled mightily against the rush over its first two games and even the first half against Michigan State. The Irish surrendered 153 and 190 yards on the ground against Nevada and Michigan, respectively, and then allowed another 76 yards on the ground to the Spartans in the first half of last week’s victory, but Notre Dame stepped up and limited MSU to just 29 yards on nine carries after halftime (just 3.2 per rush).
- The Irish had allowed 16 rushes of 10 or more yards over their first two games, but limited Michigan State to just a pair of 10+ yard rushes, including none in the second half.
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 over the first 15 minutes.
- The Irish surrendered 14 points in the first quarter at Michigan. Notre Dame had allowed just 19 points in the first quarter over their last 10 games.
- The Irish allowed just three points in the first quarter in last week’s victory over Michigan State. Notre Dame has allowed three points or less in the opening quarter in 10 of its last 12 games.
— ND —