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Lea Selected as Broyles Award Semifinalist

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Notre Dame Bob Hinton Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers coach Clark Lea has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2020 Broyles Award, honoring college football’s top assistant coach. Out of 56 nominees, Lea was one of 15 chosen for the semifinal round. 

Lea has played a large hand in helping lead Notre Dame to an undefeated 10-0 mark and a number two ranking in the College Football Playoff standings, molding the Irish defense into one of the most balanced units in the country. Not only do his position groups fit together to form a formidable foe, they excel at playing complimentary football with the Notre Dame offense. 

Under Lea’s guidance, the Notre Dame defense ranks in the top 15 in the FBS in third down defense (3), rushing defense (8), total defense (14) and scoring defense (12). The second-ranked Irish top the ACC in third down defense and scoring defense, ranking second in rushing defense. Notre Dame has held its opponents to less than 100 yards rushing in all but three games in 2020. Of the Top 10 rushers in the ACC, the Irish have faced six–limiting those five running backs to an average of 52.8 yards (317 yards total on 84 carries). 

At North Carolina, UNC entered the game averaging 563 yards per game. Notre Dame held Carolina to 298 yards of total offense, the first time they have been limited to 400 yards or less this season. Additionally, the Irish shutout the Tar Heels in the second half, the first time North Carolina has been shut out in any half this season. 

While facing then-top-ranked Clemson, the Tigers finished with 34 yards rushing on 33 carries. The last time Clemson was held to less than 34 yards of rushing was January 1, 2009 vs. Nebraska.

Notre Dame has held 33-of-36 opponents during Lea’s tenure as defensive coordinator to 30 points or less. That includes ranked opponents LSU, Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia, Navy and North Carolina. In 2019, Lea’s Notre Dame defense ranked third in the FBS in pass defense, fifth in pass efficiency defense, 12th in scoring defense and 18th in total defense.