by Travis Normand
I found this over at NDFootball.Wordpress.com (Strong and True, The Notre Dame Football Blog) and wanted to share it. I am not yet making a case for Notre Dame to be in the National Title game, but this visual representation of how well the Irish defense has played this season is very impressive.
Some people will argue that Notre Dame hasn’t been impressive enough (overall) this season. However, one cannot argue that the Irish defense has been anything less than amazing against the competition it has played.
The next measuring stick for Notre Dame’s defense will come on November 24, when the Irish face USC. Of all the opponents that Notre Dame has faced thus far, only one of them has a scoring offense ranked in the top 50 (by points per game) — Oklahoma is ranked 13th at 39.78 points per game. USC’s offense is currently ranked 26th (tied with Georgia) scoring 36.9 points per game in 2012. Most pollsters will probably wait and see what Notre Dame is able to do against this USC offense before they decide whether or not the Irish have a legitimate claim to one of the two spots in the BCS Championship game.
The Irish are 10-0 after defeating Boston College last Saturday, and both the offense and defense made solid contributions in the game. Notre Dame’s offense scored a touchdown on three of its first four possessions, but methodical drives by both teams kept the overall drive count in the game low. The defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone all night, and recorded four sacks, a fumble, and an interception.
The story of the season has been defensive dominance, as we have documented in our Drive Charting posts all year long. The chart above illustrates one of Notre Dame’s most remarkable defensive stats, preventing opponents from driving the length of the field to the end zone. On 93 opponent drives started at or inside the opponent’s 40-yard line, the Irish have given up one touchdown. That 3-play, 75-yard scoring drive by Navy occurred on the sixth opponent possession of…
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