Building a case for Notre Dame

by Travis Normand

No, I am not actually building a case for Notre Dame yet.  Like I said last week, they still have to play USC, and I am reserving judgement until after that game.  However, this doesn’t mean that others aren’t already trying garner support for Notre Dame’s number one ranking.

I received the following notes and stats today in an email from Notre Dame’s sports information department.  I know that a lot of people are not very impressed with the Irish, but take a minute to read the following information.  It may not change your opinion, but you have to admit,  some of these facts are pretty intriguing.

What is Notre Dame’s style?

  • It stops the run and runs the football. The Irish are one of four teams in the FBS that rush for more than 200 yards per game and allow less than 100 yards per game. Of those four teams, though, the Irish are the only team to have faced only FBS competition (no games vs. FCS teams).
  • It’s a stifling defense led by Manti Te’o that ranks No. 1 in the nation allowing 10.0 points per game. Only two FBS defenses in the last 10 years have allowed fewer points per game than this year’s Notre Dame defense.
  • It’s an improving offense under first-year starter Everett Golson that played one of its best games of the year today. The Irish totaled 430 yards of offense in the first half today vs. Wake Forest.

Quick Notes From Notre Dame’s Win vs. Wake Forest

Notre Dame Team

  • Notre Dame is 19-2 in its last 21 regular-season games. Only Oregon has a better regular-season win percentage.
  • According to the NCAA and Jeff Sagarin strength of schedule rankings, the Irish have faced the toughest schedule among all undefeated teams this year.

Notre Dame Defense:

  • The Irish have the No. 1 scoring defense in the nation at 10.0 points per game. Only two FBS defenses in the last 10 years have allowed fewer points per game than the Irish (Alabama, 8.1 in 2011; USC, 9.0 in 2008).
  • Notre Dame’s defense has allowed eight touchdowns all year and only two rushing touchdowns.
  • Notre Dame has limited seven of its opponents (Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, Stanford, Oklahoma, Boston College and Wake Forest) to its lowest scoring output of the season.
  • The Irish have surrendered 10 points or less in six games this year.
  • Notre Dame’s opponents have started 105 drives inside their own 40-yard line this year and managed one touchdown.
  • Irish are the only team in the country to not allow a TD drive longer than 75 yards

Notre Dame Offense

  • The Irish cranked out 430 yards of offense in the 1st half alone vs. Wake Forest, en route to 584 total yards.
  • Notre Dame gained 221 rushing yards today. The Irish have run for over 200 yards in five of the last seven games.
  • The Irish are averaging 200.7 rushing yards and 219.0 passing yards per game. It would be only the third season in Notre Dame history the Irish averaged at least 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards in a season. The other two were 1970 (finished year No. 2 in nation) and 1977 (finished year No. 1 in nation).

Everett Golson

  • QB Everett Golson threw for 317 yards in the first half vs. Wake Forest, the most passing yards in a half by a Notre Dame QB since Jimmy Clausen set the school record with 340 passing yards in the second half vs. Navy in 2009.
  • Golson finished the game with 346 passing yards. Only one Notre Dame QB in his first season of competition has ever passed for more yards in a game (Brady Quinn, 350 yards vs. Boston College as a true freshman in 2003)
  • Only six Notre Dame quarterbacks have ever passed for more yards in a game (Terry Hanratty, Joe Theismann, Joe Montana and Dayne Crist – all once; Jimmy Clausen – five times; Brady Quinn – six times)

Update [Nov. 19,2012]: I received this email today on Manti Te’o

Heisman – Maxwell – Walter Camp – Bednarik – Nagurski – Butkus – Lombardi – Lott – National Scholar-Athlete – Academic All-America Finalist – All-America Team

98 tackles – 5.5 tackles for loss – 1.5 sacks – 6 interceptions – 4 pass breakups – 2 fumble recoveries

3.32 cumulative GPA – Set to graduate from Notre Dame this December in 3.5 years


  • Captain of No. 1 ranked team in the nation
  • Helped lead Notre Dame to 11-0 record for first time in 23 years
  • Undefeated at home for first time in 14 years
  • Defeated three teams currently ranked in top 20


  • Leader of a defense that ranks No. 1 in scoring defense (10.1 points/game), No. 6 in total defense (287.8 yards/game), No. 5 in rushing defense (92.2 yards/game) and No. 11 in pass efficiency defense (104.6)
  • Guides a defense of historic proportions as only 2 FBS defenses in the last 10 years have allowed fewer points per game than this year’s Notre Dame defense
  • Have held 5 of 11 opponents without a TD this year
  • 8 of 11 opponents held to 300 yards or less


  • Has forced 8 turnovers this year (6 INT and 2 fumble recoveries) – entering this weekend only 1 FBS player had generated more takeaways
  • On pace to become only the 2nd Notre Dame player to record at least 100 tackles in 3 consecutive seasons
  • Ranks 3rd in Notre Dame history with 422 career tackles and ranks 2nd among all active FBS players in career tackles
  • Only 1 FBS linebacker since 2001 has recorded more INT in a season than Te’o
  • 3 of 6 Te’o INT have been vs. teams ranked in top 25 – tied for most in the country entering the weekend
  • Played a hand in 10 of 21 turnovers forced by the Irish this year (6 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 QB hurries that directly led to INT)

2 thoughts on “Building a case for Notre Dame

  1. The Irish should handle a Barkley-less USC team this weekend locking up a BCS title birth. But then again, anything can happen! (see Oregon loss and K-State loss)

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