BY THE NUMBERS
1 The Irish are the only team in the NCAA to have two games this
season with multiple defensive touchdowns against Power-5
2 The Irish are one of two teams (Alabama) to average more than 30
points on offense and averaged fewer than 20 points allowed on
defense for four consecutive years (2017-21).
Running back Kyren Williams surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing
mark in the win over Stanford. He is just the fifth running back
in Notre Dame history to have back-to-back seasons with 1,000
rushing yards or more .
7 The Irish won their seventh-game in a row with the win over
Stanford. It is the fourth time in the last five years that the Irish have
had a win streak of seven games or more.
9 The Irish have won 11 or more games for the ninth time in program
10.0 Defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey is tied for 16th in the NCAA with
10.0 sacks on the season. He is tied for fourth all-time for most sacks
in a single season in program history.
15 The Irish are tied for 10th nationally with 15 interceptions. It is the
most interceptions since 2014 when the Irish had 16.
18.2 Notre Dame is ranked ninth in the NCAA in scoring defense allowing
18.2 points per game.
21 The 2022 Fiesta Bowl marks the 21st time Notre Dame has played in
a bowl game on Jan. 1.
23 The Irish have totaled 23 takeaways this season, which ranks tied
for 14th nationally.
36 Notre Dame has won 36-straight games when allowing less than 20
points, dating back to 2016.
37 Thirty-seven of Michael Mayer’s team-leading 64 receptions this
season have resulted in a first down for the Irish.
40.0 Notre Dame ranks eighth in the NCAA with 40.0 sacks for the season.
Fifteen different players have recorded a sack this season and it is
one shy of the school record of 41.0 sacks from the 1996 season.
42 The Irish have won 42-consecutive games against unranked
opponents dating back to the 2016 season. It is currently the longest
active streak in the FBS.
54 The Irish have won 54 games over the past five seasons to set the
program record for most wins over a five-year period. They surpassed
the previous record of 53 from 1988-92.
60 Defensive lineman Kurt Hinish has played in 60 career games, which
continues to set the all-time program record. Kicker Jonathan Doerer
is second all-time with 54 games played.
64 Tight end Michael Mayer set the all-time record for most receptions
by a tight end in a single season (64).
THE LAST TIME AT FIESTA BOWL
January 1, 2016 – Ohio State 44, Notre Dame 28: Ezekiel Elliott ran for 149 yards and matched a Fiesta Bowl record with four touchdowns to close the curtain on his college career, sparking No. 7 Ohio State’s prolific offense in a 44-28 win over Notre Dame on Friday. The Fighting Irish had some good offensive moments behind DeShone Kizer but just couldn’t keep up with the blistering Buckeyes after a string of injuries, including do-everything linebacker Jaylon Smith to a knee injury in the first quarter. Kizer was the key, moving the Irish down the field to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Josh Adams and on another drive that he capped himself with a 1-yard score. It was his 10th rushing TD, most by a Notre Dame quarterback in one season. After a quiet first three quarters, Will Fuller finally got a chance to show off his speed, using a quick move to create space before racing off on an 81-yard touchdown. The second-longest TD reception in Fiesta Bowl history pulled the Fighting Irish within 38-28, but they got no closer. Kizer threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-37 passing, but had an interception and lost a fumble.
- Under Marcus Freeman’s tutelage, the Irish defense has been one of the nation’s best at creating havoc plays this season, as Notre Dame has totaled 40.0 sacks this season, which ranks eighth in the NCAA.
- The Irish are sixth in the nation in sacks per game with 3.33.
- The 40 sacks are the most in a single season since 1996, when the Irish set the program record for most sacks in a single season with 41.
- 15 different players have recorded a sack this season after Isaiah Pryor and Alexander Ehrensberger got their first sacks of the season against Georgia Tech.
- Notre Dame has been stingy in allowing points this season. They rank ninth in scoring defense by limiting opponents to 18.2 points per game this season.
- The Irish defense has also been adept at taking the ball away with 23 takeaways, a number that ranks 14th in the NCAA.
- Of those 23 takeaways, the Irish have tallied 15 interceptions from nine different players after Ramon Henderson tallied his first career interception against Virginia.
- The 15 interceptions are tied for 10th in the NCAA. It is the most interceptions since 2014 when the Irish had 16 that season.
- The nine players with an interception is the most since 2014 when they also had nine different players with interceptions.
- The defense has also been able to find the endzone this season with four defensive scores. The four touchdowns are tied for sixth nationally.
- The Irish also rank in the top-20 in third down conversion percentage defense (17th – 32.9%) and first down defense (18th – 211).
- Kyle Hamilton and DJ Brown both lead the team with three interceptions each.
- Hamilton and Cam Hart both had two interceptions in a game this season, the first time since 2018 that the Irish have had two players with two interceptions in a game in the same season (Jalen Elliott and Alohi Gilman).
- The depth of the defense has been on full display as 21 different players have recorded a tackle-for-loss this season.
BE LIKE MIKE
- Tight end Michael Mayer is one of the best tight ends in the country, as he ranks first among Power-5 tight ends in receptions and receiving yards per game. He is first in receptions (64), receiving yards (768) and first in receiving yards per game (69.8).
- Mayer set the program record for most receptions in a single season by a tight end (64) after his nine receptions, 105 yards and a touchdown in the win over Stanford.
- He also tied the Notre Dame record for most receptions in a single game by a tight end. He tied his previous mark against Florida State and Cole Kmet’s that was set against Georgia in 2019.
- It was the sixth game this season he has brought in seven or more receptions and also the sixth game he has led the team in receptions.
- For the season, 37 of Mayer’s 64 receptions have resulted in a first down for the Irish.
- Mayer hauled in his fifth touchdown of the season on a career-long 52-yard pass in the home finale win over Georgia Tech.
- Mayer led the Irish with team-highs in receptions (7) and receiving yards (84) while adding one score in the road win over Virginia.
- Mayer joined Ken MacAfee and Tyler Eifert as the only Notre Dame tight ends with 50 or more catches in a single season.
- He notched five receptions for 54 yards in the home win over Southern Cal. He has totaled at least five receptions in seven of his 11 games this season.
- Mayer led the Irish against Cincinnati with eight receptions and 93 yards on the afternoon.
- Mayer had seven catches for 61 yards in the win over Wisconsin at Soldier Field.
- In the win over Toledo, Mayer finished the game with team-high marks in receptions (7), receiving yards (81) and receiving touchdowns (2). It was the first time in Mayer’s career that he has had a multi-touchdown game.
- Dating back to last season, Mayer collected seven or more receptions in three-straight games (Alabama, Florida State and Toledo). The last Irish receiver to have three-consecutive games with seven or more receptions was Michael Floyd in 2011 (Maryland – 8; Boston College – 10 and Stanford – 8).
IRISH CHOP DOWN CARDINAL
- The Irish closed the 2021 regular season with their seventh-win in a row with the 45-14 victory over Stanford.
- Notre Dame set a program record with 54 wins over the past five seasons. It surpassed the previous record of 53 that was set from 1988-92.
- The win gave the Irish their 11th of the season, the ninth time in program history they have won 11 or more games in a single season.
- The win gave the Irish their 42nd-consecutive win over an unranked opponent, the longest active streak in the FBS.
- The Irish finished the season undefeated in road games (4-0) for the second-straight year. It is the first time since 1992-93 that the Irish had two-consecutive seasons with undefeated road records.
- With the win, Notre Dame has won 16-straight games in the month of November.
- It was the 27th-consecutive win for the Irish when they have scored 40 points or more.
- The Irish claimed their 36th-straight win when allowing less than 20 points.
- Running back Kyren Williams surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second-straight season in the win over Stanford.
- He is just the fifth Irish running back to have back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in program history and the first since Darius Walker in 2005 and 2006.
- Williams rushed for two touchdowns against the Cardinal for the second-straight game and the fourth time in the last six games.
- It was the eighth-straight game Williams had a rushing touchdown.
- Wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. led the way with 125 receiving yards. It was the second time in the last four games that Austin Jr. surpassed the 100-yard mark in a game.
- Tight end Michael Mayer had his second career game with 100 yards or more after finishing with 105 and nine receptions.
- Quarterback Jack Coan tied a career high with 26 completions. He finished with 345 yards passing, his second game with 300 passing yards or more this season.
- Austin Jr. and Mayer become the first Irish receiving duo to have 100 receiving yards or more in the same game since 2017 against Stanford.
- The Irish defense allowed 55 rushing yards against the Cardinal. It was the fewest rushing yards allowed since 2020 when they limited Clemson to 33 rushing yards.
- Isaiah Foskey has been the most consistent member of the Irish defensive line this season as he leads the team in sacks (10.0) and tackles-for-loss (11.5).
- Foskey ranks tied for 16th nationally with 10.0 sacks this season.
- He has recorded at least one sack in eight of his 12 games this season and at least one tackle-for-loss in nine of the games.
- His 10.0 sacks are the most by an Irish player since Stephon Tuitt had 12.0 during the 2012 season.
- Foskey is second in the country with five forced fumbles on the season after he tied a career high with two forced fumbles against Georgia Tech.
- Foskey also ranks 18th in the FBS with two fumble recoveries this season.
- In the win over Southern Cal, Foskey set a career high with two forced fumbles and tied a career high with 2.0 sacks.
- Foskey forced his first-career fumble against Cincinnati after recording his first-career fumble recovery in the win over Wisconsin.
- Foskey began the season with a career-high eight tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 sacks in the road win over Florida State.
- The Irish entered the 2021 season with the same kicker and punter for the third straight season with the return of kicker Jonathan Doerer and punter Jay Bramblett.
- In the win over Georgia Tech, Doerer moved into second all-time in Notre Dame history with 53 games played. He passed with Daelin Hayes, Drue Tranquill, Romeo Okwara, Zack Martin and Matthias Farley.
- Doerer also moved into sole possession of fourth all-time in Notre Dame history with 48 career field goals.
- He had a season-best three field goals made and 14 points in the win over North Carolina.
- Bramblett has played in every game (37) for the Irish since he came to campus prior to the 2019 season.
- He sits eighth all-time in Notre Dame history with 157 punts in his career.
- He is ranked fourth all-time in Notre Dame history with a 41.9 career punting average.
- Bramblett launched a career-long 72-yard punt in the win over Wisconsin this season. It was the longest punt by an Irish player since Hunter Smith had a 79-yard punt against Arizona State in 1998.
COAN KNOWS CONSISTENCY
- Quarterback Jack Coan is in his lone season with the Irish as a graduate transfer but is already moving up the Notre Dame record book.
- In his first game with the Irish, he set the Notre Dame record for most passing yards in a season-opener with 366 and tied the record for most passing touchdowns in a season-opener (4).
- Heading into the bowl game, Coan is third all-time in program history for completion percentage in a single season. He has completed 67.6 percent of his passes this year and trails only Jimmy Clausen (68.0 – 2009) and Ian Book (68.2 – 2018).
- The 67.6 completion percentage currently ranks first all-time in Notre Dame history for best completion percentage in a career (min. 150 pass attempts).
- Linebacker JD Bertrand continues to lead the Irish in tackles after recording five in the win over Stanford.
- He leads the Irish with 92 tackles on the season and he has led or tied for the team lead in tackles in eight of the 12 games this season.
- The 92 tackles are the most by an Irish linebacker since Te’von Coney had 123 in the 2018 season.
- He has had at least six tackles in nine games this season and seven tackles or more in seven games.
- He has totaled double-digit tackles in four games this season after having 10 in the win over Virginia Tech.
- Bertrand tied a career high with 12 tackles in the win over Purdue. He tallied 11 tackles against Toledo and had 12 in the season-opener against Florida State.
- The sophomore from Marietta, Georgia was the first Irish player to begin a season with three-straight double-digit tackle games since Courtney Watson back in 2001.
- He is also the first Irish player to have three-consecutive games (Florida State, Toledo and Purdue) with double-digit tackles since Alohi Gilman in 2018-19. Gilman had 10 tackles against Southern Cal and then 18 against Clemson in the College Football Playoff Semifinal in 2018 and followed it up with 10 tackles in the 2019 season opener against Louisville.
- In the win over Toledo, Bertrand set a career high in sacks (1.0) and recovered his first career fumble to seal the game late in the fourth quarter.
- Bertrand got his first career start in the opener against Florida State and his 12 tackles were the most by an Irish linebacker since Te’von Coney had 16 on Dec. 28, 2018 against Clemson.
AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
- Since the start of 2018, Notre Dame is 44-6 (.880). That rate ranks fourth among all teams who have made an appearance in the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014.
- Among those teams, Notre Dame is one of just five teams that have totaled six or fewer losses since the beginning of 2018.
- The Irish are one of five teams who have made playoff appearances in multiple seasons.
OKLAHOMA STATE NOTES:
The Basics Playing in its 16th consecutive bowl game and its fifth New Year’s Six game since 2010, the No. 9 Oklahoma State football team (11-2 overall; 8-1 Big 12) faces No. 5 Notre Dame (11-1 overall) in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at 11 a.m. MT/12 p.m. CT on Saturday, January 1, in State Farm Stadium. On the Air The game will be televised by ESPN with Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky and Kris Budden on the call. It will also be carried live on the Cowboy Radio Network, with Dave Hunziker handling play-by-play, John Holcomb, Clint Chelf and Deion Imade providing analysis and Robert Allen reporting from the sideline. Fans outside of the Cowboy Radio Network can listen to the OSU broadcast for free through The Varsity Network app. In the Rankings Oklahoma State is No. 9 in the College Football Playoff rankings, marking its fifth consecutive week in the top 10. OSU has been included in 17 consecutive CFP polls dating to November 5, 2019, and the Cowboys have been in the CFP rankings in six of the past seven seasons. OSU is No. 9 in this week’s AP Top 25 and has been ranked at least once for 14 consecutive seasons in the poll. The streak, which began in 2008, is the 10th-longest active streak in the nation. Including this season, OSU has appeared in the top 15 of the AP poll in 12 of the past 14 seasons. It has had a top 10 ranking in the AP poll at some point in 10 of those 14 years. The Cowboys are also No. 9 in this week’s USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll. Notre Dame is No. 5 in the CFP rankings and is also No. 5 in the AP Top 25 and the coaches poll. The Cowboys Return to the Fiesta Bowl This season’s appearance in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl marks the third time that Oklahoma State has played in the game. The first was December 28, 1974, with the Cowboys scoring 16 unanswered points in the final three quarters to defeat No. 17 BYU, 16-6. The game was played in front of 50,878 fans at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. OSU’s second appearance came January 2, 2012, as the No. 3 Cowboys won a thriller over No. 4 Stanford. OSU kicked a walk-off field goal in overtime to win 41-38 in front of 69,927 fans at then-named University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Another Top-10 Matchup When No. 9 Oklahoma State faces No. 5 Notre Dame in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, it will mark the third consecutive game where OSU’s opponent is ranked in the AP top 10. The only other time in school history that OSU has had to face three straight AP top-10 teams in one season was from Oct. 23 – Nov. 6 of 1976, when the Cowboy beat No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 10 Missouri before falling at No. 9 Nebraska. OSU also faced three straight top 10 teams in the final game of 1962 and the first two games of 1963. The game also marks the first time in school history that the Cowboys have played in three straight matchups between AP-top 10 teams. The matchup against Notre Dame will mark the 14th overall time in OSU history that the Cowboys have played a game with both teams ranked in the AP top 10. OSU’s wins in those games: 12/28/1984 No. 9 OSU vs. No. 7 South Carolina W, 21-14 9/24/2011 No. 7 OSU at No. 8 Texas A&M W, 30-29 1/2/2012 No. 3 OSU vs. No. 4 Stanford W, 41-38 (OT) 11/27/2021 No. 7 OSU vs. No. 10 Oklahoma W, 37-33.
The Series Saturday’s game marks the first ever meeting between Oklahoma State and Notre Dame, and the first time the Cowboys have faced one of the current FBS independent schools since the Cowboys defeated BYU in the 1976 Tangerine Bowl. OSU’s other previous matchups with current FBS independents are a 1974 win over BYU in the Fiesta Bowl, a 1962 win at Army and a 1939 win over New Mexico State. Coach Mike Gundy has never faced Notre Dame or an FBS independent, and Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman is making his head coaching debut against Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State from a Distance Oklahoma State heads into the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl with an 11-2 overall record and as the No. 9 team in the FBS. The Cowboys finished the regular season alone on top of the Big 12 standings but fell inches short of a win in the conference championship game and potential spot in the College Football Playoff. To put what OSU has accomplished this year into perspective, it is joined by Georgia, Alabama and Baylor as the only teams with four wins over teams in the AP top 25 at the time of the game. The Oklahoma State defense has performed at a historic level this year. Entering Bowl Season, OSU leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss and is also among the FBS leaders in third down defense (No. 2), total defense (No. 3), rushing defense (No. 5), fourth down defense (No. 6), scoring defense (No. 8), first downs defense (No. 8), passing yards allowed (No. 12) and more. The Cowboy offense has also made consistent improvement and has taken its game to another level in the second half of the season. Over the past six games, the Cowboys have averaged more than 36 points and more than 435 yards per game. On the season, the Cowboys now rank No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 18 in the FBS in first downs offense. When it came to play in conference games only, Oklahoma State ranked No. 1 in the Big 12 in rushing offense, No. 2 in total offense and No. 3 in scoring offense. Continued Success The 2021 season is just the latest chapter in a long story of success for the Oklahoma State program. Consider the following: • Oklahoma State is making its 16th consecutive bowl appearance and has secured its 16th consecutive winning season, both of which are school-record streaks. OSU’s bowl streak is the seventh-longest active streak in the FBS, and the is longest active streak for any school with the same head coach. • Mike Gundy has coached the Cowboys to five New Year’s Six bowl games since 2010. The Pokes appeared in the 2010 Cotton Bowl, the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, the 2014 Cotton Bowl, the 2016 Sugar Bowl and now the 2022 Fiesta Bowl. • Since 2010, Oklahoma State has six seasons with at least 10 wins, an outright Big 12 title (2011) and a share of the Big 12 South title (2010). OSU reached the top 10 of the Associated Press poll in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2021. • Oklahoma State is one of only six teams to post a winning season every year from 2010-21, joining Alabama, Boise State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Wisconsin. It is one of only three Power Five teams with winning seasons each of the past 16 years, joined by Wisconsin and Oklahoma. • Including the 2021 season, Oklahoma State has been ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll in 12 of the past 14 seasons and reached the top 10 in 10 of those 14 years. • OSU has finished in the top three of the Big 12 in three straight seasons and has finished in the top three nine times in the 11 seasons since the conference moved to a full round robin schedule in 2011.
An Oklahoma State Win Would … • Give OSU a 21-11 all-time record in bowl games, ranking among the top three in bowl winning percentages among teams with at least 20 appearances. • Mark its fifth bowl win in the past six seasons, its sixth bowl win in the past eight seasons and its ninth bowl win in the past 12 seasons. • Give the Cowboys five wins this season over teams ranked in the AP top 25 at game time, matching the school record of five set in 2011. Only Oklahoma State, Georgia, Alabama and Baylor have four AP top 25 wins heading into Bowl Season. • Mark the Cowboys’ sixth win over an opponent with a winning record this season. • Mark the Cowboys’ eighth win over an opponent who reached a bowl game this season. • Tie the school record for most wins in a season. OSU also won 12 games in 2011. • Make it 1-0 all-time vs. Notre Dame. • Mark Mike Gundy’s first win over an FBS independent. • Make it 4-2 all-time in New Year’s Day games. • Improve OSU to 5-0 all-time against current FBS independents. • Make it 19-2 in its past 21 non-conference games and 41-7 in its past 48 non-conference games. • Improve Mike Gundy’s record in non-conference games to 58-13. • Make it 15-6 in its past 21 games vs. AP Top 25 teams. • Mark the Cowboys’ 10th win over an AP Top 10 team since 2008. • Make it 14-2 in its past 16 games overall, dating back to the 2020 season. • Mark Mike Gundy’s 36th career win vs. AP Top 25 opponents. Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney are the only other active coaches with more wins over AP Top 25 teams at their current schools. • Mark the fifth win in school history in a game between two teams ranked in the AP Top 10. • Make it 148-68 in its history when playing as an AP-ranked team. • Make it 8-3 in its past 11 games when both teams are ranked in the AP Top 25. • Improve it to 30-23 vs. AP ranked teams since the beginning of the 2011 season. Notable Streaks and Trends Entering the Game • OSU is averaging more than 36 points and 435 yards of offense in its past six games. • OSU has outscored its past six opponents by a combined margin of 218-77, which amounts to an average score of 36-13. • OSU has given up just seven offensive touchdowns in its past 24 quarters of play. • OSU has held its last six opponents to 18-for-85 on third down (17.5 percent). • OSU has held three of its past six opponents under 2.9 yards per play. • OSU has held three of its past six opponents under 150 yards of total offense. No other FBS teams has held three opponents under 150 yards this season. • OSU has held seven of its past 11 opponents under 100 yards rushing. • OSU has held eight of its past 10 opponents under 200 yards passing. • OSU has held 22 of its past 24 Big 12 opponents under their season scoring average. • OSU has won 79 consecutive games when holding its opponent to fewer than 20 points, dating back to Sept. 13, 2003 – the longest active stretch of time in the FBS and longest since at least 1980. • OSU has held its opponent scoreless on its game-opening drive in 24 of its past 30 games. • OSU has held its opponent to less than a 50 percent third down conversion rate in 24 straight games. • OSU has held its opponent to fewer than 20 first downs in 11 games this season. • Malcolm Rodriguez has recorded at least five tackles in 20 of his past 21 games. • OSU is 31-12 in its past 43 games decided by fewer than 10 points. • OSU is 39-6 in its past 45 games when leading at halftime, dating back to Sept. 17, 2016. • Dating back to 2005, OSU is 43-4 when not committing a turnover. • Dating back to 2008, OSU is 69-8 when winning the turnover battle. • OSU has won three of its past four overtime games. • OSU has forced 27 turnovers in its past 17 games.