NOTRE DAME NOTES (NOTRE DAME SI)
BY THE NUMBERS
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish make history in 2020 by joining a conference for the first time
in the 132-year tenure of the program. The Irish will play as a member of the Atlantic Coast
Conference. The USF matchup marks the only non-conference game the Irish will play in the
In 2019, Brian Kelly became just the third coach in Notre Dame history with three or more
wins of at least 25 points over ranked teams. Lou Holtz and Frank Leahy each secured eight such
victories. Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine had two such victories apiece.
Four graduate transfers — CB Nick McCloud (North Carolina State), S Isaiah Pryor (Ohio State),
WR Ben Skowronek (Northwestern) and K/P Dawson Goepferich (Brown) — signed with the
Irish this offseason who will play key roles on the field for Notre Dame.
Three offensive linemen (T Liam Eichenberg, G Aaron Banks and C Jarrett Patterson) and
CB TaRiq Bracy were named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for their performances
against Duke. The Notre Dame offensive line was also named PFF’s Offensive Line of the Week.
7 The Irish boast a current win streak of seven games, the second-most among Power 5 programs.
Notre Dame has won 19-consecutive games at Notre Dame Stadium. It is the third-longest
winning streak at home for the Irish since the stadium opened in 1930. Clemson and Ohio State
are the only other Power 5 programs that boast home streaks of 18 or more games.
Notre Dame has held 26-of-27 opponents during Clark Lea’s tenure as defensive coordinator to
30 points or less. That includes includes ranked opponents LSU, Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech,
Syracuse, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia and Navy.
RB Kyren Williams led all FBS players last week in yards-per-reception with 46.5, after his
93-yard receiving performance vs. Duke. He caught two passes, taking a screen pass 75 yards
for the Irish. In total, Williams marked down 91 yards-after-catch vs. Duke.
QB Ian Book led the Irish on five scoring drives vs. Duke, the first of which went 96 yards in
12 plays (longest drive by the Irish since a 97-yard drive in the 30-27 home win over Southern
Cal in 2019).
RB Kyren Williams exploded in his first-career start vs. Duke, rushing for 112 yards and
adding 93 receiving yards, totaling 205 all-purpose yards on the day. He was the first Notre
Dame player since at least 1996 to reach the 90-yard mark in both rushing and receiving in a
No FBS player had more all-purpose yards than Williams’ 205 that week.
Career games coached by Brian Kelly, second among active NCAA coaches to Mack Brown
THE LAST TIME… • September 3, 2011 – Notre Dame 20, USF 23: Notre Dame fell to USF in a game that lasted 5 hours, 59 minutes, including two weather delays (lightning). • Officials asked fans to leave the stadium at halftime because of severe weather, mostly lightning, and the teams then stayed in their locker rooms for 2 hours, 10 minutes until it cleared. South Florida led 16-0 at the time. • Then, with 4:21 to play, the game was delayed for 43 minutes and again fans departed the stadium with wicked lightning flickering around the stadium.
ENTERING THE SEASON WELCOME TO THE CLUB • For the first time in the 132-year history of the Notre Dame Football Program, the Fighting Irish are playing the 2020 football season as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (131 years were spent as an independent. The 132nd season is the first in the ACC). Each ACC squad will play 10 conference games, in addition to one non-conference matchup, to complete a modified 11-game schedule. The two squads with the best records will face off in the ACC Championship in December. • In the ACC Preseason Order of Finish, the Irish were ranked second behind Clemson, who enters the season as the top-ranked team in the nation. • In a partnership that began in 2014, Notre Dame and the ACC agreed to schedule the Irish to play, on average, five ACC opponents each sesason. Originally scheduled through the 2025 season, the games have now been scheduled through the 2037 campaign. • Notre Dame is 24-7 (.774) against ACC opponents since the scheduling agreement began during the 2014 season, and including 2020 play as a conference member (See page 9 for complete list of games played under this agreement). • Notre Dame has been ranked in the Top 25 for 46-consecutive weeks, the longest such streak for the Irish since the 1994 season (86 weeks).
DEFEND THE GRIDIRON • After the first game, Notre Dame ranks third among all FBS teams and first in the ACC in fumbles recovered, after taking control of two fumbles vs. Duke. The two recoveries placed the Irish at a +1 turnover margin, the third-best in the ACC and 11th-best in the FBS. S Shaun Crawford and DL Ade Ogundeji were responsible for the two recoveries, as LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah forced one loose. • By allowing just 13 points vs. Duke, the Irish defense ranks third in the ACC and 10th among FBS teams in scoring defense. In 2019, the Notre Dame defense ranked No. 12 among FBS teams in scoring defense, allowing just 17.9 points per game (26 touchdowns and 17 field goals). • The Irish currently rank eighth among FBS teams in rushing defense (and fourth in the ACC), after limiting Duke to just 75 yards on the ground in the season-opener. • Duke’s third quarter touchdown snapped the Notre Dame defense’s streak of 1:04:31 between touchdowns allowed. The last touchdown the Irish had allowed was in the waning moments of the 2019 victory over Stanford.
POISED TO ATTACK • In the season opener vs. Duke, the Irish offense outrushed (178-75), outpassed (263-259) and outgained (441-334) the Blue Devils, and were 3-4 in the redzone. • Book quarterbacked the Irish offense to five scoring drives, the first of which went 96 yards in 12 plays, to take the lead in the second quarter. It was the longest drive by the Irish since a 97-yard drive in the 30-27 home win over Southern Cal in 2019. Notre Dame also added an 83-yard touchdown drive later in the game. • With the performance in the season opener, the Irish ranked first in the ACC (and 11th among all FBS teams) in tackles for loss allowed. Notre Dame succumbed to just five TFL. • Losing zero fumbles in the matchup with Duke, Notre Dame is among 22 FBS teams to not mark a lost fumble in 2020. • Thanks to RB Kyren Williams’ 112 rushing yards supplemented by the running back corps (including RBs Chris Tyree, Jahmir Smith and Jafar Armstrong), the Irish rank third in the ACC in rushing offense (178 yards). • The Irish took home Pro Football Focus’ Offensive Line of the Week award after the season opener vs. Duke, producing the highest-combined pass-block grade of any offensive line that week. • The Irish return five starters to the offensive line (Eichenberg, Banks, Patterson, Kraemer and Hainsey), as Hainsey and Kraemer were sidelined for some game action in 2019 due to injury. As a whole, Notre Dame’s offense returns seven starters, only losing four.
SOUTH FLORIDA NOTES (SOUTH FLORIDA SI)
BULLS RETURN TO SOUTH BEND FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2011 VICTORY USF opened its 24th season of football and the Jeff Scott era with a 27-6 victory last Saturday to improve to 18-6 in season openers and make Scott the fourth Bulls head coach out of five to win their debut. The Bulls will now begin a difficult three-game road swing at No. 7 Notre Dame, which has won 19 straight at home. USF returns to South Bend for the first time since posting a 23-20 victory over the No. 16-ranked Irish to open the 2011 season. The 39-year-old Scott is the youngest coach in The American and leads one of the youngest staffs in America. USF added Notre Dame to the schedule in August and Saturday’s game will be the first of a three-game series that includes a game in Tampa, the first ever for the Irish, and a return to South Bend on dates still to be determined. n MAKING HISTORY: After opening the Jeff Scott era with a victory on the first Saturday of the season, on the second Saturday USF will play the first nonconference game in the tradition laden 132-season history of Notre Dame football, as the Irish became a conference member (AAC) this year for the first time since the program began in 1887. n VS. RANKED: USF is 11-28 all-time vs. FBS ranked opponents, with its last win coming on Oct. 28, 2016 with a 52-45 victory over No. 22 Navy in Tampa. The Bulls lost to three ranked teams last year and have lost their last six matchups with ranked foes. USF is 4-12 in road games at ranked opponents, but its last victory came at No. 16 Notre Dame, 23-20, in 2011. A win at No. 9 West Virginia in 2006 (24-19) is the highest ranked foe beaten on the road. USF downed No. 5 West Virginia (21-13) in Tampa in 2007 for the highest ranked foe beaten in program history, also the last top 10 foe defeated. USF has downed three top 10 teams in its history. A victory over No. 7 Notre Dame would rank as the second highest foe ever defeated in 24 seasons of USF football, and the highest ever on the road.
LAST TIME OUT BULLS BEGIN SCOTT ERA WITH CONVINCING WIN AGAINST THE CITADEL All three phases of the game helped make Jeff Scott a big winner in his collegiate head coaching debut, as the Bulls opened the 2020 season with a 27-6 victory over The Citadel at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls improved to 17-6 all-time in season openers and have won five of their last six. n USF rushed for 302 yards and averaged 7.7 yards per carry, led by 87 yards (10.9 ypc) and one touchdown from sophomore Kelly Joiner and 71 yards on nine carries (7.9 ypc) from Johnny Ford. The Citadel’s usually potent triple-option offense averaged just 3.7 yards per carry on 54 rushing attempts. n USF finished with three takeaways, had seven tackles for loss, and received 10 tackles and one forced fumble from junior linebacker Antonio Grier Jr. Wofford transfer Thad Mangum added a career-high nine tackles against his former conference foe, while three members of the secondary (Vincent Davis, Bentlee Sanders and Nick Roberts) had seven stops. n Freshman Omarion Dollison tied the NCAA record for the shortest punt return touchdown in history (0 yards), catching a botched punt attempt off the foot of Matt Campbell in The Citadel end zone in the second quarter. n In a constant rain, USF did not turn the ball over and finished +3 in turnover margin. n Sophomore Jordan McCloud started at quarterback and passed for 68 yards and 1 TD.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: NOTRE DAME The No. 7-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish collected their first ever conference win with a 27-13 victory over ACC foe Duke last Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish had a balanced attack led by sophomore running back Kyren Williams who tallied 112 yards on the ground, 93 yards receiving and two rushing touchdowns in his first career start. Williams became the first Irish player in the last 25 years to record 90+ yards rushing and receiving in the same game. n Notre Dame has won 19-straight home games dating back to a Sept. 30, 2017 victory over Miami (Ohio). It is tied for the second-longest home winning streak for the Irish since Notre Dame Stadium opened in 1930 (28 straight from 1942-50; 19 straight from 1987-90). n QB Ian Book became the first Notre Dame quarterback with 2,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 30 touchdown passes in a season in 2019. He passed for 263 yards and a touchdown in the 2020 opener. n Notre Dame has held 26-of-27 opponents during Clark Lea’s tenure as defensive coordinator to 30 points or less. n The Irish return 13 starters from 2019, including the entire offensive line and multiple starters or key contributors on the defensive line. Notre Dame reached 10 wins for the third consecutive season in 2019, which is the first time since the 1991-93 seasons that the Irish accomplished the feat. The Irish went 11-2 and downed Iowa State (33-9) in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando to finish ranked No. 12 in the final AP poll. They have gone 93-37 in 11 seasons under head coach Brian Kelly. n One of the winningest programs in college football history, Notre Dame has tallied 929 wins, 36 bowl games, 11 national championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners and made a College Football Playoff appearance in 2018.
LAST TIME VS NOTRE DAME The Bulls handled Notre Dame history, hype and a huge crowd in the inaugural series matchup with a 23-20 win in the 2011 season opener in front of a 80,795 person crowd at Notre Dame Stadium. n USF caused five turnovers (3 INT, 2 FR) in the game, including a 96-yard fumble return by Kayvon Webster, the longest fumble return in USF history, four minutes into the game as USF held on to upset the No. 16 Fighting Irish. n USF quarterback B.J. Daniels completed 18-of-30 for 128 yards and also carried 12 times for 37 yards. n USF receiver Sterling Griffin set single-game career highs in receptions (8) and yards (75). n The Bulls defense was firing on all cylinders throughout the game. In addition to the five turnovers, USF tallied five TFLs, including two sacks, and four pass breakups. n The game also battled Mother Nature with nearly three hours of delays. The 2011 season opener was delayed for over two hours at halftime and another 45 minutes in the fourth quarter.