NOTRE DAME NOTES:
|IRISH VS. BEARCATS – BY THE NUMBERS|
|1||Notre Dame is currently ranked tied for first nationally with nine interceptions to begin the 2021 season.|
|3||The Irish have started the season 4-0 for the third time in the last four seasons. Under Kelly, the Irish have gone 4-0 to start the season six times during his 12 years at Notre Dame.|
|4||Since the start of 2018, Notre Dame is 37-5 (.881). 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 four teams that have totaled five or fewer losses (Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State) since the start of 2018.|
|4||Notre Dame collected four interceptions in the win over Wisconsin, marking its most interceptions in a game since the Pinstripe Bowl in 2013 when they had four against Rutgers.|
|14||Notre Dame has totaled 14 sacks over the first four games of the season. It is the most sacks to start a season since 2012, when the Irish also had 14 sacks through the first four games.|
|24||The Irish have won 24-straight games when they have scored 40 or more points. Notre Dame is 38-2 all-time under Brian Kelly when they score at least 40 points.|
|42||JD Bertrand has totaled 42 tackles through the first four games of the season. That ranks 11th nationally and is the most by an Irish player through the first four games of a season since Manti Te’o had 54 in the first four games of the 2010 season.|
|106^||Head coach Brian Kelly surpassed Knute Rockne for most wins all-time at Notre Dame with 106 after the 41-13 win over #18/#15 Wisconsin.|
|1900||The only time Notre Dame and Cincinnati previously met on the gridiron was Oct. 20, 1900 in South Bend. The Irish won the game 58-0 to improve to 4-0 in the season.|
|2005||The last time Notre Dame had an offensive, defensive and special teams touchdown in the same game was 2005 against Tennessee. Brady Quinn threw for a touchdown and Tom Zbikowski returned a punt for a touchdown and had a pick six.|
ˆ Includes 21 wins vacated under discretionary NCAA penalty.
MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY
- Notre Dame’s defense had shades of the 1985 Bears when they flexed their muscle in the 41-13 win over #18/#15 Wisconsin on Sept. 25.
- The Irish allowed just 13 points for the second-consecutive game and the defense scored two touchdowns in the win.
- Linebackers Jack Kiser and Drew White both returned interceptions for touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. It was the first time since 2002 against Stanford that the Irish had two interceptions returned for a touchdown in the same game.
- The Irish also scored on special teams after a 96-yard kickoff return from Chris Tyree put Notre Dame up for good in the fourth quarter.
- It was the first Irish kick return for a touchdown since CJ Sanders did it against Army during the 2016 season.
- It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown Wisconsin had given up in its previous 122 games since Duane Bennett did it for Minnesota against the Badgers on Nov. 12, 2011.
- The Irish finished the game with four interceptions and five takeaways total.
- It was the first time since 2013 against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl that the Irish had four interceptions in a game.
- It was the first time since 2019 against Virginia that they had five takeways in a single game.
- Notre Dame tallied an offensive, defensive and special teams touchdown in the same game for the first time since 2005 against Tennessee. Brady Quinn threw for a touchdown and Tom Zbikowski had a punt return and interception return for a touchdown.
- Wide receiver Kevin Austin set career highs with six receptions and two touchdowns. It was the first multi-touchdown game of his career.
- Quarterback Drew Pyne came on after the injury to Jack Coan and tossed his first career touchdown pass to Austin in the fourth quarter.
- Pyne finished with six completions for 81 yards and a touchdown, which were all career-best numbers.
- Punter Jay Bramblett boomed a 72-yard punt in the second quarter. It was the longest punt by an Irish player since Hunter Smith had a 79-yard punt against Arizona State in 1998.
- The Irish scored 31 points in the final quarter, setting the modern record for most points scored in the fourth quarter. The all-time record for most points scored in the fourth quarter was 32 against St. Viator back in 1912.
- The last time Notre Dame scored 31 points in a quarter was on Sept. 14, 2019 against New Mexico in the second quarter.
- Linebacker JD Bertrand continues to be a force for the Irish on defense as he was a key contributor in the win over Wisconsin.
- He led the Irish with seven tackles against the Badgers, the fourth straight game he has led the team in tackles to begin the season.
- Bertrand has totaled 42 tackles through four games is the most to begin a season since Manti Te’o totaled 54 over the first four games of the 2010 season.
- The 42 tackles rank 11th nationally and he is seventh in the nation in solo tackles with 27 for the season.
- Bertrand tied a career high with 12 tackles in the win over Purdue Boilermakers after he tallied 11 against Toledo and 12 in the season-opener against Florida State.
- The sophomore from Marietta, Ga. was the first Irish player to begin a season with three-straight double-digit tackles games since Courtney Watson back in 2001.
- He is also the first Irish player to have three-consecutive games 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.
- Under new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, the Irish defense has been one of the nation’s best at creating havoc plays this season, as Irish have totaled nine interceptions this year.
- The nine interceptions is currently tied for the NCAA lead this season. It is also the most interceptions through the first four games of the season by an Irish team over the past 25 seasons.
- Kyle Hamilton leads the team with three interceptions, a mark that ranks third in the country.
- Cam Hart is tied for 13th nationally with two interceptions on the season.
- Hamilton and Hart have 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 Irish have had six different players record an interception this season.
- In total, the Irish have 12 takeaways this season and that mark is second in the country behind Oregon with 13.
- Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in the nation with a turnover margin of +7 through the first four games.
- The 14 sacks are the most in the first four games of a season since the 2012 campaign when the Irish also had 14 sacks in the first four games.
- The depth of the defense has been on full display as 10 different players have recorded a tackle for loss so far this season.
- The defense has also been able to find the endzone this season with two defensive scores. The two touchdowns are tied for fourth nationally for defensive touchdowns this season.
SURPASSING A LEGEND
- With the 41-13 win on Sept. 25 over Wisconsin, head coach Brian Kelly surpassed Knute Rockne for the most wins all-time in Notre Dame history with 106^.
- With the win over Wisconsin, the Irish improved to 4-0 this season. It is the third time in the last four seasons that the Irish have started the season 4-0. It is also the sixth time under Kelly that they have achieved that feat.
- Kelly stands alone as the only Irish coach in history to post six seasons with 10 wins or more (2012^, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020).
- Kelly is in his 12th year on the Irish sidelines and is just the second coach in Notre Dame history to coach 12 or more years in South Bend (Rockne – 13).
- It is the third time in the past four seasons and six time in his 12 years that Notre Dame has started the season 4-0.
AMONG THE NATIONS BEST
- Since the start of 2018, Notre Dame is 37-5 (.881). 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 four teams that have totaled five or fewer losses since the beginning of 2018.
- The Irish are one of five teams who have made playoff appearances in multiple seasons.
|School||Record Since 2018||Win Pct.|
IRISH IN THE POLLS
- The Irish moved inside the Top-10 in each poll this week as they are No. 9 in the AP Poll and No. 7 in the Coaches Poll. Notre Dame has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 67-consecutive weeks, the longest such streak for the Irish since the 1994 season (124 weeks).
|Notre Dame – Consecutive Weeks Appearing in the AP Poll||Seasons|
- The 67-week run currently ranks fourth among all FBS active streaks, which do not include teams who were not listed in the initial AP polls at the beginning of the 2020 season (Big Ten and Pac-12).
NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE BREAKDOWN The Bearcats overcame a 14-0 deficit and turned it to a 38-24 win over Indiana. It was IU’s largest home crowd for a nonconference game since 1987 and UC’s largest comeback win since Sept. 22, 2018, a 21-0 deficit to Ohio, which was Desmond Ridder’s third-career start. Deshawn Pace, who had 10 tackles as a freshman in 2020, maintained his team-lead with a game high 10 stops (nine solo) and a 39-yard interception return to set up the game-icing touchdown, earning AAC Defensive POTW honors as well. Jerome Ford increased his carries for the third-straight game, finishing with 20 for 66 yards and two scores. UC also held the Hoosiers to 7-of-22 passing in the second half while finishing the game on a 38-10 run.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS Cincinnati, which played only two true road games in 2020, is also playing its first on grass (it went 3-0 from 2019-20 on the surface). The Bearcats are No. 2 nationally in red-zone defense and third in defensive pass efficiency. Desmond Ridder has completed touchdown passes to six different receivers and rushed for two more amidst his record-books ascent. The Bearcats have forced eight turnovers (6 INT, 2 FR) the last two games after its nation-best 20-game streak was snapped in the opener.
THE COACHES LUKE FICKELL, a two-time AAC Coach of the Year, is in his fifth season at UC. He has led the Bearcats to back-to-back 11-win seasons, the 2019 AAC East Division title and consecutive bowl wins in the 2018 Military Bowl and 2019 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl. A veteran of 20 years in the FBS ranks, Fickell has been a part of two national championship squads, nine conference title winning teams (seven as a coach, two as a player at Ohio State) with 16 postseason games and 13 NFL Draft selections. BRIAN KELLY surpassed the legendary Knute Rockne for Notre Dame wins with 106 after Saturday’s 41-13 rout of No. 15 Wisconsin. He was 34-6 as Cincinnati’s head coach from 2007-09, guiding the team to Orange and Sugar Bowl appearances the latter two years. He hired former Bearcats DC Marcus Freeman (2017-20) this offseason.
STREAKS, STORYLINES, SIDEBARS … • UC plays its 134th football season in 2021. The Bearcats program dates to 1885 and is one of the 10 oldest in the NCAA FBS. UC has won a league title six times in the last 14 years and has played 12 bowl games in the past 15 years. • UC has won five of the last six American Athletic Conference FB Team Academic Excellence Awards and posted a schoolrecord GPA of 3.212 in spring 2021. • UC entered with 31 wins over the last three seasons, including back-to-back 11-win campaigns in 2018 and 2019. • UC has won 22-straight at Nippert Stadium, going undefeated at home in three-straight seasons for the first time in history. • UC ranked in the Top-10 of all three final national polls for the first time since the end of the 2009 regular season and started a season 9-0 for the fourth time in program history, along with 1951, 1954, 2009 and 2020. • UC had forced a turnover in 20-straight games, the longest active streak in FBS, before it was snapped in the Miami game. • Picked to repeat as American Athletic Conference Champions, Cincinnati is coming off a 9-1 campaign in 2020, winning the AAC title and playing in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, a New Year’s Six game. AP ranked UC as No. 8 in its preseason poll, the schools best-ever mark. USA TODAY had the Bearcats No. 10 in the preseason coaches poll. • UC has won 11-straight season openers and 18 of 19 since 2005. The Bearcats are 89-36-10 (.694) all-time in lid lifters. • The Bearcats return 16 starters from last season’s squad, including Desmond Ridder, the 2020 AAC Player of the Year and Ahmad Gardner. a seven-time All-America selection. All-AAC selections Darrian Beavers, Marcus Brown, Bryant, Myjai Sanders, Tre Tucker, Whyle and Young also return. • The 2021 roster has nearly 40 local players who grew up and played high-school football in the tri-state area. • UC entered the season with a school-record season-ticket number of over 22,000, eclipsing the previous best of 18,836 set entering 2010. UC added nearly 5,000 new season tickets and sold 6,000 student season tickets.
WHAT’S AT STAKE • Cincinnati is seeking its third 4-0 start in Fickell’s five years at the helm. • In addition to its perfect 2020 regular season, it also started 6-0 in 2018 and reeled off nine wins in a row after a Week 2 loss in 2019. • Not only that, UC’s 20-3 record (.870) win percentage in league play over the past three years is the highest mark in the AAC.
INSIDE THE RANKINGS • The Bearcats’ highest-ranked win to date was over No. 7 Rutgers (30-11) in 2006, with its highest on the road coming in 2009 at No. 14 Pitt. The squad’s other top10 win came in 1999 against No. 9 and eventual Rose Bowl champion Wisconsin, with its last non-conference ranked win over No. 25 Oregon State in 2009. • Fickell is 4-8 against ranked foes at UC, including a 3-1 mark in 2020 (Army, SMU and Tulsa), while also defeating UCF in 2019.