Just the Facts
Tuitt scored the team's only defensive TD in 2012
Tuitt scored the team's only defensive TD in 2012
Publisher
Posted Nov 26, 2012


A look at Notre Dame's run to 12-0…by the numbers.

1 -- Non-offensive touchdown scored by the Irish this season. Sophomore Stephon Tuitt's 77-yard fumble recovery score in the season opener vs. Navy was the longest score of the season for any Irish player, but the only one by a defensive or special teams player. The remaining 35 were scored by the Irish offense.

The number also signifies the amount of touchdowns scored from beyond Notre Dame's red zone in 2012, also occurring in the season opener vs. Navy, a 38-yard touchdown pass by the Midshipmen on the first drive of the second half.

2 -- The number of touchdown drives in excess of 60 yards allowed by Bob Diaco's defense this season. 114 times foes took possession at or before their own 40-yard line -- only Navy and USC managed touchdowns thereafter, the former on a three-play, 75-yard drive to begin the second half of the season-opener in Dublin; the latter 11 games later on a 75-yard march that bisected the first and second quarters Saturday in Los Angeles.

To put the remarkable number in perspective, Notre Dame produced four such scoring drives -- in the second half against Miami.

3 -- Touchdowns scored by opponents following a Notre Dame turnover this season. The Irish offense turned the ball over 14 times in 12 games but the Irish "Sudden Change" defense yielded just three touchdowns (a fourth was scored by Stanford's defense on an end zone fumble recovery), and one field goal (Navy) while keeping foes from scoring on the other 10 miscues by Notre Dame's offense.

4 -- Irish players that gained 300 or more net rushing yards in 2012, a program first since the 2000 season, also a BCS bowl campaign. Theo Riddick (880), Cierre Wood (740), George Atkinson (361), and Everett Golson (305) became the fourth quartet since 1990 (when it was commonplace) to accomplish the feat.

It likewise marks the number of games in which Notre Dame trailed this season, coincidentally, in four straight: Stanford (10-3; 13-10), Brigham Young (14-7), Oklahoma (3-0), and Pittsburgh (20-6).

5 -- As in five-plus minutes. There were 17 occasions this season in which the Irish offense mounted a touchdown drive that took at least five minutes off the game clock, the highest number among 124 FBS teams.

6 -- Notre Dame's final regular season rank in terms of total defense (rushing and passing yards allowed), the best finish at the program since Dan Devine's final squad finished fourth overall in 1980. Devine's squad played for a split national title at season's end, losing to No. 1 Georgia, 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl.

7 -- The total number of interceptions thrown by Notre Dame quarterbacks this season as well as the number intercepted by Irish linebacker Manti Te'o. Te'o's feat ties the most in college football by a linebacker over the last decade, while the Irish team mark is 10 fewer than the squad's 2011 quarterbacks threw last fall.

8 -- Opponents that produced their lowest point total of the season when facing the Irish: Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, Stanford, Oklahoma, Boston College, Wake Forest, and USC. MSU (#10), Michigan (#18), Stanford (#17), and Oklahoma (#8) were all ranked at the time; the latter trio remains ranked among the BCS top 18 at present.

9 -- Points allowed in the first quarter this season. Miami, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh each managed a single field goal vs. the Irish defense among 12 opening quarters of play. Conversely, the Irish totaled 85 first quarter points in 2012.

10 -- Touchdowns scored vs. Notre Dame this season, fewest in the nation. Of the 10, nine were allowed by the Irish defense with seven occurring via the pass: Navy, Purdue (2), BYU (2), Pittsburgh (1), and USC (1) with just two on the ground (Oklahoma and Pittsburgh), the latter marking the lowest total allowed by an FBS program this millennium.

The tenth touchdown scored vs. Notre Dame was a fumble recovery by Stanford's defense, the result of a sack in the end zone against quarterback Everett Golson.

11 -- The number twice marking the longest punt return yardage gained by an Irish player in 2012. Freshman Davonte Neal brought back a pair of offerings 11 yards, once in his debut game vs. Navy and again two weeks later at Michigan State.

The number serves as the lowest high water mark for a team's punt return efforts since at least the 1964 season (and likely in program history) as does its 31 total yards through 12 games this season, though the 2011 Irish had just three return yards prior to the Champs Sports Bowl when Michael Floyd brought back a punt 41 yards in the first quarter.

12 -- Times the Notre Dame defense held an opponent scoreless after entering the Irish red zone this fall. Foes scored on just 21 of 33 forays inside Notre Dame's 20-yard line and just 8 of the 21 were touchdowns.

13: (a Baker's Dozen) -- Consecutive games played dating back to last year's Champs Sports Bowl in which the Irish defense yielded two touchdowns or less, including the entire 2012 campaign.


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