Notre Dame’s fourth loss of the season last week in Pittsburgh brought an official end to the overly optimistic format of our weekly Just the Fact feature.
Regardless, below is a closer look at Notre Dame’s 11th game of the season: a matchup with the visiting Huskies of Connecticut.
1 – Meeting between the programs as of Saturday at 2:42 PM. Notre Dame has debuted vs. two other programs over its last 24 games, WAC members San Diego State and Nevada. The team’s last inaugural meeting with an opponent occurred in 2003 when the Irish took on the Washington State Cougars in the season-opener for both teams.
2 – Rank of Connecticut senior defensive end Lindsey Witten on the nation’s sacks-per-game list. Witten has posted 10.5 sacks in 9 contests (a 1.17 average)
3 – Wins by Notre Dame in its last 11 November games. The sobering stat includes a shocking 1-5 mark in South Bend with a 28-7 win over Duke representing the only victory in that span.
4 – Consecutive games lost by the Irish in which both Golden Tate and Michael Floyd exceeded 100 yards receiving in the contest (Pittsburgh, Navy, and Michigan in ’09 and Pittsburgh in ’08).
5 – Receptions needed by Tate Saturday to break Jeff Samardzija’s single-season record of 78 (set in 2006). Tate is also just 79 yards shy of breaking The Shark’s single-season record for receiving yards (1,249 set in 2005) and 211 yards removed from Samardzija’s career yardage total of 2,593 (2003-2006). Like Tate, Samardzija did the bulk of his damage over a two-season span (’05-’06).
6 – Fifth-year seniors who will play in their last game at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday: Kyle McCarthy, Paul Duncan, Mike Anello, Scott Smith, Ray Herring, and Evan Sharpley.
Ten scholarship seniors have exhausted their collegiate eligibility and will also run through the north Stadium tunnel for the final time: Sam Young, Eric Olsen, Rob Parris, Raeshon McNeil, James Aldridge (graduated last spring), Sergio Brown, John Ryan, Toryan Smith, George West, and Morrice Richardson.
Finally, the following nine scholarship seniors have a year of football eligibility remaining and could apply to the University for a fifth season: Chris Stewart (graduated last spring), Darrin Walls, Dan Wenger, Barry Gallup, Jr., Paddy Mullen, Leonard Gordon, Kallen Wade, Eric Maust, Ryan Burkhart.
Senior walk-ons include Chris Bathon, Tom Burke, Brian Coughlin, Dan Franco, Mike Narvaez, Martin Quintana, Joshua Stull, and Sam Vos.
7 – Individual 100-yard rushing efforts produced by the Huskies duo of Jordan Todman (3) and Andre Dixon (4). Todman leads the Huskies with 854 rushing yards (5.2 ypc) and 12 touchdowns while the 5th-year senior Dixon has totaled 730 rushing yards (4.6 ypc) and 7 scores. As a pair, Todman and Dixon have yet to be kept out of the end zone in a game this season.
8 – Career 100-yard receiving games by Michael Floyd in just 15 starts. Floyd’s next 100-yard effort will place him in a tie with Jeff Samardzija and Derrick Mayes for third on the program’s all-time list.
9 – Notre Dame’s national rank in terms of total offense (452.2 yards-per-game). Only three BCS Conference teams rank ahead of the Irish: Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. Offsetting the yardage is Notre Dame’s No. 45 national ranking in terms of scoring offense (29.3 points per game), and scoring defense (50th, yielding 23.3 points per contest).
10 – Games in their last 11 November contests (dating back to and including the 2007 season) in which the Irish have been outrushed by their opponent. The Notre Dame defense yielded: 257, 285, 175, 178, 167, 178, 170, 175, 383, and 193 yards to those 10 opponents in the season's final month, losing 7 of the 10 matchups in the process.
The only team Notre Dame has outrushed in a November game since Darius Walker’s final season (2006) is the Duke Blue Devils in ’07 (220 to 94) in a 28-7 Irish victory.
11 – The number of 4th Quarter and overtime touchdowns produced by Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen this season. Clausen has throw just one interception in late game situations (vs. Navy, on a pass that bounced off the back of wide receiver Michael Floyd in the end zone) this year.
Bonus Stat: 49 – Consecutive starts Irish senior offensive tackle Sam Young will have logged if he takes his normal spot at right tackle as expected Saturday, a Notre Dame record. Young has started every game of his college career dating back to the 2006 season opener at Georgia Tech and is currently tied with Tom Zbikowski (2004-2007) and Maurice Crum, Jr. (2005-2008) on the program’s all-time list.
If Young appears vs. UConn, Stanford, and in a season-ending Bowl game, he will tie former defensive tackle Oliver Gibson (1990-1994) for the most games played in an Irish uniform (51).
According to the 1995 Notre Dame Media Guide, Gibson appeared in 3 games as a “rookie” in 1990; 12 games as a freshman in ’91; “every game” (12) as a sophomore in ’92; started 5 and was a backup in 7 more (12) in ’93; and started 12 games in ’94 as a 5th-Year senior.
On the Horizon
Irish players that could reasonably accomplish statistical milestones Saturday vs. the Huskies:
Golden Tate: Needs 100 yards to break Tom Gatewood’s 38-year mark for career 100-yard receiving games. Gatewood, like Tate, set the mark in three seasons, totaling 13 games with 100 or more receiving yards from 1969-1971. As well, Tate’s next 100-yard receiving effort will tie Gatewood for most games over the century mark in a single season (8 in 1970).
Tate is 111 yards shy of passing Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Brown (1984-1987) for fourth-place on the school’s career receiving yardage list.
James Aldridge: Needs 23 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for his career. If the coaching staff is looking for extra red zone incentive they might want to consider Aldridge in close as the senior has yet to score a rushing touchdown at Notre Dame Stadium entering his final game.
Kyle McCarthy: Needs 9 tackles to move past A’Jani Sanders (1996-99) for third place on the program’s list for tackles by a defensive back..