• So far this season, Notre Dame's kicked the ball off 34 times and has recorded 6 touchbacks. That's a touchback for every 5.67 kickoffs or, put another way, 18% of ND kickoffs end up as touchbacks. Opponents have kicked the ball off only 22 times, but have recorded 9 touchbacks. That's a touchback every 2.44 kickoffs or a 41% touchback percentage. While it appears that the kickoff distance is not exactly ideal, it hasn't really hurt Notre Dame in the field position battle. Taking returns into consideration, the average Notre Dame kickoff goes for 39.7 yards while opponents are putting up 39.8 yards per kick.
• Notre Dame's scored 185 points while giving up 120 points. There's been some criticism of the defense being too porous, especially through the air. Yet it would seem that many of the points are being scored in garbage time, which lessens the impact of the score. A look at the breakdown in opponent scoring shows this to be true.
|Point Differential|| Points Allowed |
|28+ (+)||36 |
|7-13 (+)||3 |
|1-6 (+)||12 |
|TIED ||31 |
|1-6 (-)||0 |
|7-13 (-)||7 |
|14-20 (-)||7 |
|21+ (-)||0 |
|TOTAL ||120 |
Two things jump out.
First, we give up most of our points when we lead by 28 more. In fact, 50 of our points given up, or 42%, came when we led by three touchdowns or more. That makes sense, as Weis has commented that he's not looking for blowout wins. As the Purdue game showed us, he'll gladly trade touchdowns with a team down by 28 points late in the second half if it means keeping the clock running.
Second, 31 points have been scored by the opponent when the game is tied. Yet, only 14 have been scored when the Irish were already losing. That suggests that the Irish are able to respond to giving up points by scoring some of their own. In fact, looking at the drive charts, Notre Dame has scored on the immediate drive following an opponent score 9 times out of 19. That's 47% and includes running out the clock against Washington and Purdue. If you only consider the first half, ND is 5 for 9 or 56%. I have no frame of reference on a stat like this, but it sounds awfully high to me.
• The pass defense numbers and rankings are still threatening obscenity laws; the Irish check in at 305.6 passing yards allowed per game which is good enough for 112th in the nation. That number looks about the same as the numbers for 2004 (281.25 yards, 116th place). However, the pass efficiency ranking, which is probably a better measure of the true worth of a pass defense, marks the Irish at 123.46 yards per game, which is 60th in the nation. To compare, in 2004 the numbers were 138.34 yards per game, good for 98th in the nation. So in that regard, it does seem that the defense is improving.
To be clear, the "pass defense" ranking only counts the total passing yards given up per game. The "pass efficieny defense" is calculated by considering the total passing yardage, pass completion percentages, interception totals, percentages of interceptions thrown, total touchdowns, touchdown rates, yards per pass attempt, and yards per pass completion (whew). So, while ND has been giving up plenty of yards through the air, those yards haven't been as effective for opponents as they were last year. That is to say, fewer yards per pass, fewer touchdowns, and more interceptions.
• The one offensive stat that really gives an assist to the defense (besides touchdowns) is time of possession. And right now no one is doing it better than ND: the Irish lead the nation in offensive TOP with an average of 34:30 minutes per game.
It's cliched, but it's true: opponents can't score if they aren't on the field.
• Brady Quinn New Record of the Week: With his performance against Purdue, Quinn not only passed Rick Mirer (5,997 yards) on the career passing list, but also became only the third Notre Dame quarterback in history to reach 6,000 career yards. Previously, no Notre Dame quarterback has ever thrown for 300 yards more than twice in a season. Quinn has accomplished this feat in three straight games.
As it currently stands, Quinn has 1,621 passing yards on the season and 6,038 yards for his career. He is averaging 324.2 passing yards per game this season. Not only is this destroying the record single-season average of 242.9 set in 1970 by Joe Theismann, but his completion percentage of 65.3 is currently comfortably ahead of the single season ND record of 61.6% set in 1993 by Kevin McDougal. If the passing averages hold and we only consider regular season games, Quinn will finish the season with 3,566 passing yards, which is 833 yards greater than Notre Dame's current record of 2,753 yards set by Jarious Jackson in 1999. It will also give Quinn 7,983 career passing yards, which will move him ahead of Ron Powlus (7,479 yards) for the all-time career passing title. Oh, and Quinn has another season of eligiblity left.
• This stat is jumping the gun a bit, but with only one road game remaining -- against a struggling Stanford team to boot -- I figured, why not.
The last time ND went undefeated on the road was in 1993. That year the Irish beat #3 Michigan, Purdue, Stanford, BYU, and Navy (at Veterans Stadium) on the road. That's more of a factoid than stat, but it's just another connection between this year's squad and some of the better units under Holtz. Of course, the road opponents this year haven't been as strong as advertised. As we head into the middle of conference play, they are a collective 8-14 with only one team (3-2 Michigan) in possession of a winning record. Home opponents on the other hand, who initially appeared to contain most of the weaker teams on the schedule, are currently a collective 14-11.
Season-long Running Averages
|Category||Pitt||UM||MSU||UW||PU|| 2005 || 2004 |
| Yards per rush ||5.5 ||2.4 ||2.8||5.0||3.1 ||3.8 || 3.32 |
| Avg yards per PA ||8.4||4.7||8.1||8.8 ||12.0||8.5||7.2|
| Avg yards per PC ||11.0||11.7||14.8||13.1 ||15.6||13.2||13.4|
| Pass completion % ||67% ||63%||55%||68% ||77%||62% ||54% |
| 3rd downs conv. ||10/15 (67%) ||4/15 (27%) ||6/18 (33%) ||6/13 (46%)||10/16 (63%) ||36/77 (47%) ||68/183 (37%) |
|Rushing yd avg||275.0 ||104.0 ||107.0 ||233.0||153.0 ||174.4 (39th) ||127.4 (85th) |
|Passing yd avg||227.0 ||140.0 ||487.0||327.0 ||468.0 ||329.8 (11th) || 218.1 (54th) |
| Total offense yd avg ||502.0 ||244.0 ||594.0||560.0 ||621.0 ||504.2 (9th) || 345.5 (81st) |
|Time of Possession ||32:45||30:55||35:49||36:56 ||36:03 ||34:30||30:50|
|Red Zone TDs||5/ 6 (83%) ||2/2 (100%) ||4/ 5 (80%)||3/5 (60%) ||5/5 (100%) ||19/ 23 (83%) ||25 / 36 (69%) |
|Category||Pitt || UM || MSU || UW || PU || 2005 || 2004 |
| Yards per rush given up ||3.3 ||2.4 ||4.5 ||1.9||6.8||4.1 ||2.7 |
| Avg yards per pass attempt ||6.3||5.1 ||12.1||10.2||6.0||7.5||7.9|
| Avg yards per pass completion ||11.0||11.7||20.4||21.5||10.6 ||14.3||13.6|
| Pass completion percentage ||57% ||43% ||59% ||48%||57%||52% ||58% |
| Quarterback sacks ||5||2||1||3||0||11||30|
|Rushing yd average against||103.0 ||114.0 ||161.0 ||41.0 ||164.0 ||116.6 (38th) ||88.2 (4th) |
|Passing yd average against||220.0 ||223.0 ||327.0 ||408.0||350.0 || 305.6 (112th) || 281.2 (116th) |
| Total yd offense average against ||323.0 ||337.0 ||488.0 ||449.0||514.0 || 422.2 (92nd) || 369.4 (54th) |
|Category||Pitt || UM || MSU || UW || PU || 2005 || 2004 |
| Interceptions by ND ||1 ||1 ||1 ||1||1||5 ||9 |
| Fumbles Forced / Recovered ||2/ 1 ||3/ 1 ||4/ 2 ||2/2||1/1||12/ 7 ||27 / 12 |
| Turnovers gained ||2||2||3||3||2 ||12||21 |
|Had Intercepted||1 ||0 ||1 ||0||2||4 ||10 |
|Fumbles / Lost||1/ 0 ||3/ 1 ||1/ 1 ||2/0||0/0||7/ 2 ||15 / 6 |
| Turnovers lost ||1 ||1 ||2 ||0||2||6 ||16 |
|Turnover Margin||+1 ||+1||+1||+3||0||+6 ||+5 |
|Category|| Pitt || UM || MSU ||UW ||PU || 2005 || 2004 |
| Kickoff return average ||17.5 ||24.0 ||21.5 ||31.0 ||31.0||23.8 ||18.7 |
| Kickoff return average allowed ||16.0||18.0||20.8||16.0 ||25.2 ||19.5||19.9|
| Punt return average ||23.0||19.0||11.0||15.5 ||0.0 ||13.6||10.8|
| Punt return average allowed ||0.0 ||5.2 ||2.0||10.0 ||9.0 ||5.4 ||8.2 |
Fun Fact O' the Day: Brady Quinn has thrown a touchdown pass in 10 consecutive games. This ties him for the Notre Dame record with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback John Huarte, who accomplished the feat in 1964.