Regular season Game 5 of 12 takes the reeling Irish (1-3) to Chestnut Hill to face Boston College (2-1). The two programs have met on 19 previous occasions with the Irish holding a 10-9 edge following last year's 20-16 triumph in South Bend.
1 – National ranking of the Irish entering the final regular season contest in 1993 and matchup with No. 16 Boston College. I refuse to elaborate further on the pain inflicted by this program-crippling contest…Look it up yourself.
2 – Boston College's ranking in terms of interceptions over the past decade. The Eagles have picked off 186 passes from since the beginning of the 2000 season, trailing only current ACC rival Virginia Tech (192) for the nation's top spot. The Irish have faced BC seven times during this span and the Eagles have intercepted Notre Dame QBs 11 times. Only Jimmy Clausen (2009) avoided an interception in those seven contests though he tossed four picks in the 2008 loss at Chestnut Hill.
3 – Consecutive wins by the Eagles over the Irish in Chestnut Hill. The streak dates back to a 31-26 victory by the Irish over BC in November 1998. Bob Davie (2001); Tyrone Willingham (2003) and Charlie Weis (2008) each since fell victim to the Eagles in Boston. For the record, Lou Holtz also lost in one of his two trips to Chestnut Hill, a 30-11 drubbing in what was billed as a revenge matchup for BC's upset over Holtz's No. 1 ranked squad the previous season.
4 – Seasons in which the Irish entered the contest vs. Boston College as underdogs. Notre Dame lost all four matchups (2008, 2007, 2003 and 2001). The Irish were listed as one-point underdogs for this matchup at the outset of the season. The official game point spread now has the visitors favored by 2.5.
5 – National ranking of Eagles sophomore Luke Kuechly in tackles-per-game, 12.33. Notre Dame's Manti Te'o ranks first with 13.50 per contests. The two combined for 23 tackles as true freshman in last year's contest. Kuechly led all defenders with 14 though Te'o recorded 2.5 of his 9 stops behind the Eagles line of scrimmage.
6 – National ranking of Boston College's rush defense entering the contest. Both of Notre Dame's previous opponents ranked high in the same statistic, with Michigan State at 9th entering the contest vs. the Irish and Stanford No. 34 overall.
The Spartans held the Irish to 92 yards on 26 carries while the Cardinal limited the scattered rushing attack to a paltry 44 yards on 23 attempts. BC has limited three foes to 2.23 yards per carry, a performance that included a stout effort last week, holding Virginia Tech to 106 yards on 40 carries despite a 19-0 loss to the Hokies.
7 – Wins by Boston College over the programs' last nine meetings dating back to 1999. The Eagles run of success followed a four-season winless streak vs. the Irish from 1995-98. The Irish have beaten the Eagles in four consecutive matchups twice, including the first four games of the series in 1975, 1983 (the Liberty Bowl), 1987 and 1992.
Boston College owns the longest winning streak in the series: six games over an eight season span from 2001 through 2008.
8 – Contests between the programs decided by 7 or fewer points over the last 15 matchups. BC has prevailed in six of the eight, coming back from a 4th quarter deficit in four of the six close victories. Two such wins have occurred vs. undefeated Irish squads in November ('93 and '02).
9 – National rank of the Eagles entering the November, 1992 contest; a game in which they were bludgeoned by the 8th-ranked Irish, 54-7. The most decisive blowout in series history included a 1-13 performance on 3rd down by the visiting Eagles; a 400 total yard advantage in favor of the Irish, and seven touchdowns by six Notre Dame players.
10 – Receptions by graduated BC receiver Rich Gunnell in last year's loss to the Irish. Gunnell piled up 179 receiving yards and a touchdown, nearly single-handedly carrying the otherwise stalled Eagles offense to victory. Nine of the senior's receptions occurred when lined up as a slot receiver vs. Notre Dame's nickel defense.
11 – Contests in the last 12 matchups (15 seasons) in which the winning team forced more or as many turnovers as did the losing squad. The only exception: a 2001, 21-17 victory by Boston College over the Irish in Chestnut Hill. Notre Dame held a 3-2 turnover advantage in the contest but was undone by a two touchdown, 262-yards from scrimmage effort by Eagles running back William Green.
The Irish have committed nine turnovers and forced six in four contests; BC has lost eight while forcing nine in three games this season.
12 – Total career 100-yard receiving games by players on the Irish roster: Michael Floyd (10), Theo Riddick (1) and Kyle Rudolph (1). The Irish are just 4-8 in games when a current player tops the 100-yard mark and have dropped each of the last seven such contests.
Bonus Stat: 34 – Total points scored by the Irish in their last three contests vs. the Eagles (2007-09). Notre Dame is 1-2 vs. BC in that span.
On the HorizonIrish players that could reasonably accomplish statistical milestones Saturday vs. the Eagles:
Armando Allen: Needs 41 receiving yards to supplant Darius Walker (2004-06) for 4th place on the position's receiving yardage list. If Allen accelerates his pace he could finish as high as No. 2 on the position's career list, though first place is likely out of reach:
- Joseph Heap 1137 (1951-54)
- Bob Gladieux 947 (1966-68)
- Jim Morse 902 (1954-56)
- Darius Walker 816 (2004-06)
- Armando Allen Jr. 776 (2007-)
Allen passed former program rushing leader Allen Pinkett (1982-85) for fifth on the position's receiving yardage list last week.
Darrin Walls: Recorded the 17th and 18th pass break-ups of his career last week vs. Stanford to move into a tie with Vontez Duff (2000-2003) for 8th on the program's career list. With one pass breakup this week, Walls will move into a tie with Thomas O'Leary (1965-67) for 7th on the career list.
David Ruffer: Needs two consecutive field goals to tie teammate Nick Tausch for the program's record with 14 consecutive successful attempts. Tausch broke Mike Johnston's 27-year old mark last season as a true freshman. The walk-on transfer Ruffer took over in an emergency role for Tausch last season at Pittsburgh and held down the role through the end of the 2009 season, connecting on each of his five attempts.
Ruffer has made each of his seven attempts to begin the 2010 season.
Kyle Rudolph: Needs 102 receiving yards to pass current Seattle Seahawks tight end John Carlson (2004-2007) for third-place on the programs career yardage list at the position. Rudolph has averaged 95.7 receiving yards over the first three contests to rank first among the nation's tight ends.
With (a career-high) 9 receptions, Rudolph would pass current Miami Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano (2003-05) for third on the program's career list among tight ends at 93. Rudolph set a personal-best with eight receptions two weeks ago vs. Michigan in South Bend but was held to one yard on one reception while battling through injury last Saturday vs. Stanford.
Michael Floyd (Tracking Tom and Tony): Needs two touchdowns to pass Tom Gatewood (1969-71) for 5th place on the program's career list. Gatewood caught 19 TD over a three-year span. Floyd broke a two-game touchdown drought – tied for the longest of his career – two weeks ago with a two TD effort vs. the Spartans, the only game in which he's registered a touchdown this season.
With five receptions, Floyd will move past ex-Irish tight end (and part-time split end/H-back) Tony Hunter (1979-82) into 10th on the program's all-time list. Floyd has caught 116 passes in 20 career games. Likewise, Floyd needs 45 receiving yards to surpass Hunter for 9th on the program's yardage list.