Just the Facts

A look at Saturday's ND/Tulsa matchup…by the numbers.

Regular season Game 9 of 12 brings Tulsa's Golden Hurricane to South Bend for the first meeting between the programs. Tulsa enters the contest with a 4-3 mark, averaging 38.43 points per game to rank 13th nationally.

Head coach Todd Graham's group has been generous on the defensive side of scrimmage, allowing 28.86 points per game, 81st out of 120 FBS teams. The Golden Hurricane currently boast the third-highest rated scoring offense and lowest ranked scoring defense of Notre Dame's 12 regular season foes.

1 – Interception recorded by the Golden Hurricane defense this season. Tulsa ranks 120th out of 120 FBS teams in Pass Defense (measured by yardage allowed) and 109th in Pass Efficiency D, which considers completion percentage, touchdown percentage, yards, yards per attempt, and interception percentage as part of its formula.

2 – National ranking of Irish inside linebacker Manti Te'o in total tackles. Te'o moved from 11th to 2nd overall with a 13-tackle effort Saturday vs. Navy. Te'o's 92 tackles in seven games trails only Boston College sophomore Luke Kuechly for the top spot. The Irish ‘backer's 11.50 average per game ranks sixth nationally. Te'o has contributed to 65 tackles vs. opponents' running plays and 27 vs. the pass. Te'o recorded one of the team's two tackles for loss last week, tying him with junior CAT linebacker Darius Fleming for the team lead.

3 – National ranking of the Golden Hurricane's kick coverage unit. Tulsa has limited seven foes to 16.57 yards per return, nearly six yards fewer than the current national average. Notre Dame's kick return group ranks 82nd nationally at 20.91 yards per return. The Irish received a 38-yard return by sophomore Cierre Wood in the season-opener and a 43-yard return from freshman Bennett Jackson in Week Five at Boston College but have averaged just over 19 yards per kick return on the remaining 31 attempts with just one return in excess of 25 yards.

4 – Current ranking of Tulsa WR Damaris Johnson on Conference USA's career all-purpose yardage list. Johnson has 2,197 career receiving yards and 2,866 career kick-return yards. The senior needs 79 KR yards to tie the all-time Conference record. Of Johnson's 20 career touchdowns, two have occurred on special teams (one KR, one PR) while 13 have arrived via the air and five more on rushing plays.

Johnson led the nation in all-purpose yards last season.

5 – 2010 Irish opponents currently ranked in either the A.P. or Coach's Poll. (Utah, Michigan State, Stanford, USC and Michigan). No Irish squad has faced five ranked foes that finished ranked at season's end since 2004 when USC, Michigan, Tennessee, Boston College, Navy and Pittsburgh all placed in the final A.P. Top 25. Notre Dame defeated UM, UT and Navy in that, Tyrone Willingham's final season at the helm.

Last week's opponent Navy is also threatening the polls, currently ranked No. 28 in both the A.P. and Coach's polls. Notre Dame is winless in four contests vs. the aforementioned Top 28 teams through eight games this season. The Irish are currently listed at No. 8 nationally in the NCAA's strength of schedule rankings. Those numbers do not include upcoming matchups with the ranked Utes and Trojans.

6 – Tulsa players that have recorded at least one rushing touchdown or one receiving score this season. The Golden Hurricane have enjoyed touchdown contributions from 10 different players this season and have eight players with 12 or more rushing attempts as well as eight players with 10 or more receptions through seven games.

7 – Notre Dame quarterbacks that have completed more passes in a single season than has Dayne Crist through eight games in 2010. Crist's 174 completions (in 292 attempts) ranks eighth behind Ron Powlus (1997), Jarious Jackson (1999), Brady Quinn (2004), Jimmy Clausen (2008), Quinn (2006), Clausen (2009) and Quinn (2005) on the school's single season completion list.

Quinn set the record with 292 completions in 2005, Charlie Weis' first as head coach. Crist needs to average 23.8 completions per game over the final four regular season contests and potential bowl game to break Quinn's single-season mark. Crist currently averages 21.75 completions per contest.

Of the group above, only Quinn's '05 and '06 seasons resulted in more than seven victories for the Irish.

8 – Games this season in which Notre Dame received the opening kickoff. The Irish have accepted the ball or the opponent has deferred its decision to the second half in each of the eight matchups to date.

9 – Special teams tackles by junior linebacker Steve Filer through eight games to lead the Irish. Filer led the 2009 Irish in special teams stops as well, recording 11 total with 10 occurring on kick-offs. Notre Dame's kick-off return defense ranks 11th nationally while its punt coverage group is the best in the nation, allowing just 0.43 yards per return.

Irish kicker David Ruffer has recorded five touchbacks in seven games as the team's kick-off specialist, the highest total at the program since an NCAA rule moved the tee placement back to the 30-yard line in 2006. Notre Dame kickers had combined for just three total touchbacks over the previous three seasons.

10 – Rank of Irish senior tailback Armando Allen on the program's rushing attempts list. Allen has carried the rock 469 times through 41 career contests. If Allen averages 16 carries over the final four regular season games and potential bowl game, he could surpass current Green Bay Packers RB Ryan Grant (2001-04) for seventh on the program's career list. Allen trails Neil Worden (476 carries from 1951-53) for 9th place entering Saturday contest.

11 – Wins by Tulsa during the 2008 season, current head coach Todd Graham's second at the helm. Graham led Tulsa to a two-year program record 21 wins during the 2007-08 campaigns. The Golden Hurricane slipped to 6-6 last season and are 4-3 entering Saturday's contest. Graham's 2008 crew averaged 47.21 points per game, ranking second nationally behind Oklahoma's 51.14 per contest. Notre Dame has not won 11 games in a single season since 1993 when the Irish finished 11-1 and No. 2 in the nation.

Graham's Tulsa offense has topped the 500-yard mark in 29 of his 47 games as the Golden Hurricane head coach.

Bonus Stat: 13 – Opposing players that have topped the 100-yard rushing mark vs. the Irish defense over the last 20 games, dating back through the beginning of the 2009 season. The Irish defense has surrendered 200 or more rushing yards to an individual on three occasions in that span: Navy's Alexander Teich (October 23); Michigan's Denard Robinson (September 11); Stanford's Toby Gerhart (November 2009) each topped the 200-yard barrier in the last calendar year.

Bonus Stat: 9 – Consecutive games in which the Notre Dame offense has failed to produce a 100-yard rusher. Senior Armando Allen totaled 106 rushing yards in Game 11 vs. Connecticut last year. Notre Dame's final four regular season opponents are ranked 20, 25, 6, and 39th vs. the run, respectively.

On the Horizon

Irish players that could reasonably accomplish statistical milestones Saturday vs. the Golden Hurricane:

Armando Allen: Needs 8 receiving yards to supplant Darius Walker (2004-06) for 4th place on the position's receiving yardage list. Allen could finish as high as No. 2 on the position's career list, though first place is likely out of reach:

  1. Joseph Heap 1137 (1951-54)
  2. Bob Gladieux 947 (1966-68)
  3. Jim Morse 902 (1954-56)
  4. Darius Walker 816 (2004-06)
  5. Armando Allen Jr. 809 (2007-)

In Game Six vs. Pittsburgh, Allen moved past Rocket Ismail (1988-1990) into 5th place on the program's all-purpose yardage list. He trails only Julius Jones (5,462), Autry Denson (5,327), Allen Pinkett (5,259) and Tim Brown (5,024) on the all-time list. Allen has amassed 4,340 all-purpose yards thanks to the early portion of his career in which he totaled 1,360 kick and punt return yards. With 2,078 career rushing yards, Allen needs 133 rushing yards to move into 10th place on the program's career rushing list.

Darrin Walls: With 19 career pass breakups, Walls needs two to move ahead of Ralph Stepaniak (1969-71) and the legendary Todd Lyght (1987-1990) into fifth-place on the program's career list.

David Ruffer: Has connected on 18 consecutive field goals and all 18 attempts in his career. Ruffer is 13 for 13 this season and needs two more successful attempts to break teammate Nick Tausch's record of 14 consecutive field goals in a single season.

Michael Floyd: Has caught 136 passes in 23 career games. With his next three catches he'll pass Tim Brown (1984-87) and Jim Seymour (1966-68) for fifth-place on the all-time list. Floyd enters Saturday's contest 21 receptions short of tying Tom Gatewood and Golden Tate (2007-09) for third on the programs list and 43 short of Jeff Samardzija's program record 179 grabs from 2003-2006.

Floyd needs one touchdown catch to break his current tie with Derrick Mayes (1992-95) and Rhema McKnight (2002-06) for third place on the list. Floyd is four TD receptions shy of Tate (26) and Samardzija (27) for the program record.

Likewise, Floyd needs 58 receiving yards to pass Maurice Stovall (2002-05) for 7th on the program's career yardage list.

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