Not surprising, it was Charlie Weis' first squad, the 36.7 points-per-game juggernaut of 2005 led by the breakout junior passing combination of Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija, and sophomore do-everything running back, Darius Walker.
2010 saw a disparity in touchdown production with Michael Floyd recording a team-high 12 in as many games, including nine in his final six games played (Floyd missed Week Eight at Navy) en route to setting the school record with 28 career receiving scores at season's end.
That end zone prowess from Notre Dame's all-time leading touchdown target brings us to the next prediction in our summer series:
Prediction #15 – Irish Trio to Total 30 scoresBut wait, there's a catch. The third member of the trio, whoever it may be, must score at least seven touchdowns, as indicated in the text at the bottom of the prediction.
As I'm already on record noting a 10-score season for junior running back Cierre Wood, and I side with the majority that Floyd will again lead the team in touchdowns scored, that leaves the third and final leg of my three-pronged player prediction: junior receiver Theo Riddick.
Riddick scored his first three career touchdowns last season, all in a three-game span between Week Three (at MSU) and Week Five (at Boston College). That span coincided with a 33-reception run through four games in which he emerged as the team leader in receptions (37), receiving touchdowns (3, tying Kyle Rudolph), while ranking second in receiving yards (383).
Riddick then suffered an ankle injury in a Week Seven win over Western Michigan, ending the impact portion of his 2010 campaign.
He'll pick up where he left off last October, finishing with at least seven scores, which will be enough to push the Floyd/Wood/Riddick triumvirate over the top and into rarified program air for touchdowns by a trio.
Easier said than doneIn fairness to the unique quality of the feat, it's only been a viable option since Ara Parseghian took over in 1964 and four years later, Notre Dame's scoring average hit a still-record 37.6 points-per-game. But despite posting six of the 13 highest scoring per game averages in program history, no Parseghian duo of players, much less trio, accounted for 10 or more scores in the same season.
In fact only five players notched double digit scores in a single season under the coaching legend.
- Halfback Bill Wolski with 11 in Parseghian's first season
- Halfback/athlete Nick Eddy scored 10 in the title season of 1966
- Halfback Bob Gladieux with a Parseghian-era best 14 rushing scores in 1968
- Fullback Andy Huff with 10 in 1972
- And later bruising ‘back Wayne Bullock in 1973-74 (11 and 12 TD respectively)
Michael Floyd will again put his name on this list, joining Golden Tate, Jeff Samardzija, and Derrick Mayes as the only pass targets to appear more than once. Look for Floyd to better his total of 12 from 2010.
Prediction #1 in our summer series called for Cierre Wood to do the same, which means Theo Riddick must pick up the slack, scoring at least seven times to bring Prediction #15 home.
(I couldn't pull the trigger and predict a 10-spot for Riddick as well.)
1-2-3…4 PunchNotre Dame's top scoring trios and quartets (minimum 7 scores apiece) in program history (bowl games included):
- 2005 (12 games): Jeff Samardzija 15, Darius Walker 12, Maurice Stovall 11
- 1995 (12 games): Marc Edwards 12, Randy Kinder 10, Autry Denson 8, Derrick Mayes 8 – Mayes helped form the top quartet on the list with two acrobatic touchdowns in the Orange Bowl at season's end.
- 2006 (13 games): Rhema McKnight 15, Samardzija 13, Walker 8
- 1993 (12 games): Edwards 9, Ray Zellars 9, Jeff Burris 7, Lee Becton 7
- 1989(13 games): Anthony Johnson 13, Ricky Watters 10, Tony Rice 7
- 1996 (11 games): Autry Denson 11, Edwards 10, Robert Farmer 8
- 1987 (12 games): Johnson 11, Tim Brown 8, Rice 7
- 2000 (12 games): Tony Fisher 10, Julius Jones 8, Joey Getherall 7