Just the Facts

Saturday's 83rd annual Blue Gold game…by the numbers

A closer look at yesterday's 42-31 victory by the Irish defense over its offense:

1 – Quarterback that avoided throwing an interception among the game's four signal callers. Everett Golson threw two touchdowns without suffering a pick but the ball was fumbled three times in plays he was involved including two at the center snap – the latter a recurring issue throughout his short tenure

2 – Touchdown receptions by Irish tight ends. Both Tyler Eifert and Ben Koyack scored Saturday; Eifert from Andrew Hendrix from 25 yards out after the latter read a poorly timed cornerback blitz; and Koyack from Golson for 10 yards on an out-route to the short corner of the end zone. Look for more of the same in 2012 with junior Alex Welch notching a few scores next season in support of Eifert as well.

3 – Interceptions thrown by Irish quarterbacks in 48 combined pass attempts, or one pick for every 16 passes thrown. Notre Dame signal callers suffered five picks in their last 72 combined attempts (one in every 14.4 passes) to close out losses to Stanford and Florida State last season.

Notre Dame finished just 1-4 last season when its quarterbacks were intercepted more than once last season. They were 7-1 when throwing one or zero interceptions. The Irish are 14-3 in the Kelly era when throwing one/zero picks; 2-7 when tossing two or more.

4 – Blue Gold Game's in the scrimmage's 83 year history with better attendance than yesterday's number, 31,582. The only four games with more fans in attendance occurred in 2007 (51,582), 2006 (41,279), 1981 (35,675), and 1986 (32,071).

Both the '81 and '86 games featured the debut of new head coaches (Gerry Faust and Lou Holtz, respectively), while the 2007 contest featured the debut of highly touted early enrollee quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The '06 contest followed a tremendously successful and popular 2005 campaign and featured the nation's No. 2 ranked pre-season squad. Yesterday's attendance surpassed the previous fifth-best of 31,104 set in Charlie Weis' last season, 2009.

5 – Rushes by 2011 leading rusher Cierre Wood. Wood, who gained 1,186 rushing yards last fall for the 10th best total in program history, gained 52 yards on just five carries Saturday. Included were an 8-yard touchdown sprint and two 20 yard runs in the opening quarter.

6 – Plays from scrimmage that gained at least 19 yards thanks to sophomore running back George Atkinson, including one check down pass reception from Tommy Rees that gained 15 of its 17 yards after initial contact. Atkinson's longest rush, a 30-yard gain in the second quarter, was compiled following a backfield hit by linebacker Ishaq Williams. Atkinson led all rushers with 124 yards and added three pass receptions for 54 more (a long of 25)

7 – Pass receptions in excess of 15 yards by the Irish offense: two from TE Tyler Eifert; two from WR DaVaris Daniels; two from RB George Atkinson, and one by RB/Slot Theo Riddick.

8 – Tackles by backup Mike linebacker Kendall Moore, including one for lost yardage. Improved field cornerback starter Lo Wood added seven stops while redshirt-freshman ‘backer Anthony Rabasa recorded six with a fumble recovery.

Awarded a scholarship in the off-season, former walk-on Chris Salvi registered five stops along with an interception of freshman Gunner Kiel. Also notable on the stat sheet was Dog linebacker competitor Ben Councell, who recovered a fumble and recorded a tackle for loss as part of his four-tackle afternoon. Cat linebacker Ishaq Williams recovered a fumble and picked off Hendrix to go along with three tackles during the contest.

9 – Pass attempts by the second quarterback to appear, Andrew Hendrix, who by luck of the draw, play-calls, and length of his series under center, threw the fewest number of passes among the quarterback quartet, including early enrollee Gunner Kiel who did played only in the second half (and for the entire second half that featured a running clock).

Hendrix threw the game's first touchdown, a 25-yarder to Eifert to tie the score at 7. His drives featured a pair of three-and-outs; the aforementioned score, a fumble by Atkinson inside the defense's 20-yard line, and a kneel-down to end the half – one that Hendrix fumbled into the air on a poor exchange with third-string center Matt Hegarty.

11 – Defensive stands by the Irish defense in 18 sets of downs. The D forced six turnovers, four punts, and held on downs to conclude the game. It also made the offense settle for two field goals, thus earning a point for both under the game's unique scoring system. Notre Dame's offense finished four drives with touchdowns and two with field goal attempts, missing once from 30 yards out (Kyle Brindza).

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