Just the Facts

A look at Notre Dame's road to 12-0 entering the 2013 BCS Championship game…by the numbers.

1.) -- Notre Dame is the first school in the 15-year BCS era to be ranked No. 1 in both the current BCS standings and the current NCAA Graduation Success Rate rankings. The Irish are the first team, unranked in the pre-season, to play for the BCS Title game, with the inaugural occurring following the 1998 season. Notre Dame is the first unranked pre-season team to reach No. 1 since BYU won the national championship in 1984.

2.) -- Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand tutored one of just two units nationally to average at least 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing while allowing 16 sacks or fewer in 2012. (Oklahoma State joined the Irish in this regard). Hiestand's front wall of LT Zack Martin, LG Chris Watt, C Braxston Cave, RG Mike Golic, Jr., and RT Christian Lombard enjoyed the benefit of 12 consecutive starts as a unit.

3.) -- The Irish are one of three FBS teams to average more than 200 rushing yards while allowing fewer than 100 on the defensive side of scrimmage. The 2012 season marked the first time a Notre Dame team accomplished that feat since 1993.

4.) -- Touchdowns scored through the air by Notre Dame co-leaders Tyler Eifert and T.J. Jones, matching the lowest total to lead an Irish team since 2007 when freshman Duval Kamara paced an Irish team that finished 3-9.

Notre Dame's overall touchdown leader in 2012, RB/slot Theo Riddick, scored just six times, tied for the second-lowest total to lead an Irish offense over the last three decades. (Travis Thomas scored just five touchdowns to pace the squad in the aforementioned train wreck of '07.) Notre Dame's team leader in 2001, Julius Jones, also scored just six touchdowns. Jones' Irish finished 5-6 that fall.

5.) -- Sacks suffered by quarterback Everett Golson in a 20-17 win over Purdue in Game Two. The contest marked Golson's second career start. The Irish offensive line allowed just nine more sacks over the season's final 10 games, keeping Irish quarterbacks sack-free in four of the final 10 contests and allowing just one sack in five others. Only Stanford with four sacks was able to get to Irish quarterbacks on multiple occasions over the season's final 10 contests.

6.) -- Rushes allowed of 20 yards or more by the Irish defense in 2012, just three of which exceeded 30 yards. Two of the gains over 30 yards were produced by Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham, whose 55 and 48 yard gains ranked as the first and third longest of the season against Notre Dame's defense -- run or pass. Graham also had a run of 43 yards vs. Notre Dame's defense in 2011 and a gain of 52 yards vs. the Irish in 2009.

7.) -- Games played in 2012 before Notre Dame's defense allowed a rushing score, that by Wildcat quarterback Blake Bell of Oklahoma. The seven-game stint to start the season matched the longest in college football since 1996, tying the efforts of 13-0 Auburn (2004) and Tennessee (1999). The Irish defense didn't yield a rushing score in its final two games of 2011, placing the actual streak at nine games without a rushing score vs. Bob Diaco's unit, one not matched at the program since 1950.

8.) -- In addition to boasting the nation's top-ranked scoring defense, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's unit ranks first nationally in seven other categories, five of which are red zone related: red zone TDs allowed by percentage, points allowed per red zone trip, total red zone TDs allowed, red zone rushing TD allowed, total red zone points allowed, passing yards per completion, and rushing TDs allowed. The latter total, two rushing touchdowns allowed, is the lowest yielded in modern program history.

9.) -- The number of times Notre Dame held an opponent scoreless in the first quarter this season. Miami, Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh were the only foes to dent the scoreboard vs. the Irish in the opening period, each with a field goal. This early game prowess afforded Brian Kelly's crew an 85-9 first quarter advantage over 12 collective foes to date.

10.) -- Bowl-eligible foes beaten by the Irish in 2012. Of Notre Dame's 12 regular season opponents, only Boston College and Wake Forest -- games played back-to-back in November -- failed to qualify for post-season play. A third program, the Miami Hurricanes, chose to begin an NCAA imposed ban at season's end despite a 7-5 final record.

11.) -- Turnovers suffered by Irish quarterbacks Everett Golson, Tommy Rees, and Andrew Hendrix in 2012. That's 12 fewer than Irish triggermen Rees, Hendrix, and Dayne Crist accounted for in 2011. Notre Dame's 14 total turnovers in 2012 was less than half the team's total of 29 from 2011.

12.) -- Sacks recorded this season by sophomore defensive end Stephon Tuitt, a team-high and the second-most all-time at Notre Dame since the statistic became official in 1982. Tuitt led an Irish defense that registered 34 sacks, 31 of which came courtesy the four-man defensive front and its backup quartet.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories