Just the Facts

A look at Notre Dame and Michigan State…by the numbers.

0 -- Notre Dame quarterbacks that have started a season with four straight 300-yard passing games, a feat Tommy Rees could accomplish with a 300-yard day against the Spartans.

1 -- Rushing first down allowed by the Irish defense vs. the Spartans in Michigan State's last trip to South Bend. Notre Dame held Mark Dantonio's crew to just 29 rushing yards on 23 carries, the lone chain-moving carry occurring on a 3rd and 1 carry of four yards near the end of the first half.

The Irish defense yielded just three rushing first downs to the Spartans in last year's 20-3 Notre Dame win, with Michigan State gaining 50 yards on 25 carries.

2 -- Sacks needed by junior Stephon Tuitt to move past Bert Berry (16.5) and Anthony Weaver (17) into seventh-place on the program's sacks list (data kept since 1981).

3 -- Sacks allowed by the Irish this season in 116 passing attempts. Each of the three has come at the expense of the right side of the Irish offensive line, either guard Christian Lombard (Temple), tackle Ronnie Stanley (Michigan) or both (Purdue).

4 -- Defensive touchdowns scored by Michigan State this season, the most by any among the 124-team FBS. Defensive end Shilique Calhoun is responsible for three of the four, scoring on a 56-yard interception return and fumble returns of 4 and 16 yards.

5 -- FBS schools to rank among the nation's Top 10 nationally in total defense over both of the last two seasons. Joining Michigan State in that rarified air are Alabama, Florida State, Florida, and LSU. The Spartans finished sixth in 2011 and fourth last season. Notre Dame finished seventh last fall after bottoming out in the BCS Championship game.

6 -- Consecutive wins by Notre Dame under head coach Brian Kelly in games decided by a touchdown or less. Prior to the streak, Kelly's Irish were just 6-6 in such contests, the streak beginning with a 20-17 win over Purdue last September. The Irish are 12-6 under Kelly in games decided by one touchdown or less, winning 10 of the last 11.

7 -- Completions by Tommy Rees of at least 32 yards through three games this fall. Notre Dame quarterbacks completed just 11 such passes in 13 games last season.

8 -- Of the last 13 meetings between Notre Dame and Michigan State have ben decided with a game-winning score in the fourth quarter or overtime. The Spartans own a 5-3 edge in that span.

9 --Consecutive wins by the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium, the longest streak since Notre Dame won 10 straight from Oct. 1997 (USC) through August 1999 (Kansas). The program's longest home winning streak is 23 straight set from the season opener of 1987 through an early October loss to unranked Stanford -- at the expense of the No. 1 ranked Irish -- in 1990.

10 -- Three-and-out possessions forced by the Irish defense vs. their three foes this season. On two of the 10 three-and-outs, Notre Dame scored a defensive touchdown on the third-down situation. The Irish defense forced five three-and-outs vs. Michigan State, plus a pair of "four-and-out" drives in last year's matchup.

11 -- Receptions needed by senior T.J. Jones to pass Tim Brown (137), Jim Seymour (138) and Tyler Eifert (140) on the program's all-time list. If Jones averages five receptions over the next 10 games including the bowl game he'll surpass Jeff Samardzija (179) for second place on the all-time receptions list at Notre Dame. Jones would pass Tom Gatewood, Golden Tate, and Rhema McKnight along the way.)

16 -- First downs received by penalty for Notre Dame's 13 opponents last season. Over the course of just three games in 2013, Irish foes have already benefited from eight penalties for chain-moving first downs. Worse, six of the eight occurred when the Irish defense faced a third-down situation.

The 26 -- Yard line. The farthest advancement by the Spartans into Irish territory in last year's 20-3 Notre Dame win in East Lansing. Of Michigan State's 70 snaps that evening, only 17 came on the Irish side of the 50.

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