Fighting Irish Facts (Part III)

Tarean Folston has a long way to go to match RB coach Autry Denson’s 100-yard games at Notre Dame. Folston has five; Denson had 23 during his record-setting career.

• Notre Dame enters the 2015 season with the highest all-time winning percentage among FBS schools. The Irish are 882-310-42 in 1,234 games played, which gives them a .7317 winning mark compared to Michigan, which is 915-328-36 (.7294).

Interestingly, in the history of all levels of college football, Grand Valley State – where Brian Kelly was 118-35-2 in 13 seasons – sits between Notre Dame and Michigan in winning percentage at .7295.

• Michigan tops all of college football in all-time victories with 915. The Wolverines are followed by Yale (884), Notre Dame (882) and Texas, which can tie the Irish in all-time wins with a victory in South Bend on Sept. 5.

Five other 2015 opponents are among the top 31 programs in victories: No. 12 USC (805), No. 21t Georgia Tech (711), No. 26t Pittsburgh (696), No. 30 Clemson (689) and No. 31t Navy (681).

• Notre Dame is expected to qualify for its sixth straight bowl game this season under Brian Kelly, pulling to within three of the longest streak in school history. Lou Holtz took the Irish to post-season play nine straight seasons from 1987-95. It would have been 10, but the University bypassed post-season play upon Holtz’s “retirement” following the ’96 season when the Irish were 8-3.

• In the modern era – using the start of the Ara Parseghian reign in 1964 – Notre Dame has gone undefeated at home 11 times, the last of which came in 2012 when the Irish were 12-0 during the regular season. Notre Dame’s overall record in those 11 seasons is 112-12-2 for an astonishing .896 winning percentage.

• Notre Dame is third among its 2015 opponents in victories over the last five seasons. The Irish – at 45-20 under Brian Kelly – sit behind Stanford (54-13) and Clemson (48-18). After Notre Dame are USC (44-21), Navy (39-25), Georgia Tech (39-28), Texas (36-28) and Pittsburgh (33-32).

Five of Notre Dame’s 12 opponents this fall are under .500 in the last five years: Temple (29-31), Boston College (27-36), Virginia (23-38), Wake Forest (21-40) and Massachusetts (16-42).

While at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly has lost twice to teams that finished with losing records: Northwestern (5-7) last year and South Florida (5-7) in 2011.

• Entering the 2015 season, only three of the 128 FBS programs have never played an FCS program: Notre Dame, USC and UCLA.

• The last Irish running back to reach 150 yards rushing was Cierre Wood when he carried 11 times for 150 yards against Wake Forest in 2012. Current Irish running back Tarean Folston had a career-high 149 yards versus Navy last season. The last Notre Dame player to rush for 200 yards was Julius Jones, who did it three times within a seven-game span in 2003.

• Irish running backs coach Autry Denson (1995-98) is Notre Dame’s all-time leading rusher with 4,318 yards. Denson rushed for at least 100 yards 23 times. Tarean Folston enters the 2015 season with five 100-yard games, which means he would have to crack the 100-yard mark 18 times over the final two seasons to match his position coach’s 100-yard performances.

• Will Fuller’s high-water mark for receiving yards in a game came against Northwestern last year when he caught nine passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns. The last Irish receiver to crack the 200-yard mark in a game was Golden Tate when his 10 catches accounted for 201 yards against Stanford in 2009. Tate also had nine receptions for 244 yards versus Washington earlier in 2009.

• Fifth-year senior Matthias Farley enters the 2015 season with seven career interceptions after tying Cole Luke for the team lead with four last year. Farley’s seven career interceptions tie him with Harrison Smith, who made all seven of his interceptions with Notre Dame in 2010.

The all-time interception record at Notre Dame is held by Luther Bradley (1973-77) with 17, followed by Tom MacDonald (1961-63) with 15. Six Irish players intercepted 13 passes in their collegiate careers: Ralph Stepaniak (1969-71), Joe Restic (1975-78), Clarence Ellis (1969-71), John Lattner (1951-53) and Mike Townsend (1971-73).

Irish defensive backs coach Todd Lyght ended his Notre Dame playing career with 11 interceptions.

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