Fighting Irish Facts (Part V)

Despite Texas’ sparkling winning percentage, the Longhorns have struggled vs. ND. Irish try to build on ’13 win vs. USC in Notre Dame Stadium.

• Entering the 2015 campaign, Texas – Notre Dame’s season-opening opponent -- ranks fourth all-time in winning percentage at .721 (881-346-33). Yet in 10 games against Notre Dame, the Longhorns have won just twice. Two of Notre Dame’s victories came in the Cotton Bowl, including the 1977 season when the Irish claimed the national title.

• Based upon pre-season projections, no Power 5 conference team opens with a more difficult one-two punch in 2015 than Virginia. After traveling to UCLA for the season-opener, the Cavaliers come home to play Notre Dame.

• Each of head coach Paul Johnson’s seven Georgia Tech teams has averaged at least 5.2 yards per carry and 273 yards rushing per game, including a high-water mark of 342 yards per contest in ’14.

On the flip side, only 26 of the 128 FBS schools allowed more than five yards per carry defensively last year, and the Yellow Jackets, at 5.07, were one of them. Georgia Tech was one of 10 Power 5 conference schools to yield more than five yards per tote.

• In three seasons as an FBS school, Massachusetts is 0-9 versus Power 5 conference schools with an average margin of defeat of 28.0. The Minutemen did, however, lose at home to Colorado by three and at Vanderbilt by three in 2014.

• The last time Notre Dame and Clemson squared off on the football field was 36 years ago – 1979 – in Notre Dame Stadium. Danny Ford’s squad, which finished 8-4, defeated Dan Devine’s Irish team, 16-10. The only other meeting came two years earlier when Devine’s Irish squeaked out a 21-17 victory over Charley Pell’s Tigers in Clemson Memorial Stadium, where they’ll square off again this year.

Over the last four seasons, Clemson is 26-2 at home. Clemson has played seven home games every year since 2006. With six home games this year, Notre Dame will have played seven home games just once in the last five seasons. Brian Kelly’s record at Notre Dame Stadium is 23-8.

• Since 2003 – Paul Johnson’s second season at Navy – the Midshipmen have 16 victories over Power 5 conference teams, including wins over Notre Dame in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Of the 22 losses to Power 5 teams since 2003, nine have been by less than a touchdown, three of which have come against Notre Dame.

• Under head coach Brian Kelly, Notre Dame has won three of five games against USC. That followed an eight-game losing streak to the Trojans. The Irish have lost five of the last six games against USC in Notre Dame Stadium.

• Notre Dame’s lone bye week in 2015 comes on Oct. 24 – after the home game against USC and before the trip to Philadelphia to take on Temple. In seven previous games prior to a bye, Brian Kelly is 4-3 with wins over Air Force (2011), Michigan (2012), Arizona State (2013) and Purdue (2014). The losses were against Tulsa in 2010, Pittsburgh in 2013 and Florida State last year.

In games the week after a bye, Kelly is 6-1 with the lone loss against USC in 2011. The victories came against Utah (2010), Miami (2012), BYU (2013), USC (2013), Navy (2014) and Syracuse (2014).

• Notre Dame and Pittsburgh have split the eight games played since 2008 with the Irish winning in 2005 and 2010-12. The Panthers claimed victories in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2013.

When the Irish have defeated the Panthers in those seasons, their overall record is 37-14. When they’ve lost, it’s 28-22. Similarly, when Pittsburgh has defeated Notre Dame, its record was 34-16, and when the Panthers have lost, it was 25-25. The outlier was the 2013 game when 9-4 Notre Dame lost at 7-6 Pittsburgh.

• Wake Forest has posted six losing seasons in a row with a combined 26-47 record. With predictions of a sixth- or seventh-place finish in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, the Demon Deacons are expected to suffer another sub.-500 campaign.

In five seasons at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly’s record versus teams that finished with losing records is 18-2. The losses came against 5-7 Northwestern last year and 5-7 South Florida to open the 2011 season. Six of the 18 victories against teams that finished with a losing record have been by seven points or less.

• Since Notre Dame’s 54-7 beat-down of Boston College in 1992, the two teams have split the last 18 meetings, including six wins in a row by the Eagles from 2001-08. Notre Dame has won the last four from 2009-12, but struggled to defeat a 4-8 Boston College team by just two in 2011 and by a 21-6 score in 2012 when the Irish were marching to the national title game and the Eagles’ were finishing 2-10.

• Notre Dame has lost four of its last six to Stanford. The only two victories by the Irish came on a goal-line stand in overtime for a 20-13 victory in Notre Dame Stadium in 2012 and last year when Everett Golson found Ben Koyack on 4th-and-11 for a touchdown with 1:01 remaining in a 17-14 victory.

The Irish have lost their last three games at Stanford. Notre Dame is 11-3 against the Cardinal all-time at home, but just 6-7 in Stanford Stadium.

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