Fighting Irish Facts (Part VI)

OT Ronnie Stanley and LB Jaylon Smith enter 2015 with the longest consecutive starts streak (26), which is the same number CB KeiVarae Russell had prior to his suspension.

• Brian Kelly has won at least eight games in each of his first five seasons as head coach at Notre Dame. In the 13 years prior to Kelly’s arrival – spanning the five-year reign of Bob Davie, the three-year stint by Tyrone Willingham, and Charlie Weis’ five-year run – the Irish won as many as eight games five times.

• Kelly’s three bowl victories equal the number of bowl wins by Notre Dame over the 18 seasons prior to his arrival.

• Kelly is 45-20 in five years as head coach at Notre Dame. His record against teams that finished the season with a winning record is 26-18. His record against teams that finished with a losing record is 18-2. His record against teams that finished .500 is 1-0.

In 2015, the Irish play two teams that won double digits (Georgia Tech and Clemson), four that finished above .500 (Navy, USC, Boston College and Stanford), five that finished below .500 (Texas, Virginia, UMass, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest), and one that finished .500 (Temple).

• Kelly has coached against teams that finished with double-digit victories 18 times. He’s won seven (Utah in ’10, Michigan State in ’11, Stanford and Oklahoma in ’12, Michigan State, Arizona State and USC in ’13) and lost 11 (Michigan State, Stanford and Tulsa in ’10, Michigan, USC and Stanford in ’11, Alabama in ’12, and Oklahoma and Stanford in ’13, Florida State and Arizona State in ‘14).

• In 2013, Notre Dame played Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State and USC in successive games from Sept. 21 through Oct. 19 (with a bye week between Arizona State and USC). Each of those four opponents won at least 10 games.

Granted, the expansion of the regular season and post-season makes it more possible to win double-digit games now than ever before. But prior to the streak of four opponents last year, Notre Dame did not play as many as three opponents in a row that finished with double-digit victories.

• Under Kelly, Notre Dame is 12-9 in games decided by four points or less. Since 2010, no team in the country has won more games by four points or less than the Irish.

• The last Notre Dame defensive lineman to garner Associated Press 1st-team All-American status was Chris Zorich in 1990. Zorich also was a 1st-team choice in ’89. (Note: Stephon Tuitt was a 2nd-team AP selection in 2012.) Senior defensive tackle Sheldon Day will be shooting to end the streak in 2015.

• Entering the 2015 season, three Irish players have 26 starting assignments in their careers, which represents the most on the team. They are offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, linebacker Jaylon Smith, and cornerback KeiVarae Russell.

Stanley and Smith have started 26 games in a row; Russell had 26 in a row prior to his suspension last pre-season. The next longest streak of consecutive starts belongs to offensive guard Steve Elmer, who has started 14 in a row.

• Prior to 2014, spanning 125 years of football, Notre Dame was 1-37 in games in which it allowed 39 points or more. The Irish were 2-3 in such games last year with wins over North Carolina (50-43) and Navy (49-39) and losses to Arizona State (55-31), Northwestern (43-40 in overtime) and USC (49-14).

• Since the start of the 2002 season, Notre Dame is 33-3 when it gains 200 or more yards rushing.

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