Fighting Irish Facts (Part VIII)

Brian Kelly will try to become the sixth coach at ND with a plus-.500 record against top 25 teams, joining Lou Holtz, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Ed McKeever.

• During the Lou Holtz era at Notre Dame from 1986-96, there were 67 occasions when a player rushed for at least 100 yards in a game, including nine times each in ’93 and ’95, and eight times each in ’91, ’92, ’94 and ’96.

In the last 11 seasons, a Notre Dame player has cracked the 100-yard mark 44 times, including seven times in ’05 and eight times in ’12.

The last time Notre Dame did not have a player rush for 100 yards in a game for an entire season was in 2010. The time before that was 1971.

• From 1958 through 2002 – 45 seasons – Notre Dame had quarterbacks throw for at least 300 yards 11 times. In the last 12 seasons (2003-14), there have been 36 occasions when a quarterback passed for more than 300 yards, including 11 by Brady Quinn and 10 by Jimmy Clausen.

Everett Golson passed for more than 300 yards five times last season, including a career-high 446 yards against Arizona State. Quinn threw for more than 400 yards five times during the 2005-06 seasons. Clausen eclipsed 400 yards three times. Joe Theismann, who threw for 526 yards in a losing effort against USC in 1970, holds the Notre Dame record for yards passing in a game.

• There have been 11 documented instances in which two Notre Dame players have surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark in a game. The first was in 1968 against Michigan State when Jim Seymour caught 10 passes for 141 yards and Bob Gladieux – a running back – caught eight passes for 102 yards. The feat was not duplicated until 2004 – 36 years later – when tight end Anthony Fasano and wideout Rhema McKnight did it against Purdue.

Jeff Samardzija was involved in four such pairings, three with Maurice Stovall in 2005. On five occasions in 2008-09, Golden Tate and Michael Floyd did it.

• Michael Floyd holds the Notre Dame record for 100-yard receiving games with 17. He’s followed by Golden Tate with 15. The only other Irish player to reach double figures in 100-yard games was Tom (now spelled Thom) Gatewood, who did it 13 times in 1969-70. Derrick Mayes had nine and Maurice Stovall seven.

• Tony Smith had more 100-yard receiving games (4) in 1991 and Michael Miller had as many 100-yard receiving games (3) from 1992-94 as Raghib Ismail did at Notre Dame.

• Seven players in the history of Notre Dame football had two kick returns for touchdowns in a season, the most recent of which was George Atkinson III in 2011. But only one player had two kick returns for scores in two seasons, and that was Raghib Ismail, who did it in 1988-89.

• A Notre Dame running back has cracked the 200-yard mark in a game 12 times. Julius Jones – who owns the school’s single-game mark with 262 yards against Pittsburgh in 2003 – did it three times. Vagas Ferguson, Jim Stone and Reggie Brooks each did it twice. Jones is the last player to do it with 218 yards versus Stanford in 2003.

• Notre Dame has played the No. 1-ranked team in the country 25 times, winning eight, losing 16 and tying one. The last time the Irish squared off against the No. 1 team in the country was the 34-31 loss to USC in Notre Dame Stadium in 2005. The Irish have dropped their last three games against No. 1 teams, including USC in 2004 and Nebraska in 2000.

Notre Dame’s last victory over the No. 1 team in the country came against Florida State at home in the 31-24 victory in 1993.

• From the Jan. 1, 1970 Cotton Bowl victory over Texas through the 1993 defeat of Florida State, Notre Dame was 7-4 against No. 1-ranked teams. Two of those wins – the Dec. 31, 1973 victory over Alabama (24-23) in the Sugar Bowl and the 38-10 conquest of Texas in the Jan. 2, 1978 Cotton Bowl – earned the Irish the national title.

• Among Notre Dame coaches, Lou Holtz has the most victories versus top 25 teams since the Associated Press poll began in 1936 with 33 (to go along with 20 losses and two ties). Frank Leahy is second with 29 (plus just four losses and four ties).

Brian Kelly is 9-9 against top 25s while coaching the Irish. The only Notre Dame coaches with a winning mark versus top 25s are Holtz, Leahy, Dan Devine (17-10-0), Ara Parseghian (14-11-3) and Ed McKeever (3-2 in 1944).


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