Matt Cashore /

Beyond the Numbers

Our weekly examination of Notre Dame’s telling plays and the players that made them

Not all tackles are created equally, and as such, Irish Illustrated has tracked its self-appointed “Stuff” statistic since the beginning of the 2014 season. All tackles for loss or gains of 0, 1, and 2 yards that don’t result in a first down qualify.

Notre Dame’s defense produced 15 such stops against the Longhorns – not an impressive total considering Texas’s offense managed 86 snaps. (Last year’s best effort occurred against Georgia Tech when the defense registered 20.5 Stuffs on 71 snaps.)

-- Nyles Morgan: One solo plus a hand in five other stuffs among Notre Dame’s 15 on the evening.
-- Isaac Rochell: One solo plus a role in three others
-- James Onwualu: One solo, plus a share in three others
-- Daniel Cage: One solo, one assisted
-- Avery Sebastian: One solo
-- Drue Tranquill: One solo
-- Julian Love: One solo
-- Cole Luke: One solo, and against the pass, to boot
-- Shaun Crawford, Te’von Coney, Greer Martini, Jerry Tillery, and Devin Studstill: Each contributed to a teammate’s “Stuff” with Coney’s occurring at the goal line, aiding Nyles Morgan. 
-- Texas’ two poor snaps for lost yardage are not included.

Of note: The most Stuffs recorded in a game last season was 5.5 by Jaylon Smith at Stanford.

Conversely, Notre Dame’s offense executed 76 snaps on the evening and was the victim of 20 Stuffs by Texas defenders. The Longhorns 20 Stuffs surpasses last year’s season-high total of 17 by Clemson on 71 snaps.

-- Taren Folston (11)
-- DeShone Kizer (6, including two sacks)
-- Josh Adams (2)
-- Malik Zaire (1, a sack)

It’s simple: to have a quality defense, be it in college or the NFL, the unit must able to get off the field on the sport’s money down.
These Irish defenders made a play that forced a punt, be it a QB pressure, pass defended, tackle prior to the sticks, or merely a coverage win against a pass targeting said defender.

  • Rochell 3.5
  • Nyles Morgan and Devin Studstill 1 apiece
  • Jerry Tillery, James Onwualu and Daniel Cage each produced 0.5, aiding a teammate (in this case, Tillery and Onwualu together and Cage with Rochell)

For the sake of reference, Jaylon Smith owned this category with 20.5 last fall. Sheldon Day finished a distant second with 14.

On the flip side, these Irish playmakers moved the chains offensively.

-- Josh Adams 6, including three receptions, one for a touchdown
-- DeShone Kizer 4 (rushing) plus 10 in this category courtesy his right arm
-- Tarean Folston 4 (one receiving)
-- Equanimeous St. Brown 4 (includes two touchdowns)
-- C.J Sanders and Torii Hunter Jr. both with 2, both included a score.
-- Malik Zaire 0, but one of Adams came courtesy a Zaire shuffle pass.

For the same of reference, C.J. Prosise produced a team-wide season-high of 11 last season. Adams finished second in that regard with 10 at Stanford.

Some programs track “Chunk Yardage” as 20-plus yards gained through the air or 15 via the rush. We break it down as such:

Gains of 10-19 Yards (must result in first downs)
-- Adams 4
-- St. Brown 3
-- Kizer 3 (plus 7 passes)
-- Folston and Hunter 1 apiece

Gains of 20-29 yards
-- Sanders 2 (including his TD. Both passes from Kizer)
-- Kizer 1 (TD)

Gains of 30 yards or more
-- Folston (54-yard rush)
-- St. Brown (30-yard TD from Kizer)

Of note, Will Fuller led the Irish in this category last season with a remarkable 15 on the season.

Admittedly more subjective than the rest of the column, but the notes below indicate coverage wins and losses in impact situations. 


  • Nick Coleman 3. A 72-yard touchdown, a certain dropped touchdown deep, a pass interference against
  • Drue Tranquill 2. A 68-yard catch-and-run plus a 10-yard reception on 3rd-and-8 that moved the chains in the red zone.
  • Cole Luke 2. One touchdown allowed (on a beautiful throw) and one in which he was beaten deep but the pass was badly overthrown
  • Shaun Crawford 1. Beaten deep down the seam, overthrown in the end zone.


  • Cole Luke 2 passes defended, one deep, one on a slant in the fourth quarter.
  • Devin Studstill 1. Quality end zone coverage on third down.

Who did Notre Dame quarterbacks seek (and find) the most in the passing game?

-- St. Brown: 9 (5 receptions, 1 pass interference drawn, one relative drop)
-- Torii Hunter, Jr. 6 (4 receptions)
-- Sanders 4 (3 rec.)
-- Adams 3 (3 rec.)
-- Durham Smythe 2 (1 rec.)
-- Kevin Stepherson 2 (0 rec.)
-- Tarean Folston 1 (1 rec.)
-- DeShone Kizer, Corey Holmes, Miles Boykin 1 target apiece, no receptions. Top Stories