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.

The Irish defense produced 15 such stops against Texas last week among the Longhorns 86 snaps (17%). Brian VanGorder’s crew posted 12 against Nevada facing 56 snaps (21.4%).

-- James Onwualu: 3, all solo, including a tackle for loss. His career-best in this category was 4.5 vs. UMass last September.  
-- Nyles Morgan: 2 solos while sharing one with Isaac Rochell
-- Isaac Rochell: 1 solo plus sharing another with Morgan
-- Daniel Cage: 1 solo, and it was a big one (fourth down in the red zone)
-- Jarron Jones: 1 solo
-- Te’von Coney: 1 solo
-- Asmar Bilal and Greer Martini; Jay Hayes and Julian Okwara: Both pairs shared a fourth quarter Stuff.

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 73 snaps and endured just 12 Stuffs (16.4%) with six occurring during garbage time. Conversely, Texas posted a two-season high 20 Stuffs vs. the Irish last Sunday.  

  • Malik Zaire (4)
  • Tarean Folston 3 (he suffered 11 last week)
  • DeShone Kizer, Josh Adams, Dexter Williams, C.J. Sanders each suffered a Stuff while another was credited to the offense as a whole.


These Irish defenders made a play that ended a Nevada drive on either 3rd- or 4th-down, either with a QB pressure, pass defended, tackle prior to the sticks, or merely a coverage win against a pass targeting said defender.

  • Daniel Cage 2
  • Cole Luke 1.5
  • Te’von Coney and Donte Vaughn 1 apiece
  • Drue Tranquill, Nyles Morgan, Isaac Rochell, Asmar Bilal and Greer Martini each produced 0.5, aiding a teammate on the play.
  • A bad pass by Nevada accounts for the ninth 3rd/4th down stop by the Irish defense.

For the sake of reference, Jaylon Smith owned this category with 20.5 last fall. Isaac Rochell posted 3.5 vs. Texas in Week 1.


Irish playmakers that moved the sticks or produced a score:

-- Josh Adams 5, giving him 11 on the season
-- KJ Stepherson 4 including a touchdown and pass interference drawn.
-- Dexter Williams 3 including a touchdown plunge
-- Tarean Folston 2 including a touchdown on an option pitch
-- Equanimeous St. Brown 2, with two more called back due to teammates’ penalties.
-- C.J Sanders 2 including a touchdown
-- Chris Finke 2 including a pass interference drawn
-- DeShone Kizer 1 (his touchdown) plus 7 via the pass
-- Corey Holmes 1
-- Zaire one rushing and four passing including a pass interference while targeting Finke

Both Adams and Sanders were responsible for a pair of 3rd- or 4th-down conversions while St. Brown, Holmes, Finke, Stepherson and Zaire also move the chains on the money down. Sanders’ pair included a 4th-down reception and 3rd-down touchdown.


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 2
-- St. Brown 1
-- Holmes 1
-- Finke 1

Gains of 20-29 yards
-- Sanders, Stepherson, and Williams with one apiece. St. Brown had two erased by teammates’ penalties.

Gains of 30 yards or more
-- St. Brown (48-yard catch and run)
-- Adams (a 43-yard jump cut journey through traffic)


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

  • Cole Luke 4 (I’ve included his interception that was overturned by a teammate’s late-hit.)
  • Shaun Crawford 1
  • Nick Coleman 1
  • Donte Vaughn 1
  • Drue Tranquill 1
  • And in a nod to his acumen against the screen game, Jarron Jones with 1 (INT)


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

-- St. Brown: 8 (all Kizer)
-- Stepherson: 6 (3 from Zaire)
-- Sanders 5 (all Kizer)
-- Finke 5 (4 from Zaire)
-- Chase Claypool 2 (both from Zaire, one dropped, the other a shovel pass)
-- Holmes 1 (Kizer)
-- Adams 1 (Kizer)
-- Javon McKinley 1 (Zaire)

To date, Irish receivers have been charged with just two drops by Irish Illustrated – St. Brown at Texas and Claypool Saturday.

Quarterbacks’ Targets to Date:

St. Brown 17
Sanders 9
Stepherson 8
Torii Hunter 6
Finke 5
Adams 4
Durham Smythe, Claypool and Holmes 2
Folston, Boykin, Kizer, McKinley with one apiece Top Stories