Stats and Stuff

*In three of four games this season, Notre Dame has fallen behind early. In these three games, the Irish have come back to win the contest and it's a major reason why they sit at 3-1 with a No. 12 ranking.

But the first quarter numbers don't look good: Notre Dame has been outscored 44-10. Last season, the Irish held a 87-75 advantage in the first 15 minutes of the contest. The decisive margin in 2005 was the 145-47 mark that Notre Dame whipped the competition by in the second quarter. This year, it's 45-31 Irish. Weis addressed the lack of production in the first quarter on Sunday.

"We've been outscored in the first quarter 44-10," Weis said. "Now, we've won the second quarter, we've won the third quarter, we've won the fourth quarter. The fact we've been outscored 44-10 is a team negative vein which will help me get their attention saying, ‘Purdue, they're sitting here at 4-0, we got off to another slow start, they might walk out of here 5-0.' I think that's exactly the point that I'm going to be making them when I get them in here today."

*The comeback mode has hurt the running game as well. Darius Walker has 227 rushing yards on 63 carries. As a team, Notre Dame averages just 74 yards per game on the ground, which is 108th out of 119 teams in Division 1A. Through four games, the Irish have 110 rushing attempts. Last season, the number was 179. But it's pretty hard to run the football when you're down 17-0 after the first quarter, 31-14 at halftime and 37-21 going into the fourth like Notre Dame was at Michigan State.

"I'd like to run the ball 40 times every game," Weis said. "If I had my druthers, I'd like to run it 40 times. It just doesn't play out like that."

*Tight end John Carlson continues to be a big part of the offense. The senior's four catches for 121 yards was the most yards by a Notre Dame tight end since 2004. The loss of Anthony Fasano to the pros was big for the Irish. But Carlson has been doing his part in the receiving game. Through four games, he's second on the team in yards with 297, sitting behind only Rhema McKnight's 313. Also, Carlson has more yards at this point of the season than Fasano did in 2005 (297 to 219).

*The Irish were not good once again on third down. Long distances created more problems for Notre Dame, who went 1-for-11 on the money down. In Division 1A, only Western Michigan, Virginia, Florida Atlantic, Rice, Temple and Utah State are worse on third down than the Irish's 27 percent conversion rate.

*The two defenses that have given fits to the Notre Dame offense for the entire contest are Georgia Tech and Michigan. The Yellow Jackets are 18th nationally in total defense while the Wolverines are even better at 5th overall. Even with the Irish attack sometimes sputtering, it'll take a quality defense to stop it from scoring points, especially with five of the next seven being at home. Here's where the defenses rank in total yardage in Division 1A for the next seven contests before the trip out to USC on Thanksgiving Day weekend: Purdue at 105th, Stanford dead last at 119th, UCLA the best at 16th, Navy at 89th, North Carolina at 102nd, Air Force at 68th and Army at 57th. The offense should be able to find their rhythm and consistency before the huge game at the end of the year in Los Angeles.


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