A Glance At ND's Opponents

Here is a rundown of how Notre Dame's opponents played last week.

Upcoming Opponents

***USC (5-1, 3-1 Pac 10): For the second week in a row, the 10th-ranked Trojans were less than impressive at home, but this time they escaped with a win. Sparked by a big punt return by freshman Joe McKnight, USC came back to beat Arizona, 20-13.

Trailing 13-10, McKnight got loose on a 45-yard punt return. The following play, sophomore Mark Sanchez, making his first-career start in place of the injured John David Booty, threw the first touchdown of his career, a 25-yard pass to tight end Fred Davis to give the Trojans the lead.

USC won despite being held to 12 yards of offense in the second quarter, and 50 yards in the third quarter. On the other hand, Arizona only had 22 yards rushing, as the Trojans bounced back from a devastating 24-23 home loss to Stanford, that snapped a streak of 35-straight wins at the Coliseum.

McKnight ran for a career high 75 yards on 13 carries, and Sanchez was 19-of-31 passing for 130 yards and two interceptions. Dropping again in the poll to No. 13, USC plays at Notre Dame on Saturday.

Interesting Stats: The Trojans are only allowing 66.8 yards rushing per game, good for fifth in the nation. The defense as a whole is ranked eighth nationally, as opponents are gaining just 266.7 yards per game. Though the offense isn't what it has been, they're still scoring 34 points per game, ranking 32nd nationally.

***Navy (4-2): In the second overtime, the Midshipmen stopped Pittsburgh on 4th-and-goal from the Navy 2, and defeated the host Panthers, 48-45 last Thursday. Joey Bullen's 29-yard field goal was the game winner, sending Pittsburgh to its fourth-straight loss.

Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheuku-Enhada ran for 122 yards and a touchdown, and threw for another two scores in directing the win. Reggie Campbell had two touchdown receptions and a 4-yard scoring run.

The Middies could not stop freshman running back LeSean McCoy, who ran for 165 yards and three touchdowns. Navy plays host to Wake Forest on Saturday.

Interesting Stats: In all six of Navy's games this season, 30 or more points has been needed to win. After the win over the Panthers, the Midshipmen regained the top-spot nationally in yards rushing, gaining 345.5 yards per game. Navy has the worst pass offense in the country, and the nation's worst pass efficiency defense. They are also last in sacks.

***Air Force (5-2, 4-1 Mountain West): The game was delayed 45 minutes because of lightning, and was played through rain and strong wind. None of that could slow the Falcons down, as they blew out winless host Colorado State, 45-21.

Receiver Chad Hall ran for a school-record 256 yards and four touchdowns, his third 100-yard rushing performance against the Rams in his career. Quarterback Shaun Carney only completed one pass in the first half, but his 12-yard completion set the program record for yards passing in a career. Carney's 52 yards passing, pushed him past Dave Ziebart, who threw for 4,789 yards from 1976-1979.

Drew Fowler returned an interception for a touchdown, one of four Air Force made against the Rams. They host Wyoming on Saturday.

Interesting Stats: Air Force's 260.43 yards rushing per game ranks them fifth in the nation. On the flip side, they're only passing the ball for 133.57 yards per game, 117th nationally.

***Duke (1-6, 0-4 ACC): The Blue Devils struggled mightily offensively, and fell to No. 12 Virginia Tech, 43-14, at home.

Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 56 seconds remaining in the first quarter, getting Duke to within 13-7, but it was never close after that.

The Hokies had 289 yards in the first half, building a 34-7 lead. Duke on the other hand had just 194 total yards for the game. The Blue Devils are off this Saturday.

Interesting Stats: Duke's rushing offense ranks 116th nationally at 66.86 yards per game, and 111th in the nation in total offense, gaining just 299.29 yards per game. They are allowing four sacks per game, which is 116th nationally, and the pass defense has been suspect, allowing 272.14 yards per game, 104th nationally.

***Stanford (2-4, 1-3 Pac 10): The Cardinal blew a couple leads, and couldn't hold on in a 38-36 home loss to TCU. This coming a week after stunning then No. 2 USC, 24-23, ending the nation's longest home winning streak.

TCU's Aaron Brown scored the game-winning touchdown with 4:13 to play. Stanford allowed 344 yards passing after playing great defense against the Trojans the week before.

Quarterback Tavita Pritchard was just 12-of-27 for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Anthony Kimble ran for 109 yards and two more scores in the loss. Stanford plays at Arizona on Saturday.

Interesting Stats: The Stanford defense has been horrible, allowing 461.5 yards per game, good for 106th nationally. They've been particularly bad against the pass, ranking 115th nationally in pass efficiency defense. Like Duke, they are also allowing four sacks per game, which is 116th nationally.

Previous Opponents

***Georgia Tech (4-3, 2-3 ACC): The Yellow Jackets became the fourth team since 1978 to beat Miami in three consecutive seasons, downing the host Hurricanes, 17-14 on Saturday. Georgia Tech joins Virginia Tech, Florida State and Notre Dame.

Tashard Choice ran for a career-high 204 yards, and quarterback Taylor Bennett had two rushing touchdowns, as the Yellow Jackets overcame a 7-0 halftime deficit.

Georgia Tech outgained Miami, 244-79, in the second half. They host Army next Saturday.

Interesting stats: The Yellow Jackets lead the nation in net punting at 40.70 yards per game. They're second in sacks allowed and tackles for loss. The scoring defense is at 13th nationally, allowing just 16.29 yards per game. The rushing offense ranks 17th nationally at 208.57 yards per game, while the rush defense ranks 11th nationally at 82.57 yards per game.

***Penn State (5-2. 2-2 Big Ten): Playing their first ranked opponent of the season, the Nittany Lions hammered No. 19 Wisconsin, 38-7, handing the Badgers their second-straight loss of the season on homecoming at Beaver Stadium.

With running back Austin Scott suspended, Rodney Kinlaw ran for 115 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Anthony Morelli threw for 216 yards and another score with zero interceptions.

Penn State rolled up 437 yards of offense, while holding Wisconsin to a season-low 87 yards rushing, 105 yards below its season average. The Nittany Lions had five sacks, two by Maurice Evans, and forced three turnovers. They play at Indiana on Saturday.

Interesting stats: Penn State is outscoring its opponents, 72-6 in the third quarter. The Nittany Lions have one of the best defenses in the country. They're only allowing 81.43 yards rushing (9th nationally), and 12.71 points per game (5th nationally). They rank fifth nationally in tackles for loss. Evans is getting two a game, ranking fifth nationally.

***Michigan (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten): Left for dead following two devastating losses to Appalachian State and Oregon to start the season, the Wolverines have reeled off five-straight wins, the latest, a 48-21 thrashing of Purdue at the Big House. The win has Michigan back in the polls, ranked No. 24 this week.

The easy win didn't come without a cost. Starting running back Michael Hart ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns, before leaving the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter. His replacement, Brandon Minor, hurt his ankle in the third quarter. Third-stringer Carlos Brown carried the ball 13 times for 66 yards and two touchdowns.

Chad Henne threw for 264 yards, and Mario Manningham had eight receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns, as Michigan built a 34-7 lead. The Boilermakers managed just 39 yards rushing, and turned the ball over three times in the first half, leading to two scores.

The Wolverines travel to Illinois on Saturday.

Interesting stats: Hart is the nation's leading rusher at 154 yards per game. His 10.29 points per game is tied for 10th nationally, and linebacker Shawn Crable's 2.57 tackles for loss is good for second nationally. The Wolverines rank ninth nationally in sacks per game at 3.43, and rank 11th in turnover margin.

***Michigan State (5-2, 1-2 Big Ten): The Spartans snapped a six-game conference losing streak and won the Old Brass Spittoon, beating rival Indiana handily, 52-27 in East Lansing.

Javon Ringer carried the ball 29 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and backfield mate Jehuu Caulcrick added three touchdowns, as Michigan led by 32 points in the third quarter.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer was 20-of-23 passing for 190 yards and a touchdown. His favorite target, Devin Thomas had 13 receptions for 148 yards and the score. Ervin Baldwin had a 12-yard fumble recovery go for a touchdown.

Michigan State plays at No. 1 Ohio State on Saturday.

Interesting Stats: Ringer ranks seventh nationally in yards rushing per game at 133.14 nationally, and the Spartans are ninth at 242.71. Michigan State is tied for second nationally in sacks, getting 4.14 per game, led by Jonal St. Dic, who is tied for fifth in the nation. Thomas's 212.43 all-purpose yards is good for second nationally. Caulcrick is averaging 11.14 points per game, fourth in the nation.

***Purdue (5-2, 1-2 Big Ten): The Boilermakers have suffered two-straight lopsided losses in consecutive weeks, first to Ohio State, and last Saturday to Michigan, falling to the Wolverines, 48-21 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Purdue's 5-0 start catapulted them to No. 23 in the poll, and now they're not receiving votes.

Purdue hasn't won at the Big House since 1966, as quarterback Curtis Painter was just 17-of-28 passing for 113 yards and two interceptions. The yardage was his lowest total since 2005. Painter's five-yard touchdown run in the first quarter tied the game at seven, before the floodgates opened.

The Boilermakers scored two touchdowns in the game's final minute, and host Iowa on Saturday.

Interesting Stats: Purdue ranks third in the nation in kickoff returns at 28.82 yards per game, led by Dorien Bryant, who is 14th nationally at 29.70 yards per game. The pass offense is 18th nationally at 295.71 yards per game.

***UCLA (4-2, 3-0 Pac 10): The Bruins were off this past Saturday following their 20-6 loss to Notre Dame a week ago. They host No. 10 California this weekend.

***Boston College (7-0, 3-0 ACC): The Eagles head into their bye week after beating the Irish, 27-14 at Notre Dame Stadium. They climbed to No. 3 in the latest poll.


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