Just the Facts

IrishEyes' weekly look at Saturday's opponent...by the numbers.

The second of our 13 weekly Just the Facts features offers 13 numbers to prepare Irish fans for Week Two and the season's road opener in The Big House.

1 – Offensive touchdown scored by Notre Dame in the two late-80s victories over the Wolverines. The Irish rode a punt return touchdown by sophomore Ricky Watters and four Reggie Ho field goals to a 19-17 victory over Michigan in 1988. ND followed with two kick return touchdowns by sophomore Rocket Ismail; a field goal by freshman Craig Hentrich, and a touchdown reception by senior fullback Anthony Johnson as the No. 1-ranked Irish defeated the No.2-ranked Wolverines, 24-19 in 1989.

2 – Total combined touchdowns scored by the Irish in their last two trips to Ann Arbor.

3 – Career three-sack games by Wolverines DE Brandon Graham, including a 3.5-sack performance vs. the Irish in 2007.

4 – Consecutive victories by the Irish over the Wolverines from 1987 through 1990 – the longest series winning streak since 1908.

(Michigan won the first eight contests between the teams from 1887-1908 - due largely, it is believed, to the extra practice sessions afforded to Michigan student-athletes in the off-season).

5 – UM/ND matchups decided by a score in the contest's final two minutes from 1980 through 1999. A sixth game ended with a missed field goal at the final gun (1986 in a 24-23 Michigan victory in South Bend).

6 – Turnovers committed by the Wolverines in last year's 35-17 loss in South Bend. The Irish scored 21 points off those six turnovers while the Wolverines were able to manage just a field goal following two Jimmy Clausen interceptions.

7 – ND/UM contests decided by two or fewer points since the series resumed in 1978. Seven other contests have been decided by a margin of four to seven points.

8 – Total touchdowns scored in the series by Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Brown; Heisman runner-up Rocket Ismail; and Heisman Trophy Winner Desmond Howard...three all-purpose threats that defined college football in the late 80s and early 90s.

9 – Road openers won by Lou Holtz's Irish in a 10-year span. It's also the same number of road opening defeats the Irish have suffered in the 12 season's since Holtz's resignation from the program.

10 – Wins by Notre Dame's last four coaching staffs vs. Michigan's last four coachng staffs. Lou Holtz was 5-3-1 vs. the late Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller; Bob Davie finished 1-2 vs. Lloyd Carr; Tyrone Willingham 2-1 vs. Carr; Charlie Weis is 2-2 vs. Carr and current Wolverine's head man Rich Rodriguez.

11 – Combined touchdowns scored by the Wolverines in their last two victories over the Irish in 2006 and 2007.

12 – Career wins by Rich Rodriguez in 27 contests vs. Top 25 opponents.

13 – Wins by the Irish over the Wolverines since the series resumed in 1978. The Irish hold a 13-11-1 advantage in that span (the programs did not face each other in 1983-84; 1995-96; or 2000-01). It also represents the number of contests won by the lower ranked (or unranked) team entering the contest since 1978.

And

0 – Games this decade decided by the team that scored last in the contest. The average margin of victory in seven games from 2002-present is 19.5 points with the Wolverines three victories provided by margins of 38, 26, and 38 points respectively. (Notre Dame has defeated Michigan by 2, 8, 7, and 18 points to hold a 4-3 series edge in the 2000s).

On the Horizon

Irish players that could reasonably accomplish statistical milestones in Ann Arbor this Saturday:

Golden Tate: Needs 100 receiving yards to pass Tim Brown and Jim Seymour and tie Maurice Stovall's career total (Stovall accumulated seven 100+ yard receiving games) for fourth on Notre Dame's all-time list. Likewise, a 100+ yard receiving effort by Michael Floyd would break the tie the sophomore forged with Rhema McKnight (six such efforts from 2003-2006) for seventh on the same list and a potential tie with Tate, Seymour, and Brown.

Tate (two touchdown receptions) and Floyd (three) could move into seventh place on the program's career touchdown receptions list. Tate currently stands at No. 10 on the list with 11 career touchdown receptions, one spot behind Tim Brown (1984-87) and Bobby Brown (1996-99) while Floyd ranks at No. 11 with 10 touchdown receptions following his three-score effort in last week's opening win over Nevada.

Jimmy Clausen: Needs five touchdown passes to tie Rick Mirer for third-place on Notre Dame's all-time passing touchdowns list with 41.

As well, Clausen needs 60 passing yards to pass Jarious Jackson (1996-1999) for fifth-place on the program's all-time list.

Raeshon McNeil: Needs one pass break-up to tie Mike Richardson (2002-2006) for 10th on the all-time list, or two break-ups to tie Dave Duerson (1979-1982) for ninth place. (McNeil has been credited with 14 break-ups in his Irish career).

Armando Allen: Needs two touchdowns to reach double digits in his career. Allen has amassed four rushing, three receiving, and one kick return score.


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