Just the Facts

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

Streaks and hard-to-believe statistics highlight the storied past and recent history of the ND/USC rivalry.

1 – National rank of Notre Dame 5th-Year SS Kyle McCarthy among the nation's defensive backs in tackles-per-game. McCarthy has averaged 9.8 total tackles per contest for the 4-1 Irish.

2 – Out-of-conference losses suffered by the Trojans since the beginning of the 2002 season. Pete Carroll is 32-2 in that span vs. opponents outside the Pac-10, losing in September of '02 at Kansas State, 27-20, and to Texas in the BCS Title game following the 2005 season, 41-39.

3 – Touchdowns allowed by the Trojans in 2009. USC has not allowed a passing touchdown through five games and no opponent has hit pay dirt more than once against the Men of Troy.

4 – National ranking of the Notre Dame defense in red zone efficiency. The Irish have allowed just 11 touchdowns and 2 field goals to opponents after 17 trips inside their 20-yard line through five games.

5 – Total points allowed by the Trojans in the 3rd Quarter this season.

6 – Total points allowed by the Trojans in the 2nd Quarter this season.

7 – Current winning streak by the Trojans over the Irish. Notre Dame's last victory in the series occurred in 2001 when Bob Davie defeated first-year head coach Pete Carroll, 27-16 in South Bend.

8 – Offensive touchdowns scored by the Irish against the USC defense during the team's seven-game losing skid. Julius Jones (2003); Billy Palmer (2004); Travis Thomas, Jeff Samardzija, and Brady Quinn (2005); and Marcus Freeman, Rhema McKnight, Samardzija again (2006) are the only Irish offensive players to hit pay dirt vs. USC since and including the 2002 contest.

Both Carlos Pierre-Antoine (2002) and Tom Zbikowski (2005) registered special teams scores for ND over that same span. With the exception of the touchdowns scored by the 2006 trio, each of Notre Dame's touchdowns vs. USC during this seven-game span either tied the score or gave the Irish a lead.

9 – Consecutive wins by the Trojans over top 25 teams. Head coach Pete Carroll has beaten 34 teams ranked among the A.P. top 25 in his 8-plus seasons at the helm.

10 – Games played between USC and Notre Dame over the last 30 seasons in which both teams were nationally ranked (1980, ‘88, '89, '90, '92, '95, '02, '05, '06, and '09). The Irish hold a 5-4 advantage in those contests with wins in the '88, '89, '90, '92, and '95 matchups.

11 – Consecutive games won by the Irish vs. the Trojans from 1983 through 1993. After the teams tied (17-17) in the Coliseum in 1994, Notre Dame upset #5 USC 38-10 in South Bend in '95 before finally losing to their rival in overtime, 27-20, in the 1996 season-finale in Los Angeles…Lou Holtz's final game as the Notre Dame head coach. The series has also been marked by 11 separate winning streaks of at least three games: 6 for the Trojans (1931-33; 1970-72; 1974-76; 1978-82; 1996-98; and 2002-present) and 5 for the Irish (1940-47; 1951-54; 1957-1961; 1983-1993; and 1999-2001). This month's issue of Irish Eyes Magazine details the continual streaky nature of the ND/SC series.

12 – Passes defended by the Irish defense this season (SS Kyle McCarthy has 6). Notre Dame was credited with 67 passes defended last season. USC has knocked down 21 opposing passes through five games this year, led by MLB Chris Gallippo with 5. (The Trojans were credited with 60 passes defended in 2008).


1 – The Associated Press national ranking of either Notre Dame (7) or USC (5) in 12 of the series' 81 contests (including Saturday's tilt).

Bonus Stat: 284 – Points scored by the Trojans vs. the Irish during USC's current 7-game series winning streak. USC scored 44, 45, 41, 34, 44, 38, and 38 points from 2002-2008 respectively). Notre Dame has managed just 95 aggregate points in those contests.

On the Horizon

Irish players that could reasonably accomplish statistical milestones Saturday vs. the Trojans:

Golden Tate: Needs 100 yards receiving to break a tie with Derrick Mayes (1992-95) and Jeff Samardzija (2003-06) for second place on the school's list of individual 100-yard receiving efforts. Tate and the duo are deadlocked with 9 separate 100-plus yard receiving games while Tom Gatewood (1969-71) holds the school's record with 13 outings in excess of 100 yards.

With 15 career receiving touchdowns, Tate is approaching Jim Seymour (16 aerial scores from 1966-68) for sixth on the team's all-time touchdown receptions list.

Raeshon McNeil: Needs one pass break-up to 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). McNeil has yet to record a pass break-up in five contests this season.

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