Just the Facts

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

The Irish and Cougars have met just once on the gridiron: the 2003 season-opener, a game in which the Irish rallied from a 19-0 deficit to win 29-26 in overtime.

Heroes that steamy September afternoon included Cougars LB Will Derting (12 tackles and 3 sacks); Notre Dame's tailback tandem of Ryan Grant and Julius Jones, who combined for 170 yards and a touchdown on 28 rushing attempts; and Irish senior kicker Nick Setta, who booted five field goals including the game-winning 40-yard strike in overtime.

Included below are a few relevant facts regarding the '09 squads and one that helped to decide the '03 tussle in South Bend.

1 – Game the Cougars have played in Pullman since September 19. Washington State traveled to USC and Oregon before returning home to entertain Arizona State on October 10. The Cougars followed a 27-14 loss to the Sun Devils with a Bye week on October 17, and another road trip with a matchup at Cal on the 24th followed by this week's neutral site contest with the Irish. WSU will then travel to Tucson to take on Arizona on November 7 before returning home to face UCLA on November 14.

2 – Wins by the Washington State program over FBS (formerly Division 1A) opponents in their last 19 contests dating back to the beginning of the 2008 season. The Cougars defeated rival Washington in last November's annual Apple Cup battle, 16-13, and upended SMU on September 19 this season, 30-27 in overtime. WSU also defeated FCS opponent Portland State last September.

3 – Total points scored by the Cougars in the 1st Quarter through seven games this season. WSU played six games without registering a 1st Quarter point prior to its October 24 field goal at California with 2:20 remaining in the opening period.

4 – Golden Tate's ranking among FBS players in receiving yards per contest. Tate has averaged 121 receiving yards through six cgames this season, including three straight in excess of 100.

5 – Fumbles suffered by the Irish in the last meeting between the teams, the season-opener of 2003. The Irish lost three of the five fumbles (QB Carlyle Holiday 2 and RB Julius Jones 1) but the Cougars managed just 13 points on four miscues (including an interception). The Irish have lost just two fumbles this season and have committed five total turnovers...tied for the 2nd lowest total in the nation with Air Force and just behind Cincinnati (4).

6 – Tackles needed by Kyle McCarthy to move past Deke Cooper (1997-99) and into sixth place on the program's all-time list for tackles by a defensive back. McCarthy has 198 total tackles, 169 of which have been recorded over his last 19 contests dating back to the season-opener last year.

7 – Receptions by Duval Kamara in last week's win over Boston College. The total marked a career-best for the junior wide receiver who had nine receptions for 71 yards entering last week's contest. Kamara hadn't totaled more than three receptions in a contest since a Week Six matchup last season vs. North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

8 – Rushing yards gained last week by BC in the first half vs. the Irish. The Eagles ran for 293 yards one week prior in a 52-20 win over North Carolina State.

9 – Freshmen that have seen action this fall from Notre Dame's 18-man class. With two receptions Saturday, wide receiver Roby Toma joined Jordan Cowart (LS), Tyler Eifert (TE), Shaquelle Evans (WR), Zeke Motta (Special Teams/S), Theo Riddick (KR/RB), Nick Tausch (K), Manti Te'o (LB), and Ben Turk (P) as freshman contributors in 2009.

10 – Games in which the Cougars have yielded at least 39 points to its opponent in their last 20 outings. Additionally, WSU has surrendered 27 or more points in 17 games over that span.

11 – Receptions by Golden Tate last week vs. Boston College, the fifth highest single game total in program history. Only Maurice Stovall (14 vs. BYU 2005); Jim Seymour (13 vs. Purdue in 1966); Tom Gatewood (12 vs. Purdue in 1970); and Bobby Brown (12 vs. Pittsburgh in 1999) tallied more than Tate on an Irish football Saturday. Brown played on the only Irish team to suffer a loss among those listed above; a 37-27 defeat in the final game played in Pitt Stadium.

And

2 – Total interceptions thrown this season by Irish QB Jimmy Clausen. Clausen, ranks No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency behind Boise State's Kellen Moore. The number also coincidentally represents the total recorded by the Washington State defense through seven games this season.

Bonus Stat: 49 – Days since the Irish will have played a football game outside of Indiana when Saturday's game kicks off in San Antonio.

The Irish took a bus trip approximately 177 miles northeast to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the September 12 matchup with the Wolverines and have since played home dates with Michigan State, Washington, USC, and Boston College as well as a road game in West Lafayette, Indiana vs. Purdue. Add a Bye weekend to the mix (in which the players had four days off to potentially travel) and a portion of the Irish football team hasn't left Indiana or Michigan since the first week of August.

On the Horizon

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

Golden Tate: Needs 100 yards to tie Maurice Stovall (2005) for second place (six separate games) on the program's list of most 100-yard receiving efforts in a single season. Tate has topped the 100-yard mark vs. Michigan, Michigan State, Washington, USC, and BC already this season.

Likewise, Tate needs three touchdown receptions to move into a tie with both Derrick Mayes (1992-95) and Rhema McKnight (2002-06) for second place on the school's career touchdown list.

As well, Tate is 56 yards shy of passing Jim Seymour (1966-68) and 138 yards behind Stovall (2002-05) for sixth place on the school's career receiving yardage list.

With 1,072 combined return yards, Tate needs 12 (likely) punt return yards to move past Jim Stone (1977-80) and Tony Driver (1997-2000) into seventh place on the Irish Kick and Punt Return Yardage list. (Teammate Armando Allen currently ranks sixth with 1,313 combined kick and punt return yards though Allen is only used in spot duty as a kick returner and technically backs up Tate this season returning punts.)

Finally, Tate needs just five catches to move past tight end Tony Hunter (1979-82) for 9th place on the program's career receptions 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). The senior has yet to officially record a pass break-up this season though the ball that ricocheted of his chest and into the arms of Kyle McCarthy in the 4th Quarter last Saturday vs. Boston College should have counted as McNeil made the initial play in coverage.

Nick Tausch: If Tausch hits his next field goal, the freshman will tie former kicker Mike Johnston (1982) for the most consecutive field goals made (13) in program history.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories