Just the Facts

Redshirt-freshman running back Cierre Wood kicks off our Just the Facts feature for 2010 with a surprising rushing statistic.

Just the Facts debuts one week ahead of schedule for the 2010 season, with 12 key numbers to prepare you for 12 games of Irish football heading into Bowl Season.

After about 10,000 words per week from me during the off-season, I assume you're sick of my opinion. Of course, my opinion will return to these pages later today, so enjoy your morning edition.

0 – Notre Dame running backs that have redshirted as true freshman, then proceeded to lead an Irish squad in rushing yards at any point in their collegiate careers. (Freshmen became eligible in 1972).

1 – Opening game loss by a new Notre Dame head coach since World War II. (Lou Holtz lost his first game as Irish boss in 1986, 24-23 to #3 Michigan.) Since 1941, Frank Leahy, Ed McKeever, Hugh Devore, Terry Brennan, Joe Kuharich, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis each won his debut contest while Elmer Layden lost his first game as Irish coach, 7-6 to Texas, in 1934.

Layden and Holtz are the only Notre Dame head coaches on record to lose their initial contests with the Irish. (Layden and Holtz combined for an 18-season record of 147-43-5.)

2 – Irish players to record sacks in consecutive games last season. Both Ethan Johnson and Kapron Lewis-Moore turned the trick vs. Washington and USC in Games 5 and 6.

3 – Returning Irish players that recorded at least 10 total tackles in a contest last fall: Manti Te'o (Washington and Stanford), Harrison Smith (Michigan), and Brian Smith (Navy). The only other Irish player with a 10-tackle contest to his credit is Ian Williams, who posted 11 tackles vs. Navy as a true freshman nose guard in 2007. Brian Smith also posted a 10-tackle effort vs. Michigan State in 2008. Notre Dame has lost five of six contests when a current Irish player accrues at least 10 tackles.

4 – Consecutive losses by the Irish when wide receiver Michael Floyd posts a 100-plus yard receiving effort. Notre Dame is

5 – Career touchdowns scored as well as separate games in which tight end Kyle Rudolph has scored a touchdown. Notre Dame is 5-0 in those contests.

6 – Consecutive games in which Kapron Lewis Moore recorded a tackle-for-loss last fall (Purdue, Washington, USC, BC, Washington State and Navy). KLM failed to record a stop behind the line prior to after that six-game run. Junior Darius Fleming also recorded a tackle-for-loss during a six-game span in which he played (Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, USC, BC and Washington State); but Fleming sat out the Washington contest sandwiched between Purdue and USC.

7 – Consecutive losses by the Irish when listed as underdogs heading into the contest. Notre Dame's last technical "upset" victory occurred over Michigan – as 1-point dogs – Week Two of 2008 in South Bend. Notre Dame has lost 19 of its 22 games as an underdog after earning three upset victories in the first five games of Charlie Weis' initial season of 2005. (Weis' '05 group scored upset wins at Pittsburgh, Michigan and Purdue before the current malaise began with the infamous Bush Push loss to USC.)

8 – Players on the 2010 Irish roster that have scored a collegiate touchdown (Floyd, Rudolph, Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, John Goodman, Duval Kamara, Brian Smith and Robert Blanton). Floyd and Hughes have combined for 29 scores over the last three seasons while the remainder of the group has totaled 25 in that same span.

9 – Consecutive road games won by Kelly since a late-October 2008 loss when the Connecticut Huskies hammered Kelly's Cincinnati Bearcats, 40-16 in Storrs.

10 – Career pass completions by junior quarterback Dayne Crist – the lowest total by a non-redshirt freshman, Game One starter since Arnaz Battle made his first start in the season opener vs. Texas A&M in 2000. Battle had completed 14 of 24 passes with three interceptions in his career entering the 2000 season, a year in which the Irish qualified for a BCS bowl, despite losing Battle to injury after Game Two.

For those scoring at home, Crist's 20 career pass attempts is the lowest total by a veteran Game One starter since Kevin McDougal entered the 1993 campaign with just 21 pass attempts to his credit (14-21, 3 TD, 1 INT entering the '93 opener). The '93 Irish finished 11-1 and ranked No. 2 in the final polls. Ron Powlus (1994) and Demetrius Jones (2007) both started a season opener for the Irish as redshirt-freshmen. Notre Dame's combined record in those two seasons was 9-14-1.

11 – Games last season in which an Irish player posted either a 100-yard receiving or rushing effort. Only Purdue held both player position units in check; still suffering a 24-21 September loss to Notre Dame in West Lafayette.

12 – Notre Dame players that have started at least 15 games over the last three seasons: Armando Allen, Michael Floyd, Ethan Johnson Duval Kamara, Kerry Neal, Kyle Rudolph, Brian Smith, Harrison Smith, Chris Stewart, Darrin Walls, Dan Wenger, and Ian Williams.

Team Bonus Stat: 17 Consecutive games lost by Notre Dame in which the Irish failed to score a rushing touchdown. The program's last win without the benefit of a rushing score was a last minute, 20-17 comeback win over UCLA in mid-October 2006 in South Bend.

Player Bonus Stats: 5 – Different forms of touchdowns Armando Allen will accrue over his collegiate career – if he scores on a punt return this fall. Allen has a touchdown run, catch, pass and kick return for a score over the last three seasons. With a punt return touchdown over the next 13 games, Allen would become the first player in modern program history (since 1919) to post one score in each category.

Former Irish quarterback Frank Carideo also found five ways to score for the Irish, notching a touchdown pass, catch, run, punt return and interception return for Knute Rockne's squad (1928-1930).

Website Bonus Stat: 12 days until the 2010 season kicks off.

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