Saturday's first of 12 contests this season marks the 82nd meeting between the Irish and the Boilermakers.
1 – Game played since 2002 between the programs to be decided by 7 points or fewer: last year's 24-21 thriller in West Lafayette won by the visitors. On the other hand, from 1998 through 2002, five consecutive matchups between the Boilers and the Irish were decided by a touchdown or less, with Notre Dame holding a 121-114 scoring edge in that span. Both the 1998 and 2000 contests were decided by game-winning Irish field goals with less than a minute remaining; the latter as time expired.
2 – Wins by the Boilermakers over the Irish in South Bend over the last four decades. Purdue recorded an upset of the then-No. 2 Irish 31-20 in Notre Dame's '74 home opener (though it was Game Three for ND). 30 years later, Joe Tiller's No. 15-ranked Boilers routed a 3-1 Irish pretender led by – fittingly – Tyrone Willingham, 41-16.
4 – Sacks recorded by Purdue vs. Notre Dame quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Dayne Crist in last year's 24-21 loss to the Irish. The number marks the second-highest total allowed by the Irish in 2009 (USC had 5).
5 – Wins by Purdue over Notre Dame in the last 13 seasons; the program's most successful stretch vs. the program from South Bend since the early-to-mid 60s. The Boilermakers also defeated the Irish on four occasions from 1979 through 1985, but Notre Dame bookended that Boiler effort with winning streaks of four and 11 games.
6 – Brian Kelly's ranking entering the 2010 season among current FBS coaches in terms of winning percentage (.747). Kelly has accrued the seventh most total victories (171) and has the fourth-highest number of wins (33) of any FBS coach since the beginning of the 2007 season.
7 – Fumbles caused by Boilermakers senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan last season. The number led the nation and tied a Purdue single-season record. Kerrigan also finished third nationally with 13 sacks.
8 – Scheduled different starters for the Notre Dame offense since the last time the team's met in September 2009. Saturday's QB, RB, C, LT, RT and three wide receivers were either sidelined or in a backup role for the Irish vs. the Boilers last year. Only LG Chris Stewart, RG Trevor Robinson, and TE Kyle Rudolph earned starting nods for the Irish in West Lafayette last season.
9 – Career 100-yard receiving efforts by junior wide receiver Michael Floyd. Floyd has made 17 career starts and has finished with 100 or more receiving yards in 9 of his last 13 contests finished free of injury. Floyd has missed all or part of 7 contests in his 25-game Irish career due to knee and shoulder injuries.
10 – Wins by the Boilermakers over ranked Irish teams in the modern era (1964-present). Four of those Purdue victories over Notre Dame came at the expense of Ara Parseghian teams ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the nation (1965, 1967, 1968 and 1974).
11 – Consecutive games won by the Irish over the Boilermakers from 1986 through 1996: Lou Holtz's 11-year tenure was never marred by a loss to the then-struggling program.
12 – Irish players who've started at least 15 games entering the 2010 season: (Brian Smith, Kyle Rudolph, Chris Stewart, Kerry Neal, Darrin Walls, Duval Kamara, Harrison Smith, Dan Wenger, Armando Allen, Ian Williams, Michael Floyd and Ethan Johnson). Eight others have made between 6 and 14 starts (Trevor Robinson, Robert Blanton, Darius Fleming, Manti Te'o, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Mike Ragone, Gary Gray and Robert Hughes).
Bonus Stat of the Week: 0 – Offensive touchdowns scored by the Irish over the Boilers in the 2002 Notre Dame home opener; a 24-17 win by the South Benders. Safety Gerome Sapp scored on a fumble recovery touchdown; backup safety Lionel Bolen did the same on the ensuing kick-off; and cornerback Vontez Duff broke a 17-17 tie with just over five minutes remaining with a 33-yard interception return for the game-winning score. The 41 total points that day included just one offensive touchdown.
On the HorizonIrish players that could reasonably accomplish statistical milestones Saturday vs. the Boilermakers.
Armando Allen: With 14 receiving yards, will pass Nick Eddy (164-66) for sixth-place on the program's list for receiving yards by a running back. With eight receptions, Allen could move past Darius Walker into first-place on the program's list for receptions by a running back. Walker caught 109 passes in 36 games/three seasons (2004-06); Saturday would be Allen's 34th career contest. His single-game high is nine catches, set in 2008 at Boston College.
Allen has accounted for 11 touchdowns in his three-year career: six rushing, three receiving, one kick return, and one passing score. Should he return a punt for a touchdown Saturday or at any point this season, he would become the first player in recorded program history (since 1919) to produce a touchdown by rushing, receiving, passing, on a kick return and on a punt return.
Kyle Rudolph: With 68 receiving yards, will pass Mark Bavaro (1982-85) for 7th place on the program's list for receiving yards by a tight end. Likewise, with what would be a career-high nine receptions, Rudolph would pass Tony Hunter (1979-82) for fourth place on the program list for receptions at the position. Rudolph is in a three-way tie with Derek Brown (1988-91) and Dean Masztak (1978-81) for fifth all-time entering Saturday's contest.
Michael Floyd: Needs two touchdowns to tie Maurice Stovall (2002-05) for sixth on the program's career TD receptions list. At 18 receiving scores, Stovall is one TD catch behind Tom Gatewood (1969-71) for 5th place.