Factors in the Notre Dame Game

We're doing something different this week on Bruin Report Online -- breaking up the weekly game preview into parts. So, here, on Tuesday, is the first part of the preview, the Noteworthy Factors, which lists some interesting elements to the game...


-- UCLA faces Notre Dame on Saturday in the Rose Bowl at 5:00, with the game being televised nationally by ABC.  Dan Fouts, Tim Brant and Todd Harris will be calling the action.

-- The Bruins are 4-1 and lead the Pac-10 with a 3-0 conference record (they've played one more conference game than eight of their league brethren). 

-- UCLA also climbed back into the top-25 rankings this week, now being ranked #25 in the ESPN/USA Today  Coaches Poll. They are ranked #30 in the AP Poll.

-- Notre Dame is 0-5, which is the school's worst start in its 120-year history of football.

-- The Fighting Irish have lost to Georgia Tech, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and, last week, to Purdue, 33-19.

-- If it won this week, and went 1-5, it would be only the third time in Notre Dame history it started as poorly as 1-5.

-- It will be just the fourth time the two schools have faced each other in football, with the Fighting Irish having won all three previous meetings.

-- Last year, in South Bend, Notre Dame rallied late in the game to beat the Bruins, 20-17. UCLA led, 17-13, with just a minute to play when Notre Dame's quarterback, Brady Quinn, engineered an 8-yard drive in three plays to score on a 45-yard pass play with just 27 seconds left.

-- The loss was considered a huge blow to UCLA's season, and many of UCLA's players are still not over it.

-- The other two meetings between the two schools in football were in 1963 and 1964, with Notre Dame winning 27-12 and 24-0.

-- The Fighting Irish have not played in the Rose Bowl since the 1925 Rose Bowl against Stanford.  Notre Dame was led by coach Knute Rockne and the famed Four Horsemen.

-- Notre Dame is coached by Charlie Weis, who is in his third year at South Bend. Weis has led the Fighting Irish to a 19-11 record overall. In his first year, in 2005, he led them to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl, where they were beaten by Ohio State. Last year, Notre Dame finished 10-2 and then lost to LSU in the Sugar Bowl. Weis, who came to Notre Dame from the New England Patriots, where he was the Offensive Coordinator on three Super Bowl champions, is considered an offensive guru.

-- The Irish have lost 9 straight bowl games, which is an NCAA record.

-- Notre Dame is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, its worst in 21 years. One more and it will tie the longest streak in its history.

-- Notre Dame is the only school in the country to play eight BCS schools in its first eight games of the 2007 season.

-- UCLA Defensive Coordinator DeWayne Walker worked on the same staff of the New England Patriots in 2000 as Charlie Weis.

-- UCLA Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell worked on the same staff for Wisconsin in the early 1990s as Notre Dame's receiver coach, Rob Ianello.

-- Eight players on Notre Dame's roster hail from California.

== There are eight players from Notre Dame's roster that come from either the same high school or hometown as eight of UCLA's players.

-- Notre Dame is an extremely young and inexperienced team this season, with only two seniors starting on offense, and three returning starters. They're a bit better on defense, with seven senior starters, and five returning starters from a season ago.

-- But with injuries and changes, so far this season, 18 players have registered their first career start for the Fighting Irish.

-- UCLA has had just five players start for the first time this season.

-- The game at the Rose Bowl against UCLA will be Notre Dame's fourth road game out of six so far this season, being only one of three BCS schools (Duke and West Virginia being the other two) to play four of its first six games on the road.

-- Notre Dame is 76-40-6 against the Pac-10.  They have a winning record against 9 teams of the Pac-10, being just 0-2 against Oregon State.

-- Under Weis, Notre Dame is 10-0 when allowing its opponent 19 points or less.

-- They are 3-10 when they've allowed an opponent's running back to rush for more than 100 yards.

-- They are 15-1 when leading after halftime.

-- They are 8-4 on the road, with three of those losses coming this season so far.

-- UCLA is expecting a large crowd, but not a sellout (the Rose bowl seats, 91,136). 

-- The weather is expected to be excellent on Saturday, with a high of 80 degrees and no chance of rain.

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