Getting ready for Notre Dame vs. Stanford means getting ready for what should be a physical, bone-crunching game. It also means doing more number-crunching of our own. From offense to defense, special teams and team tidbits, here’s a by the numbers look at this week’s game.
10…Straight wins by Stanford against non-conference foes. That streak includes a three-game winning streak against Notre Dame. In fact, while USC is a Pac-12 opponent of the Cardinal, Stanford is the only team in college football history to beat Notre Dame and USC in three consecutive seasons. They already have their fourth straight win over the Trojans after a 21-14 win in Palo Alto last month.
10…Opponents on its regular season schedule against whom Stanford has an active winning streak of at least two games. Besides Notre Dame and USC, Stanford has streaks against San Jose State (5), Duke (3), Arizona (3), Washington State (4), Colorado (3), Cal (2), Oregon State (2), and UCLA (2).
2…Pass attempts in his first three seasons by Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes, who served as the understudy to this year’s No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Andrew Luck before earning the starting job this year. Nunes was 1-for-2 for seven yards while playing in four games, the only previous action of his career, in 2010. He is 86-for-159 (54-percent) for 1,145 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions this season.
91…Total rushing yards Notre Dame has managed against Stanford in the last two meetings between the teams combined. The Irish ran for 57 yards in last year’s 28-14 loss in Palo Alto after managing only 44 rushing yards in a 38-14 setback to Stanford at Notre Dame Stadium two years ago.
2.7…Yards per carry Stanford opponents are averaging on the ground through five games this season. The Cardinal currently ranks sixth in the nation while allowing 77.2 yards a game on the ground. Notre Dame’s rush defense has been salty too. The Irish rank 17th against the run at 106.8 yards a game.
12…Consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown by the Fighting Irish defense. The last time an Irish opponent hit pay dirt was back on Sept. 8 when Purdue crossed the goal line with 2:12 to play in the game. The current 12 quarter scoreless streak is the longest stretch for a Notre Dame defense since the 1980 team went 23 straight quarters without allowing a score. While Notre Dame has allowed just three TDs all season, Stanford scored three touchdowns in a span of about seven minutes at the end of regulation and in overtime to beat Arizona 54-48 last week.
7.8…Points per game allowed by the Irish through five games for a No. 2 national ranking. Alabama has the top scoring defense in the nation at 7.0 allowed this year.
31.6…Points per game Stanford is scoring this season for a No. 48 national rank. Coincidentally, Stanford is tied for 48th with Michigan, which the Irish held to six points. The most points ND has allowed this season was 17 to Purdue, which ranks 31st at 36.6 points a game. Miami now ranks 54th at 30.1 points after the Irish held the Hurricanes to just a field goal last week.
1…The first quarter of Saturday’s game could be very telling. Notre Dame has outscored opponents 27-3 in the first quarter this season (a first quarter field goal by Miami last week is the only scoring blemish through five games in 2012). The dominance in the opening period has helped the Irish remain the only FBS team in the nation not to trail at any time this season. Meanwhile, Stanford has outscored its opponents 44-10 in the first quarter this year. Stanford has not held a lead at the end of the first quarter twice this season. They were tied 7-7 at the end of the first 15 minutes in their win over USC and they were tied 3-3 after the first frame in their 17-13 loss to Washington.
20…Yard average on seven punt returns by Stanford’s Drew Terrell. The senior receiver has just 10 receptions for 143 yards this season, but he also has a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown against Duke to his credit. Take that long return away and Terrell is averaging 10.6 yards per return. Notre Dame’s Davonte’ Neal has eight returns for an average of 3.5 yards this season. Neal’s long return is 11 yards.
17.2…Yard per catch average by Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. The senior has just 11 receptions for 189 yards due to opposing coverages rolling his way, but he has made his receptions count when he has had the chance to get his hands on the ball. Teammate Troy Niklas is averaging 22.0 yards on three receptions in his first season as a tight end after starting his career as a linebacker.
21.4…Yard per catch average by Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo. The 6-foo-8 senior is a “nightmare” according to Irish head coach Brian Kelly due to the match-up problems he causes when he splits wide in the formation as Eifert does for Notre Dame. He and fellow Cardinal tight end Zach Ertz have combined for 44 receptions for 594 yards (13.4 average) and four of Nunes’ eight TD passes this season.
372…Career tackles by Manti Te’o. The senior has 48 tackles this season after his 10 tackle effort last week against Miami. Te’o’s 372 tackles rank him second on the career list among active FBS football players. Ball State’s Travis Freeman heads the list with 404 tackles. Freeman ranks No. 7 nationally with 68 total tackles this year.
44…Tackles for loss through five games by the Stanford defense. The Cardinal ranks fourth in the nation in that department. Linebacker Chase Thomas and cornerback Usua Amanam share the team lead with 6.5 TFL per game. Notre Dame’s defense has been stout, but the Irish have just 23 tackles for loss this season, with Stephon Tuitt’s 6.0 TFL at the top of the list.
16…Sacks recorded in 2012 by both the Notre Dame and Stanford defenses. This week’s opponents share the No. 20 national ranking in the category. Defensive end Ben Gardner leads the Cardinal with 3.0 sacks, while Tuitt (seventh in the nation) is the Irish leader with 6.0.