It is time for our weekly look at the numbers for this week’s game between Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh comes into the game as a heavy underdog with just a 4-4 record, but as the numbers will show, they have some players that will challenge the Irish and other areas the Irish should be able to exploit.
6…FBS football teams, including Notre Dame, that are still unbeaten this season. The Irish are joined by Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State, and Louisville as the only 8-0 teams, while Ohio State is 9-0.
2...Wins in their last three games at Notre Dame Stadium by the Pittsburgh Panthers. They defeated the Irish 41-38 on ND’s home field in 2004 in Tyrone Willingham’s last season as head coach and took a 36-33 four overtime victory in 2008. The latter marked the longest game in the history of both schools.
7…Of the last eight games played between Notre Dame and Pittsburgh that have been decided by single digits. The Fighting Irish have won the last two games in the series by a combined nine points.
143…Consecutive pass attempts without an interception by Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri. The senior’s last interception came back on Sept. 15 in a 35-17 win over Virginia Tech. His only other interception of the year came nine days before that in a loss to Cincinnati. Pittsburgh’s two interceptions this season are tied for the fifth-fewest in the nation. Sunseri threw 11 interceptions in 2011.
1…Player in the nation that has more interceptions this season than Manti Te’o’s four. Te’o is tied with Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer and Jonathon Dowling of Western Kentucky for second in this week’s FBS interception rankings. Fresno State’s Phillip Thomas leads the FBS with five. Te’o had no interceptions in his first three seasons at Notre Dame.
3…Wins with no losses for Pitt when the Panthers force multiple turnovers this season. By contrast, Pitt is just 1-4 in games they have failed to generate more than one turnover. The wins have come against Virginia Tech, Gardner-Webb and Temple. The Panthers forced a season-best four turnovers, including three interceptions, in the win over the Hokies.
6…Notre Dame opponents that scored 40 points or more in their game immediately before playing the Irish. None of those teams scored more than 17 points against the ND defense. In fact, those six teams scored just a combined 55 points for an average of 9.1 points when they played Notre Dame. Pittsburgh beat Temple 47-17 last week.
4…Wins for the Fighting Irish over teams ranked in the AP top-25 at the time of the game this season. No FBS team has more wins against ranked foes this season.
1,011…Rushing yards Notre Dame has totaled in its last four games. The four-game total is more than 23 FBS teams have totaled all year.
32…Career touchdowns by Panther running back Ray Graham (rushing or receiving). All-time great Tony Dorsett holds the school record with 63 TDs, while current Philadelphia Eagle LeSean McCoy (36) and Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald (34) rank second and third, respectively, in Panther history. Graham needs one more touchdown to tie Elliott Walker for fourth place.
4,427…Career all-purpose yards Graham has totaled since his freshman season in 2009. Only Dorsett’s 7,117 career yards rank higher than Graham’s total. Graham has tallied 866 yards (622 rushing) this season after missing four games at the end of 2011 with a knee injury.
15…Net rushing yards Oklahoma had against Notre Dame last week. It’s the worst rushing total for the Sooners in the last decade and the seventh-lowest in Oklahoma history.
6…Career punt blocks by Pittsburgh senior Andrew Taglianetti. The safety holds Pitt’s school record in that department and has helped his team block a total of 42 kicks dating back to 2000.
110…Pittsburgh’s ranking in net punting ( ). The Panthers also rank 116th in punt return yardage defense while allowing 15.6 yards per return. Notre Dame is averaging just 2.8 yards-per-return this season.
59-37…The total by which Pitt has been outscored in the third quarter this season. It is the only quarter in which the Panthers have been outscored in 2012. It is also the quarter where Notre Dame has displayed the most scoring dominance, with the Irish holding a 47-7 advantage in that frame. Consider this when looking at this week’s third quarter matchup: the 8.4 points Pitt gives-up on average in the third quarter this year is still more than the seven total points the Irish have allowed in the period. The Irish have held 18 of their last 21 opponents without a third quarter score.
56…Penalties incurred by Pitt through its first eight games. The Panthers rank 86th in penalties-per-game. The Irish have been flagged 42 times and rank 37th in that department. Navy (1), Purdue (30) and Michigan (33) are the only ND opponents that rank better than the Irish with fewer penalties this year.
Minus-23…The total net rushing yards the Notre Dame defense has surrendered in the first quarter of its last two games against BYU and Oklahoma. The Sooners netted minus-4 yards on eight carries in the first quarter last Saturday.
0…First quarter touchdowns allowed by the Fighting Irish this season. Field goals by Miami and Oklahoma represent the only six points surrendered by ND in the opening quarter this year. Stanford was the last team to score a TD in the first quarter when they did in on Nov. 26 last season.
134…Career receptions by Panther receiver Mike Shanahan. The senior has 37 grabs for 361 yards this season and needs just 28 more catches to pass Pitt great Larry Fitzgerald for third place on the school’s all-time receptions list. Teammate Devin Street leads Pitt with 50 receptions for 695 yards this season and has 128 grabs in his three-year career.
3…Games in which Notre Dame has played without committing a turnover in 2012. The most recent being last Saturday’s win over Oklahoma.
3-0…Pittsburgh’s record when forcing multiple turnovers in a game in 2012. However, the Panthers are just 1-4 when they fail to force more than one turnover. Pitt forced a season-best four turnovers in its 35-17 win over Virginia Tech last month.
20…Sacks allowed by the Pitt offense, which has started the same five linemen in all eight games this season. The Panthers rank a lowly 90th in sacks allowed (ND ranks 57th). Notre Dame’s defense ranks 23rd with its 21 quarterback takedowns, with defensive end Stephon Tuitt tied for eight with 8.5 of those sacks.