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Kelly’s Irish have allowed an average of 17 points per game since he took over as head coach, which will be the best by a Notre Dame coach in his first three seasons since either Lou Holtz (whose teams allowed 16.9 points per game in his first three seasons) or Dan Devine (12.3), depending on how the team fares in the BCS Championship.
Even factoring this year’s team out, the defensive numbers for the Irish in his first two seasons were more favorable than those under Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, and Charlie Weis.
This year’s team is Notre Dame’s best in a long time.
Notre Dame has allowed 124 points this season and will almost certainly end the season having allowed its fewest since 1996 (when it allowed 181). It has a chance to be the first Notre Dame team to hold its opponents to fewer than 150 points since the 1980 team yielded 128.