Friday, November 25, 2011
Week 13: Did you know?
By Matt Fortuna
Thanks to ESPN Stats & Info, along with Notre Dame sports information, for these:
Notre Dame will play Stanford for the 15th straight year. The Cardinal's current two-game winning streak is its longest in the series, and its 37-14 win in South Bend, Ind., last season was its biggest.
Notre Dame is on a four-game winning streak, but the competition has been sub-par. The combined record of the Irish's last four opponents (Navy, Wake Forest, Maryland, Boston College) is 15-29.
This game has no bearing on the Pac-12 standings, but Stanford can clinch the Pac-12 North if Oregon loses to Oregon State.
Stanford is seeking its second straight 11-win season. Before last season's 12-1 campaign, the Cardinal had never won 11 games in a season.
Andrew Luck has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 14 straight games dating back to last season.
Luck's 76 career touchdown passes are one shy of John Elway's school record. Luck is also one touchdown pass shy of matching the school single-season total (32), which he set last season.
Luck has thrown a touchdown pass in every game this season when he has two or more tight ends in the formation. With two tight ends on the field since the start of the 2010 season, he has completed 71.8 percent of his passes, averaged 9.5 yards per attempt and has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 26-to-1. The only game in the last two seasons in which he completed less than 50 percent of his passes in that formation was in this year's loss to Oregon (1 of 4, 25 percent).
In Stanford's first six games this season, Luck averaged 286.5 passing yards per game, throwing for 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions. In its last five games, he has thrown for 243.6 yards per game while connecting for 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Over the last two seasons, Stanford is 0-2 against Oregon and 22-0 against all other opponents, winning by an average of 27.6 points per game.
Tight end Zach Ertz has missed the last two games (lower leg) and is questionable for Saturday. Stanford has been less effective passing out of its three-plus tight end formation without Ertz. In its first nine games with three or more tight ends, with Ertz, Stanford completed 21 of 24 passes for eight touchdowns and no picks, averaging 12.9 yards per attempt. The Cardinal were 4-for-4 for three touchdowns when targeting Ertz in that formation. In their last two games in that formation, without Ertz, the Cardinal are just 3-for-8 for no touchdowns and no picks, averaging just four yards per attempt.
Michael Floyd (87) is seven catches shy of breaking Golden Tate's school record of 93 in a season.
While attempting throws of 10 or more yards this season, Tommy Rees has completed 56.1 percent of such passes at home, averaging 11.1 yards per attempt, with five touchdowns and four interceptions. On the road, Rees has completed just 38.3 percent of such throws, averaging 7.2 yards per attempt, with four touchdowns and five interceptions.
If Rees maintains his season completion percentage of .666, it would be the second-best single-season mark in school history, trailing only Jimmy Clausen's .689 in 2009.
A win over Stanford would give the Irish its first five-game winning streak to end the regular season since 2005.
The Irish started the season 0-2. If they win one of their next two games, they will finish with nine wins after starting 0-2 for just the second time in school history, joining the 1978 squad. That team beat Houston in the Cotton Bowl to finish 9-3.
Since 2001, 275 different teams have started the season 0-2. Forty-five have finished those seasons with winning records, including Notre Dame and Georgia this season. Twenty-seven have finished with eight or more wins, also including the Irish and the Bulldogs this season. Fifteen have finished with nine or more victories, including Georgia this season (Notre Dame can join, too, if it wins one of its last two games). Three of those teams finished with 10 or more wins, including Brian Kelly's 2006 Central Michigan team. Last year's Virginia Tech team was the only one to finish with 11 or more victories.
Notre Dame has a 1,000-yard rusher (Cierre Wood) and receiver (Michael Floyd). The only other schools with both are Iowa, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, California and Texas A&M.
No. 22 Notre Dame will need to jump eight spots in the BCS standings, to No. 14, to become BCS-bowl eligible. Since the BCS began ranking 25 teams in 2003, only four teams have jumped eight or more spots within one week, all coming within the first three weeks of the season: Florida State jumped 10 spots after Week 1 of 2008, Connecticut jumped 10 spots after Week 2 of 2007, Texas jumped 10 spots after Week 2 of 2003 and Michigan jumped eight spots after Week 2 of 2007.