- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are some fun facts about the Saturday tilt. As always, thanks to ESPN Stats & Info and both schools' sports information departments for these nuggets.
Notre Dame and Florida State are the only two teams that finished in the top 11 of last season’s AP poll that are not returning their leading passer. If it were not for the suspension of Everett Golson, each of the top six teams would be returning its leading passer. The last time that happened was entering the 1982 season. That 1982 group became the famed 1983 NFL draft class that boasted six quarterbacks chosen in the first round — including Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
Notre Dame surrendered 36 plays of 20-plus yards last season, tied for the second-fewest in FBS. The Irish allowed a season-high seven such plays in their loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game.
Entering the title game, Notre Dame had allowed a touchdown on 24 percent of its opponents’ red-zone drives, the lowest percentage for any FBS team. But Alabama scored a touchdown on all five of its red-zone drives.
Golson and Tommy Rees had virtually identical Adjusted Total QBR numbers (Golson – 68.0, Rees – 67.0) in 2012, but Golson was much more of a running threat than Rees. Golson also had a QBR of 67.5 as a rusher last season, while Rees has a QBR of 4.7 as a rusher in his career.
George Atkinson III led the Irish last year in yards per rush (7.1), which ranked 12th among running backs with at least 50 carries last season.
Brian Kelly has 199 career wins as a head coach (including 13 seasons at Grand Valley State). A win would make him the 14th active coach with at least 200 wins across all divisions.
Since joining its first major conference in 1991 (Big East), Temple has defeated one nationally ranked team: October 17, 1998 at No. 14 Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame has four players on its roster from Pennsylvania: Ben Koyack, John Chereson, Will Fuller and Mike McGlinchey, who was a prep teammate of Temple walk-on running back Eric Neefe at Penn Charter. Temple has no players from Indiana.
The schools have never played, though two more games are on deck for 2015 (Philadelphia) and 2017 (South Bend).
New Temple coach Matt Rhule rewards the toughest players on his team with single-digit jersey numbers: No. 1 Sean Daniels, No. 2 Anthony Robey, No. 3 Juice Granger, No. 4 Ryan Alderman, No. 5 Jalen Fitzpatrick, No. 6 Blaze Caponegro, No. 7 John Christopher, No. 8 LB Tyler Matakevich and No. 9 Levi Brown. (Offensive linemen cannot wear single-digit jersey numbers.)
The Owls' captains, as elected by teammates, are Alderman, a senior receiver, Brown, a senior defensive lineman, sophomore offensive lineman Kyle Friend and sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich.
Temple enters the 2013 season with a new school president (Neil Theobald), new acting athletic director (Kevin Clark) and new head coach (Matt Rhule).