Nov 14, 2012, 2:36 PM EST
The Irish are 10-0 after defeating Boston College last Saturday, and both the offense and defense made solid contributions in the game. Notre Dame’s offense scored a touchdown on three of its first four possessions, but methodical drives by both teams kept the overall drive count in the game low. The defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone all night, and recorded four sacks, a fumble, and an interception.
The story of the season has been defensive dominance, as we have documented in our Drive Charting posts all year long. The chart above illustrates one of Notre Dame’s most remarkable defensive stats, preventing opponents from driving the length of the field to the end zone. On 93 opponent drives started at or inside the opponent’s 40-yard line, the Irish have given up one touchdown. That 3-play, 75-yard scoring drive by Navy occurred on the sixth opponent possession of the year. Notre Dame hasn’t given up a 60-plus yard touchdown drive in 87 straight opportunities since.
How impressive is this particular stat? Consider the following:
- On average, FBS teams have given up 21 touchdowns apiece on drives started at or inside the opponent’s 40-yard line. The second-best teams by this measure so far in 2012 are two Irish opponents, BYU and Michigan, who have given up eight 60-plus yard touchdowns apiece. (The Irish offense actually recorded two of those eight against BYU).
- Notre Dame has given up a total of only 46 points on these drives (one touchdown and 13 field goals). That total is fewest in the country by a wide margin. BYU ranks second having given up 71 points on drives started at or inside the opponent’s 40-yard line, followed by Rutgers (73), Alabama (80), and Florida State (84).
- The Irish are giving up an average of only 0.49 points per drive started at or inside the opponent’s 40-yard line. That’s the best mark this year, and from 2007 to present, only the 2011 Alabama national champions recorded a better mark (0.41 points per drive).
Brian Fremeau (’99) is a college football writer, stats analyst, and data visualization designer. His work regularly appears at ESPN Insider, ESPN the Magazine, Football Outsiders, and on his own site, BCF Toys. He develops and publishes numerous possession-based statistics including the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a college football rating system based on opponent-adjusted drive efficiency. Follow Brian on Twitter.
About Strong and True
ND Football on YouTube
- TVs, recliners, watches and gaming packages. @NDFootball enjoys a day picking out bowl gifts from the @MusicCityBowl http://t.co/LiK8KTVcdG 20 hours ago
- RT @FightingIrish: The @NDFootball ECHOES Special, hosted by @SkyDigg4 & Mike Mayock, will be Saturday, 1:30 pm ET on @NBCSN #GoIrish http:… 1 day ago
- Blind Faith follows Mitchell, an 8th grader at the Indiana School for the Blind, as he attends his 1st football game. watchnd.tv/#!/videos/J5Y3… 2 days ago
- Many thanks to @StadiumJourney for naming Notre Dame Stadium as the country’s best stadium experience. stadiumjourney.com/news/12-17-201… 2 days ago
- RT @NDsidBertschy: Joe Schmidt and Jaylon Smith of @NDFootball shared the 2014 FBS All-Independent Defensive Player of the Year award 2 days ago
- M. Basketball. Notre Dame Men's Basketball Postgame Notes
- M. Basketball. Notre Dame Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
- M. Basketball. #21/21 Irish Rout Purdue at the Crossroads Classic, 94-63
- W. Basketball. IRISH EXTRA: The McGraw-Saint Joseph's Connection
- Football. IRISH EXTRA: Football Makes a Holiday Contribution
- M. Basketball. Notre Dame-Hartford Men's Basketball Game On Dec. 30 Moved To 7:30 pm (ET) Start Time
- W. Basketball. #5/4 Irish Play Host To Saint Joseph's Sunday Afternoon
- General News. Spreading Christmas Joy
- General News. Former Notre Dame Sports Medicine Pioneer Dr. Les Bodnar Dies
- M. Basketball. #21/21 Irish To Clash With Purdue At Crossroads Classic