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
- The Irish come in at No. 9 in this week's AP Poll. #GoIrish ☘ https://t.co/iqkCUaEq5A 22 minutes ago
- RT @MikeMonaco_: Sam Bush (@sambbush) with the best Senior Day entrance in South Bend yesterday. https://t.co/2OP19hPjxs 2 hours ago
- I love those guys, we've been through it all together. Josh Adams catches up with @NDSportsBlogger following the S… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… 2 hours ago
- Good morning, Irish nation. #GoIrish ☘️ https://t.co/GsWojLD8fv 6 hours ago
- Notre Dame and Stanford will kickoff at 5:00 p.m. PT next Saturday night on ABC. #GoIrish ☘️ #BeatCardinal https://t.co/z2wZwYiCJT 13 hours ago
- Swimming & Diving. #13/18 Irish Remain In The Hunt At OSU Fall Invite
- M. Ice Hockey. Morrison Tallies Overtime Winner As #4 Irish Down RPI 1-0
- Football. #8 Irish Hold Off Midshipmen, 24-17
- W. Soccer. How Sweet It Is: Irish Prepared to Face Baylor
- M. Ice Hockey. 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Set For Notre Dame Stadium
- M. Soccer. #12 Irish Begin NCAA Journey Sunday Against #20 Wisconsin
- W. Soccer. Irish Use Penalty Kicks to Eliminate No. 2-Seeded Aggies
- Swimming & Diving. #13/18 Irish Off To Strong Start In Columbus
- W. Volleyball. Notre Dame Decimates Tar Heels In Straight-Set Sweep
- M. Ice Hockey. #4 Irish Down RPI 4-1 For Sixth Straight Win