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Drive Charting: Irish Offense and Defense Rolling

Nov 22, 2012, 10:20 AM EDT


Notre Dame is now 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the latest BCS standings following a 38-0 victory over Wake Forest. It was the first shutout victory for the Irish in the Brian Kelly era, and the largest margin of victory in a shutout for Notre Dame since a 42-0 win over Rutgers in 2002.

The Irish offense scored touchdowns on each of its first three drives, and averaged at least 10 yards per play on four of its first five possessions. With 3:30 left in the third quarter, the Irish offense had outgained Wake Forest  by nearly 400 yards and Notre Dame was able to coast the rest of the way to victory.

Notre Dame’s defense kept Wake Forest out of scoring range all day. Only two Wake Forest first downs occurred in Irish territory, both coming on an 11-play, 41-yard drive that ended in a punt. The Irish extended their streak of not giving up a touchdown on drives started at or inside the opponent’s own 40-yard line — only one touchdown has been surrendered on 105 opportunities, and the Irish have turned away 99 straight.

The Irish defense also held Wake Forest to 18.1 points below their FBS scoring average. It was the ninth game this season in which a Notre Dame opponent was held at least 10 points below its scoring average, and the sixth time the opponent was held at least 15 points below its scoring average. On the season, Notre Dame opponents are scoring 15.6 points fewer against the Irish than their FBS scoring average, the third best rate nationally. As illustrated in the chart above, it is the best mark posted by a Notre Dame defense in the last 25 years.

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.

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