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Beyond the Box Score with Brian Fremeau: Scoring Bursts

Sep 16, 2013, 10:23 AM EDT

“Beyond The Box Score With Brian Fremeau” is a weekly series that takes you inside the stats with in-depth analysis through numbers and graphics. Fremeau, a 1999 graduate of Notre Dame, is a longtime writer for ESPN Insider, Football Outsiders and his personal graphical analysis website, BCFToys.com

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Notre Dame defeated Purdue 31-24 on Saturday night, a comeback victory that was sparked by an explosive sequence early in the fourth quarter and then iced away with a power running game over the final 7 minutes and 22 seconds of regulation. After falling behind by 10 points early, the Irish rallied to its first double-digit comeback victory on the road since a win over Michigan State in 2006. Tommy Rees threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns, his third straight 300 yard passing game.

The Irish trailed the Boilermakers by seven points entering the fourth quarter, but a three-touchdown scoring barrage flipped the game in Notre Dame’s favor in only a matter of moments. Tommy Rees first connected with DaVaris Daniels for a nine-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal to tie the game. After a Purdue drive stalled out with a punt, Rees and Daniels struck again, this time for 82 yards down the sideline for another touchdown. On the third play of the ensuing Purdue possession, Bennett Jackson grabbed an interception in the flat and took it 34 yards to the end zone.

In the first three minutes and 42 seconds of the fourth quarter, the Irish had only run four offensive plays – four fewer than Purdue – and scored 21 points to take a commanding 31-17 lead. At that point, Notre Dame had scored an average of one point every 10.6 seconds in the fourth quarter.

Scoring intensity over the course of each Notre Dame game this year and last year is illustrated in the graphic above. We divided each game into five minute sequences and charted which team won each segment and by how much. The 14-point sequence that kicked off the Temple game and the 21-point burst at the start of the fourth quarter against Purdue were the biggest five-minute scoring advantage sequences of the last two seasons for Notre Dame.