1 Notre Dame ranks first in the nation in fewest touchdowns surrendered overall (4), fewest touchdowns allowed in red-zone defense (two in 16 appearances for 12.5 percent) and fewest points permitted per red-zone appearance (32 points in 16 appearances for 2.0 points). This should bode well against a BYU offense that is 78th in scoring (25.57 points per game).
2 Brigham Young victories in the six-game series between the two teams that began in 1992. The Cougars upset the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium in 1994 (21-14)the week after a 30-11 Irish loss at Boston College, spiraling the disappointing season into a 6-5-1 finish. Ten years later in the opener, BYU pulled off a 20-17 victory that began the end for Tyrone Willingham’s three-year regime.
3 Home games played by Notre Dame so far this year — and starting sophomore quarterback Everett Golson had to be relieved by junior Tommy Rees in all three of them, two because of injury. A concussion suffered by Golson in last week’s victory over Stanford make him “a game-time decision” for BYU, according to head coach Brian Kelly. Even if he starts, can he finish?
4 Notre Dame defenses in the modern era (since the end of World War II in 1945) to not allow a touchdown in 20 straight quarters: 25 (1966), 23 (1980), 21 (1976) and 20 (1946). The current Irish streak is at 16 over the last four games, and four more against BYU puts them in that company.
5 Notre Dame’s initial Bowl Championship Series (BCS) ranking. Since the start of the first BCS poll in 1998, it is tied for the second highest rating in the BCS by Notre Dame, which also climbed to No. 5 in Nov. 2006 prior to losing 44-24 at USC. The highest ranking ever by the program was No. 3 in Oct. 2002 when it was 8-0 prior to losing to Boston College.
6-1 Record of Notre Dame in its last seven games where the result was decided by seven points or less after last week’s 20-13 overtime victory versus Stanford. The other wins dating back to 2011 were Pitt (15-12), Wake Forest (24-17), Boston College (16-14), and then this season against Purdue (20-17) and Michigan (13-6). The lone defeat was to Florida State in last year’s Champs Sports Bowl (18-14).
Prior to this positive streak, the Irish had been 2-9 in their previous 11 games decided by seven points or less. Is this tangible evidence that Notre Dame is “learning how to win again”?
7 National ranking of BYU’s scoring defense (13.57) despite last week’s 42-24 loss at home to No. 10 Oregon State in which the game was tied 21-21 in the fourth quarter. Combined with Notre Dame’s 8.67 points per game scoring defense, the combined total of 22.24 is the lowest in a Notre Dame game at or after the midway point of the season since the 1-2 showdown with Florida State in 1993, when the two had combined to give up only 19.4 points per game (12.9 by Notre Dame and 6.5 by FSU).
Notre Dame has averaged 15.3 points in regulation time during its three home games this season, and it has some uncertainly swirling at quarterback.
8 The longest winning streaks put together by Bob Davie (1998), Tyrone Willingham (2002) and Charlie Weis (2006) over the past 15 years. Can Brian Kelly reach that figure with a victory this week and then at Oklahoma next week — and then eclipse it?
9 The Irish are shooting for their ninth straight game in which they do not allow a rushing touchdown (longest in the nation). BYU has scored 13 times on the ground this season led by five from 6-0, 190-pound freshman running back Jamaal Williams. However, the ground game took a hit when option specialist Taysom Hill, who rushed for 336 yards, 6.1 yards per carry and four TDs, suffered a season-ending injury two weeks ago.
10 Points total Notre Dame has allowed this season in the first and third quarters, three in the first and seven in the third. It has out-scored the opposition 44-7 in the third and 30-3 in the first, its two best showings and a testament to the mental and physical preparedness coming out of the locker room.