10 Notre Dame will attempt to win at least 10 games in consecutive years for the first time since 1991 (10-3), 1992 (10-1-1) and 1993 (11-1).
Notre Dame's 126th season of football opens this afternoon.
9 All nine assistant coaches from Notre Dame’s 12-1 team last year return for head coach Brian Kelly. That’s only the second time that has happened in a season for the Fighting Irish since Lou Holtz took over in 1986.
8 It’s been eight years since Notre Dame has been a bigger favorite in a game than against Temple — 30 points. That was as a 33.5-point favorite against Syracuse in the home finale of 2005, Charlie Weis’ first season (Notre Dame won, 34-10). Also the last time Notre Dame opened with such an unheralded opponent was in 2008 against San Diego State. The Irish squeaked by with a 21-13 win after falling behind 13-7 in the fourth quarter. (Note: Notre Dame lost its 1995 opener at home to Northwestern as a 27.5-point favorite, 17-15.)
7 There have been only seven times in Notre Dame history it committed 15 or fewer turnovers in a season, including last year (15). The one time it was done in back-to-back years was 2005 (14) and 2006 (15), when both teams happened to go to a BCS game.
6 Notre Dame was 6-0 at home last year, the first time it finished unscathed at home in 14 years and only the second time since 1990. Five of the six wins were by seven points or less, including two in overtime (Stanford and Pitt).
5 Left tackle Zack Martin and center Nick Martin are the fifth pair of brothers we know of in the last 41 years to start together for Notre Dame. The others include Mike and Willie Townsend (1972), Ross and Jim Browner (1975-77), Dave and Tim Huffman (1978) — also both offensive linemen — and Tony and Reggie Brooks (1990), when the latter was a cornerback before returning to offense.
4 Notre Dame had only four games last season in which it scored more than 22 points in regulation time: Navy (50-10), Miami (41-3), Oklahoma (30-13, with 17 of them in the final 5:05) and Wake Forest (38-0). That is a number the Fighting Irish are intent on improving.
3 Notre Dame is only the third team in the BCS era (since 1998) not to start the next season in the Top 10 of the AP poll after appearing in the BCS Championship the year prior. The others were Virginia Tech in 2000 (11th) and Ohio State in 2007 (also 11th). The No. 14 ranking by Notre Dame in the AP is the lowest.
2 A Fighting Irish victory would be Brian Kelly’s 200th victory as a head coach. According to Notre Dame’s media relations office, Kelly would be the second youngest to achieve the milestone at 51 years and 310 days. The youngest was Glenn “Pop” Warner — whose coaching career ended at Temple in 1938 — at 46 years and 240 days.
1 This is the first meeting ever between the two programs. The series will resume in Philadelphia in 2015 and then a return trip will be made by Temple in 2017 for the 2-for-1 arrangement.
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