25 Turnovers forced by the Notre Dame defense during head coach Brian Kelly’s first season in 2010 — the most in his seven years with the Fighting Irish. Last year the total was a paltry 14 (eight interceptions and six fumble recoveries) to rank 104th among 128 FBS teams. That also tied the 14 during the 8-5 season in 2011 for the fewest in school history.
In contrast, new defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s troops at Wake Forest last year almost doubled that output with 27. All four Playoff teams last year had anywhere from 27 to 33.
24 Years since Notre Dame has won a major bowl game, a 24-21 victory versus Texas A&M in the Jan. 1, 1994 Cotton Bowl. In the 24 prior seasons from 1970-93, the Fighting Irish won 10 such contests — seven of them against unbeaten and/or No. 1 teams — the most in the nation. Not coincidentally, it has also been 24 years since recording back-to-back 10-win seasons.
23 Victories by Navy against Power 5 schools since 2003 — with four of them versus Notre Dame since 2007, including 28-27 last year. That ties the Midshipmen with BYU for most such wins by a “Group of Five” schools during that span (with Boise State a distant third at 15). From 1964-2006, the Irish had defeated Navy an NCAA record 43 straight games.
22 Points scored by Notre Dame in the fourth quarter over the last eight games of 2016 while going 3-5 (the last six coming on a meaningless TD with 1:05 left in a 45-27 loss at USC). It reflected how the team often ran out of gas in the final 15 minutes. It was out-scored 58-22 overall, and not once in those final eight contests tallied more points in the fourth quarter than the opposition.
21 Recruits signed this February for a No. 13 overall ranking in that department. All things considered, it was a surprising feat considering six new assistant coaches were hired during the winter. It also fit the “5 to 15” recruiting rating Kelly believes the Irish can consistently reach to vie for the Playoff. In the last four years, the only four programs to rank among the top 10 in recruiting each year are Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State and LSU.
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