Notre Dame-Georgia: 10 To 1

September 9, 2017 Lou Somogyi, Senior Editor

No. 24 Notre Dame awaits No. 15 Georgia tonight while trying to snap a 15-game streak without winning back-to-back contests.
Photo by Bill Panzica

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10 A victory over Georgia would mark the 10th time that a first-time visitor to Notre Dame that is ranked in the Associated Press poll (No. 15) would lose to the Irish. On five of those previous occasions, the Irish were the lower-ranked team, as it is today at No. 24. The last time it happened was in head coach Brian Kelly’s first season, when the unranked and 4-5 Irish defeated No. 15 Utah, 28-3.

9 Notre Dame has played on 9-9 five other times, with maybe the most notable the 27-24 overtime loss to No. 1 Nebraska in 2000. The Cornhuskers fans came in droves that Sept. 9 to form a “Sea of Red” in Notre Dame Stadium, and a similar event possibly could occur 17 years later with the Georgia Bulldogs faithful.

The Irish are 3-2 on Sept. 9, the first such game occurring in 1974 with a 31-7 opening game win at Georgia Tech, and the most recent a 41-17 pasting of No. 19 Penn State in 2006.

As an aside, second-year Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is one of nine head coaches from a Power 5 Conference who is coaching at his alma mater (Class of ’98). The Irish will play two others in November: Miami’s Mark Richt and Stanford’s David Shaw.

8 Last weekend marked the 8th time in Notre Dame history that an Irish quarterback passed and ran for at least 100 yards apiece in a game when junior Brandon Wimbush, in his first career start, threw for 184 yards and ran for 106 during a 49-16 win against Temple.

7 Georgia is the seventh different opponent to play at Notre Dame Stadium in a night game. Michigan has the most such appearances (5), followed by USC (3), Michigan State and Stanford (2 apiece) and then one by both Miami and Texas.

6 The Bulldogs will attempt to become the sixth team since 2009 to defeat the Fighting Irish in their first visit to Notre Dame Stadium. The others were UConn (2009), Tulsa (2010), South Florida (2011), Louisville (2014) and Virginia Tech (2016).

Georgia will be the 75th different team to play in Notre Dame Stadium, and the Irish are 59-14-1 in such first-time encounters.

5 Last year during its 8-5 season, Georgia won five games (North Carolina, at Missouri, at Kentucky, Auburn and TCU in the bowl game) in which it trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter. Conversely, Notre Dame in 2016 lost a school record five games when it led in the fourth quarter (Texas, Duke, Stanford, Navy and Virginia Tech), and also fell in a sixth in which it was tied (North Carolina State) in the fourth quarter.

4 True freshman quarterbacks that have defeated Notre Dame as starters since 2009. It began in 2009 with both Michigan’s Tate Forcier and USC’s Matt Barkley, followed by Louisville’s Reggie Bonnafon in 2014 and then Texas’ Shane Buechele in last year’s opener.

Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm will attempt to join that company while also achieving a unique distinction of becoming the first to win in Notre Dame Stadium in his first career start.

3 Notre Dame players who eclipsed 100 yards rushing against Temple — Josh Adams (161), Dexter Williams (124) and Wimbush (106) — a distinction believed to be a first in school history.

Meanwhile, Georgia counters with the only two backs in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) from one team who rank among the current top 15 in career yards rushing. Nick Chubb is No. 5 with 3,520 (31 TDs), while Sony Michel is No. 15 with 2,498 (18 TDs).

2 Notre Dame will attempt to win two straight games for the first time since November 2015 when it defeated Wake Forest (28-7) and Boston College (19-16), both of which finished 3-9. Since then the Irish have gone 15 straight contests without consecutive wins. The school record is 17, achieved during the 1958-59 seasons, the last eight games of the Terry Brennan regime and the first nine under Joe Kuharich.

1 On one hand Notre Dame’s 1.0 rating on NBC last weekend was tied for the lowest ever (with Army in 2016) since the network first began telecasting the school’s home games in 1991. On the other, the price of a ticket to the Notre Dame-Georgia game is No. 1 nationally for any contest in the nation this season, ranging from $523 to $12,000 as of two days ago.


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