In baseball vernacular, Notre Dame junior running back Josh Adams is — along with Stanford’s Bryce Love — college football’s Giancarlo Stanton this season with his long ball production.
Through only six games, Adams has torn off a remarkable six carries that covered at least 59 yards, and three of them have resulted in touchdowns.
That’s not even including his first carry this season, a relatively short 37-yard touchdown jaunt that would be a harbinger of his campaign through at least the first half of the season.
As a team, Notre Dame has had 13 runs from the line of scrimmage that netted at least 35 yards. In 12 games last year, that total was seven.
Overall through six games, Notre Dame has eight runs in 2017 that have traveled at least 59 yards. To put into context, consider this:
• In five seasons under Charlie Weis (2005-09), the Fighting Irish had one run from scrimmage that eclipsed 50 yards — and that was a 60-yard scramble by quarterback Brady Quinn during a 44-24 loss at USC in 2006.
• In three years under Tyrone Willingham (2002-04), Notre Dame had only two runs surpass 50 yards, a 61-yard scamper by Julius Jones during his single-game school record 262-yard rushing performance at Pitt in 2003, and quarterback Carlyle Holiday scrambling for a 53-yard score in a 21-14 win at Air Force in 2002.
• During the school record 23-game winning streak under Lou Holtz in 1988-89, it had a total of four running plays that broke free for more than 50 yards, with quarterback Tony Rice’s 65-yard touchdown gallop in the win at No. 2 USC in 1988 the most famous.
• There was a five-year stretch under Ara Parseghian from 1967-71 when Notre Dame had a total of three rushing plays that gained at least 50 yards.
Then in 1972, freshman Art Best came out of nowhere to run 56 yards for a touchdown on his first career carry (Pitt), followed by 57 yards for a score on his fourth career rushing attempt (TCU), giving the Irish five such runs over six years.
In only two-and-a-half seasons at Notre Dame, Adams has recorded 11 runs of at least 50 yards — and 10 of them have been a minimum of 60 yards.
As a freshman in 2015, he set the school record for longest run from scrimmage on a 98-yard touchdown romp versus Wake Forest and current Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s stout crew.
Since the start of the Parseghian era in 1964, our research shows that only one other player has reached that feat at least six times — Reggie Brooks — or just over half of what Adams has already achieved.
Brooks had a 65-yard run as a junior in 1991 that came up just short of a touchdown. Then as a senior in 1992 when he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting while averaging eight yards per carry, Brooks had five touchdown tallies that measured at least 55 yards.
We found three others who had four runs of at least 50 yards during their Notre Dame careers: Nick Eddy (1964-66, three of them scores), Best (1972-74, two of them TDs), and Vagas Ferguson (1976-79, three of them TDs). Look for more research on this topic later this week.
Later this week: A breakdown of every 50-plus yard run at Notre Dame since at least 1964.