Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 8 of 55 SEPT. 10, 2018 9 UNDER THE DOME 2 Notre Dame alumni ranked among ESPN's predicted Top 100 NFL players in 2018: Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith at No. 25 and Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin at No. 38. Smith, who has been to three straight Pro Bowls and earned the highest safety grade ever last year by Pro Football Focus, is the ninth-ranked defender in the league. As for Martin, the only other offensive lineman to receive a higher ranking was teammate Tyron Smith (No. 32). 7 Current Fighting Irish players from Indiana are on the current roster as they prepare to take on in-state foe Ball State. The three on scholarship from the Hoosier State are fifth-year senior linebacker Drue Tranquill (Fort Wayne), senior rover Asmar Bilal (Indianap- olis) and freshman safety Paul Moala (Mishawaka). The four walk-ons are senior cornerback Brian Ball (Indianapolis), junior wide receiver Arion Shinaver (Carmel), freshman offensive lineman Max Siegel (Fishers) and freshman defensive back Marcus Thorne (Washington), whose father with the same name played for the Irish from 1993-95. 15 Different opponents from the state of Indiana that Notre Dame will have played in its football history following the Sept. 8 meeting with Ball State, which will be the first encounter with the Cardinals. The most prominent in-state foes have been Purdue with 86 meetings (most recently in 2014) and Indiana with 29 matchups (most recently in 1991). From 1892 versus South Bend High School to the 1924 national champions facing Wabash, schools from Indiana or in South Bend were prevalent on the schedule. After a 1920 meeting with Valparaiso, Notre Dame head coach Knute Rockne was so impressed with Crusaders head coach George Keogan's preparation that he hired him as the school's basketball coach. Keogan ended up getting inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 18 Head coaches among the 130 in the Football Bowl Sub- division (or 13.8 percent) who are still with the same team since 2010, with Notre Dame's BRIAN KELLY among them. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has the longest tenure with 20 years, starting in 1999, while TCU's Gary Patterson is next at 18 seasons. Notre Dame will face two of the coaches back to back this year: Navy's Ken Niumatalolo (since 2008) Oct. 27 and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald (since 2006) Nov. 3. Among those 18, Kel- ly's .670 winning percentage (69-34, including 21 vacated wins in 2012-13) is the sixth best, behind Alabama's Nick Saban (.868), Clemson's Dabo Swinney (.771), Patterson (.737), Michigan State's Mark Dantonio (.690) and Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy (.683). 103 Games coached by Kelly at Notre Dame prior to this year's opener. A common question asked every year is should the Irish receive or defer if they win the coin toss. Per Blue & Gold Illustrated football analyst Bryan Driskell, in Kelly's first eight seasons Notre Dame was 53-24 (.688) when it started the game with the ball, and 16-10 (.615) when it began on defense. Against ranked teams the Irish were 10-9 (.526) when they started the contest with the ball and 3-8 (.273) when they began on defense. 2000 Was the most recent season until this one that Notre Dame opened a football campaign with three consecu- tive home games. That 2000 edition began with a 24-10 win versus No. 23 Texas A&M, a 27-24 overtime loss to No. 1 Nebraska and a 23-21 triumph over No. 13 Purdue (which would go to the Rose Bowl) on a Nicholas Setta field goal as time expired. The Irish would finish the regular season 9-2 and No. 10 before losing 41-9 to Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl. Since the opening of Notre Dame Stadium in 1930, the Irish have begun six other seasons with three contests at home (final record in parentheses): 1930 (10-0), 1932 (7-2), 1934 (6-3), 1936 (6-2-1), 1939 (7-2) and 1978 (9-3). ✦ BY THE NUMBERS PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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