Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 24, 2018

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

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Page 6 of 55 SEPT. 24, 2018 7 UNDER THE DOME The most important news to Notre Dame after the first two games was a 2-0 record and No. 8 national ranking. Possibly the most distressing was in those two contests it averaged only 124.5 rushing yards per game and 2.83 yards per carry, ranking 105th and 119th nationally, respectively, among 129 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. "I don't know what the standard is for running the ball," head coach Brian Kelly said the day after the Ball State game on trying to get the ground attack untracked. "We're 2-0. Is there a particular number that we're looking for? "… I don't think there's like a particular num- ber that we're shooting for other than it's com- plementing what we do offensively so we can win football games." Numbers can indeed be arbitrary, if not down- right misleading. Sometimes, though, they speak for themselves. In the three regular seasons under Kelly (out of eight) that Notre Dame averaged more than 200 rushing yards it fashioned a 31-5 (.861) record and vied for top-five and top-10 finishes (No. 4 once and No. 11 twice). In the other five, it had a 147.9 average and was 37-27 (.578). In the broader picture, only once ever has Notre Dame finished in the top 10 with less than 190.9 yards rushing per game — the 9-3 team in 2005 with a 147.1 figure under first-year head coach Charlie Weis. Here were the 10 lowest rushing figures at Notre Dame since 1946 and the final record: Rk. Average (Year) Record 1. 75.25 (2007) 3-9 2. 109.7 (2008) 7-6 3. 125.7 (2006) 10-3 (No. 17) 4. 126.6 (2010) 8-5 5. 127.4 (2004) 6-6 6. 135.2 (1959) 5-5 7. 137.9 (1962) 5-5 8. 138.9 (2011) 8-5 9. 139.4 (2002) 10-3 (No. 17) 10. 147.1 (2005) 9-3 (No. 9) — Lou Somogyi 212.5 rushing yards per game (the most until last season) — but he was never going to be Moore. His ghost was always going to hover. Thus, Colletto left for the NFL, and soon thereafter won a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, Hiestand's crew last year won the — you got it — the Joe Moore Award as the nation's top of- fensive line. Of course, it's easy to overlook that in Moore's final season the Irish lost at home to Ohio State while rushing for only 126 yards, and two weeks later totaled 67 yards on 37 carries in another home loss to Air Force. Lest we forget, it wasn't too long ago that Hiestand was part of a 4-8 staff in 2016 that included its own snafus, even with future first-round picks along the line. Upon further review, Kelly said the first objective for the line is to rid itself of paralysis by analysis and to develop confidence during the week in the preparation and game plan. "The bottom line relative to some of the things that went on up front was just a little bit too much indecision, a little bit too much thinking," he said. "We need to get off the ball, hit some people in the nose and let's get rolling. "They know the standard of play wasn't what it needs to be. I think everybody, including myself, wants it corrected. … We expect to see that come to fruition." It will have to in order to block out the noise — as well as the opponent. ✦ GARTH BROOKS AT NOTRE DAME STADIUM SHOP NOW O C T O B E R 2 0 Running Data

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