Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 14, 2020

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

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Page 8 of 55 NOV. 14, 2020 9 UNDER THE DOME 2 Players on the Notre Dame football team — fifth-year senior de- fensive end Daelin Hayes and fifth-year senior wide receiver BEN SKOWRONEK — added to the watch list for the 2020 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award. The award annually recognizes college football student-athletes from each division who are coming back from injury or illness. Named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week and Pro Football Focus Defensive MVP of the Week for his Oct. 31 performance in the 31-13 win at Georgia Tech, Hayes missed the final 10 games of 2019 because of shoulder surgery. Skowronek, a graduate transfer from Northwestern, underwent ankle sur- gery last season that shelved him. Last year, current sixth-year safety Shaun Crawford was one of six honorable mention figures listed for the Comeback Player of the Year Award. 3 November games for the Fighting Irish this season, mainly because of the Nov. 21 bye after final examinations week on Nov. 15-20. It is the first time since head coach Brian Kelly's first season in 2010, and second time overall since 2005, the Fighting Irish will play only three games in November. 3.338 Cumulative grade point average posted by Note Dame men's basketball in 2019-20 (3.555 in the spring semester) to earn a Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) for the fourth consecutive year. Each of Notre Dame's 11 players from last year earned a grade point average above 3.0 (4.0 scale), including a one-year Masters of Business Administration degree for exit- ing fifth-year senior Rex Pflueger. Notre Dame, Villanova, Seton Hall and Stanford are the only four power conference men's basketball teams to earn NABC Team Academic Excellence Awards in each of the last four seasons. 4 Months the No. 4-ranked Notre Dame men's cross country team will wait between winning the ACC Championships Oct. 30 at Cary, N.C., and competing in the 2020 NCAA Championships in March 2021 after COVID-19 precautions postponed the national event. For more on this second ACC championship in three years, see page 50. 20 National ranking of Notre Dame in ESPN's preseason women's basketball poll this fall, even though first-year head coach Niele Ivey's Fighting Irish are coming off a 13-18 campaign. Ravaged by attrition and injuries last season, Notre Dame is expected to at least return to NCAA Tournament play after having advanced to the Final Four in seven of the nine previous seasons. The only two ACC teams listed ahead of it are Louisville (No. 5) and North Carolina State (No. 7), while Syracuse is at No. 23. As of Nov. 6, the 2020-21 schedules for both the women's and men's teams have not yet been released, although the NCAA has decreed that the season can open as early as Nov. 25. 90.6 Percent of games won by Notre Dame (29-3) since the start of the 2018 season and prior to facing No. 1 Clemson last week- end. That was good for fourth place among the 11 teams that have made the College Football Playoff since its 2014 inception, behind Clemson (36-1, .973), Alabama (31-2, .939) and Ohio State (28-2, .933). Three other teams were over .800: Oklahoma (28-6, .824), and the SEC tandem of Georgia and LSU (27-6, .818). 571 Football players from Notre Dame, per Irish Athletics, who have spent time on an active 53-man NFL roster after eight new additions this year: linebacker Asmar Bilal, wide receiver Chase Claypool, safety Alohi Gilman, de- fensive end Khalid Kareem, tight end Cole Kmet, center Sam Mustipher, defensive end Julian Okwara and cornerback Troy Pride Jr. That represents the most among any school. ✦ BY THE NUMBERS PHOTO COURTERSY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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