Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 4, 2023

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM NOV. 4, 2023 23 0 Red zone trips for Pittsburgh against Notre Dame. The Panthers' offense managed only 53 rushing yards (2.8 per carry) and 255 total yards, while turning the ball over 4 times (the fifth giveaway came on special teams). Pitt also was an abysmal 1 of 11 (9.1 percent) on third-down conversions. .801 Winning percentage (58-14-1) for Notre Dame coming off a bye week since 1950, per Notre Dame media relations. The Irish are 16-2 coming off a bye since 2010 and 2-0 under head coach Marcus Freeman. This was the sixth time the Irish faced Pitt com- ing off a bye, and they are now 5-1 in those games. 1st Career interception for sophomore cor- nerback Jaden Mickey came in the third quarter, and he returned it 43 yards for his first career touchdown. 3 Rushing touchdowns for junior running back Audric Estimé against the Panthers. It is the first time for an Irish player tallied 3 scoring runs in one game since Kyren Williams did it versus Clemson in 2020. Estimé has now rushed for double-digit touch- downs in back-to-back seasons — 11 in 2022 and 12 in 2023. 5 Takeaways by Notre Dame for the second con- secutive game. The Irish turned Pitt's miscues into 23 points and now have a +9 turnover margin on the season. 8.2 Yards per play for the Fighting Irish, who finished with 535 total yards. It was the first time Notre Dame gained at least 400 yards since Sept. 16 and was the third most this sea- son behind the Tennessee State (557) and Central Michigan (578) games. 12 Different Fighting Irish players caught at least 1 pass against the Panthers. Junior tight end Mitchell Evans led the way with 5 grabs for 66 yards. 51 -Point margin (58-7) was the most-lopsided defeat for Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi dur- ing his career and the Panthers' worst loss since a 60-6 beatdown by Lou Holtz-led Notre Dame in 1996. 58 Points for Notre Dame against Pitt — a new season high, eclipsing the 56 the Irish tallied versus Tennessee State Sept. 2. It is the first time since 2019 that Notre Dame has scored 50 or more points in two games in a single season. The Irish scored 50-plus three times in 2019 (66-14 over New Mexico, 52-0 over Bowling Green and 52-20 over Navy). 60 -Yard reception on the Fighting Irish's first offensive play of the second half for fresh- man wide receiver Rico Flores Jr., a new career high. 82 -Yard punt return by senior Chris Tyree in the first quarter made him the first Fight- ing Irish player to score a touchdown on a punt return, kick return, rush attempt and reception since Julius Jones (1999-2003). Irish legends Rocket Ismail (1988-90) and Tim Brown (1984-87) also accomplished that feat, per Notre Dame media relations. 102 Total punt return yards for Notre Dame against Pitt — the most since 2004 when the Irish had 104, also against the Panthers. In that contest, Carlyle Holiday had 4 returns for 103 yards with a long of 68. BY THE NUMBERS BY STEVE DOWNEY 6 Interceptions this season — the most in the FBS — for Notre Dame senior safety XAVIER WATTS after he pilfered two more passes against the Panthers. He also had 2 picks against USC Oct. 14, making him the first Fighting Irish defender to pick off 2 passes in back-to-back games since at least 1996, per Notre Dame media relations. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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