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 7 UNDER THE DOME 3 Notre Dame women's basketball players were named to preseason watch lists: sophomore Olivia Miles for the Nancy Lieberman Award (given an- nually to the top point guard in the nation), sophomore Sonia Citron for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year award and senior forward Maddy Westbeld for the Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year award. 2 Fighting Irish women's basketball players have won an NCAA cham- pionship, a WNBA championship and an Olympic gold medal: Ruth Riley and JACKIE YOUNG. Riley led the Irish to the 2001 national championship, scoring the final four points of the game for a 68-66 victory over Purdue in the title game. As a pro, she helped the Detroit Shock win WNBA titles in 2003 and 2006. In between, she was part of the gold-medal-winning United States team in the 2004 Olympics. Young helped the Fighting Irish win the national championship in 2018, earned a gold medal in women's 3X3 basketball at the 2020 Olympics and has now won back-to-back WNBA titles in 2022 and 2023 with the Las Vegas Aces. She started all nine playoff games this year, and averaged 16.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 34.7 minutes of action per game. 4th In the country is where Notre Dame ranked in red zone defense through Week 8 this season. The Irish allowed only 9 touchdowns and 7 field goals on their opponents' first 25 trips into the red zone for a .640 scoring percentage and a .360 touchdown rate. Both of those figures represent significant improvement from last season. In 2022, the Irish finished 129th out of 130 FBS teams after allowing opponents to score inside the red zone at a .941 mark (32 of 34). They allowed 27 touchdowns on those 34 trips for a .794 touchdown rate, which was the worst in the country. 6.8 Million viewers across all platforms for the Notre Dame-USC game Oct. 14, per NBC Sports. That made it the most-watched matchup between those two rivals since the "Bush Push" in 2005 in which the No. 1 Trojans topped the No. 9 Irish 34-31. 22 Games is how long it took Marcus Freeman to notch two victories — 35-14 over No. 4 Clemson on Nov. 5, 2022, and 48-20 over No. 10 USC on Oct. 14, 2023 — versus teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll at the time of the game, the fifth-fastest for an Irish head coach. Rk. Coach Games To Get Two Top-10 Wins 1. Frank Leahy 8 2. Terry Brennan 16 3. Gerry Faust 19 4. Ara Parseghian 21 5. Marcus Freeman* 22 6. Lou Holtz 24 Dan Devine 24 8. Tyrone Willingham 27 9. Joe Kuharich 28 * Has six wins against ranked foes in 22 games, tying Brennan for the most by an Irish head coach in his first two seasons 10th Was where the Notre Dame women's basketball team was ranked in the preseason Associated Press poll for the 2023- 24 season. It is the second straight year — and the ninth time in the past 12 years — the Fighting Irish earned a preseason top-10 ranking. The Irish have nine games on their schedule against eight teams that also earned a spot in the preseason AP poll: No. 2 Connecticut (Jan. 27), No. 6 South Carolina (Nov. 6), No. 8 Virginia Tech (Feb. 29), No. 11 Tennes- see (Nov. 29), No. 16 North Carolina (Jan. 7), No. 17 Louisville (Feb. 8 and March 3), No. 18 Florida State (Feb. 11) and No. 23 Illinois (Nov. 18). 16 Years between instances of a Fighting Irish defender recording 2 interceptions and returning a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the same game. Prior to senior safety Xavier Watts achieving that feat versus USC Oct. 14, the last time it happened was when linebacker Maurice Crum had a monster game in a 20-6 victory at UCLA on Oct. 6, 2007. In that contest, Crum led the team with 8 tackles while also contributing 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries — one of which he returned 34 yards for a touchdown to ice the win — and 2 interceptions. All told, only 16 players in the FBS have had a game with 2 picks and 1 fumble return TD since 1996, per Notre Dame media relations and Stats Perform. 294,000 Followers on social media (Instagram, X and TikTok) for Notre Dame graduate student quarterback Sam Hartman as of Oct. 26, per On3. Hartman had 135,000 followers on Sept. 19, prior to a stretch of four consecutive prime-time games against ranked opponents. Although the Irish went only 2-2 against Ohio State, Duke, Louisville and USC, Hartman added approximately 159,000 new followers. Hartman holds a $1.4 million NIL Valuation, which ranked No. 7 in On3's college football NIL rankings. ✦ BY THE NUMBERS PHOTO COURTESY LAS VEGAS ACES

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