Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 24, 2014 Issue

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

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GAME PREVIEW: LOUISVILLE Redshirt sophomore safety Gerod Holliman has amassed an astounding 13 interceptions (only one other player has more than six) during Louisville's 7‑3 start. He had three in the victory at Boston College Nov. 8 and two against Florida State the previous week — and dropped another on the run that might have given the Cardinals a 10‑point lead in the fourth quarter. Louisville leads the nation in in‑ terceptions with 22 — a volatile mix for the Irish and quarterback Everett Golson, who has been turnover prone with 17 in the six games from Sept. 27 through Nov. 8. Senior running back Michael Dyer, also sidelined early in the year with a deep thigh bruise, was twice a 1,000‑ yard rusher at Auburn and earned MVP accolades with 143 yards in the national title victory versus Oregon in January 2011. Trouble with the law moved him to Arkansas State before he landed at Louisville. Once healthy, Dyer ran for 173 yards in a victory against North Carolina State Oct. 18, followed by a 134‑yard effort versus No. 2 Florida State in the 42‑31 loss 12 days later. BEGINNER'S LUCK Louisville will become the 70th different football team to visit Notre Dame Stadium since the edifice first opened in 1930. Among the previous 69, a dozen won in their debut at the stadium, including an alarming pat‑ tern of three in a row from 2009‑11. Here are the teams that won in their initial try: USC (1931) — 16‑14 Purdue (1933) — 19‑0 Texas (1934) — 7‑6 Iowa (1940) — 7‑0 Michigan (1942) — 32‑20 Missouri (1972) — 30‑26 Clemson (1979) — 16‑10 Florida State (1981) — 19‑13 Penn State (1982) — 24‑14 Connecticut (2009) — 33‑30 (OT) Tulsa (2010) — 28‑27 One of head coach Brian Kelly's prime mandates when he accepted the Notre Dame job was to re‑establish a home field advantage. After winning their last two home games in 2011, versus Navy (56‑14), and Boston College (16‑14), the Irish went unbeaten at home in 2012 (6‑0) for the first time in 14 years and followed with a 5‑1 mark in 2013, with the lone defeat coming to Oklahoma. This year, its first on FieldTurf, Notre Dame is 5‑0 to raise its mark to 18‑1 in its last 19 home contests. That is the best stretch of success the team has achieved in Notre Dame Stadium since a 19‑game winning streak on its own sod from 1987‑90. During the current 18‑1 achievement, 11 of the victories were by seven or fewer points. Plus, last year's senior day was a hard‑fought 23‑13 win against BYU. With an extra week to prepare, Lou‑ isville is expected to provide another huge challenge to an Irish team that will attempt to finish unblemished on its home field for the second time in three years, a first since achieving it three years in a row from 1987‑89. ✦

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