Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 16, 2015 Issue

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

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BY ANDREW OWENS T h e q u a r t e r b a c k s change, but the red zone results do not. Through Notre Dame's eighth game of the 2015 season, the Irish ranked 85th in the nation in red zone touchdown percent- age (57.6). Were the season to end at that point, the ranking of 85th nationally would actually be the third-best rate of the Brian Kelly era, behind only 2011 (28th) and 2014 (45th), and ahead of 2010 (87th), 2013 (100th) and 2012 (112th). Red zone woes can be overcome — Notre Dame's worst perfor- mance near the end zone came during the 12-1 season in 2012 — but it leaves little margin for error for a team eyeing a College Football Playoff berth. "It's certainly a num- ber that we're aware of. We have to really clean up the turnovers and convert field goals into touchdowns," Kelly said. "We just have to be more efficient down there and spend extra time in prac- tice in making sure that when we get into those areas, we convert them into touchdowns. "It's been the case a couple times on the road that it's really been an issue for us — Virginia, obviously, and of course against Temple. Both those games we had op- portunities to really lay some points on our op- position and didn't do it. "We'll take some extra time this week. We've done some more self- scouting in terms of play calling. But I think at the end of the day execution from everybody, a height- ened awareness of where we are, then a little bit more extra practice time [will help us]." One of the main cul- prits is turnovers. Enter- ing last week's Pitt game the Irish had 11 in the red zone the past two years, the most in the country. UNDER THE DOME RED ZONE WOES This season, Notre Dame has struggled again to finish long drives with touchdowns Sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer has often served as the de facto short-yardage back in Notre Dame's offense. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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