Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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Page 10 of 99 PRESEASON 2016 11 UNDER THE DOME 1 The rating of Notre Dame's 2016 offensive line by Pro Football Focus, which grades every play of each team. Despite the Fighting Irish losing first-round pick Ronnie Stanley and second-round selection Nick Martin, PFF evaluated Notre Dame with the top returning line, headlined by its bread-and-butter outside zone play. It named senior left tackle MIKE MCGLINCHEY a first-team All-American and junior left guard Quenton Nelson to the second unit. McGlinchey's +23.2 overall rating was the highest of any right tackle in 2015, and he graded out as the nation's No. 2 run blocker. Irish foes Stanford and USC were Nos. 2 and 4, while Appala- chian State (11-2 last season) was No. 3. 5 Players with the last name Jones on Notre Dame's 2016 team, a school re- cord. A freshman class with running back Tony Jones Jr. plus linebackers Jonathan Jones and Jamir Jones — younger brother of fifth-year senior nose guard Jarron Jones — bolstered the numbers, which includes sophomore tight end Alizé Jones, who is academically ineligible this season. The previ- ous record for most players with the surname Jones was 1999, when the football roster included offensive guard Jim Jones, defensive lineman Antwon Jones and running back Julius Jones. 10 Ranking of Brian Kelly in FOX Sports' Stewart Mandel's top 20 college football coaches for 2016, with Alabama's Nick Sa- ban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer the obvious No. 1 and No. 2 picks. Rounding out the top 10 are TCU's Gary Patterson, Michi- gan State's Mark Dantonio, Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Stanford's David Shaw, Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Kelly. In addition to hosting Dantonio's Spartans (Sept. 17) and Shaw's Cardinal (Oct. 15), the Irish also face Navy's Ken Niumatalolo (No. 15) and Duke's David Cutcliffe (No. 16) this season. 14 Turnovers committed by Notre Dame the past two seasons inside the opponent's 20- yard line — six in 2014 and eight in 2015 — the most in the country. That doesn't include a fumble by quar- terback DeShone Kizer at Stanford's 23-yard line with 21 seconds left in the first half in what would be a 38-36 loss. The 14 miscues helped result in numerous defeats or a loss of "style points" in victory. Many solutions are offered to help improve Notre Dame's red-zone woes. The most elementary one is to protect the football. 24 Games played in Notre Dame Stadium the past four sea- sons, with last year's graduating Irish senior class finishing 21-3, highlighted by 6-0 marks in 2012 and 2015. In the 22 years from 1990-2011, Notre Dame finished unbeaten at home only once (1998). The 21 home wins tied the school record for most over four seasons with the class of 1991 (21-2) and class of 1992 (21-3). Holding serve at home is a primary step toward a potential top-10 finish. 106-16-5 Record for Notre Dame in football openers, 76-11-3 at home and 30-5-2 on the road. This includes 2-1 versus Texas — losing 7-6 in 1934 at home, but winning 21-0 at home in 1954 and 38-3 at home in 2015. Since the turn of the century, Notre Dame has lost the opener four times: 2001 at Nebraska (27-10), 2004 at BYU (20-17), 2007 Georgia Tech (33-3) and 2011 South Florida (23-20). 1993 The last season in which Notre Dame was in the top 10 in both the Associated Press preseason and final polls, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this season. The 1993 campaign saw the Fighting Irish start at No. 7 in the AP and finish No. 2, despite defeating No. 1 Florida State that November. Notre Dame begins this season ranked No. 10 in the AP. BY THE NUMBERS PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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