Notre Dame Football Notebook – Navy ’12

A general view of Aviva Stadium in the third quarter of the game between the Navy Midshipmen and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Notre Dame won 50-10. (Photo - Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE)

Here are some notes from Notre Dame’s week one victory over Navy.

  • Kei’Varae Russell became the first true freshman in the history of Notre Dame to start the season opener at cornerback.  Most recently Robert Blanton and Darrin Walls both started games as freshmen.  Some other notable freshmen starters in the secondary include Todd Lyght, Tom Carter, Bobby Taylor, and Luther Bradley – all started at safety though.
  • 6 different players made their first career starts for Notre Dame on Saturday – quarterback Everett Golson, running back George Atkinson, offensive lineman Christian Lombard, wide receiver Daniel Smith, and safety Matthias Farley in addition to Russell. Additionlly, Troy Niklas made his first career start on offense after starting one game as a true freshman last year on defense at outside linebacker.
  • Notre Dame scored a touchdown on its opening drive for the first time since 2009 after failing to do so in each of Brian Kelly’s first two seasons at Notre Dame.  Notre Dame marched down to the 1 yard line against South Florida a year ago only to fumble and see USF return the ball 99 yards for a touchdown.
  • Davaris Daniels, Justin Ferguson, and Troy Niklas all recorded their first career catches against Navy.
  • Here is an amazing stat – Manti Te’o recorded his first career interception and his first career fumble recovery on Saturday.  What makes it amazing is that Te’o didn’t have one of either until this weekend.  Props to Pierce O’Leary who called this in his article on 7 questions facing the Notre Dame defense this season.
  • Theo Riddick recorded his first career 100 yard performance with 107 yards on 19 carries.  The senior who moved back to running back in the spring also scored two touchdowns – his first multiple rushing touchdown game of his career.
  • Notre Dame beat Navy by 40 points in back to back seasons now for the first time since 1993-94 and for just the third time overall (1969-70 being the third occurrence).  The back to back wins over Navy were actually the first back to back victories over the Middies since 2005-06.
  • Navy ran for 367 yards on Notre Dame in 2010 alone.  The last two seasons, the Middies have combined to gain just 345 yards combined running the ball – a far cry from the lost defense we all saw in the Meadowlands two seasons ago.
  • Everett Golson is the 3rd straight Notre Dame quarterback to win his first career start after 5 straight Irish QBs lost their starting debuts – Brady Quinn, Jimmy Cluasen, Demetrius Jones, Evan Sharpley, and Carlyle Holiday.
  • Brian Kelly has now won 6 straight games in which he has had a first time starting quarterback lining up under center with Golson joining Rees and Crist at Notre Dame and Zach Collaros, Tony Pike, and Chazz Anderson from Kelly’s tenure at Cincinnati.
  • After running for 293 yards on Saturday, Notre Dame is now 21-1 over the last 10 years in games in which they run for 200 or more yards. Here’s hoping to a lot more games in 2012 in which the Irish tally 200 or more yards.
  • Before last year’s Navy game, Notre Dame did not have multiple running backs each run for more than 1 touchdown since 2001.  The Irish have now accomplish the feat in each of the last two meetings with Navy after George Atkinson and Theo Riddick both found the end-zone twice.
  • Stephon Tuitt’s 77 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown was the 3rd longest in Notre Dame history and the longest since 1985.  And yes, I still can’t get over how fast Tuitt looked in the process.
  • Tyler Eifert passed Kyle Rudolph and Anthony Fasano on the all time receptions list for tight ends at Notre Dame moving into third place.
  • True freshmen who saw the field in their first career games were: Kei’Varae Russell, Justin Ferguson, Romeo Okwara, Ronnie Stanley, Davonte Neal, Sheldon Day, Nicky Barrati, Elijah Shumate, and Chris Brown.
  • Some sophomore who did not see action as true freshmen who saw their first career action include: Golson, Daniels, Nick Marton, Connor Hanrattay, Matt Hegarty, Ben Councell, Jalen Brown, Jarrett Grace, Tony Springmann, and Matthias Farley.

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