Notre Dame's Offense: And It Came To Pass
With a running attack that has been truly grounded the past two weeks — 47 yards in the 45-14 loss at Michigan and 106 at 2.8 yards per carry during the dramatic 21-20 11th-hour win versus Virginia Tech last week — it has come to pass for Notre Dame’s offense.
However, it cannot afford to come to pass too much. History bears that out.
When senior quarterback Ian Book ran in for the game-winning touchdown with 29 seconds remaining last week, it helped make possibly the first victory in Notre Dame history in which a Fighting Irish quarterback attempted more than 50 passes.
Book finished 29 of 53 through the air for 341 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Previously, the Irish had been 0-10 in games with 50-plus passes. Here’s the breakdown of those others:
63 —Terry Hanratty vs. Purdue, 1967: Lost 28-21
The junior completed 29, but also had four intercepted.
60 — Brady Quinn vs. Michigan State, 2005: Lost 44-41 in overtime
Completed 33 and helped the Irish rally from a 38-17 deficit to put the game into overtime.
59 — Brady Quinn vs. Purdue, 2003: Lost 23-10
Despite having future NFL running backs Julius Jones and Ryan Grant in the backfield, the freshman Quinn’s first career start, on the road no less, saw him air it out with 29 completions and 297 yards, while absorbing 15 hits and 14 knockdowns.
58 — Joe Theismann at USC, 1970: Lost 38-28
In a monsoon for the 9-0 Irish he completed 33 for a school-record 526 yards, but also had four interceptions and lost a wet ball in his own end zone for a USC score. The Irish upset No. 1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl, 24-11, to move up to No. 1, but the defeat in Los Angeles cost it the national title.
55 — Dayne Crist at Michigan State, 2010: Lost 34-31 in overtime
Completed 32 passes for 369 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception in head coach Brian Kelly’s third game at Notre Dame.
54 — Tommy Rees vs. Tulsa, 2010: Lost 28-27
Replacing an injured Crist, the freshman completed 33 passes for 334 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions, the last when the Irish were well within field goal range in the closing seconds but went for a fade to receiver Michael Floyd in the end zone.
52 — Everett Golson at Florida State, 2014: Lost 31-27
Brilliant effort versus No. 2 Seminoles saw him complete 31 for 313 yards and three scores — but a fourth touchdown, to Corey Robinson, with seconds remaining was erased by a controversial call on a "pick play."
52 — Brady Quinn vs. Florida State, 2003: Lost 37-0
The freshman completed only 20 for 175 yards and three interceptions in this whitewash.
51 — Tommy Rees at Michigan, 2013: Lost 41-30
Senior who is now the Fighting Irish quarterbacks coach completed 29 for 314 yards, two scores and two interceptions.
51 — Jimmy Clausen vs. Navy, 2009: Lost 23-21
His 37 completions (for 452 yards) is a single-game record, but the Irish failed to score four times in the red zone, including an interception and a fumble at the 1-yard line by Clausen. He also was sacked for a safety that proved to be game-deciding margin.