Win extends Kelly’s 19-game streak
Douglas Farmer | Monday, September 6, 2010
A new era
Irish coach Brian Kelly extended his regular-season winning streak to 19 games. Only one active Football Bowl Subdivision coach has won more consecutive regular-season games. Chris Peterson of Boise State has won 25 straight.
By winning his debut, Kelly fit in with the vast majority of Irish football coaches. Notre Dame coaches are 26-3 in their debuts since 1896. Only one coach — Lou Holtz, the last Irish coach to win a National Championship — has lost his debut since 1934.
The season-opening victory is Notre Dame’s fifth in the past six years.
More on debuts
Kelly was not the only one making his debut for Notre Dame.
Six freshmen, and a total of 14 players, saw their first action Saturday. Sophomore running back Cierre Wood took the first seven carries of his career for 58 yards, while sophomore linebacker Carlo Calabrese led the Irish with nine tackles.
Freshmen making their Irish debuts were cornerback Lo Wood, receivers TJ Jones, Bennett Jackson and Austin Collinsworth, and linebackers Prince Shembo and Danny Spond.
After making three field goals, of 22-, 46- and 37-yards, respectively, senior kicker David Ruffer is now a perfect eight-for-eight in his career. The 46-yard kick is a career-long for Ruffer.
Freshman receiver Bennett Jackson may not have gotten in on any offensive snaps, but he made an impact on the stats sheet with four tackles on kickoff returns.
“I focused on getting down the field and getting off a few blocks and making the tackle,” Jackson said. “We worked it all week so we knew what to do. I was pretty much like the sword and the shield trying to get straight through the blocking.”
Senior cornerback Darrin Walls’ last two interceptions have both come against Purdue. Walls intercepted Purdue quarterback Robert Marve in the first quarter Saturday, his first interception since meeting Purdue last season.
Senior nose tackle Ian Williams has two interceptions in his career, one in the fourth quarter Saturday and one last season against Washington State in San Antonio. Both came in Irish victories.