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Gray records big day on ground

Jack Hefferon | Sunday, October 30, 2011

Senior running back Jonas Gray scored three touchdowns on Saturday, becoming the first Notre Dame player to rush for three scores since Travis Thomas accomplished the feat against Navy in 2007 and the first to do so in a non-overtime game since Darius Walker in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. After failing to run for a touchdown in his first 25 collegiate games, Gray has scored in each of his last five games for the Irish. The last Notre Dame running back to score a rushing touchdown in five consecutive games was Ryan Grant, who scored in six straight games in 2002.

Notre Dame scores on the ground

Both Gray and junior running back Cierre Wood rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the first half alone. The last time Notre Dame had two running backs rush for multiple touchdowns in a 34-24 victory over West Virginia in 2001, when Julius Jones and Tony Fisher each had two scores. Notre Dame’s seven rushing touchdowns marked the most running scores the Irish have compiled in a single game since a 48-0 shutout of Purdue in 1997, when they also totaled seven.

Blowout victory

The 56 points scored by Notre Dame was the most it has scored on a Navy defense since its 58-24 win in 1994. The 42-point margin of victory was the largest in the series since 1987, when the Irish defeated the Midshipmen by the score 56-13.

Rees ties, then breaks own record

Entering Saturday’s game, sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees’ longest career completion was a 37-yard toss. He tied that mark in the first quarter when he found junior wider receiver Theo Riddick for 37 yards. In the second quarter, Rees hit senior wide receiver Michael Floyd between the safeties for a 56-yard touchdown to break the record.