2010 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

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2010 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football
Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo.svg
Sun Bowl champion
Sun Bowl, W 33–17 vs. Miami (FL)
Conference Independent
2010 record 8–5
Head coach Brian Kelly (1st season)
Offensive coordinator Charley Molnar (1st season)
Offensive scheme Spread
Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco (1st season)
Base defense 3–4
Home stadium Notre Dame Stadium
(Capacity: 80,795)
← 2009
2011 →

The 2010 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame in the 2010 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Brian Kelly and played its home games at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. This was Kelly's first season as Notre Dame's head coach, after leading the Cincinnati Bearcats to a 12–0 regular season and BCS bowl berth. In 2010, Notre Dame's regular season schedule was ranked the most difficult schedule in the nation with a Team Opposition Record Percentage of .6529 (the poll published by the NCAA only includes wins against Division 1 teams). They finished the season 8–5 and were invited to the Sun Bowl where they defeated the Miami Hurricanes, 33–17.


Coaching changes[edit]

Following the 2009 season, Notre Dame fired head coach Charlie Weis after the Irish finished 6-6, well below expectations of competing for a BCS bowl berth.[1] Brian Kelly was named as his replacement on Dec 10, 2009.[2] Running Backs coach Tony Alford was the lone assistant retained from Weis's staff.[3] Before Rob Ianello could be considered, he took the head job at the University of Akron [4] Ron Powlus followed Ianello to Akron.

Player departures[edit]

Irish stars Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate chose to forgo their final years of eligibility and declare for the 2010 NFL draft.[5][6] The Irish also lost a number of seniors to graduation, including linemen Eric Olsen, Paul Duncan and four-year starter Sam Young. Other notable losses included running back James Aldridge, wideout Robby Parris, and George West on offense. On defense, ND lost senior captains Kyle McCarthy and Scott Smith, Raeshon McNeil, Sergio Brown, John Ryan and Ray Herring to graduation. Standout special teams player Mike Anello also finished his final year of eligibility. Sophomore defensive back E.J Banks left the team in August 2010, but will still be enrolled at the school. On August 31, within days of the September 4 season opener against Purdue, sophomore wide receiver Shaquelle Evans was granted his release from the team, and decided to enroll at UCLA.[7] Freshman Derek Roback also left the program in early September, as his desire to play quarterback led to his transfer to Ohio[8]

Player additions[edit]

With his first recruiting class, Brian Kelly received 23 signed commitments from high school players across the United States. Among them was five early-enrollees: Quarterback Tommy Rees, Wide Receiver Tai-ler Jones, Cornerback Lo Wood, Cornerback Spencer Boyd and Safety Chris Badger. Spencer Boyd transferred to USF in early July,[9] and Chris Badger left on a two-year Mormon mission to Ecuador in August.[10] On April 2, 2010 Notre Dame recruit Matt James, who committed to Notre Dame on National Signing Day, died when he fell from a three-story hotel balcony in Panama City, Florida.[11]


Coaching staff[edit]

Name Position Year at Notre Dame Alma Mater (Year)
Brian Kelly Head Coach 1st Assumption (1982)
Bob Diaco Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers 1st Iowa (1995)
Charley Molnar Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks 1st Lock Haven (1984)
Mike Elston Defensive Line/Special Teams Coordinator 1st Michigan (1998)
Chuck Martin Defensive Backs/Recruiting Coordinator 1st Millikin (1990)
Ed Warriner Offensive Line 1st Mount Union (1984)
Mike Denbrock Tight Ends 1st (second stint) Grand Valley State (1987)
Tony Alford Wide Receivers 1st Colorado State (1992)
Tim Hinton Running Backs 1st Wilmington (1982)
Kerry Cooks Outside Linebackers 1st Iowa (2000)
Paul Longo Strength and conditioning 1st Wayne State University (1981)


Notre Dame Fighting Irish roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

  • 28 Austin Collinsworth (FR)
  • 3 Michael Floyd (JR)
  • 42 Dan Franco (SR)
  • 21 Barry Gallup Jr. (SR)
  • 81 John Goodman (JR)
  • 38 Christopher Gurries (SR)
  • 86 Bennett Jackson (FR)
  • 7 T. J. Jones (FR)
  • 18 Duval Kamara (SR)
  • 6 Theo Riddick (S0)
  • 87 Daniel Smith (FR)
  • 19 Robby Toma (SO)
  • 1 Deion Walker (JR)
Tight Ends
  • 80 Tyler Eifert (SO)
  • 88 Jake Golic (SO)
  • 83 Mike Ragone (SR)
  • 9 Kyle Rudolph (JR)
  • 82 Alex Welch (FR)
  • 41 Bobby Burger FB (SR)


Offensive Guard

Offensive Tackle

  • 72 Alex Bullard (SO)
  • 73 Lane Clelland (JR)
  • 75 Taylor Dever (SR)
  • 74 Christian Lombard (FR)
  • 71 Dennis Mahoney (JR)
  • 70 Zack Martin (SO)
  • 64 Tate Nichols (FR)
  • 77 Matt Romine (SR)


Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 4 3:30 p.m. Purdue Notre Dame StadiumSouth Bend, IN (Shillelagh Trophy) NBC W 23–12   80,795
September 11 3:30 p.m. Michigan No. 22 Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN (Michigan–Notre Dame rivalry) NBC L 24–28   80,795
September 18 8:00 p.m. at Michigan State Spartan StadiumEast Lansing, MI (Megaphone Trophy) ABC L 31–34 OT  78,411
September 25 3:30 p.m. No. 16 Stanford Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN (Legends Trophy) NBC L 14–37   80,795
October 2 8:00 p.m. at Boston College Alumni StadiumChestnut Hill, MA (Holy War) ABC W 31–13   44,500
October 9 3:30 p.m. Pittsburgh Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN (Rivalry) NBC W 23–17   80,795
October 16 2:30 p.m. Western Michigan Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN NBC W 44–20   80,795
October 23 12:00 p.m. vs. Navy New Meadowlands StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ (Rivalry) CBS L 17–35   75,614
October 30 2:30 p.m. Tulsa Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN NBC L 27–28   80,795
November 13 2:30 p.m. No. 15 Utah Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, IN NBC W 28–3   80,795
November 20 7:00 p.m. vs. Army Yankee StadiumBronx, NY (Rivalry / Shamrock Series) NBC W 27–3   54,251
November 27 8:00 p.m. at USC Los Angeles Memorial ColiseumLos Angeles, CA (Jeweled Shillelagh) ABC W 20–16   85,417
December 31 2:00 p.m. vs. Miami (FL) Sun Bowl StadiumEl Paso, TX (Sun Bowl) CBS W 33–17   54,021
daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Eastern Time.

Game summaries[edit]


1 2 3 4 Total
Boilermakers 0 3 0 9 12
Fighting Irish 7 6 7 3 23


1 2 3 4 Total
Wolverines 14 7 0 7 28
Fighting Irish 7 0 10 7 24

Michigan State[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Fighting Irish 7 0 14 7 3 31
Spartans 0 7 14 7 6 34


1 2 3 4 Total
#16 Cardinal 10 6 3 18 37
Fighting Irish 3 3 0 8 14

Boston College[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Fighting Irish 21 3 7 0 31
Eagles 7 6 0 0 13


1 2 3 4 Total
Panthers 3 0 7 7 17
Fighting Irish 7 10 3 3 23

Western Michigan[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 10 0 3 20
Fighting Irish 7 20 14 3 44


1 2 3 4 Total
Fighting Irish 3 7 0 7 17
Midshipmen 7 14 14 0 35


1 2 3 4 Total
Golden Hurricane 12 6 7 3 28
Fighting Irish 13 7 7 0 27


1 2 3 4 Total
#15 Utes 3 0 0 0 3
Fighting Irish 7 7 14 0 28


Shamrock Series
1 2 3 4 Total
Army 3 0 0 0 3
Notre Dame 0 17 10 0 27


1 2 3 4 Total
Notre Dame 0 13 0 7 20
USC 3 0 10 3 16

On a rainy Southern California night, the Trojans' Joe Houston kicked a 45-yard field goal to give USC a first quarter lead. The second quarter, however, belonged to the Irish, as QB Tommy Rees completed a pair of 1-yard pass touchdowns to Michael Floyd and Duval Kamara, with Kamara's coming just before the half. David Ruffer missed the extra point on the second touchdown. In the third quarter, the Trojans kicked a field goal and Mitch Mustain ran in for a 1-yard touchtown, which was aided by a Notre Dame fumble. Joe Houston's 37-yard field goal gave the Trojans a fourth quarter lead. But Notre Dame came back with a 5-yard rush touchdown by Robert Hughes to give the Irish the lead back and the game. Notre Dame finally ended USC's streak of consecutive victories, which dated back to 2001. USC's attempt to come back was stopped by a Notre Dame interception at the one-yard line.

Miami (FL)[edit]

Tommy Rees calls an audible at the 2010 Sun Bowl.
1 2 3 4 Total
Notre Dame 14 13 3 3 33
Miami (FL) 0 3 0 14 17

Tommy Rees passed for 201 yards and two touchdowns to Michael Floyd as Notre Dame beat Miami 33-17. After a 20-year hiatus in the series, it was all Irish in the latest installment of a storied rivalry that became known during the 1980s as "Catholics versus Convicts." The Irish reached the end zone on three of its first four possessions. Rees tossed TD passes of 3 and 34 yards to Floyd and Cierre Wood broke free on a 34-yard scoring run. David Ruffer added field goals from 40, 50 and 19 yards. The Irish defense picked off Miami starting quarterback Jacory Harris 3 times and logged 4 total interceptions in the first half to help the team jump out to a 27-0 lead in the first half. The Hurricanes tried to rally in the 4th quarter behind backup quarterback Stephen Morris, who threw a 6-yard touchdown to Leonard Hankerson and a 42-yard scoring play to Tommy Streeter, but it was too late by then. Rees was able to make some key first downs to effectively run out the clock late in the 4th quarter.[12] The game sold out in 21 hours, the fastest in the Sun Bowl's 77-year history, and the crowd of 54,021 set a bowl attendance record. Floyd's two touchdowns pushed him past Jeff Samardzija and Golden Tate to claim 28 career touchdowns, the most in Irish history. Senior safety Harrison Smith logged three interceptions in the first half, tying the Sun Bowl record. The Irish victory also made Brian Kelly the first Fighting Irish coach to win a bowl game in his first season (Notre Dame did not play in bowl-games from the 1925 through 1968 seasons due to a self-imposed ban on post-season play).[12]

Post Season[edit]


National Awards

David Ruffer (finalist)[13]


Michael Floyd, WR Hon. Mention
Manti Te'o, LB Hon. Mention 2
David Ruffer, K 3 2
†denotes consensus selection. NCAA recognizes AP, AFCA, FWAA, SN and WCFF 1st teams for consensus selections      Source: