Five Notre Dame football records that will be tough to break

Bob Wieneke
South Bend Tribune

Records, as the saying goes, are made to be broken, as evidenced by Notre Dame senior place-kicker Kyle Brindza recently passing John Carney on the school's all-time field goals made list.

But a perusal of the school's record book indicates some impressive marks that will be very, very difficult to elbow into second place. Twenty-nine pages scouring the school's all-time lists produces two things -- illustrious name after illustrious name, and not a lot of records that seem to be out of reach. Here, however, are a few that appear to be too tough to reach.

Rushing attempts for a career, 889, Allen Pinkett (1982-85): That averages out to 222 carries per season, or 18.5 per game for a 12-game season. Not inconceivable, but there are a couple of factors going against it.

First, it's not just a one-back game anymore. Notre Dame through the first half of this season rotated three backs – Tarean Folston, Cam McDaniel and Greg Bryant – before Folston recently ascended to the top. The season-high in carries for an ND back this season is the 21 Folston had against Florida State.

That said, Folston enters Game 8 against Navy with 81 carries for the season and 148 on his career, meaning he would need 741 carries over the next 2 1/2 years to tie Pinkett's career mark. Over a 12-game season, he would have to average 25 carries per game to be near the mark. That's a lot of wear and tear to put on one guy.

Darius Walker, who had 693 carries from 2004-06, no doubt realized the beating his body was taking and decided why not be paid to do so, leaving school early for the NFL following the 2006 season. Walker didn't last long in pro football, but he was going to be the same back in the eyes of the pros following his junior year as he would have been following his senior year.

A back good enough to earn that many carries per game might be a back good enough to enter the NFL after his third season. The shelf life of a running back in the NFL isn't exactly a long one, and replays of college running backs being carted off following devastating injuries no doubt re-plays in the minds of star backs. And it can cause a good number of them to take the money and run.

Tackles in a game, 26, Bob Crable and Bob Golic: Yes, you can make the argument that multiple defenses means a multitude of players trotting on and off the field, meaning it's tough to rack up big tackle totals.

Take into consideration, though, how often Jaylon Smith leaves the field. He's today what Crable and Golic were in their era -- the best player on the defense who is the center of everything.

But 26 tackles in a game? Think back to the Stanford game and how good Smith was with his 14 tackles. Yep, he would have had to play almost another four quarters at that rate to produce what Crable and Golic were able to do, Golic against Michigan in 1978 and Crable against Clemson the following year.

While we're at it, how about the 521 career tackles Crable made? For perspective, Manti Te'o was a four-year player who played in more games than Crable, yet Crable made 84 more tackles.


Winning percentage by a head coach, .881, Knute Rockne (1918-30): Frank Leahy won 85 percent of his games, Ara Parseghian 83, Lou Holtz 76.

And they're not the top coaches at their school in terms of winning percentage.

That distinction belongs to Rockne, who went 105-12-5 in 13 seasons. His tenure included a hodgepodge of six, nine and 10-game seasons, but there was a consistency in that they were all stellar. How stellar? It's easier to point out the bad years (3-1-2 in 1918 and 5-4 in 1928) than it is to list the good ones.

The school has 12 seasons in which the Irish went unbeaten and untied (11 if you take away the 1-0 mark of 1889). Rockne's teams accounted for five of them.

Yards per reception in a season, 25.8, Matt Shelton (2004): You don't have to dig overly deep to see that this one will be hard to touch. Will Fuller enters Saturday night's game against Navy averaging 13.6 yards per-catch, Corey Robinson averages 13.3. Chris Brown 10.5. Getting the picture?

It's hard to believe it was 10 years ago already that Shelton was catching bombs from Brady Quinn, but it's been that long since the 6-foot, 172-pound Shelton set the single-season mark.

Shelton returned from a knee injury to catch a pass in the Insight Bowl loss to Oregon State to catch his 20th pass and reach the minimum to qualify. Shelton caught six touchdown passes that year -- from 46, 53, 27, 24, 33 and 36 yards.

With the proliferation of screens and offenses that use the short passing game essentially as a running attack, this mark may stand for a while.

Average yards per rush in a career, 7.6, Reggie Brooks (1989-92): Let's put it this way. If you handed the ball to Reggie once, you'd be looking at second-and-2. If you handed it to him again, you'd have a first down, and be 15 yards further up the field in two plays than when you started.

And people wanted to know why Holtz never threw to the tight end?

OK, some wiseguy is going to mention that backup quarterback Malik Zaire is averaging 16.8 yards per carry, and C.J. Prosise 19. Nice try. Folston leads the Irish this season with a 4.7 average.

Equally impressive is the average per rush in a single season (minimum 100 attempts). The leader there was George Gipp, who averaged 8.1 yards in 1920.

Right on his heels is Brooks, who averaged 8 yards per carry in 1992.

Former Notre Dame running back Allen Pinkett's 889 career rushing attempts should prove to be a tough school record to break. (SBT File Photo)