Notre Dame: Comparing 2020 To Past Strong Starts

A look at how Notre Dame's start in 2020 compares to its previous four best starts under Brian Kelly
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Notre Dame is off to a great start this season, jumping out to an 8-0 record for the third time during the Brian Kelly tenure. The Irish currently rank 2nd in the polls, which marks the sixth time that Notre Dame has ranked in the Top 10 after eight games in the season.

So clearly Notre Dame has been here before, but is the current start different than past great starts? We won't know the full answer until we get to the end of the season, but there are some differences.

Let's look at the numbers.

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This isn't the best offensive performance we've seen through eight games. Both the 2015 and 2017 offenses averaged more yards and yards per play, and the 2017 unit averaged more points per game.

This isn't the best defensive performance we've seen through eight games. The 2012 team was much better in points and yards per game, and the 2017 defense allowed fewer points.

What makes this team different is how well it is playing on both sides of the ball at the same time. The 2015 offense was outstanding, but it struggled on defense. The 2012 defense was brilliant, but its offense wasn't in the same ballpark as the current group from a statistical standpoint.

The point margin of victory for the 2020 team is significantly better than any other season, and the yards per game difference is also significantly better than past seasons.

The combination of strong offense (assuming the recent strong start continues) and strong defense is arguably the best of all the strong starts under Kelly.

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