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Notre Dame vs. Miami: Fighting Irish look to continue strong start

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish look to continue their impressive start to the season against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday. Notre Dame's staunch defense has been instrumental in their 4-0 start.

Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have gotten off to a surprising 4-0 start, and they find themselves ranked No. 9 in the AP poll heading into their Soldier Field showdown against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday.

So just how have they accomplished this fantastic start? CSN Chicago's J.J. Stankevitz has broken down some eye-opening numbers that help explain the Fighting Irish's success.

To start, the Notre Dame defense has been nothing short of phenomenal. They have allowed just four plays over 30 yards, two red zone touchdowns and just nine points per game. That points against mark is third best in the country, with only Alabama and TCU giving up fewer.

Furthermore, the Fighting Irish have forced a whopping 13 turnovers, including eight interceptions. College football stat man Bill Connelly has found that luck has been on the Irish's side when it comes to all of these interceptions, as Notre Dame has intercepted an abnormally high percentage of their total passes defended. But there's also no doubt that the Irish have created some of their own luck.

Offensively, Notre Dame has not been all that prolific according to basic statistics, but they have done a remarkable job taking care of the ball. They have only turned the ball over four times, compared with 15 times through four games last year.

The offense also boasts a No. 28 ranking according to S&P+, a system that measures the success of every play run. Notre Dame's offensive ranking has been bolstered by their tough schedule so, while the offense has not been pretty at times, things are not as bad as they seem.