Brian Kelly will begin the season in Dublin, Ireland against Navy they'll then be home four of the next five weeks. Photo Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Know the Opponent: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Our 12thteam in our series is the second entry that Pac-12 teams will see multiple times in 2012. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face Stanford October 13, 1:30 pm NBC and travel to Los Angeles on November 24 to face Southern California. Last season Brian Kelly’s team went 8-5 including losses to USC and Stanford.

Sophomore Andrew Hendrix will get the chance to start for ND after over taking junior Tommy Rees who got the bulk of the starts last year. Hendrix only had 249 yards on 18-of-37 with one touchdown pass where Rees had 2,871 yards with 20 TD’s against 14 interceptions.

The Irish return their leading rusher from a year ago with junior Cierre Wood who ran for 1,102 yards with nine scores including a 5.1 yards per carry average. Hendrix had 162 yards on 25 carries with a score.

Notre Dame will need to replace Michael Floyd who was drafted but they should have an ok stable of options. Junior tight end Tyler Eifert is the team’s leading returning receiver with 803 yards and five scores. Senior Theo Riddick who also got 14 carries at running back for 68 yards but caught 38 passes for 436 yards with three touchdowns.

Senior inside linebacker Manti Te’o will lead the defense after a 128 tackle junior campaign which included 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. After him the team will be looking to replace several guys from last season, junior linebacker Dan Fox will be counted on after a 48 tackle season.

The Irish start the season in Dublin, Ireland and after that they’ll be home or near South Bend after with only a road trip to East Lansing and to Chicago to face Miami (FL) at Soldier Field. Notre Dame has a fairly tough schedule filled with teams who went bowling last season. In the end I think they get the needed win total to go bowling for the third straight season.

2012 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Schedule –

v. Navy (Dublin, Ireland) 9/1
Purdue 9/8
@Michigan State 9/15
Michigan 9/22
v. Miami (FL) (Soldier Field/Chicago, Illinois) 10/6
Stanford 10/13
BYU 10/20
@Oklahoma 10/27
Pittsburgh 11/3
@Boston College 11/10
Wake Forest 11/17
@Southern California 11/24

Check out the entire archive of “Know the Opponents,” a series of all Pac-12 non-conference opponent previews, here.

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