Feb. 9, 2005

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The 2004 season was Notre Dame’s 116th season of competition on the football field. In 116 seasons of play, Notre Dame has posted winning records in 99 seasons. Notre Dame is considered to have won 11 national championships, including eight since the advent of the Associated Press rankings in 1936. Notre Dame has posted at least seven victories a year in 71 of 116 seasons including 33 seasons of at least nine wins and have won at least 10 games in a season a staggering 14 times in its history, earning 11 victories a total of five times. Notre Dame has produced unbeaten seasons 22 times. Notre Dame has an all-time record of 802-263-42 for a winning percentage of .743, good for second nationally in victories behind Michigan (842 victories). The Insight Bowl was Notre Dame’s 1,107th game of major college football. Notre Dame has an all-time home record of 440-99-13 (.809) in home games (287-87-5 in Notre Dame Stadium since 1930 [.764]), a road record of 262-132-22 (.653) and is 100-32-7 (.745) at neutral sites, including a 13-13 (.500) record in bowl games. Notre Dame’s winning percentage of .743 ranks second all-time among NCAA Division I-A schools (only Michigan ranks ahead of the Irish, with a winning percentage of .745). Other notable historical facts regarding Notre Dame football:

• Notre Dame is one of only 10 Division I-A programs to have earned 700 victories in its football history.

• The Irish collected the program’s 800th football victory during the 2004 season when Notre Dame knocked off Stanford, 23-15, at Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 9.

• The 1,100th game in Notre Dame football history occurred on Oct. 2 against Purdue (a 41-16 loss at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame’s 100th all-time victory at a neutral site occurred vs. Navy on Oct. 16 at East Rutherford, NJ.

• In 116 seasons of play, Notre Dame has scored 27,672 points (averaging 24.99 points per game) and has allowed 12,366 points (an average of 11.17 points per game).

• Notre Dame’s 6-6 record in 2004 marked the fifth break-even season in Irish football history, joining similar .500 marks in 1950 (4-4-1), 1959 (5-5-0), 1961 (5-5-0) and 1962 (5-5-0). In its 116-year history, Notre Dame football has produced 99 winning seasons, 12 sub-.500 seasons and five break-even seasons.

• With six losses in 2004, the Irish have lost a total of 13 games over the span of the last two seasons. That’s the most losses in consecutive seasons since Notre Dame lost 13 in 1959-60 and 1960-61. That total is the most in school history. The most losses suffered by Notre Dame in three consecutive seasons is 18 from 1959-61 and 1960-62.

• Notre Dame scored 289 points in 2004 and allowed opponents to score the exact same total, the only time in Irish football history that has happened. It almost happened in 1984 (230 to 234) and 2001 (214 to 215).


Charlie Weis was named the 28th head football coach in Notre Dame history on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2004. A 1978 Notre Dame graduate, Weis takes the reins of the Irish program after a highly successful career as an assistant coach in the National Football League. The owner of four Super Bowl champion rings as products of a stellar 15-season career as an NFL assistant, Weis is a widely-respected disciple of professional coaching standouts Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. He comes to Notre Dame after excelling as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots where he has played an integral role in New England’s victories in three of the last four Super Bowls. Weis is the first Notre Dame graduate to hold the football head coaching position at his alma mater since Hugh Devore (a ’34 graduate) served as interim coach in 1963 and is the first Notre Dame graduate to serve as the Irish football coach on a full-fledged basis since Joe Kuharich (a ’38 Notre Dame graduate who coached at Notre Dame from 1959 through ’62). A veteran of 26 seasons in coaching, Weis coached nine seasons with the Patriots, five as offensive coordinator. Weis helped produce four Super Bowl championships (New York Giants following 1990 season, Patriots following ’01, ’03 and `04 seasons), five conference titles and seven division titles. Weis has been a winner everywhere he has coached – and he has received widespread notice as one of the most creative and innovative offensive coordinators in football.


Head football coach Charlie Weis has put his staff of assistant coaches in place for the 2005 season. Here’s a list of the new Notre Dame football coaching staff:

Coach   Position    Previous Position, TeamCharlie Weis Head Coach  Offensive Coordinator, New England Patriots (NFL)David Cutcliffe   Assistant Head Coach - Offense/QBs  Head Coach, Univ. of MississippiRick Minter   Defensive Coordinator/LBs   Defensive Coordinator/LBs, Univ. of South CarolinaMike Haywood    Offensive Coordinator/RBs   Running Backs, Univ. of TexasRob Ianello   Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator    Tight Ends, Univ. of WisconsinJohn Latina   Offensive Line  Offensive Coordinator, Univ. of MississippiBill Lewis Assistant Head Coach - Defense/Defensive Backs  Defensive Nickel Package, Miami Dolphins (NFL)Jappy Oliver Defensive Line  Defensive Line, Univ. of South CarolinaBernie Parmalee   Tight Ends/Special Teams    Tight Ends, Miami Dolphins (NFL)Brian Polian Assistant DBs/Special Teams Running Backs, Univ. of Central Florida


A closer look at probable returnees to the Notre Dame roster from the 2004 season shows the Irish will be far from inexperienced on offense and in the kicking game, but will be looking to replace the bulk of their tacklers on the defensive side of the football. The details:

• RUSHERS: The Irish return players who accounted for 66.6 percent (1,019 of 1,529 yards gained) of the rushing yardage accumulated in `04 led by sophomore-to-be Darius Walker (team-leading 786 yards) at tailback and prospective fifth-year senior Marcus Wilson (138 yards). Those players accounted for 71.9 percent of the rushing attempts in `04 (331 of 460 carries) and 70.6 percent of the Irish’s rushing touchdowns (12 of 17).

• PASSERS: Starting quarterback Brady Quinn returns for a third season at the helm of the Notre Dame offense. He alone accounted for 98.8 percent (2,586 of 2,617 yards gained) of the passing yardage gained in `04. Primary backup Pat Dillingham graduated, leaving the Irish with virtually no experience at the backup positions (`04 freshman David Wolke played three snaps). Quinn had 97.5 percent of the pass attempts (353 of 362) and 97.9 percent (191 of 196) pass completions in `04 and 100 percent of the touchdowns thrown (17) and interceptions (10).

• RECEIVERS: The team’s top seven receivers from `04 return including receptions and yardage leader WR Rhema McKnight (42 catches, 610 yards) and leading deep threat Matt Shelton (school-record 25.8 yards per catch). Overall, 15 players return of a school-record 21 players who caught passes in `04. Returnees accounted for 88.2 percent (172 of 195) catches, 91.8 percent (2,402 of 2,617) yards gained and 94.1 percent (16 of 17) receiving touchdowns in `04.

• BLOCKERS: Every offensive lineman that started a game in `04 is slated to return for the `05 season: LT Ryan Harris, LG Bob Morton, C John Sullivan, RG Dan Stevenson and RT Mark LeVoir. Harris, LeVoir, Stevenson and Sullivan started all 12 games in `04 at their respective positions while Morton started all 11 games in which he played (he missed the Insight Bowl with an injury – Dan Santucci started at LG). The primary group of `04 starters has accounted for a total of 101 career starts. Overall, the team returns offensive linemen who have a total of 106 career starts.

• TACKLERS: Defensive players that accounted for 34.8 percent (287 of 824) of the tackles made in `04 return. The Irish lose seven of the top 10 tacklers from `04 including leading stopper LB Mike Goolsby (97 tackles), leading sack man DE Justin Tuck (47 tackles, six sacks, 14 tackles for loss) and veteran linebacker Derek Curry (65 tackles). The top returning tackler is LB Brandon Hoyte, who was second on the team in `04 with 74 tackles.

• PASS DEFENDERS: Of the 39 pass breakups recorded in `04, the Irish lose players credited with 66.7 percent (26 of 39) of those plays including team leader CB Dwight Ellick (seven PBUs). Other prominent pass defenders who depart include CB Preston Jackson (six PBUs) and S Quentin Burrell (three PBUs). Only one player with an interception in `04 returns – S Tom Zbikowski. He accounted for one of 10 thefts in `04 (10 percent).

• PASS RUSHERS: The early departure of DE Justin Tuck (team-high six sacks in `04; ND-record 24.5 sacks in career) to the NFL deprives the `05 team of its most successful pass rusher. Players who accounted for 28.3 percent (8.5 of 30) of `04 sacks return. Leading returnees are LB Brandon Hoyte (three sacks), reserve LB Corey Mays (two sacks) and reserve DE Victor Abiamiri (two sacks).

• RETURN MEN: Plenty of experienced kickoff return men return as the Irish welcome back players who returned 40 of 41 kickoffs in `04. However, Notre Dame needs a new punt return man after the departure of Carlyle Holiday, who accounted for 29 of 33 (87.9 percent) of punt returns and 87.7 percent (314 of 358) of yardage in `04.

• SCORING: Players who scored 83.4 percent (241 of 289) of Notre Dame’s points in `04 return led by placekicker D.J. Fitzpatrick, who scored a team-leading 67 points (11 field goals, 34 PATs).

• KICKERS/PUNTERS: Fitzpatrick’s return gives ND its leading punter and placekicker from `04. Fitzpatrick accounted for 100 percent (67 of 67) of the Irish’s kicking points and attempted 79 of the team’s 81 punts. All three kickoff men (Fitzpatrick, Carl Gioia, Bobby Renkes) and both punters (Fitzpatrick and Geoff Price) are slated to return in `05.


A summary of the Notre Dame roster heading into 2005 spring practice reveals that 13 positional starters and kicker/punter D.J. Fitzpatrick will return for action from the 2004 season: 10 offensive starters, 3 defensive starters and the punter and placekicker. Overall, 38 monogram winners return for the Irish from the 2004 season (21 offense, 15 defense, two specialists).


• Notre Dame completed a 6-6 season in 2004 playing a schedule that included eight teams that participated in postseason bowl games, including three that played in Bowl Championship Series contests (Notre Dame and Texas A&M were the only schools to do so).

• The season culminated with Notre Dame’s first appearance in the Insight Bowl, a 38-21 loss to Oregon State. The game was the Irish’s fourth to take place in the Phoenix/Tempe, AZ area, with the three prior games taking place in the Fiesta Bowl (1989 vs. West Virginia, 1994 vs. Colorado and 2000 vs. Oregon State).

• The 2004 Insight Bowl marked the 26th bowl game for the Irish (13-13) and the 14th in 18 years.

• With the Insight Bowl appearance, Notre Dame has played in 10 different bowl games over the years (Rose, Cotton, Orange, Sugar, Gator, Liberty, Aloha, Fiesta, Independence and Insight). The Irish have at least one win in seven of those 10 bowl games, only coming up short in the Aloha, Independence and Insight Bowls, where they have made just one appearance.

• Notre Dame finished the 2004 season with a slight improvement over 2003 (5-7 record). The Irish played seven games decided by eight points or less in 2004, going 4-3 in those games. Three of Notre Dame’s five losses were by a total of seven points (by 3 at BYU, by 1 to Boston College and by 3 to Pittsburgh), including a pair of games in which the deciding score occurred in the game’s final minute (BC and Pittsburgh).

• Notre Dame had a 3-4 record vs. bowl teams during the regular season, including a 1-2 record vs. BCS teams (win over Michigan; losses to Pittsburgh and USC). The seven Irish opponents in bowls: Michigan (lost to Texas in Rose), Purdue (lost to Arizona State in Sun), Navy (def. New Mexico in Emerald), Boston College (def. North Carolina in Continental Tire), Tennessee (def. Texas A&M in Cotton), Pittsburgh (lost to Utah in Fiesta), and USC (vs. Oklahoma in Orange).

• Notre Dame and Auburn were the nation’s only teams in the 2004 regular season with multiple victories over opponents ranked in the nation’s top 10 at game time. The Irish defeated Michigan (then ranked 7th on Sept. 11) and Tennessee (then ranked 9th on Nov. 6) and faced six teams in the final AP poll (USC, Michigan, Tennessee, Navy, Boston College and Pittsburgh), posting a 3-3 mark against those teams.


• One of the hallmarks of Notre Dame’s 2004 season was its penchant for playing close games. The Irish were 4-3 in 2004 in games decided by eight points or less, defeating No. 7 Michigan (28-20), Michigan State (31-24), Stanford (23-15) and No. 9 Tennessee (17-13), while losing to BYU (20-17), Boston College (24-23) and Pittsburgh (41-38). Five of those games (all but BYU and Tennessee) went down to the final seconds, with the Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, Boston College and Pittsburgh contests in doubt until time expired.

• The 2004 team had Notre Dame’s third-most wins by eight points or less in a season. The record of six victories was set in 1939 when that club had a 6-2 record in games decided by eight or less and equaled by the 2002 team that went 6-1 in those games. The 1937 team was 5-1-1 in games decided by eight or less, while 1974 squad posted a 5-0 record in eight-point games. The 2004 team joined teams from 1929 (4-0), 1940 (4-1), 1984 (4-3), 1990 (4-3), 1997 (4-2) and 1998 (4-1) with four wins by eight or less over the course of the season.

• As for winning percentage in games decided by eight points or less, the 1974 team went 5-0, while the 1929 unit was 4-0. The 1926, 1928, 1954 and 1989 teams all finished 3-0 in eight-point games. One item of note on the greatness of Knute Rockne: He was 21-4-5 (.783) in games decided by eight points or less over his Notre Dame career, including 16-0-2 (.944) over his last seven years.


Notre Dame’s 2004 season included seven games decided by eight points or less. The one-possession games in 2004: BYU (17-20 L), Michigan (28-20 W), Michigan State (31-24 W), Stanford (23-15 W), Boston College (23-24 L), Tennessee (17-13 W), and Pittsburgh (38-41 L). That tied for the most such games of any season dating back through 1970. The years with the most “one-possession” games over the last 35 seasons of Notre Dame football:

Games - Seasons7 - 2004, 2002, 1990, 1984*6 - 1999, 1997, 1986, 19825 - 2003, 2000, 1998*, 1994, 1983*, 1980*, 1979, 1978*, 1974*4 - 2001, 1996, 1995*, 1981, 1976, 19753 - 1993*, 1992, 1989, 1987, 1985, 1977* denotes that a bowl game counted for part of the total.


A look at Notre Dame’s 2004 season divided between the Irish’s 5-2 start and its 1-4 finish:

    First 7 Games (5-2) Last 5 Games (1-4)Rushing Offense 127.7   87.0Passing Offense 241.0   185.8Total Offense   368.7   272.8Scoring Offense 25.7    21.8Rushing Defense 105.3   64.2Passing Defense 232.3   349.8Total Defense   337.6   414.0Scoring Defense 18.9    31.4Turnover Margin plus-6  minus-1


There are three key statistics that often are more instrumental in determining a team’s success that are often overlooked: turnover margin, red zone success and record in close games. A summary of how the 2004 Irish fared in those three key categories: Turnover Margin – +5 overall (an average of +0.4 per game) Red Zone Success – scored 83.3 percent of its trips, scoring an average of 6.2 points per chance Close Games – ND was 4-3 in games decided by 8 points or less


For only the fourth time in the 116-year history of football at Notre Dame, the Irish designated captains on a game-by-game basis in 2004. In 1946, legendary head coach Frank Leahy elected to choose captains for each game — the result was an 8-0-1 record and the fifth of Notre Dame’s 11 consensus national championships.

The 2004 captains:BYU: Kyle Budinscak, Derek Curry, Billy Palmer, Rashon Powers-NealMichigan: Mike Goolsby, Carlyle Holiday, Dan Stevenson, Justin Tuckat Michigan State: Dwight Ellick, D.J. Fitzpatrick, Ryan Grant, Brandon HoyteWashington: Quentin Burrell, Mark LeVoir, Greg Pauly, Matt SheltonPurdue: Derek Curry, Carlyle Holiday, Dan Stevenson, Justin TuckStanford: Kyle Budinscak, Mike Goolsby, Ryan Grant, Rhema McKnightvs. Navy: D.J. Fitzpatrick, Brandon Hoyte, Mark LeVoir, Maurice StovallBoston College: Quentin Burrell, Ryan Grant, Billy Palmer, Greg Paulyat Tennessee: Mike Goolsby, Ryan Grant, Mark LeVoir, Justin TuckPittsburgh: Derek Curry, Mike Goolsby, Ryan Grant, Carlyle Holidayat USC: Mike Goolsby, Ryan Grant, Carlyle Holiday, Justin TuckOregon State: Derek Curry, Mike Goolsby, Ryan Grant, Carlyle Holiday2004 Season Captain Award Winners: Derek Curry, Mike Goolsby, Ryan Grant, Carlyle Holiday



For the most part in 2004, success running the football led to success in the win column for Notre Dame. In the Irish’s six victories, Notre Dame averaged 150.8 yards per game on the ground and 3.4 yards per rushing attempt (905 yards on 265 carries). In the Irish’s six losses, Notre Dame averaged 104.0 yards per game via the rush and 3.2 yards per attempt (624 yards on 195 carries). Notre Dame’s best rushing performance in a victory was a 204-yard effort against Navy. The worst Irish rushing performance in a victory was the 98-yard outing at Tennessee. The exception to this trend occurred in the loss at USC when the Irish rushed for 195 yards on 37 attempts (5.3 avg.), the most surrendered by the Trojans since UCLA gained 197 on Nov. 24, 2002.


The Irish rushed for 1,529 yards on 460 attempts in 2004, averaging 3.3 yards per carry and 127.4 yards per game. That is the lowest per-game average by a Notre Dame team since records dating to 1946.


Notre Dame’s passing totals were consistent throughout most of the 2004 season – at least in regards to the passing game’s effect on the outcome. In the Irish’s six victories, Notre Dame averaged 195.7 yards per game in the air and 7.4 yards per pass attempt. In the Irish’s six losses, Notre Dame averaged 272.8 yards per game via the pass and 7.5 yards per attempt. Notre Dame’s best passing performance in a victory was a 266-yard effort, four-touchdown against Washington. The worst Irish passing performance in a victory was the 118-yard outing at Tennessee. Yards per pass attempt is usually a key statistic for success. In this area, Notre Dame averaged 7.4 yards per attempt in victories and 7.5 yards per pass attempt in losses.


The Irish passed for 4,146 yards on 362 attempts in 2004, averaging 7.2 yards per attempt and 218.1 yards per game. That is the third-best per-game average by a Notre Dame team since records dating to 1946.


The Notre Dame offense produced an average of 218.1 yards per game via the pass in 2004. That average ranks as the third-best per-game average in Notre Dame history (via records kept since the 1946 season). Only two other Irish teams averaged more yards passing – the 1970 squad led by Joe Theismann averaged 252.7 yards per game and the 1999 unit led by Jarious Jackson averaged 238.2 yards via the pass. That success in the air contributed to Notre Dame’s total offense average of 357 yards per contest, the most by the Irish since 1999 (419.7 ypg).


Notre Dame was solid on both sides of the ball in the red zone (inside the 20-yard line). On offense, the Irish made 36 trips to the red zone this year, coming away with 25 touchdowns (a 69.4% TD percentage). Opponents visited the red zone 38 times, managing 19 touchdowns (a 50% TD percentage).


Notre Dame did not have a turnover in the loss at USC, snapping an amazing 41-game unbeaten streak (40-0-1) since 1985 for the Irish when they don’t commit a turnover. Prior to the USC game, the last time a Notre Dame team lost a game without committing a turnover was in a 34-30 loss at Penn State on Nov. 12, 1983. Two of Notre Dame’s six victories in 2004 were keynoted by errorless outings in the turnover department as the Irish collected wins over Navy (27-9) and Tennessee (17-13) while not losing the ball via a turnover.


Notre Dame’s defense was excellent against the run in 2004. The Irish prevented every opponent from reaching its full-season average on the ground, holding all but two foes under 100 yards for the game. For the season, the Irish allowed 88.2 yards per game on the ground and yielded 2.7 yards per rushing attempt. The only player to rush for more than 100 yards against Notre Dame in 2004 was Navy fullback Kyle Eckel, who gained 102 yards on 22 carries on Oct. 16. Notre Dame’s 20 yards allowed to Oregon State in the Insight Bowl set a new Irish bowl record for fewest rushing yards allowed.


The Irish allowed 1,058 yards on 399 rushing attempts in 2004, an average of 2.7 yards per carry and 88.2 yards per game. That is the ninth-lowest per-game average by a Notre Dame team since records dating to 1946.


The Notre Dame run defense has been exceptionally sturdy the last three seasons (2002-04). Over the last three seasons, the Irish have held 23 of 37 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing, including nine games in 2004 (BYU – 22; Michigan – 56; Purdue – 99; Stanford – 67; Boston College – 62; Tennessee – 58; Pittsburgh – 98; USC — 83; Oregon State – 20). Notre Dame opponents averaged 2.7 yards per carry in 2004. In 2002, Notre Dame was ranked 10th in the nation in rushing defense, followed by a No. 29 national ranking in `03 and finished ranked fourth in `04. The Irish allowed an average of 88.2 yards on the ground. That average is among the best in Notre Dame history (8th-best since records kept dating to 1946) and is the best by an Irish defense since the 1973 national championship squad yielded 82.4 yards rushing per game.


Notre Dame’s defense against the rush was the team’s most consistent area in 2004. The Irish allowed only 1,058 rushing yards (88.2 per game) and a key to that success was the defense’s ability to prevent long rushing plays. Notre Dame did not allow a rushing play of more than 25 yards in 2004. Other than two 25-yard runs (by Boston College and Tennessee), the `04 Irish did not allow a run of more than 18 yards (by Michigan State and USC) in a game.


Only one (Pittsburgh) of the Irish’s 12 opponents achieved its rushing average for 2004 against Notre Dame. Only three opponents managed to break the century mark in rushing yardage (Michigan State, Washington and Navy), and only one averaged more than 4.0 yards per attempt (Michigan State, 4.7 yards per rush). Navy’s 216 yards (on 61 carries – a 3.5 avg.) was the only 200+-yard outing by an opponent.


Rushing totals allowed by the Notre Dame defense were down across the board in 2004 from 2003, a factor that led to better numbers on the scoreboard. Notre Dame allowed only six rushing touchdowns (the Irish gave up 19 rushing touchdowns in 2003) for an improvement of 13.


The fatal flaw for Notre Dame in 2004 was pass defense. This was particularly true over the season’s final three games and in losses on the whole. In their six wins, the Irish allowed an average of 186.5 yards per game through the air and 5.7 yards per pass attempt. In the six losses, Notre Dame allowed an average of 272.8 yards per game and 7.4 yards per attempt. In the six wins, the Irish allowed only two passing touchdowns, but gave up 17 in the six losses. Opponents completed 49.5 pass attempts in Notre Dame wins and 65.3 percent in Irish losses.


A major factor in Notre Dame’s 3-1 start to the 2004 season was the defense’s ability to force turnovers. In those four games, the Irish forced 16 turnovers (10 fumbles, six interceptions). In the next eight games, Notre Dame forced just five turnovers (two fumbles, three interceptions). The Irish completed the season with a positive turnover margin of +5 overall, but were a -2 in the season’s final eight games.


The Irish completed 2004 with an impressive streak of six consecutive games without losing a fumble. Overall, Notre Dame did not lose a fumble in seven of 12 games and lost more than one only once all season (2 at Michigan State). Since a fumble lost against Stanford on Oct. 9, the Irish enter the 2005 season having gone 24 quarters and 184 rushing attempts without losing a fumble. Over that span, Notre Dame only fumbled twice, recovering both drops (vs. Navy and USC).


Notre Dame came up with six turnovers (3 fumbles, 3 interceptions) on Sept. 18 at Michigan State and followed up with five more turnovers one week later against Washington, marking the fourth consecutive week the Irish had at least two takeaways. Since the 2001 season, Notre Dame has forced two or more turnovers in 31 of its 47 games, including 24 contests where they came up with at least three takeaways. In the final 2004 NCAA statistical rankings, the Irish ranked 32nd in the country in turnover margin (+0.42 per game, +4 overall).


The return game has been a source of strength for Notre Dame in recent years. The Irish have logged 29 returns (punts, kickoffs, fumbles, interceptions) for touchdowns during the past six seasons (1999-2004), a figure that ranks tied for 11th in the country during that stretch.


• During the past 19 seasons (’86-’04), Notre Dame has produced 83 touchdowns via kickoff, punt, interception and fumble returns — with the most recent touchdown runback coming Nov. 6 on senior linebacker Mike Goolsby’s 26-yard interception return at Tennessee.

• Notre Dame scored three touchdowns via returns in 2004, all coming by the defense (INT returns by Preston Jackson [at BYU] and Mike Goolsby [at Tennessee] and a fumble return by Tom Zbikowski [at Michigan State]).



Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn re-wrote virtually all of Notre Dame’s sophomore passing marks in his second year with the Irish. Quinn eclipsed more than 200 yards passing in seven games in 2004. He turned in a career-best performance in a loss to Purdue, completing 26 of 46 passes for 432 yards and one touchdown, the highest individual passing yardage total in Notre Dame Stadium history and the second-highest in school history (behind Joe Theismann’s 526 yards at USC in 1970). Quinn’s .565 completion percentage against the Boilermakers was the second-best of his career (minimum 15 attempts), topped only by his .590 mark (23 of 39) in 2003 at Boston College. Quinn was particularly sharp in outings against Washington and Purdue, completing 43 of 78 passes (.551) for 698 yards and five touchdowns with only one interception, good for a 148.89 pass efficiency rating. His three-game stretch against Michigan State, Washington and Purdue is the second-best in Notre Dame history for most passing yards in three consecutive games.


Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn completed the 2004 season with the highest totals in several statistical categories of any sophomore quarterback in Notre Dame history.


For the season, Quinn ranked 50th in the nation in total offense (215.5 yards per game) and 55th in passing efficiency (125.87), while his 2,586 passing yards put him second on the single-season passing yards list at Notre Dame.


In addition to his 2004 single-season total, Brady Quinn’s career passing yardage is rapidly approaching some of the top marks in Notre Dame history. With 214 yards vs. Oregon State in the Insight Bowl, Quinn moved up to fifth place, easing by Joe Theismann (1968-70).


Quarterback Brady Quinn spread his pass completions around in 2004, completing passes to 21 different receivers (the most since 1962), a breakdown of seven wide receivers, six running backs, four tight ends, two passes to himself (caught off of deflections vs. Washington and Purdue) and one to an offensive lineman (LT Ryan Harris on a tackle-eligible play in the Insight Bowl). For the second straight season, WR Rhema McKnight was Quinn’s favorite target grabbing 42 passes for 610 yards and three touchdowns. Other top targets for Quinn were TE Anthony Fasano (27-367, 2 TDs), WR Maurice Stovall (21-313, 1 TD), WR Matt Shelton (20-515, 5 TDs) and WR Jeff Samardzija (17-274). Quinn tossed touchdown passes to six different players in 2004: McKnight, Shelton (five times), Fasano (twice), FB Rashon Powers-Neal (twice), Stovall and TE Billy Palmer.

SHELTON SET SINGLE-SEASON MARK FOR YARDS PER CATCH Wide receiver Matt Shelton averaged 25.75 yards per reception in 2004, nabbing 20 catches for 515 yards and scoring six touchdowns. That average bettered a 25-year-old Notre Dame single-season record. The old mark of 25.6 yards per catch was set by Tony Hunter, who gained 690 yards on 27 receptions in 1979.


Fourth-year senior wide receiver Matt Shelton emerged as a big-play threat for the Irish in 2004. He had a career-best 128-yard outing against Pittsburgh and ranked fourth on the team with 20 catches for 515 yards (25.8 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. He nabbed a career-best four catches vs. Washington (for 74 yards and two touchdowns). One week earlier at Michigan State, Shelton snared three passes for 123 yards (41.0 average) and a touchdown, including gains of 53, 35 and 35 yards. Shelton has averaged 38.0 yards on his seven career touchdown grabs (36 vs. Pittsburgh, 33 vs. Boston College, 27 and 24 vs. Washington, 35 at MSU, 46 vs. Michigan, 65 at Stanford in ’03). Eleven of Shelton’s 20 catches measured at least 25 yards in length.


Freshman running back Darius Walker produced the finest rushing performance by a freshman in Notre Dame history in 2004, breaking a 29-year-old school record in the process. His 43-yard effort against Oregon State in the Insight Bowl moved him atop Notre Dame’s freshman rushing list, passing Jerome Heavens (756 yards in 1975).


Freshman running back Darius Walker provided a consistent threat in the Irish running game by averaging 71.5 yards rushing per game in 2004 (786 yards on 185 carries). Walker made a big splash in his home debut vs. Michigan, rushing 31 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-20 Irish win. He followed up with another solid effort at Michigan State, rushing for 98 yards on 26 carries and posted his second 100-yard effort of the season with 112 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh. His Michigan performance was good enough for The Sporting News and Sporting News Radio to name the Lawrenceville, Ga., native as its National Player of the Week, and for Rivals.com to tab him as the National Freshman of the Week for Sept. 11. Walker’s numbers in his debut game vs. Michigan also put him among some select company in Notre Dame history. In that game, he: a) became the first Irish freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game since Julius Jones had 146 yards against Navy on Oct. 30, 1999; b) became the first Notre Dame freshman to score two touchdowns in a game since Matt LoVecchio ran for two scores at USC on Nov. 25, 2000; c) was the first Irish rookie to score in a home opener since Sept. 29, 1979, when Tony Hunter caught a 14-yard touchdown pass in a 27-3 win over Michigan State and the first freshman to score two touchdowns in a home opener since at least 1970; and d) was the first Notre Dame freshman running back to score twice in a game since Nov. 18, 1995, when Autry Denson rushed for two touchdowns in a 44-14 win at Air Force. (Julius Jones scored twice vs. Boston College on Nov. 20, 1999, but one of his touchdowns came on a punt return).


Running back Darius Walker was consistently productive in the red zone, producing seven touchdown rushes on the season. That total ranks him second all-time in Notre Dame history for rushing touchdowns by a freshman. Only Autry Denson’s eight rushing scores in 1995 ranks ahead of Walker’s total.


Wide receiver Rhema McKnight is nearing the top of Notre Dame’s career receiving lists for both receptions and receiving yards after his junior season. He completed the `04 season with a career total of 98 catches for 1,301 yards and six touchdowns. McKnight will enter the `05 season needing 23 catches to break into the top six receivers in Notre Dame history (Tony Hunter is sixth with 120 catches from 1979-82). The Irish career receptions leader is Tom Gatewood, who caught 157 passes over three seasons from 1969-71. McKnight’s 1,301 receiving yards ranks seventh in school history. Over the last two seasons, McKnight has made 89 catches. That’s the most in a two-year span by an Irish receiver since Derrick Mayes caught 95 passes in 1994-95.


Junior placekicker D.J. Fitzpatrick connected on 11 of 15 field goal attempts in `04 to raise his career total of field goals made to 23 entering his senior season with the Irish. His next successful field goal attempt will move him into a tie for seventh in Notre Dame history for field goals made in a career with Harry Oliver (24 from 1980-81). The Irish record for field goals made in a career is 51 by John Carney (1984-86).


Senior linebacker Mike Goolsby made a resounding return to the Notre Dame lineup in 2004 after missing the entire 2003 season with an injury. Goolsby led the team with 97 tackles (8.1 per game) while leading the team in six games. The Joliet, IL, native rolled up career-best tackle totals his first two games of the year, tallying 11 stops at BYU and 14 tackles against Michigan, added 12 tackles vs. Navy and matched his career-best with 14 stops at Tennessee. His performance against the Vols also included a sack and an interception he returned for the decisive touchdown. Over a stretch of three games (Boston College, Tennessee and Pittsburgh), Goolsby produced at least one turnover in each contest with all three leading to subsequent scores.


Linebacker Mike Goolsby earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation for his performance in the 17-13 victory at Tennessee on Nov. 6. Not only did Goolsby post a game-high 14 tackles (seven solos) and a quarterback sack, he also intercepted at Tennessee pass in the third period and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown that provided the winning points in Notre Dame’s first road victory over a top 10 opponent in eight years (27-24 at No. 6 Texas on Sept. 21, 1996).


Senior linebacker Brandon Hoyte was a catalyst for Notre Dame’s physical play on defense in 2004, making several big hits and tackles for losses. Hoyte ended the season with 74 tackles to rank second on the team, and his knack for making big hits was a hallmark of his play in `04. Hoyte forced three fumbles, collected three quarterback sacks and made eight tackles for losses (46 yards). He posted a career-best 16 stops vs. Navy, the most by an Irish player since Courtney Watson had 18 tackles at Nebraska in 2001.


Senior defensive end Justin Tuck took full ownership of the Notre Dame career quarterback sacks record in 2004 with a total of 24.5. He moved to the top of the list with a pair of sacks in the win at Tennessee on Nov. 6. The Kellyton, Ala., native set a school record with 13.5 sacks in `03 and added six sacks in `04.


Senior defensive end Justin Tuck was a force to be reckoned with for opposing offenses in 2004, racking up impressive totals as a pass rusher and a run stopper. In addition to his team-leading sack total of six (for 38 yards), he garnered a team-high 14 tackles for losses totalling 57 yards. No other Irish defender had more than eight TFLs in `04. Tuck, who on Jan. 14 declared his eligibility for the `05 NFL Draft to end his Notre Dame career, accomplished all of this while dealing with double-teams and offensive game plans designed to reduce his impact as a pass rusher and defensive force. His 47 total tackles ranked sixth on the team.


Senior punter D.J. Fitzpatrick was one of the team’s most improved players in 2004. Fitzpatrick ranked 40th nationally with a 41.8-yard punting average, a jump of five yards per kick from his `03 average (36.84). That improvement was a big factor in Notre Dame’s ranking of 25th nationally in net punting. He had 17 punts of at least 50 yards, including a career-long 67-yarder vs. Boston College, dropped 29 punts inside the opposition’s 20-yard line and helped the Irish hold opponents to only 8.2 yards per punt return. He had career-best outings in consecutive games in `04, averaging 46.0 yards on seven attempts against Washington (including four punts of at least 50 yards and four punts downed inside the UW 20) and an impressive 49.3 yards on three punts against Purdue.


The following is a look at Notre Dame’s 2004 opponents’ results. Since 1977, when the NCAA started rating strength of schedule, Notre Dame’s schedule has been rated the most difficult five times (1978, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1995) and has appeared in the top 30 a total of 22 times in the last 27 years. The 2004 Irish ledger ranked as the seventh-toughest in the nation, based on cumulative opposition.

IRISH PLAYED THE NATION’S SEVENTH-TOUGHEST CUMULATIVE SCHEDULE Notre Dame’s overall 2004 football schedule ranked seventh in difficulty, based on a combined 78-49 mark (.614) by Irish opponents in games vs. NCAA Division IA opponents, according to NCAA figures released Jan. 5. Texas A&M led the list with a 86-42 mark (.672) by its opponents, followed by North Carolina and Arizona. Notre Dame’s schedule included seven teams that participated in bowl games, including three participants in Bowl Championship Series games, and six teams that ended the season ranked in the nation’s top 25 (including No. 1 USC) by Associated Press.


Senior linebacker Derek Curry was named to the 2004 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team, the AFCA announced Sept. 15. Curry was one of only 11 football student-athletes chosen for the NCAA Division I-A Team. Another 11 student-athletes were named to the team representing schools from NCAA Divisions I-AA, II, III and NAIA. Nominations for the Good Works Team are submitted to the AFCA by college sports information departments. Nominees must be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization, service group or involved in other community service activities and must display sincere concern and reliability, while also having made a favorable impression on the organizations with which they are involved. Athletic ability is not a criterion. Curry was a three-year starter at linebacker for the Irish and a four-time monogram winner at Notre Dame who distinguished himself as one of the team’s undisputed leaders. In addition to his prowess on the football field, Curry has been a three-year volunteer for the Student-Athlete Advisory Council Pediatric Oncology Christmas Party; has volunteered at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of downtown South Bend and the Robinson Community Learning Center; is in his third year of “Iron Sharpens Iron”, an interdenominational Christian group at Notre Dame that brings students together in worship, prayer and bible studies; has volunteered for two years at “There Are Children Here”; and is a huddle leader for the Notre Dame chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Curry is the third Notre Dame football player named to the squad over the past six seasons.


SENIORS (27) – DT Brian Beidatsch, DE Kyle Budinscak, S Quentin Burrell, *CB Carlos Campbell, TE Jared Clark, TE Jerome Collins, LB Derek Curry, *LS Casey Dunn, CB Dwight Ellick, *K/P D.J. Fitzpatrick, LB Mike Goolsby, RB Ryan Grant, DT Matt Hasbrook, WR Carlyle Holiday, *LB Brandon Hoyte, CB Preston Jackson, *OL Mark LeVoir, *LB Corey Mays, TE Billy Palmer, DT Greg Pauly, *FB Rashon Powers-Neal, QB Stan Revelle, *FB Josh Schmidt, *WR Matt Shelton, *OL Dan Stevenson, DE Justin Tuck, *RB Marcus Wilson. (*eligible for a fifth year)

JUNIORS (8) – TE Anthony Fasano, TE Marcus Freeman, DT Derek Landri, DE Travis Leitko, WR Rhema McKnight, OL Bobby Morton, CB Mike Richardson, WR Maurice Stovall.

SOPHOMORES (17) – DE Victor Abiamiri, WR Chase Anastasio, LB Nick Borseti, LB Joe Brockington, TE John Carlson, OL Ryan Harris, DT Trevor Laws, OT Brian Mattes, S Chinedum Ndukwe, QB Brady Quinn, OL Scott Raridon, LB Anthony Salvador, WR Jeff Samardzija, OL Dan Santucci, OL John Sullivan, RB Travis Thomas, S Tom Zbikowski.

FRESHMEN (1) – RB Darius Walker.

Earning monograms for a fourth time were DE Kyle Budinscak, LB Derek Curry, CB Dwight Ellick, LB Mike Goolsby, RB Ryan Grant, WR Carlyle Holiday, and CB Preston Jackson.


The final playing time for members of the 2004 Notre Dame football team (listed by total playing time; sp. indicates special teams appearances which are not included in official playing time):

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Dan Stevenson 348:05 (played 12, started 12, 40 sp.), John Sullivan 367:24 (played 12, started 12), Mark LeVoir 365:30 (played 12, started 12, 8 sp.), Ryan Harris 362:45 (played 12, started 12, 39 sp.), Bob Morton 310:11 (played 11, started 11, 1 sp.), Dan Santucci 80:51 (played 11, started 1, 45 sp.), Jamie Ryan 10:24 (played 3, started 1, 10 sp.), Brian Mattes 8:01 (played 10, 36 sp.), Scott Raridon 8:01 (played 11, 45 sp.), Jeff Thompson 6:41 (played 1), Zach Giles 5:58 (played 1), Darin Mitchell 3:44 (played 1).

RECEIVERS: Rhema McKnight 218:46 (played 12, started 10, 33 sp.), Jeff Samardzija 175:37 (played 12, started 1, 70 sp.), Matt Shelton 159:51 (played 12, started 3, 48 sp.), Anthony Fasano 136:49 (played 11, started 9, 10 sp.), Maurice Stovall 131:18 (played 9, started 8, 63 sp.), Billy Palmer 108:25 (played 12, started 2, 82 sp.), Carlyle Holiday 78:48 (played 12, started 1, 72 sp.), Marcus Freeman 75:18 (played 8, started 6, 48 sp.), Chase Anastasio 41:47 (played 12, 165 sp.), Jerome Collins 31:03 (played 12, 208 sp.), John Carlson 29:55 (played 12, started 2, 191 sp.), Jared Clark 12:15 (played 11, started 1, 85 sp.), Chris Vaughn 9:11 (played 4, 20 sp.), Michael O’Hara 4:17 (played 3, 4 sp.), Rob Woods 3:45 (played 7, 23 sp.), A.J. Cedeno 2:12 (played 1), Brandon Harris 1:24 (played 1), Ryan Postel 0:38 (played 1), Jake Carney 0:24 (played 5, 24 sp.).

OFFENSIVE BACKS: Brady Quinn 356:30 (played 12, started 12), Darius Walker 150:05 (played 11, started 2, 1 sp.), Ryan Grant 127:50 (played 9, started 8), Rashon Powers-Neal 119:37 (played 12, started 4, 94 sp.), Marcus Wilson 46:14 (played 12, 6 sp.), Josh Schmidt 40:05 (played 10, started 1, 2 sp.), Travis Thomas 20:39 (played 10, started 1, 105 sp.), Pat Dillingham 16:55 (played 5, 3 sp.), Jeff Jenkins 6:50 (played 4, 2 sp.), Cole Laux 6:20 (played 3, 1 sp.), Nate Schiccatano 4:26 (played 2), Justin Hoskins 2:40 (played 6, started 1, 27 sp.), David Wolke 2:00 (played 1).

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Greg Pauly 265:34 (played 12, started 12), Justin Tuck 260:13 (played 11, started 11, 6 sp.), Derek Landri 241:01 (played 12, started 12, 1 sp.), Kyle Budinscak 216:59 (played 12, started 12), Victor Abiamiri 193:37 (played 12, started 1, 1 sp.), Trevor Laws 121:39 (played 12, 1 sp.), Brian Beidatsch 32:12 (played 8), Chris Frome 27:05 (played 7, 1 sp.), Matt Hasbrook 5:59 (played 3), Travis Leitko 4:47 (played 11, 92 sp.), Dan Chervanick 0:14 (played 1).

LINEBACKERS: Derek Curry 327:17 (played 12, started 11, 35 sp.), Mike Goolsby 298:09 (played 12, started 12, 63 sp.), Brandon Hoyte 199:15 (played 12, started 6), Corey Mays 46:18 (played 11, 219 sp.), Anthony Salvador 7:24 (played 9, 39 sp.), Joe Brockington 3:30 (played 11, 152 sp.), Nick Borseti 2:50 (played 9, 62 sp.), Mitchell Thomas 1:54 (played 11, 55 sp.).

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Dwight Ellick 342:26 (played 12, started 12, 67 sp.), Quentin Burrell 335:29 (played 12, started 12, 31 sp.), Tom Zbikowski 330:35 (played 12, started 12, 24 sp.), Mike Richardson 133:21 (played 12, started 4, 242 sp.), Carlos Campbell 85:23 (played 12, started 3, 153 sp.), Preston Jackson 269:27 (played 12, started 11, 7 sp.), Freddie Parish IV 26:27 (played 12, started 1, 186 sp.), Chinedum Ndukwe 12:06 (played 9, 87 sp.), Ambrose Wooden 6:52 (played 9, 42 sp.), Lionel Bolen 1:16 (played 3, 12 sp.), Matt Mitchell 0:00 (played 2, 2 sp.).

SPECIALISTS: D.J. Fitzpatrick (played 12, 138 sp.), Casey Dunn (played 12, 81 sp.), Carl Gioia (played 5, 24 sp.), Geoff Price (played 2, 2 sp.), Bobby Renkes (played 6, 21 sp.).


OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Scott Raridon 45, Dan Santucci 45, Dan Stevenson 40, Ryan Harris 39, Brian Mattes 36, Jamie Ryan 10, Mark LeVoir 8, Bob Morton 1.

RECEIVERS: Jerome Collins 208, John Carlson 191, Chase Anastasio 165, Jared Clark 85, Billy Palmer 82, Carlyle Holiday 72, Jeff Samardzija 70, Maurice Stovall 63, Marcus Freeman 48, Matt Shelton 48, Rhema McKnight 33, Jake Carney 24, Rob Woods 23, Chris Vaughn 20, Anthony Fasano 10, Michael O’Hara 4.

OFFENSIVE BACKS: Travis Thomas 105, Rashon Powers-Neal 94, Justin Hoskins 27, Marcus Wilson 6, Pat Dillingham 3, Jeff Jenkins 2, Josh Schmidt 2, Cole Laux 1, Darius Walker 1.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Travis Leitko 92, Justin Tuck 6, Victor Abiamiri 1, Chris Frome 1, Derek Landri 1, Trevor Laws 1.

LINEBACKERS: Corey Mays 219, Joe Brockington 152, Mike Goolsby 63, Nick Borseti 62, Mitchell Thomas 55, Anthony Salvador 39, Derek Curry 35, Brandon Hoyte 6.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Mike Richardson 242, Chinedum Ndukwe 187, Freddie Parish IV 186, Carlos Campbell 153, Dwight Ellick 67, Ambrose Wooden 42, Quentin Burrell 31, Tom Zbikowski 24, Lionel Bolen 12, Preston Jackson 7, Matt Mitchell 2.

SPECIALISTS: D.J. Fitzpatrick 138, Casey Dunn 81, Carl Gioia 24, Bobby Renkes 21, Geoff Price 2.


Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 171 of its previous 196 games, including 35 of its last 37 games dating back to the end of the 2001 season (the ’03 game at Stanford and this year’s game vs. Navy at the Meadowlands were not sellouts). At Michigan in 2003, the Irish and Wolverines attracted the largest crowd in NCAA history (111,726), marking the third time in the history of that series that an NCAA attendance record has been set. It also represented the sixth time in the last three seasons that Notre Dame has been a part of establishing a new stadium attendance record (at Nebraska and Texas A&M in 2001; at Air Force and Florida State, home vs. Boston College in 2002).


The Notre Dame ticket office received 52,179 alumni lottery ticket requests for the Oct. 2 game vs. Purdue, making it the fifth-highest requested Irish home game in history. The Notre Dame Stadium record of 59,368 alumni lottery ticket requests was set in ’01 when the Irish took on West Virginia. The Irish have posted 179 consecutive sellouts at Notre Dame Stadium and 227 in their last 228 home games. The last non-sellout at Notre Dame Stadium (the only one since the 1964 season) was for the Air Force game on Nov. 22, 1973, a game moved to Thanksgiving Day during the season to accomodate television, but too late to make available student tickets that went unused as students took Thanksgiving break.


With the Insight Bowl game televised nationally by ESPN, the Irish extended their streak of appearances on one of four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN) to 148 straight games, a stretch that spans 12 full seasons (1993-2004). The last time the Irish didn’t appear on one of those four networks was 12 years ago (Oct. 31, 1992), when Notre Dame downed Navy, 38-7, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. That game was shown locally in South Bend on WNDU-TV.