November 17, 1998

Tailback Autry Denson, 5-10, 202, Senior
* Became Notre Dame’s leading career rusher (currently 4,192 yards) with 107 yards Nov. 14 vs. Navy
* With his 1,050 yards so far in ’98, has become only the second player in Notre Dame history to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive years
* ’98 stats: 209 carries, 1,050 yards, 5.0 avg., 14 TDs
* Got ’98 off to a bang with 58-yard run on first play from scrimmage in season opener vs. Michigan
* Has Notre Dame career record 22 100-yard games, including ’98 games of 162 vs. Michigan, 143 vs. Purdue, 189 vs. Baylor, 128 vs. Boston College, 107 vs. Navy
* Ranks 12th nationally in rushing, but of top 50 NCAA rushers in ’98, no one has helped his team to a better record
* Says Irish coach Bob Davie: “Notre Dame has always run the ball, so to say he’s the all-time leading rusher is a strong statement.”

Offensive Tackle Mike Rosenthal, 6-7, 300, Senior (and one of three team captains)
* Is major reason why Notre Dame is ranked 11th nationally in rushing and, at 224.6 yards per game, is averaging 49.7 yards more than last season
* Has been a starter since midway through his freshman season (38 career starts, 23 straight)
* First-team preseason All-American by Football News and Athlon and second team by Bob Griese’s College Football
* Lindy’s rated him one of top three candidates for Outland Trophy
* Has graded out at 80 percent in ’98 season, including high of 86 percent last week vs. Boston College
* Bob Davie says he could leave Notre Dame as best offensive lineman to play for the Irish

Offensive Tackle Luke Petitgout, 6-6, 300, Senior
* Joins Mike Rosenthal as bookend all-star offensive tackles for Irish
* Helps Notre Dame to 8-1 record and 11th-ranked rushing average of 224.6 yards per game
* Has graded out at 80 percent in blocking in ’98, including high of 85 vs. Arizona State
* Moved in as starter two games into ’97 season and graded out as best Irish lineman in ’97
* Has started 19 straight games

Punter Hunter Smith, 6-2, 218, Senior
* Averages 41.6 yards on 34 punts in ’98
* Had 79-yarder vs. Arizona State that was longest by Irish player in 63 years
* In ’98 games averaged 45.0 per punt vs. Michigan State, 52.2 vs. Arizona State, 50.3 vs. Baylor
* Ranks second on Notre Dame career punting list at 41.2 behind only NFL standout Craig Hentrich
* Regarded as best athlete on Irish squad based on his roles as kickoff man, holder and third-team QB

Other Possibilties:
* ILB Bobbie Howard — Notre Dame’s leading tackler with 92 (17 vs. Boston College, 14 vs. Baylor, 12 vs. Stanford and Navy, 11 vs. Army; ’98 Irish captain)

* SE Malcolm Johnson — Top Notre Dame receiver with 37 for 594, 5 TDs; caught 6 for 150 vs. Boston College, including 68-yarder that marked longest Irish completion in five years; 7 for 113 vs. Stanford; ranks as only second Irish receiver in history (Tim Brown is the other) to score TDs in five straight games (streak is current)

* OG Jerry Wisne — Part of standout offensive line that has paved the way for 11th-rated rushing attack of 224.6 per game and standout rushing leader Autry Denson

All-Freshman Candidate:
* DE Anthony Weaver — Season-long starter at defensive end as true freshman (23 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 1 fumble caused); only rookie in Irish lineup in ’98