Oct. 20, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Each week the FANSzine will take a look at Notre Dame’s opponent and feature one of the key players in Saturday’s game. This week Notre Dame faces West Virginia. The key player in this week’s matchup is junior Cooper Rego. The tailback has really stepped up his play this year especially with the massive amounts of injuries in the Mountaineer backfield.

Back in 1997, the Irish feared the Mountaineer running game. The name Amos Zereoue went hand-in-hand with West Viriginia’s ground attack.

It is the same ground attack, which leaves lumps in the throats of Irish players. While the name Cooper Rego may not be a household name, it is one which several members of the Irish squad are familiar with.

Rego enrolled as a freshman at Notre Dame in 1997. He got dismissed from the University in February of his freshman year and then transferred to West Virginia. After sitting out the 1998 season, Rego has returned with a passion for the game.

“The two tailbacks are extremely talented players,” Davie said. “One of them we know extremely well.”

Entering the 2000 season, Mountaineer tailback Avon Cobourne appeared to have a lock on the tailback position. Then he became hampered by injuries which is when Rego took over.

This season, Rego has 102 carries, amassing 452 yards. He averages around 4.4 yards per carry. The running back also entered the endzone eight times for touchdowns.

The tailback is being billed as this season’s surprise and he likes that title.

Rego does not discuss the incident which led to his dismissal from Notre Dame. The University does not discuss it either.

One thing Rego does talk about is his desire to have a strong showing against his former team. It is that passion which could cause a little bit of problems for the Irish.

Watch for the Irish defense to keep its eyes peeled for where No.23 Rego lines up. The last thing they want to do is lose sight of this guy. Rego likes to sit back and wait for an opening to occur and then make you pay for it.