Sept. 27, 2004
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-1) vs. (#15 AP/#15 ESPN/USA Today) Purdue Boilermakers (3-0)
The Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. EST.
The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795/Natural Grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The Tickets: They’re all sold — with this being the 176th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The Purdue game marks the 224th home sellout in the last 225 games (dating back to 1964). It also is the 166th sellout in the last 190 Irish games and the 30th in the last 31 games involving Notre Dame, dating back to the end of the 2001 season (only last year’s game at Stanford was not a sellout).
The TV Plans: NBC national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Lewis Johnson (sideline), David Gibson (producer) and John Gonzalez (director).
The Radio Plans: For the 37th consecutive season, all Notre Dame football games are broadcast on more than 300 stations in all 50 states by Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play-by-play), former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (analysis), Larry Michael (pregame/halftime) and Al Smith (producer). A live broadcast from the Notre Dame student station, WVFI, also is available via the Notre Dame athletics web site at www.und.com. All Notre Dame football games may be heard in South Bend on U93-FM (92.9) with pre- and post-game analysis featuring Sean Stires, Shawn Lewallen, Jack Nolan, Mirko Jurkovic, Reggie Brooks and Vince DeDario. All Irish games also are carried live in the Chicago market on ESPN Radio 1000.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics, courtesy of College Sports Online’s GameTracker, will be made available for the Purdue game, via the Notre Dame (www.und.com) and Purdue (www.purduesports.com) athletics web sites.
Web Sites: Notre Dame (www.und.com), Purdue (www.purduesports.com).
IRISH CONTINUE THREE-GAME HOMESTAND WITH MATCHUP AGAINST #15 PURDUE
Fresh off its largest victory at home in nearly two years, Notre Dame (3-1) will look to keep its momentum going when it plays host to No. 15 Purdue Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (EST) at Notre Dame Stadium. The contest will be televised nationally by NBC, marking the 141st consecutive Irish football game to be broadcast across the country by one of four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN).
Behind a potent offense and an opportunistic defense, Notre Dame rolled to a 38-3 win over Washington last Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn etched his name in the Irish record books, tying the school record with four touchdown passes, three of which came in a 21-point first-quarter outburst. Senior wideout Matt Shelton also continued his strong play of late, catching a career-high four passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns, while junior tight end Anthony Fasano also snared a career-best two scoring passes.
On defense, the Irish turned in an aggressive, yet disciplined performance, forcing five turnovers and limiting the Huskies to a single field goal. In the past three games, the Notre Dame defense has registered 14 takeaways (3.5 per game) and has allowed only two offensive touchdowns, both of which came inside the final three minutes of the game after the outcome had been decided.
Purdue (3-0) has been sharp on both sides of the ball during the first month of the season. Led by quarterback Kyle Orton, the Boilermaker offense is ranked third in the nation, churning out more than 561 yards per game. Purdue also leads the country in scoring offense (49.33 ppg.) and Orton himself is second nationally in both pass efficiency (188.10) and total offense (344.33).
The Boilermakers are coming off a 38-30 win at Illinois in their Big Ten Conference opener last weekend. Orton completed 35 of 50 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for a fifth score. Wide receiver Taylor Stubblefield was on the other end of 11 Orton passes, piling up 115 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
NOTRE DAME-PURDUE SERIES NOTES
â€¢ Notre Dame and Purdue will be meeting for the 76th time, with the Irish leading the all-time series by a 49-24-2 count.
â€¢ The Irish have won three of the past four games between the two teams.
â€¢ Notre Dame also has won the last 13 meetings in Notre Dame Stadium, with Purdue’s last series victory in South Bend coming in 1974 (when the Boilermakers upset the second-ranked Irish).
â€¢ The Irish hold a 25-10 all-time series advantage at Notre Dame Stadium.
â€¢ Including this weekend’s game, at least one team has been ranked nationally in 17 of the past 18 meetings, dating back to 1987 — the 2001 game was the only time in that stretch that neither team was ranked. â€¢ Saturday’s game will mark just the sixth time in 76 series games that Purdue is ranked higher than Notre Dame. In the previous five such meetings, the Irish have won three times (1952, 1980, 2000). â€¢ Notre Dame has averaged 26.1 points per game in the past 10 matchups against Purdue.
IF NOTRE DAME WINS …
â€¢ It will be Notre Dame’s 14th consecutive victory over the Boilermakers in Notre Dame Stadium, extending a streak that began in 1976.
â€¢ The Irish will have swept three Big Ten opponents for the first time since 2002. Prior to the ’02 season, in which the Irish swept Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State, Notre Dame last beat all the Big Ten teams in 1993 when the Irish went 4-0 against Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue.
â€¢ Notre Dame will have won four of the last six meetings vs. Purdue.
â€¢ Notre Dame will win its 26th game against Purdue at home. â€¢ An unranked Irish squad will earn its first victory over a ranked Purdue squad since 1952 (26-14).
IF PURDUE WINS …
â€¢ It will mark the first victory by the Boilermakers in Notre Dame Stadium since 1974, when Purdue upset second-ranked Notre Dame, 31-20.
â€¢ Purdue will have won two consecutive games in the series for the first time since 1984-85.
â€¢ The Boilermakers will claim their 11th victory in Notre Dame Stadium.
NOTRE DAME-PURDUE SERIES HISTORY
â€¢ The series started in 1896, with Purdue collecting a 28-22 victory in South Bend. The only current NCAA Division I-A schools that played Notre Dame earlier than Purdue are Michigan (1887 – first game in program history) and Northwestern (1889).
â€¢ The teams played seven times from 1899-1907 before a 11-year break (the longest hiatus in the history of the series). The teams resumed play in 1918 and met every year until 1923 before a 10-year break in the series. The teams then met in 1933, ’34 and ’39 and the series has been continuous since 1946, tying with the USC rivalry for Notre Dame’s second-longest continuous series (Notre Dame and Navy have played every year since 1927).
â€¢ Notre Dame’s 49 series wins against Purdue are the second-most against any opponent — 67 against Navy is the highest.
â€¢ Purdue has beaten Notre Dame more times (24) than any other school besides USC (28).
â€¢ Notre Dame has registered a defensive touchdown in three of its last four games against the Boilers and has a defensive and special teams TD in two of its last three games with Purdue.
â€¢ The Irish have not been shut out by the Boilermakers since 1933 (a 19-0 loss in South Bend).
â€¢ The winner of the game is presented the Shillelagh Trophy, a tradition started in 1957. The trophy was donated by the late Joe McLaughlin (a merchant seaman and Notre Dame fan who brought the club from Ireland). Notre Dame has taken home the Shillelagh Trophy 30 times in the 47-year history of the award.
NOTRE DAME-PURDUE CONNECTIONS
â€¢ Notre Dame offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill Diedrick and Irish offensive line coach John McDonell worked alongside Purdue head coach Joe Tiller when all three were members of Mike Price’s staff at Washington State from 1989-90. In addition, Boilermaker quarterbacks coach Blaine Bennett was a graduate assistant on the WSU staff with the afore-mentioned trio in 1989.
â€¢ Purdue assistant head coach/defensive ends coach Gary Emanuel worked with Notre Dame offensive line coach John McDonell and running backs/special teams coach Buzz Preston at Washington State from 1994-96.
â€¢ Irish head athletic trainer Jim Russ — now in his 19th season at Notre Dame — served as an assistant athletic trainer at Purdue from 1977-82 (when the Boilers went 2-4 against the Irish).
â€¢ Fourth-year Notre Dame assistant athletic trainer Tricia Matasyk is a 1999 Purdue graduate.
RECENT NOTRE DAME-PURDUE SERIES HAS OFFERED HEARTSTOPPING FINISHES
Five of the past six games in the Notre Dame-Purdue series have been decided by seven points or less, with the Irish winning four of those five nailbiters. In 1998, Jim Sanson kicked a 17-yard field goal with 57 seconds left to give the Irish a 31-30 win. A year later, the Boilermakers exacted a measure of revenge, as Travis Dorsch booted a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to lead Purdue past Notre Dame, 28-23. In 2000, another Irish kicker took center stage, as Nicholas Setta drilled a 38-yard field goal on the game’s final play to lift Notre Dame to a 23-21 victory. In 2001, Vontez Duff returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score and Jason Beckstrom brought an interception back 29 yards for a TD, helping the Irish weather a late Purdue rally for the 24-18 win. In 2002, Duff returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown with 5:09 remaining to give the Irish a 24-17 victory.
SCORING BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
In Notre Dame’s last three games against Purdue, five of the seven touchdowns scored by the Irish have come from their defense or special teams. In 2001, Vontez Duff returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score and Jason Beckstrom followed with a 29-yard interception for a touchdown, lifting the Irish to the 24-18 win. In 2002, all three Notre Dame scores were provided by the defense and special teams. Gerome Sapp returned a fumble 54 yards for a touchdown and Lionel Bolen followed suit with a four-yard fumble return for a score on the ensuing kickoff just 11 seconds later (the fastest two-TD outburst in school history). Then, after Purdue had tied the game at 17, Duff brought an interception back 33 yards for the game-winning score with 5:09 remaining.
â€¢ The series has produced 48 previous games in which at least one team was ranked in the AP poll, but the higher-ranked team is just 30-18 in those games.
â€¢ Purdue has been the beneficiary in 15 of the series’ 18 upsets of the higher-ranked teams, including four times in which the Boilermakers knocked off the top-rated Irish: 1950 (28-14) and 1954 (27-14) at Notre Dame Stadium, and 1965 (25-21) and 1967 (28-21) at Ross-Ade Stadium. Purdue was unranked in 1950, No. 19 in ’54, No. 6 in ’65 and No. 10 in ’67.
â€¢ Lower-ranked Irish teams have upset a higher-ranked Purdue squad three times, most recently at Notre Dame Stadium in 2000 when Notre Dame’s Nicholas Setta connected on a 38-yard field goal with no time remaining to give the 23rd-ranked Irish a 23-21 victory over the 13th-ranked Boilermakers. Other Irish upsets include at Ross-Ade Stadium in 1952, when the unranked Irish knocked off No. 9 Purdue (26-14); and at Notre Dame Stadium in 1980, when the No. 11 Irish topped the ninth-ranked Boilermakers (31-10).
â€¢ Unranked Purdue teams also have beaten ranked Irish teams in 1956, ’59, ’60, ’74 (31-20, when ND was No. 2), ’81, ’84 and ’97 while lower-ranked Purdue teams also have beaten higher-ranked ND teams in ’58, ’69, ’79 and ’99.
â€¢ Purdue stands as the second-most common opponent in Notre Dame football history. The Irish and Boilermakers are playing for the 76th time this season, having met continuously since 1946.
â€¢ Notre Dame plays six of its nine most common opponents this season (Navy, Purdue, USC, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Michigan).
â€¢ The Irish have played 134 different teams in 115 seasons of varsity football, with the most common opponents in Irish football history as follows (number of games are updated to include all 2004 games):
Opponent Games ND series record Navy 78 67-9-1 Purdue 76 49-24-2 USC 76 42-28-5 Michigan State 68 43-24-1 Pittsburgh 62 43-17-1 Army 48 36-8-4 Northwestern 47 37-8-2 Michigan 32 13-18-1 Georgia Tech 32 26-5-1
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND PURDUE MET
Purdue converted four interceptions by quarterback Brady Quinn into 10 points and that proved to be crucial as Purdue held on for a 23-10 win over the Irish on Sept. 27, 2003, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. It was the third time in the past 18 series meetings that the Boilers had come away victorious, despite the fact the hosts were outgained by more than 100 yards in the contest.
Quinn was the seventh freshman quarterback since 1951 to start for the Irish, completing 29-of-59 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and those four interceptions. His 29 completions were the most by Notre Dame signal-caller since 1997 and his 297 yards were the most yards a Notre Dame freshman QB has thrown for in his debut since ’51.
Purdue wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard, driving 56 yards in four plays on its initial possession before Kyle Orton found Ray Williams on a 36-yard scoring strike. Less than four minutes into the game, the Boilermakers had a 7-0 lead and the Irish were once again forced to play from behind. The lead ballooned to 10 points later in the first quarter when Ben Jones kicked the first of his three field goals, a 46-yarder, after an Irish turnover.
Notre Dame came back in the second period, as Quinn directed his charges on a nine-play, 61-yard drive that lasted nearly four minutes. However, the drive stalled at the Purdue two-yard line and Nicholas Setta trotted in to boot a 19-yard field goal, his ninth consecutive converted trey.
After Jones added a 31-yard field goal with just over two minutes to go before halftime, it appeared Notre Dame was going to be burdened with a double-digit halftime deficit for the third time in 2003. That’s when Quinn and wideout Maurice Stovall hooked up to quickly shift the momentum in favor of the Irish. The youthful tandem combined for an 85-yard scoring play, the third-longest touchdown pass in school history, and it brought Notre Dame within 13-10 at the intermission.
The game then developed into a field position battle, with Purdue getting the better of the struggle throughout the third quarter, tacking on Jones’ third field goal for a six-point edge. On the second play of the final period, Quinn added to the Boiler advantage when his pass was intercepted at the Irish 12-yard line. Four plays later, Orton tossed a two-yard TD pass to Shaun Phillips for the clinching score.
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND PURDUE MET AT NOTRE DAME STADIUM
Notre Dame cornerback Vontez Duff intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown with 5:09 to play, lifting the 23rd-ranked Irish to a 24-17 victory over Purdue on Sept. 7, 2002, at Notre Dame Stadium.
Running back Ryan Grant added a solid effort, rushing 21 times for a (then) career-high 96 yards in the victory. However, it was once again the Notre Dame defense that was the story. The Irish forced four Purdue turnovers on the afternoon and kept the high-powered Boiler passing game largely in check, as Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton completed only 14 of 30 passes for 171 yards with one interception.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Notre Dame seized the momentum in the blink of an eye. Gerome Sapp scooped up a Purdue fumble, danced past two tacklers and raced 54 yards for a touchdown to put the Irish in front. Then, on the ensuing kickoff, the Boilermakers fumbled again. Lionel Bolen found himself in the right spot, plucking the ball out of midair and waltzing four yards into the end zone for a quick 14-0 lead. The two Notre Dame scores came just 11 seconds apart, breaking the school record for the fastest two TDs by one second. It also rocked Purdue back on its collective heels, a feeling which would be magnified later in the quarter, when Nicholas Setta banged home a 19-yard field goal to hike the Irish lead to 17-0 at the 6:25 mark.
The Boilermakers regained their balance as Anthony Chambers returned an Irish punt 76 yards for a touchdown just before halftime. Then, late in the third quarter, Orton drove the visitors on a 10-play, 71-yard drive, which was capped by Jerod Void’s three-yard TD run. Berin Lacevic completed the Purdue comeback by kicking a 35-yard field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17-17 and set the stage for Duff’s late-game heroics.
NOTRE DAME VS. THE BIG TEN CONFERENCE
â€¢ Notre Dame has played more than three times as many games against Big Ten Conference opponents (329) as any other league. The Pac-10 (112) is the only other conference against whom the Irish have played at least 100 games.
â€¢ Notre Dame has won more than 66 percent of its games versus Big Ten Conference opponents, with a record of .500 or better against 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams (Michigan is the lone exception). The Irish have an overall mark of 211-103-15 (.664) in 329 games against Big Ten schools, with more than 52 percent of those games (174) coming versus Michigan (13-18-1), Michigan State (43-24-1) and Purdue (49-24-2), all of whom are on Notre Dame’s 2004 schedule.
â€¢ Notre Dame is 37-17-1 (.676) in its last 54 games against Big Ten opponents, highlighted by a 14-game winning streak from 1986-91.
â€¢ For the third consecutive season, Notre Dame is playing three Big Ten schools (Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue). In 2002, the Irish swept those same three Big Ten opponents, winning each game in the fourth quarter. In 2003, Notre Dame went 0-3 against that trio, but the Irish have gotten off on the right foot this season, defeating then-No. 8 ranked Michigan on Sept. 11 and Michigan State in East Lansing on Sept. 18.
NOTRE DAME LOOKING TO REGISTER 800TH ALL-TIME VICTORY
The Notre Dame football program is nearing a historic milestone, needing one more victory to become just the second NCAA Division I-A program to amass 800 all-time wins. The Irish currently rank second in NCAA history with 799 wins, trailing only Michigan’s 836 victories, although the Wolverines have played nine more seasons than Notre Dame. It should be noted that Yale, currently an NCAA Division I-AA institution, has 822 career wins with many of those triumphs coming before the Bulldogs’ move to Division I-AA in 1982.
SHELTON GETS IT DONE
Senior wide receiver Matt Shelton enjoyed a career day (of sorts) for the second consecutive week against Washington when he nabbed a career-best four catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Against the Huskies, Shelton caught scoring passes of 27 and 24 yards, while also adding grabs of 11 and 12 yards. One week earlier at Michigan State, Shelton snared three passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, including gains of 53, 35 and 35 yards. A big-play specialist at Notre Dame, Shelton has averaged 39.4 yards on his five career touchdown grabs (27 and 24 vs. Washington, 35 at MSU, 46 vs. Michigan, 65 at Stanford in ’03).
WINNING THE FIELD POSITION BATTLE
One of the key (and sometimes overlooked) aspects of Notre Dame’s success this season has been its ability to maintain excellent field position. After starting 11 of 15 drives against BYU at or inside their own 20-yard line, the Irish have started 36 of their last 47 drives in “plus territory” — outside their own 20-yard line — with 14 drives that began in their opponent’s half of the field.
Another key fact to note: after an average starting field position at BYU of its own 22-yard line, Notre Dame has averaged starting at its own 39-yard line in the past three games (all wins) against Michigan, Michigan State and Washington.
The Irish have caused 16 turnovers (10 FUM, 6 INT) this season and have made the most of their opportunities. Notre Dame has parlayed those takeaways into 52 points, which accounts for 45.6 percent of the Irish scoring (114 points) thus far in 2004.
THE FIVE-FINGER DISCOUNT
Notre Dame came up with a Willingham-era record six turnovers (3 FUM, 3 INT) on Sept. 18 at Michigan State and followed up with five more turnovers last Saturday against Washington, marking the fourth consecutive week the Irish have had at least two takeaways. That should come as no surprise to many — during the past three-plus seasons (2001-04), Notre Dame has forced two or more turnovers in 30 of its 40 games, including 24 contests where they came up with at least three takeaways. Heading into this weekend’s game with Purdue, the Irish are ninth in the country in turnover margin (+1.75 per game, +7 overall).
STOPPING THE RUN IS JOB ONE FOR IRISH
The Notre Dame run defense has been exceptionally sturdy since head coach Tyrone Willingham and defensive coordinator Kent Baer arrived on the scene in 2002. Over the last three seasons, the Irish have held 16 of 29 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing, including stingy performances in the first two games this year (BYU – 22; Michigan – 56). In fact, Notre Dame opponents are averaging a meager 2.6 yards per carry through the first four games this season.
In 2002, Notre Dame was ranked 10th in the nation in rushing defense, followed by a No. 29 national ranking last year. Through their first four games this season, the Irish are 17th in the country in rushing defense, allowing an average of just 88.75 yards on the ground.
WALKER POSTS UNPRECEDENTED FRESHMAN PRODUCTION
After sitting out Notre Dame’s opener at BYU, freshman running back Darius Walker has provided a consistent threat in the Irish running game by averaging 98 yards rushing per game the last three contests. 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, before running for 81 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries versus Washington. 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:
â€¢ First Irish freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game since Julius Jones had 146 yards against Navy on Oct. 30, 1999.
â€¢ First Notre Dame freshman to score two touchdowns in a game since Matt LoVecchio ran for two scores at USC on Nov. 25, 2000.
â€¢ 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. Walker also is the first freshman to score two touchdowns in a home opener since at least 1970.
â€¢ 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. (Note: Julius Jones did score twice vs. Boston College on Nov. 20, 1999, but one of his touchdowns came as a punt returner).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn has spread his pass completions around through Notre Dame’s first four games of the 2004 season. Quinn has completed passes to 14 different receivers in those four contests, a breakdown of six wide receivers, five running backs, two tight ends and one pass to himself (caught off a deflection vs. Washington). Junior wide receiver Rhema McKnight has been Quinn’s favorite target thus far, grabbing 14 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. Fellow junior wideout Maurice Stovall is next with 10 receptions for 122 yards. Quinn also has tossed touchdown passes to four different players this season: McKnight, senior wide receiver Matt Shelton (four times), junior tight end Anthony Fasano (twice) and senior fullback Rashon Powers-Neal.
BE LIKE MIKE
Senior linebacker Mike Goolsby has made a resounding return to the Notre Dame lineup this season after missing the entire 2003 slate with an injury. Through four games this season, Goolsby has been credited with 38 tackles (9.5 per game) while leading the team in two of four games thus far. In fact, the Joliet, Ill., native rolled up career-best tackle totals his first two games of the year, tallying 11 stops at BYU and 14 tackles against Michigan.
HOYTE MAKING BIG PLAYS
Senior linebacker Brandon Hoyte has been a catalyst for Notre Dame’s physical play on defense thus far this season, making several big hits and tackles for losses. Hoyte enters the Purdue game with 25 tackles to rank second on the team, but his knack for making big hits has been a hallmark of his play thus far in 2004. Hoyte has forced three fumbles this season, collected one sack and has four tackles for loss (17 yards).
PAPER OR PLASTIC?
With 21.5 career sacks, senior defensive end and All-America candidate Justin Tuck is on the verge of becoming Notre Dame’s all-time leader in that category. The Kellyton, Ala., native set a school record with 13.5 sacks last year and has added three sacks so far this season. With one sack vs. Michigan, he passed Mike Gann (1982-84) for second place on the Irish career list behind Kory Minor’s 22.5 sacks from 1995-98. Here’s a look at the Irish career sack leaders since 1982 (when Notre Dame began recognizing sacks as a separate statistic — prior to that, they were labeled “tackles for loss”):
Player Seasons Sacks
Kory Minor 1995-98 22.5
Justin Tuck 2002-04 21.5
Mike Gann 1982-84 21
Bryant Young 1990-93 18
Anthony Weaver 1998-01 17
Bert Berry 1993-96 16.5
FITZPATRICK SHARP IN THE PUNTING GAME
Senior punter D.J. Fitzpatrick has shown considerable improvement through his first four games this season. Fitzpatrick currently owns a 41.8 punting average, a jump of five yards per kick from last year’s average (36.84), and he also has eight punts of at least 50 yards, including a career-long 56-yard boot at BYU. In addition, the Granger, Ind., product has dropped 10 punts inside the opposition’s 20-yard line and is helping Notre Dame to hold its opponents to only 6.8 yards per punt return. His performance against Washington last Saturday was his best as a punter at Notre Dame, as he averaged 46.0 yards on seven attempts, including four punts of at least 50 yards and four punts downed inside the UW 20.
Including its first three games this season, Notre Dame is 11-4 (.733) in “one-possession games” (decided by eight points or less) since Tyrone Willingham took over as the Irish head coach in 2002. The only times the Irish have not won a close ball game under Willingham’s guidance were against Boston College in 2002 (14-7) and 2003 (27-25), Michigan State in 2003 (22-16) and BYU in 2004 (20-17).
RETURN TO SENDER
The return game has been a source of strength for Notre Dame in recent years. The Irish have logged 28 returns (punts, kickoffs, fumbles, interceptions) for touchdowns during the past six seasons (1999-2004), a figure that is tied for seventh in the country during that stretch. Here’s a look at the national leaders in touchdown returns since ’99 (research courtesy of the University of Colorado):
Team 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Bowls Total Miami (Fla.) 3 13 11 5 9 4 1 46 Virginia Tech 8 6 7 7 10 2 0 40 Kansas State 9 5 2 12 5 2 0 35 Colorado 5 4 7 7 1 3 4 31 Nebraska 6 7 5 6 4 0 3 30 N.C. State 3 2 4 9 10 1 1 30 NOTRE DAME 4 6 4 9 3 2 0 28 East Carolina 7 5 4 5 3 0 4 28 Fresno State 5 5 3 5 4 4 2 28 Texas Tech 3 7 8 5 3 1 1 28
THEY SHALL RETURN
â€¢ During the past 18-plus seasons (’86-’04), Notre Dame has produced 82 TDs via kickoff, punt, interception and fumble returns — with the most recent TD runback coming earlier this season on sophomore safety Tom Zbikowski’s 75-yard fumble return at Michigan State.
â€¢ In contrast, opponents in the past 18 seasons have combined for 24 total TD returns vs. the Irish.
â€¢ Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of the Irish return touchdowns since 1986:
Year PU KO INT FUM Year PU KO INT FUM1986 0 2 0 0 1997 0 2 1 01987 3 0 1 0 1998 0 0 2 31988 2 2 3 0 1999 1 0 2 11989 2 2 3 0 2000 2 1 1 21990 0 2 0 0 2001 0 1 2 11991 1 1 2 0 2002 2 1 4 21992 0 1 0 0 2003 1 0 0 21993 2 1 2 1 2004 0 0 1 11994 0 0 1 1 ND (82) 21 17 27 171995 1 0 2 1 Opp. (24) 7 3 9 51996 4 1 0 2
CURRY NAMED TO AFCA GOOD WORKS TEAM
Senior linebacker Derek Curry has been 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 is currently in his third season as a starting linebacker for the Irish. A three-time monogram winner at Notre Dame, Curry has 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. Grant Irons received the award as a junior in 1999 and went on to be a rare five-year monogram winner and two-time captain with the Irish while playing at linebacker and defensive end. He served as president of Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council and was involved in numerous community service programs at Notre Dame and in the surrounding South Bend community.
All-America linebacker Courtney Watson received the honor in 2003. Watson was responsible for creating and developing the football team’s community service initiative entitled “Tackle The Arts”, an interactive approach that helps inspire children to explore different areas of the arts including reading, creative writing and poetry, drawing and music. Watson also installed a food drive dimension to the event and combined with current Irish players Brandon Hoyte and Dan Stevenson as hosts of a picnic for at-risk children in the South Bend area. He regularly made surprise visits to the pediatric floor at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, addressed the Jackson Middle School football team at its banquet and participated in the St. Joseph County City Bureau Youth Fest. On a campus level, Watson was nominated and then elected a member of the Notre Dame Student Senate in 2002-03 and served as a member of the Residence Life and Academic Council committees.
RANK AND FILE
Notre Dame’s penchant for playing the best teams in the country is well known. In fact, over the last 18 seasons (1987-2004), the Irish have played 83 games against ranked opponents, an average of nearly five games per season. Notre Dame has posted a record of 44-37-2 (.542) in these games, including a 23-12-1 (.653) mark against ranked teams at home. Here’s a breakdown of how the Irish have done against Top 25 teams since 1987:
Season Home Road/Neutral Total 1987 2-0 1-2 3-2 1988 2-0 2-0 4-0 1989 3-0 3-1 6-1 1990 2-1 3-1 5-2 1991 1-1 1-2 2-3 1992 2-1-1 2-0 4-1-1 1993 1-1 2-0 3-1 1994 0-1 0-2-1 0-3-1 1995 2-0 1-2 3-2 1996 1-1 1-0 2-1 1997 1-1 1-3 2-4 1998 1-0 0-1 1-1 1999 1-1 0-3 1-4 2000 2-1 0-2 2-3 2001 0-1 0-2 0-3 2002 1-0 3-2 4-2 2003 0-2 1-2 1-4 2004 1-0 0-0 1-0 Totals 23-12-1 21-25-1 44-37-2
IRISH HEAD COACH Tyrone Willingham
A veteran with 27 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels, Tyrone Willingham is in the midst of his third season as head football coach at the University of Notre Dame in 2004. Willingham has a record of 18-11 (.621) in two-plus seasons with the Irish, leading Notre Dame to a 10-3 record and a trip to the Gator Bowl in 2002 before a 5-7 campaign in 2003 and a 3-1 start in 2004.
In 2002, Willingham became the first Irish head coach ever to win 10 games in his first season, was named the ESPN/Home Depot College Coach of the Year, the Scripps College Coach of the Year, the Black Coaches Association Male Coach of the Year and received the George Munger Award College Coach of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia. In addition, he made history in 2002 as the first college football coach ever to earn The Sporting News Sportsman of the Year award. In nine-plus years as a college head coach, Willingham has compiled a solid 62-47-1 (.574) record and has guided his teams to bowl games on five occasions.
Willingham was introduced as the new Irish mentor on Jan. 1, 2002, following seven seasons as the head coach at Stanford. He compiled a 44-36-1 (.549) record during his tenure at Stanford, guiding the Cardinal to four bowl games, including the Rose Bowl following the 1999 season. Willingham was a two-time Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year (1995 and 1999), the only Stanford coach to earn that award more than once, and he was a finalist for national coach-of-the-year honors in ’95 and ’99. All told, Willingham spent 10 years at Stanford, initially serving as running backs coach from 1989-91.
Between his stints with the Cardinal, Willingham coached in the professional ranks for three seasons (1992-94) with the Minnesota Vikings, helping his team win a pair of NFC Central Division championships and reach the playoffs all three years. Willingham began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Michigan State, in 1977, before moving to Central Michigan as the defensive secondary coach for two years (1978-79). He returned to MSU from 1980-82, working with the secondary and special teams units, and also served on the coaching staffs at North Carolina State (1983-85) and Rice (1986-88).
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 165 of its previous 189 games, including 29 of its last 30 games dating back to the end of the 2001 season (the ’03 game at Stanford was not a sellout). At Michigan in 2003, the Irish and Wolverines helped bring in 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).
TICKET UPDATE: PURDUE GAME IS FIFTH-MOST REQUESTED IRISH HOME GAME EVER
The Notre Dame ticket office received 52,179 ticket requests for this week’s game vs. Purdue, making it the fifth-highest requested Irish home game in history. The Notre Dame Stadium record of 59,368 ticket requests was set in ’01 when the Irish took on West Virginia. Demand for that game was based on parents of current Notre Dame students being guaranteed four tickets for that contest — plus contributing alumni having the opportunity to apply for four tickets instead of the usual two, based on its designation as an alumni family game. Prior to this weekend’s game vs. Purdue, the Irish have posted 175 consecutive sellouts at Notre Dame Stadium and 223 in their last 224 home games.
Here are the top 10 games in terms of alumni ticket demand at Notre Dame Stadium:
1. West Virginia 2001 59,368 2. USC 1997 57,048 3. Boston College 2002 55,482 4. USC 2003 54,244 5. Purdue 2004 52,179 6. Florida State 2003 51,051 7. Michigan 2002 50,883 8. Michigan State 2001 48,404 9. Nebraska 2000 47,865 10. Michigan State 1997 47,681
THE 2004 SCHEDULE Notre Dame’s rugged 2003 schedule featured nine teams that advanced to bowl games, including three participants in Bowl Championship Series (BCS) contests. The 2004 slate figures to be just as formidable, although the Irish benefit from playing four of their first six contests within the friendly confines of Notre Dame Stadium.
In all, eight bowl qualifiers from 2003 dot the Irish schedule — Michigan (Rose Bowl), Michigan State (Alamo Bowl), Purdue (Capital One Bowl), Navy (Houston Bowl), Boston College (San Francisco Bowl), Tennessee (Peach Bowl), Pittsburgh (Continental Tire Bowl) and USC (Rose Bowl). This season, Notre Dame also will take on three Big Ten Conference schools — Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue — as well as three Pacific-10 Conference institutions — Washington, Stanford and USC. Other conferences represented on this year’s docket include the Mountain West (BYU), Southeastern (Tennessee) and BIG EAST (Boston College and Pittsburgh).
The strength of the 2004 Notre Dame docket is already evident. Through the first month of the season, Notre Dame’s schedule is tied for the second-toughest in the nation, according to NCAA statistics that compute the ranking based on the cumulative record of all Irish opponents this season (past and future).
Last year’s Notre Dame ledger was ranked third in the nation according to the final NCAA statistical reports, marking the 22nd time in 27 seasons that the Irish have had their schedule ranked in the top 30 in the country. In addition to nine ’03 opponents advancing to bowl games, four of Notre Dame’s first eight foes last year were ranked among the nation’s top 25 at season’s end.
2004 NOTRE DAME OPPONENT UPDATE
The following is a look at Notre Dame opponents’ upcoming games. 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 currently is tied for the second-toughest in the nation, based on cumulative opposition.
Opponent (Ranking*) '04 Record '03 Record Oct. 2 Oct. 9BYU 1-3 4-8 at Colorado State UNLV (10/8)Michigan (19/18) 3-1 10-3 at Indiana MinnesotaMichigan State 2-2 8-5 at Iowa Illinois
Washington 0-3 6-6 at Stanford San Jose StatePurdue (15/15) 3-0 9-4 at Notre Dame at Penn StateStanford 2-1 4-7 Washington at Notre Dame
Navy 4-0 8-5 at Air Force (9/30) IdleBoston College 3-1 8-5 Massachusetts IdleTennessee (10/8) 3-0 10-3 Auburn at Georgia
Pittsburgh 2-1 8-5 Idle at TempleUSC (1/1) 4-0 12-1 Idle California
* – current Associated Press poll ranking listed first, followed by ESPN/USA Today poll ranking
Notre Dame Opponents’ Combined Record in 2003: 89-49 (.645); Record in 2004: 27-12 (.692)
NOTRE DAME ON THE SMALL SCREEN
With the Purdue game slated to be televised nationally by NBC, the Irish will extend their streak of appearances on one of four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN) to 141 straight games, a stretch that spans 10 full seasons (1993-2003). The last time the Irish didn’t appear on one of those four networks was more than 11 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. Here’s a breakdown of the networks on which the Irish have played during this impressive streak:
YEAR GAMES NBC ABC CBS ESPN1992 4 3 1 -- --1993 12 7 4 -- 11994 12 7 5 -- --1995 12 6 4 1 11996 11 6 2 2 11997 13 6 3 2 21998 12 7 3 2 --1999 12 7 3 1 12000 12 6 3 3 --2001 11 6 4 -- 12002 13 7 4 1 12003 12 6 5 -- 12004 5 3 -- -- 2Totals 141 77 41 12 11
NOTRE DAME FEATURED PROMINENTLY ON TELEVISION THIS YEAR
In addition to continuing its streak of consecutive games played on one of the four major television networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN), Notre Dame will be spotlighted on the small screen in several other ways during the 2004 season. Here’s a thumbnail look at each of the individual TV projects which are featuring the Irish this year:
â€¢ ESPN’s “College GameDay” is celebrating its 11th season of live remotes from college football’s top games.
â€¢ College Sports Television (CSTV), the 24-hour cable channel devoted exclusively to college sports, once again highlights Irish athletics during a two-hour block on Sunday nights called “Notre Dame Primetime.” The show, which is co-hosted by former Irish split end Derrick Mayes, focuses on all 26 Notre Dame sports and the continuing growth of Irish athletics.
â€¢ Besides these features, Notre Dame is now in the 14th season of its unique relationship with NBC. All Irish home football games since 1991 have been televised on the network, with the current agreement slated to continue through 2010. Tom Hammond (play-by-play) and Pat Haden (analysis) are in their fourth full season broadcasting the action for NBC in ’04.
WHEN THE EYES OF THE NATION ARE UPON THEM
Notre Dame is 169-85-3 (.663) all-time when it is playing in front of a national television audience. The 2003 game at Michigan was another milestone for the Irish program — it was the 300th time a Notre Dame football game appeared on national or regional television.
During their 115-year history, the Irish have posted a combined 197-112-4 (.636) record in these national or regional TV games, beginning with a 27-21 victory over No. 4 Oklahoma on Nov. 8, 1952 in a game that was shown nationwide on ABC. Here’s a breakdown of Notre Dame’s success over the years when appearing on each of the various networks on both a national and regional basis (the current Irish win/loss streak on the four major networks is listed in parentheses):
NBC (won 4) 65-24-1 (.728)
ABC (lost 3) 44-36-2 (.549)
CBS (won 6) 22-11-0 (.667)
ESPN/ESPN2 (won 1) 20-11-0 (.645)
WGN 10-2-0 (.833)
SportsChannel 4-1-0 (.800)
Raycom 2-0-0 (1.000)
TBS 1-0-0 (1.000)
Katz 1-0-0 (1.000)
Totals 169-85-3 (.663)
ABC (lost 2) 23-24-1 (.490)
CBS (won 1) 4-2-0 (.667)
TBS 1-0-0 (1.000)
Big Ten Syndication 0-1-0 (.000)
Totals 28-27-1 (.509)
NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN GARNERS NBC’S HIGHEST SEASON-OPENING RATING SINCE 1998
NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame’s 28-20 win over No.8 Michigan on Sept. 11 delivered a 4.0 national rating/10 share, making it the highest-rated season opener since a 5.1/14 on Sept. 5, 1998 for a 36-20 Irish win over fifth-ranked Michigan, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The 4.0/10 represents a 29 percent hike over last year’s opener — a 29-26 overtime win over Washington State that produced a 3.1/8. It’s the best rating for any Notre Dame telecast on NBC since a 4.4/11 vs. Boston College on Nov. 2, 2002.
NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS DEBUT ON SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO
In addition to its unparalleled television coverage, Notre Dame also has increased its radio footprint, announcing an agreement on Aug. 31 with SIRIUS Satellite Radio to become the official satellite radio partner for Notre Dame athletics. SIRIUS will broadcast every Irish football game this season, and also will air selected men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as other sporting events. In addition, SIRIUS will aid in the development of marketing initiatives with the University’s athletic department as a member of “Team Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame’s agreement with SIRIUS is one of the cornerstones in the formation of SIRIUS College Sports Radio, a partnership between SIRIUS and College Sports Television (CSTV) that includes 23 major universities around the country. SIRIUS radios for the car and home start at $149 and are available at major retailers nationwide. For more information, visit www.sirius.com.
THE 2004 NFL DRAFT
Five former Notre Dame players were selected in the 2004 National Football League Draft. Leading the way was running back Julius Jones, who went to the Dallas Cowboys in the second round (43rd pick overall). Jones was joined by linebacker Courtney Watson, who was taken 17 picks later in the second round (60th overall) by the New Orleans Saints. Safety Glenn Earl was chosen in the fourth round (122nd overall) by the Houston Texans, while fellow defensive back Vontez Duff joined him as a Texan when Houston tapped him in the sixth round (170th overall). Offensive tackle Jim Molinaro was the final Irish player taken, selected by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round (180th overall).
NOTRE DAME IS AMERICA’S FAVORITE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROGRAM
According to an ESPN Sports Poll of nearly 7,000 college sports fans ages 12 and older taken from Jannuary to December 2003, Notre Dame is the nation’s favorite college football team, garnering 6.1 percent of the popular vote. Furthermore, the Irish were the only team to finish in the top 10 in all four regions of the country where the ESPN Sports Poll was conducted. Ohio State was the only other school to earn at least four percent of the vote, finishing at 5.3 percent.
MAKING THE GRADE
The first two seasons of the Tyrone Willingham era have produced some impressive semesters in the classroom for the Notre Dame football team. In fact, the Irish are coming off a 2004 spring semester in which the team’s 104 players combined for a 2.96 grade-point average that ranks as the program’s best semester GPA on record (dating back to 1992). The Notre Dame football program’s top six semester GPAs since ’92 all have been posted during the past seven semesters (prior to the fall of ’04), including the first three semesters of Willingham’s tenure (2.84 in the fall of ’02, 2.79 in the spring of ’03 and 2.82 in the fall of ’03). The football program’s second-best semester GPA of the past 12 years came in the spring of 2002 (2.90), followed by a 2.80 in the spring of 2001 and a 2.69 in the fall of ’01.
Upon closer examination, the 2004 spring semester saw 11 Irish football players post a Dean’s List GPA (sliding scale, based on major) while 21 turned in a semester GPA of 3.4-plus and more than half (53) had a GPA of 3.0 or better. In addition, two players — current fifth-year DE Kyle Budinscak and senior LB Brandon Hoyte — received Academic All-District V honors in 2003, marking Budinscak’s third selection and Hoyte’s second to the prestigious squad.
NOTRE DAME EXCELS IN THE CLASSROOM AS WELL AS ON THE FIELD
The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) annually honors the school with the highest graduation rate based on a particular entering freshman football class — and Notre Dame has won the award six times, most recently in 2001 with its 100-percent graduation rate (22 of 22 entering freshmen from 1996 earned their degrees within five years). The 2001 award followed Notre Dame’s previous honors in 1982, ’83, ’84, ’88 and ’91. Notre Dame also holds the distinction of producing the first 100-percent rate in a single years after 24 of 24 student-athletes earned their degrees within a five-year period out of the entering class of 1982 (and 16 of those 24 did so within four years). Only eight other times has a school registered a 100-percent graduation rate.
The 1988 award had special meaning, as it marked the first time a school won the national championship on the football field — as Notre Dame did, finishing 12-0 after a Fiesta Bowl triumph over unbeaten West Virginia — and in the classroom. Including the special mention category, Notre Dame has received some sort of recognition in 23 of 24 years the award has been presented — with Duke next at 21.
TAKING ACADEMIC SUCCESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
The high graduation rate of the Notre Dame football program extends to the elite group of former players who have moved on to play in the National Football League. Notre Dame has seen 88 of its former players appear on NFL opening-day rosters during the past eight seasons (1996-2003) and 93.1 percent of those players (82) have earned their degrees from the University. In fact, Notre Dame’s own institutional research shows that 99 percent of scholarship football players who have entered the University since 1962 have received their degrees (896 of 905, based only on individuals who remained at the school at least four years). Those figures do not include players who transferred or withdrew before completing four or more years at Notre Dame.
The 93.1 percent graduation rate for NFL participants ranks even higher than Notre Dame’s most recent NCAA graduation rates for all student-athletes (87 percent), male student-athletes (85), female student-athletes (92), football student-athletes (81) and African-American student-athletes (78). Those numbers, released last fall, comprised all student-athletes entering Notre Dame from 1993-96.
“THE SHIRT” NOW AVAILABLE FOR 2004 SEASON
For the 15th consecutive year, Notre Dame Student Activities and Government are sponsoring a T-shirt that benefits scholarship funds, student groups and service projects. In each of the past two years, the initial run of nearly 50,000 shirts sold out prior to the start of the season. In 2002, a record-setting total of 130,000 shirts were sold, with that initial run of 44,000 selling out within six weeks of its debut (at the time, it was one of the earliest sellouts in the history of the project). As a result, Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham began labelling the Shirt-clad crowd as the “sea of green.”
Over the past 14 years, the venture has more than $2.5 million in net profit for worthy causes and serves the dual purpose of promoting spirit and raising funds. Some of the proceeds supported students and employees who have incurred catastrophic accidents, while others benefitted endowment funds and additional monies were given to support service projects for student groups on campus.
“The Shirt 2004” is kelly green for an unprecendented third consecutive year, reminiscent of the original 1990 Shirt, and features this season’s motto, “Onward To Victory.” The short-sleeve shirt is traditionally worn by Notre Dame students and fans at the first home game of each football season. The cost of this year’s shirt is $15 and it is available on campus to the University community and the general public at the Hammes Bookstore, the information desk at the LaFortune Student Center, the Varsity Shop at the Joyce Center and the Alumni Association at the Eck Center. Orders also may be placed by telephone (1-800-647-4641) or on-line through the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com).
TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR 2004 FOOTBALL KICKOFF LUNCHEONS
Tickets are now on sale for the 2004 Notre Dame Kickoff Luncheons held the Friday prior to each Irish home football game. The luncheons feature Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham, Irish players and assistant coaches, plus special guests and other attractions.
Tickets are $18 each, with a handling fee of $3 (payment may be made with one check for more than one luncheon). There are 10 seats per table — and if you wish to sit as a group at the same table with other guests, please return all reservations in one envelope. Checks should be made payable to “University of Notre Dame” and mailed to: Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Telephone and credit card reservations are not accepted. A printed reservation form also is available on Notre Dame’s athletics web site at www.und.com.
The luncheons are held in the Joyce Center fieldhouse (north dome) on the Notre Dame campus, with a noon (EST) start. Be aware that advance reservations are required for tickets, and tickets are not routinely available at the door. This year’s remaining luncheon dates are: Oct. 1 (Purdue), Oct. 8 (Stanford), Oct. 22 (Boston College) and Nov. 12 (Pittsburgh).
All 2004 pep rallies will be held in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome) on Fridays before Saturday home games, beginning at 6 p.m. (EST). The Irish squad enters the arena at 6:30 p.m.
“NOTRE DAME EXPERIENCE” RETURNS FOR 2004 SEASON
For years, the Joyce Center Fieldhouse has been the “pregame meeting place” for several thousand Notre Dame alumni. In an effort to add to this tradition, the Notre Dame Athletics Department is providing an interactive fan experience for each of the 2004 home football games. For the third consecutive season, the “Notre Dame Experience” will combine the Notre Dame Alumni Association Hospitality Center with interactive inflatables, photo booths, autograph sessions, Notre Dame football trivia and stage activities. Gates open three hours prior to kickoff and will stay open until one hour after the game. Admission is free for all “Notre Dame Experience” events.
ORDER THE 2004 NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL PREVIEW MAGAZINE TODAY
This season marks the 11th edition of the Notre Dame Football Preview Magazine — an official publication by the University of Notre Dame athletic department. The 1994, ’95, ’96, ’97 and ’98 and 2000 editions were voted best in the nation in the special publications competition sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The preview magazine, published by Ave Maria Press, numbers nearly 100 pages, including game action shots of returning Irish players and coaches, position-by-position breakdowns and a feature on head coach Tyrone Willingham. It’s a collectors item perfect for autographs — with an emphasis on outstanding color photography unavailable in any other publication. The yearbook is priced at $10 (plus $5 for postage and handling) and can be ordered by calling 1-800-647-4641.
THE 2004 NCAA STATISTICS REPORT
The NCAA statistical rankings for Notre Dame and Purdue in 2004 (top 50 only):
Team Rankings Notre Dame PurdueRushing Offense 116.25 25th at 205.67Passing Offense 40th at 231.00 2nd at 356.00Total Offense 347.25 3rd at 561.67Scoring Offense 49th at 28.50 1st at 49.33Rushing Defense 17th at 88.75 25th at 95.33Pass Defense 225.50 29th at 166.00Pass Efficiency Defense 18th at 98.90 125.40Total Defense 40th at 314.25 13th at 261.33Scoring Defense 34th at 16.75 10th at 12.33Net Punting 42nd at 37.19 30.63Punt Returns 32nd at 11.93 8.80Kickoff Returns 18.00 16th at 24.88Turnover Margin 9th at +1.75 11th at +1.67 (+7 overall) (+5 overall)
Individual Rankings Notre Dame PurdueRushing Darius Walker 29th at 98.00Passing Efficiency Brady Quinn Kyle Orton 46th at 128.47 2nd at 188.10Total Offense Brady Quinn Kyle Orton 33rd at 229.75 2nd at 344.33Receptions Per Game Taylor Stubblefield 13th at 7.00Receiving Yards Per Game Taylor Stubblefield 10th at 108.00Interceptions Dwight Ellick 40th at 0.50Punting D.J. Fitzpatrick 37th at 41.83Punt Returns Carlyle Holiday 31st at 11.67Field Goals Ben Jones 30th at 1.00Scoring Taylor Stubblefield 2nd at 16.00 Ben Jones 39th at 9.33
NEXT WEEK: STANFORD
Notre Dame completes its three-game home stand next Saturday, Oct. 9, when it plays host to Pac-10 foe Stanford at 1:30 p.m. (EST) at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish hold a 12-6-0 edge in the all-time series with the Cardinal, including a 7-2 record in South Bend. Since 1988, the two schools have met every season except 1995 and 1996, with the Irish winning nine of those 14 contests, including the last four at home versus the Cardinal. The winner of the Notre Dame-Stanford game receives the Legends Trophy.
Stanford (2-1) has been impressive so far this season, winning its opening two games (vs. San Jose State and BYU) in convincing fashion before giving No. 1 USC a scare in a 31-28 loss last Saturday. Stanford hosts Washington this Saturday in Palo Alto before making the trip to Notre Dame.