Sept. 27, 2006
(#12 AP/# 14 USA Today) Notre Dame (3-1) vs. (RV AP/RV USA Today) Purdue (4-0)
The Date and Time
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006, at 2:43 p.m. EDT
Notre Dame Stadium (80,795, grass surface) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The game is officially sold out making it the 188th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium. Since 1966, every Notre Dame home football game has been a sellout except one – a 1973 Thanksgiving Day game vs. Air Force. The Irish have now played in front of sellouts in 236 of their last 237 home games.
The TV Plans
NBC national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play) and Pat Haden (analysis), Lewis Johnson (sideline), David Gibson (producer) and John Gonzalez (director). NBC will stream a live 30 minute pre-game and post-game show on NBCSports.com.
The Radio Plans
For the 39th consecutive season all Notre Dame football games are to be broadcast on approximately 300 stations in 50 states by Westwood One with Don Criqui (play-by-play) and former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (analysis) with Jeff Jeffers providing pre-game, halftime and post-game reports. This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 159 for the Purdue game) and it will be streaming live on the Notre Dame official athletics website at www.und.com.
All Notre Dame home games may be heard in South Bend on U93-FM (92.9) and WDND-AM (1490) with pre-game analysis featuring Sean Stires and Vince DeDario. The post-game show is hosted by Jack Nolan and features former Notre Dame players Reggie Brooks and Mirko Jurkovic. See page 11 of this notes package for more information on Irish football radio and television shows.
Live in-game statistics are available through CSTV’s Gametracker via each school’s official athletic website.
Notre Dame (www.und.com)
â€¢ No. 12/14 Notre Dame returns to Notre Dame Stadium this weekend with another matchup against an undefeated team. All five of the Irish’s opponents this season have entered the game undefeated. Notre Dame comes into the game following one of its greatest comebacks in a storied football history. The Irish rallied from a 16-point, fourth quarter deficit for a 40-37 victory over Michigan State. Meanwhile, Purdue improved to 4-0 with a 27-21 victory over Minnesota in West Lafayette last Saturday.
â€¢ Notre Dame and the Boilermakers will meet for the 78th time Saturday. The Irish lead the all-time series, 50-25-2. Notre Dame and Purdue have played each of the past 61 years. The series has been continuous since 1946, tying the USC rivalry for Notre Dame’s second-longest continuous series (Notre Dame and Navy have played every year since 1927). The Irish are 25-11-0 all-time against the Boliermakers in South Bend, including victories in 13 of the last 14 meetings. (see pages 2-4 for more information on the series).
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 31 times in the 49-year history of the award.
â€¢ This season marks the 40th anniversary of the 1966 Notre Dame football team that won the national championship. The team will be honored during its reunion this weekend. The 1966 squad averaged over 36 points per game while allowing just five touchdowns on defense all season. That Irish squad posted a 9-0-1 record including three wins over top 10 teams with an average margin of victory in those contests of 33.7 points. Head coach Ara Parseghian won his first of two titles and tied Frank Leahy (later matched by Dan Devine) in the process as the quickest Notre Dame head coach to win a national championship, doing so in his third campaign.
A Notre Dame Win This Week Would… … make the Irish 4-1 for the second consecutive season.
… be the second straight over Purdue, fifth in the last seven years and 14th in the last 15 meetings in Notre Dame Stadium.
… improve the Irish to 51-25-2 in the all-time series with the Boilermakers.
… improve the Irish to 26-11-0 in the all-time series with Purdue in South Bend and 23-10 in Notre Dame Stadium.
… improve Weis’ record to 6-3 against teams undefeated entering the game.
… improve Weis’ record to 13-4 overall, 2-0 against Purdue and 5-3 against Big Ten foes.
… improve Weis’ home record to 6-3.
… improve Weis’ record to 7-2 in September games.
… improve Weis’ record to 7-4 in afternoon games.
… improve the Irish’s all-time record to 815-267-42.
… improve the Irish’s all-time record at home to 293-90-5.
… improve the Irish’s all-time record against the Big Ten to 216-107-15.
A Notre Dame Loss This Week Would… … make the Irish 3-2 for the second time in three seasons.
… be the third in the last four meetings with Purdue and second consecutive at Notre Dame Stadium (after the Boilemakers dropped 13 straight from 1976-2004)
… drop the Irish to 50-26-2 in the all-time series with the Boilermakers.
… drop the Irish to 25-12-0 in the all-time series with Purdue in South Bend and 22-11 in Notre Dame Stadium.
… drop Weis’ record to 5-4 against teams undefeated entering the game.
… drop Weis’ record to 12-5 overall, 1-1 against Purdue and 4-4 against Big Ten foes.
… drop Weis’ home record to 5-4.
… drop Weis’ record to 6-3 in September games.
… drop Weis’ record to 6-5 in afternoon games.
… drop the Irish’s all-time record to 814-268-42.
… drop the Irish’s all-time record at home to 292-91-5.
… drop the Irish’s all-time record against the Big Ten to 215-108-15.
Notre Dame – Purdue Series Notes
â€¢ Notre Dame and Purdue will be meeting for the 78th time in the all-time series this Saturday. The Irish lead the series by a 50-25-2 count.
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 the rivalry in 1918 and met every year until 1923 before a 10-year break. The teams then met in 1933, 1934, 1939 and the series has been continuous since 1946. The series is tied 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 50 series wins against Purdue are the second-most against any opponent — 68 against Navy is the highest.
â€¢ Entering the 2006 season, Purdue has beaten Notre Dame more times (25) than any other school besides USC (29) and Michigan State (25).
â€¢ The Irish have not been shutout by the Boilermakers since 1933 (a 19-0 loss in South Bend). Notre Dame has been blanked on two other occasions (1904, 1905).
â€¢ Including this weekend’s game, Notre Dame or Purdue has been nationally ranked in 19 of the past 20 meetings (dating back to 1987). The 2001 game was the only time in that stretch that neither the Irish or Boilermakers were ranked.
â€¢ Over the last 10 meetings, Notre Dame holds a slim 6-4 advantage. The Irish won in 1996, 1998, from 2000-02 and 2005. Purdue claimed victories in 1997, 1999 and 2003-04.
â€¢ The series has been one filled with many offensive fireworks. Since 1982 (a span of 24 games), the winning team has scored no fewer than 22 points in every meeting except Notre Dame’s 17-0 triumph in 1993. The winning team has eclipsed the 30-point barrier on 12 different occasions and averaged just over 35 points per contest.
â€¢ If the series history holds true, Notre Dame will need to score often to earn a victory this weekend. When the Irish fail to score 23 or more points in a game against Purdue, the Irish are 11-17-2 (.400). Since 1981 (25 meetings), Notre Dame has lost five out of the six games to Purdue in which it failed to score over 20 points.
On This Date
Notre Dame has played 13 previous games in its history on Sept. 30. The Irish are 11-2 all-time on this date, including a 4-1 mark against Purdue.
Sept. 30, 1967: Notre Dame quarterback Terry Hanratty set a school record with 63 pass attempts in a 28-21 loss to Purdue. The Irish entered the matchup with the Boilermakers No. 1 in the country and riding a 12-game unbeaten streak. He also completed 29 passes and threw for 366 yards that afternoon (both were school records at the time). They currently rank fifth and seven, respectively, in those categories.
Sept. 30, 1978: Notre Dame linebacker Bob Golic registered 19 tackles in a 10-6 victory over Purdue. The 19 tackles are still tied for the fifth most tackles by an Irish player in a single game.
Sept. 30, 1989: In a 40-7 victory over Purdue, Notre Dame punter/place kicker Craig Hentrich made his first of what eventually turned out to be 136 consecutive made extra-points. The streak ended on Sept. 26, 1992, also against the Boilermakers.
Sept. 30, 1922: In a 46-0 shutout of Kalamazoo, Paul Castner returned four kickoffs for a total of 253 yards. The 253 yards in kickoff returns is the most in single-game school history. Castner averaged over 63 yards per return and took two all the way back for touchdowns.
Notre Dame vs. The Big Ten
â€¢ Notre Dame has faced no other conference as often as the Big Ten. The Irish have played 337 all-time games against the 11 current members of the league. Notre Dame is 215-107-15 in those meetings. The Irish has played almost three times as many games against the Big Ten as any other conference. The Pac-10 (114) is the only other conference against whom Notre Dame has played at least 100 games.
â€¢ Notre Dame has faced Purdue 77 times in school history, more all-time meetings than any other Big Ten program. Michigan State is second with 70 all-time meetings followed by Northwestern (47).
â€¢ Notre Dame will play four members of the Big 10 in 2006. In addition to Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, the Irish will also face Purdue. Notre Dame has played a member of the Big Ten every single season since 1915. In fact, the Irish will face four Big Ten schools in the same season for the first time since 1994. The Irish face Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue for the fifth consecutive season.
â€¢ Notre Dame has posted a 108-44-5 record against Big Ten opponents at home.
Irish Record Setters In The Notre Dame-Purdue Series
â€¢ The Notre Dame-Purdue series has been filled with incredible quarterback performances from the Irish. Five of the top 10 single-game completion records happened against the Boilermakers (Ron Powlus – 31; Brady Quinn – 29, 29, 26; Terry Hanratty – 29). Three of the top seven single-game highs for passing yards also came against Purdue (Brady Quinn – 440, 432; Terry Hanratty – 366). Only three Irish quarterbacks have ever attempted 45 or more passes in one game and three of those efforts came against the Boilermakers (Hanratty owns the school record with 63; Quinn recorded 59 in 2003 and 46 in 2004).
â€¢ Reggie Brooks rushed for three touchdowns, tied for sixth-most in single-game history, in a 48-0 rout of the Boilermakers on Sept. 26, 1992.
â€¢ Notre Dame senior QB Brady Quinn recorded 11 straight completions in last season’s 49-28 victory and his 80.5 completion percentage for the game is the sixth-best in single-game school history.
â€¢ Quinn has eclipsed the 400-yard mark in passing on four occasions over his career, twice against Purdue. He threw for 440 yards in 2005 and 432 yards in 2004.
â€¢ Former QB and current Notre Dame Director of Personnel Development, Ron Powlus, tossed four touchdown passes in a 35-28 victory over Purdue on Sept. 9, 1995. At the time, the four TD passes was tied for the school record.
â€¢ Former All-American WRs Jim Seymour and Tom Gatewood each had remarkable careers against Purdue. Seymour had 13 catches, second most in single-game school history, with a school record 276 yards on Sept. 24, 1966. Gatewood had 12 catches, third most in a game, for 192 yards against the Boilermakers on Sept. 26, 1970. Both had three touchdown receptions in the each game as well.
â€¢ Notre Dame has had a pair of running backs eclipse 100 yards rushing in the same game just 16 times over 118 years of football. Two of those occasions came against Purdue. Phil Carter and Larry Moriarty rushed for 154 and 106 yards, respectively, on Sept. 25, 1982. Ray Zellers and Randy Kinder went for 156 and 143 on Sept. 24, 1994.
The Last Time
No. 13 Notre Dame 49, No. 22 Purdue 28
Oct. 1, 2005, Ross-Ade Stadium
(Associated Press) – Brady Quinn’s big numbers are starting to result in Notre Dame victories.
Quinn passed for 440 yards and three touchdowns against 22nd-ranked Purdue on Saturday night, leading No. 13 Notre Dame to a 49-28 victory.
It’s the second straight game that Quinn has passed for over 300 yards and won. He had been 0-3 in such games before beating Washington a week earlier, and just 1-7 in games when he passed for at least 230 yards.
Quinn credits his improvement to coach Charlie Weis.
“He’s a great teacher. He’s taught me so many things about how to run an offense and be a leader,” Quinn said. “A lot of things he learned in the NFL, he’s brought down to teach me.”
Quinn looked a lot like another Weis student, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, in the way he beat the Purdue secondary, mixing mostly short passes with just enough deep throws to keep the Boilermakers off balance.
“Brady picked them apart,” Weis said. “We were taking 3-yard passes and turning them into 15, 20 yards gains.”
Quinn was 20-for-23 for 283 yards in the first half to lead Notre Dame (4-1) to a 28-0 intermission lead. He finished the game 29-of-36 – a career-high 80.5 percent – and threw a TD pass for a 10th straight game, tying a school record set by Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte in 1964.
“Brady is performing like the leader we need him to be and I look for him to continue to progress in upcoming games,” Weis said.
He’ll need to. Next up for the Irish is No. 1 USC on Oct. 15 in South Bend.
The loss was the biggest by the Boilermakers since losing 31-3 at Michigan in 2003. Purdue fell to 12-27 against ranked opponents under ninth-year coach Joe Tiller.
“We couldn’t stop the run or the passing game,” Tiller said. “I guess I’m not shocked, but I’m disappointed in the outcome.”
Quinn had lost his first two games against the Boilermakers despite passing for a combined 729 yards. The problem in 2003, his first collegiate start, was he was intercepted four times and didn’t have a TD pass. Last year he was sacked seven times in a 41-16 loss.
“I wasn’t thinking anything about revenge coming into this game,” Quinn said. “What enabled us to win was the execution of our game plan.”
On Saturday night, though, Quinn didn’t throw an interception until the Irish were up 35-14 – and the Irish intercepted the ball back on the next play – and he was hardly pressured as he cut up the Purdue secondary.
Quinn passed for at least 300 yards for a third straight game. Previously, no Irish quarterback had passed for 300 yards twice in a season. He now has five games in his career of over 300 yards passing. In three of those he has surpassed 400 yards, but before Saturday night the two 400-yard efforts had ended in defeat.
“He played like a great player,” Tiller said. “He’s a talented player.”
Quinn completed eight straight passes at one point and 11 straight at another. Quinn’s primary targets were Maurice Stovall and Samardzija.
Stovall finished with eight catches for 134 yards, including four catches for 71 yards on Notre Dame’s second scoring drive. Samardzija had a diving one-handed catch for 41 yards to the 1-yard line to set up Notre Dame’s first score. He also had a 55-yard TD catch and a 4-yard catch for a score, becoming the first Irish receiver to have TD catches in the team’s first five games. He finished with seven catches for 153 yards.
Samardzija said he wasn’t surprised by the 49 points by the Irish.
“Why not, It’s just something you’ve got to expect. You’ve just got to always talk about that next step.”
The five straight games with touchdown catches are the most for an Irish receiver since Malcolm Johnson had six straight during the 1998 season.
Notre Dame tight end John Carlson had his first career TD catch in the fourth quarter, a 22-yard pass from Quinn, who left the game with 11:31 left in the fourth quarter.
Dorien Bryant had a career-high 14 catches for Purdue, two of them for touchdowns, for 127 yards. Brandon Kirsch was 29-of-44 passing for 274 yards with one interception. Kory Sheets ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Quinn’s performance Saturday night gave him 6,038 career yards passing, third on the school’s career list behind Steve Beuerlein with 6,527 in 1983-86 and Ron Powlus with 7,602 in 1994-97.
“The kid’s a hard worker,” Weis said. “Each week he shows signs of evolving and getting better.”
Last Week Against Michigan State
â€¢ Notre Dame overcame a 16-point fourth quarter deficit Saturday night, the largest fourth quarter deficit the Irish have overcome since the 1979 Cotton Bowl (Jan. 1, 1979) when Notre Dame trailed Houston, 34-12, with just under eight minutes to go in the game and came back to win, 35-34. Joe Montana threw the winning touchdown pass to Kris Haines as time expired (Joe Unis kicked the deciding PAT) in what was later termed “The Chicken Soup Game.”
â€¢ The victory was head coach Charlie Weis’ seventh consecutive road win to open his career — the longest streak to open a Notre Dame coach’s career since Frank Leahy began his Irish coaching tenure with a 10-game road unbeaten streak.
â€¢ Notre Dame eclipsed the 40-point barrier for the second time this season and eighth time under Weis.
â€¢ The Spartans’ second quarter interception return for a touchdown by Ervin Baldwin was the third by a Notre Dame opponent in its last two games. Prior to Sept. 16 against Michigan, the Irish had allowed just three defensive touchdowns in their previous 34 games.
â€¢ Senior P Geoff Price, who entered the game as the nation’s second-ranked punter, booted a 54-yd punt in the first quarter, his eighth punt of 50+ yards this season.
â€¢ Senior QB Brady Quinn started his 37th consecutive game of his career. Quinn trails only Ron Powlus (43) in the Notre Dame record book for career starts by a quarterback.
â€¢ Quinn’s five touchdown passes gave him 11 this season and 69 for his career. Quinn has thrown for three or more TD passes in 11 different games during his career. It was also Quinn’s fifth career game with at least four TD passes and third game with five or more.
â€¢ Quinn topped 300 yards passing for the first time in 2006 and eighth time in his Irish career.
â€¢ Senior WR Rhema McKnight’s second touchdown reception of the game was his fourth of the season and 11th of his career. The TD catch moved him past Malcolm Johnson (1995-98) for 10th on the Irish all-time TD receptions list.
â€¢ Junior RB Darius Walker moved past Don Miller (1922-24) for 10th all-time on the Irish career all-purpose yards list.
â€¢ Walker’s four-yard reception in the second quarter gave him 74 catches for his career, eclipsing Allen Pinkett’s previous school record (73 from 1982-85) for career receptions by a running back.
â€¢ Walker’s 10th rush of the game was his 500th career carry at Notre Dame. Walker is just the eighth player in Irish history to record 500 career carries.
â€¢ Senior TE John Carlson’s 62-yard touchdown catch was the longest catch of his career and longest TD reception for the Irish since Samardzjia’s 80-yard TD at Stanford on Nov. 26, 2005.
â€¢ Carlson had 121 yards receiving on four catches, becoming the first Irish tight end to eclipse 100 yards receiving since Anthony Fasano had 155 yards on eight catches against Purdue on Oct. 2, 2004.
â€¢ Samardzjia’s 43-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was his second TD reception of the game, fourth of the season and 19th of his career. He moved past Maurice Stovall (2002-05) for third and tied Tom Gatewood (1969-71) for second on the all-time TD receptions list. Samardzija also moved passed Tony Hunter (1979-82) for eighth on the school’s all-time receptions list. In addition, Samardzjia, who eclipsed 1,800 career yards receiving, surpassed Ken MacAfee (1974-77) for seventh all-time on the career receiving yards list.
â€¢ Carlson and Samardzija each went over 100 yards receiving on the night. They are the first Notre Dame duo to register 100 yards receiving in the same game since Samardzija and Stovall turned the task at Stanford last year.
â€¢ Abiamiri’s third-quarter sack was his second of 2006 and 12th of his career. He moved into a tie with Wally Klein (1983-86) for ninth all-time on the Irish career sacks list.
â€¢ Junior CB Terrail Lambert’s 27-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter was not only his first career interception, but also Notre Dame’s first “pick six” since Leo Ferrine had a 16-yard runback for a score against Syracuse last year. Lambert also is the first Irish defender with two interceptions in the same game since Sept. 21, 2002, when Gerome Sapp had two picks at Michigan State in a 21-17 Notre Dame victory.
Another Undefeated Opponent Awaits The Irish
Notre Dame always plays one of the top schedules in all of college football, but the Irish are about to play their fifth game of 2006 and each of the five opponents entered the contest undefeated. Notre Dame’s opponents, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, are a combined 9-1 (excluding the game with the Irish). The lone loss for a Notre Dame opponent from a team other than the Irish was Penn State’s loss last weekend at No. 1 Ohio State. The 1999 Notre Dame squad was the last Irish team to face five consecutive undefeated foes to open the season.
Despite that type of schedule, Notre Dame has ranked among the elite teams in college football in recent years, compiling a combined 163-68-2 (.704) over the last 19 seasons. That glossy record becomes even more noteworthy considering no team in the country has faced a more difficult schedule and achieved more victories over quality opponents than the Irish during that period.
Irish Road Warriors
Notre Dame extended its current road winning streak to seven games with its victory over Michigan State in East Lansing last weekend. The seven-game road winning streak is the longest since a nine-game run that spanned four seasons (1991-94). The school record for consecutive victories on the road is 11, set on two occasions by Frank Leahy coached teams. Notre Dame won 11 straight dating from Sept. 28, 1946 to Nov. 6, 1948. Ironically enough, that streak ended with a 14-14 tie against USC. The Irish went on to win five consecutive after the tie before finally losing a road contest at Indiana. In all, Notre Dame was unbeaten in 17 straight road games. The Irish put together another 11-game victory stretch from Nov. 22, 1952 to Oct. 7, 1955. The seven-game road winning streak also also happens to be the first seven road games for second year Irish head coach Charlie Weis. It is the longest road winning streak to open a Notre Dame coaching career since Leahy went 9-0-1 over his first 10 road games.
Irish Comeback For The Ages
From the 7-0 victory over Oklahoma in 1957 snapping the Sooners 47-game winning streak, to Harry Oliver’s 51-yd field goal as time expired to defeat Michigan in 1980, to the 31-30 victory over top-ranked Miami in 1988 en route to the school’s 11th national championship, Notre Dame has been part of some unbeileveable football games over its 118 years of football. The comeback victory over Michigan State last weekend will sit along side those previously mentioned games.
The Irish overcame a 16-point fourth quarter deficit against the Spartans (actually trailed 37-21 with just under nine minutes remaining), the largest fourth quarter deficit the Irish have overcome since the 1979 Cotton Bowl (Jan. 1, 1979) when Notre Dame trailed Houston, 34-12, with just under eight minutes to go in the game and came back to win, 35-34. Joe Montana threw the winning touchdown pass to Kris Haines as time expired (Joe Unis kicked the deciding PAT) in what was later termed “The Chicken Soup Game.”
Brady Quinn Boiling Hot Against Purdue
Purdue must feel like the Notre Dame senior signal caller has been wearing an Irish uniform for 10 years. Quinn has put together a remarkable career in three games against the Boilermakers. He has blitzed the Purdue defense for 1,169 yards passing and five touchdowns. In Quinn’s last two games against the Boilermakers, he has thrown for 432 (2004) and 440 yards (2005) — the two outings rank fourth and fifth respectively on the ND single-game list. In last year’s game in West Lafayette, Quinn completed 11 consecutive passes, fifth best in Irish history, over one stretch and finished 29-for-36 (the 80.5 completion percentage ranks sixth all-time in single-game history).
Quinn Approaching Rarified Air
Senior QB Brady Quinn has tossed 69 career touchdown passes over his brilliant four-year Irish career. Quinn has tossed 43 TD passes over his last 16 games — an average of 2.7 per game. At his current pace, Quinn would finish his career with 11,866 yards passing and 94 touchdown passes. He would become just the ninth player in NCAA Division I history to surpass 11,500 yards passing and 10th to ever pass for 90 or more career TD passes.
Notre Dame Defense Comes Through Late
After the Irish defense surrendered 31 points in the first half to Michigan State, it would have been hard to imagine that the same defensive group could possibly turn the game into Notre Dame’s favor, but that is exactly what happened. The Irish allowed just six points after halftime and limited the Spartans to 128 total yards on their 33 second half plays. Drew Stanton was just 2-for-9 (both completions coming on Michigan State’s final drive) for 23 yards. Notre Dame also forced three takeaways, two interceptions and one fumble. In fact, the Irish turned over the Spartans on their final three possessions.
Charlie And The Irish Offensive Factory
Second year head coach Charlie Weis came to Notre Dame with a tremendous reputation as one of the premier offensive minds in all of the NFL. The Irish saw immediate results in 2005, setting 11 school records, including passing yards (3,963), touchdown passes (32), total offense yards (5,728) and total points (440). After Notre Dame scored 40 points against Michigan State last week, the Irish have surpassed the 40-point barrier on eight separate occasions in Weis’ 16 games as head coach. Prior to Weis’ arrival, Notre Dame had eclipsed 40 points just nine times in its previous 97 contests. In addition, the Irish had 83 separate 100-yard receiving games over its first 116 seasons of football, but Notre Dame has had 14 the past two years under Weis. To put those numbers in perspective, Notre Dame averaged a 100-yard receiving effort every 13 games. Under Weis, the Irish is almost recording a 100-yard receiving effort every game.
McKnight/Samardzija Rank Among Nation’s Top Receiving Duo
The senior WR tandem of Rhema McKnight and Jeff Samardzjia each rank among the top 10 in ND history for career receiving yards and receptions. McKnight ranks seventh in school history with 125 career catches and 10th in school history with 1,683 yards receiving. Samardzjia is in eighth place and just one catch shy of McKnight for seventh. His 1,849 yards receiving is seventh best in ND history, while his 19 career TD receptions is second-best in school history. McKnight is among the top 20 in the NCAA among active receivers in catches. Samardzjia is just outside the top 20 in receptions, but ranks 18th in receiving yards and eighth in TD catches. Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett, USC, are the only other teammates to be ranked among the top 20 in the NCAA among any of those three categories.
Irish Triple Option Passing Attack
The Notre Dame offense has its own version of the triple option in the passing game. The Irish has three players, Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight and John Carlson, each rank among the top 50 in the NCAA in receiving yards per game. Notre Dame and New Mexico State are the only two schools that have three student-athletes in the top 50. Notre Dame also has a fourth receiving option as Darius Walker is tied for team lead with 23 catches.
In The Red Zone
â€¢ Notre Dame was a perfect 2-of-2 in the red zone in the victory at Michigan State last weekend. The Irish are now 12-of-13 (.923) in the red zone through the first four games of the season. Notre Dame has only settled for field goals on two of those occasions. Even more remarkable, the Irish are 57-of-68 (.838) in the red zone during the Charlie Weis era. Notre Dame has recorded 48 touchdowns compared to just nine field goals. In other words, the Irish register seven points just over 70 percent of the time they enter the red zone over the past two seasons. Conversely, Notre Dame’s opponents have scored on 11-of-12 trips into the red zone in 2006, but only 6-of-12 (50.0%) have resulted in touchdowns.
On Third & Fourth Down
â€¢ Notre Dame was just 1-for-11 (.091) on third-down conversions against Michigan State last weekend and now is 15-for-55 (.273) on the season. That statistic is way down from a year ago. The Irish converted 90-of-184 (.489) on third downs in 2005, which ranked seventh in the NCAA. While Notre Dame has struggled on third down, fourth down to this point of the season is a completely different story. The Irish are a 8-of-10 on fourth down over their first four games this season. In fact, no team has more 4th down conversions than Notre Dame.
John Carlson Turning In All-American Type Season
Notre Dame senior TE John Carlson has exploded onto the college football scene in 2006. He has 17 receptions for 297 yards — good for an average of nearly 75 yards a game. Carlson’s 17.5 yards per catch leads the entire Irish receiving corp. In fact, Carlson is 28th, nationwide, in total receiving yards and third among tight ends. He also ranks 36th overall in receiving yards per game and third in the category among tight ends. With Carlson’s recent 121 yard effort against Michigan State, he became the first Irish tight end to eclipse 100 yards receiving in a game since Anthony Fassano had 155 yards against Purdue on Oct. 2, 2004.
Brady Takes Game To Another Level In 4th Quarter
Quinn is on pace for another record-setting season for Notre Dame. The senior QB is on pace for 3,530 yards passing and 36 touchdown passes. Quinn would eclipse 30 TD passes and 3,000 yards for the second consecutive season. As impressive as those numbers are, take a look at these. Quinn has been at his best in the fourth quarter of Notre Dame’s first four games. He is 21-of-33, nearly 64 percent, for 340 yards and four TD passes in the final quarter this season.
Weis Guys a Resilient Bunch
Notre Dame is 12-4 under second year head coach Charlie Weis. Even more impressive than his .750 winning percentage, is the Irish’s perfect 4-0 record under Weis following a loss. Notre Dame’s average margin of victory in those four games is 13 points.
Ndukwe Making Plays All Over The Field
Notre Dame senior FS Chinendum Ndukwe is leading the much-improved Irish pass defense. Ndukwe came up with a huge forced fumble and fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter to help the Irish rally past Michigan State last weekend. He is third on the team with 29 tackles, including 20 solo stops. He has added two interceptions, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, four pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Price is Right
Despite the fact he entered this season with only two career punts, Geoff Price has made his presence known over Notre Dame’s first four games. After Price averaged 50.4 yards on five punts against Georgia Tech, he responded with a career-best 62 yard boot versus Penn State. He took his game to another level against Michigan. Price averaged a school-record 51.9 yards per kick (7-for-363) against the Wolverines. He even dropped two inside the 20-yard line. Price had four punts of at least 50 yards in the game. After another impressive performance against Michigan State in which he averaged 43.3 yards per punt in a driving rain storm, he added his eighth 50+ yard punt this season and has also dropped five inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Price ranks fourth in the NCAA this week with an 47.5 yard average.
Clock Winding Down, Brady At His Best
Notre Dame senior QB Brady Quinn conducted scoring drives to close the first half in each of the Irish’s first three games this season. With Notre Dame trailing Georgia Tech, 10-0, and just under five minutes to go in the first half, Quinn led the Irish on a 14 play, 80-yard scoring drive. He went 5-of-8 for 39 yards and also added 23 yards rushing on the drive, capped off by his five-yard touchdown scamper. Quinn was even more impressive in his two scoring drives against Penn State and Michigan. Both within the no-huddle, two-minute offense, he spearheaded Notre Dame’s seven play, 69-yard and 1:17 march just before halftime against the Nittany Lions. Quinn was 5-of-5 for 58 yards and a touchdown strike on the drive. He was equally impressive running the two-minute drill late in the second quarter against the Wolverines. Quinn went 7-of-7 for 71 yards and a touchdown during the Irish’s eight play, 72-yard and 2:10 drive.
Spartans Seeing Brady
After senior QB Brady Quinn threw for 487 yards and five TD passes in the 2005 meeting with Michigan State, many figured it would be near impossible to repeat that type of performance in 2006. Well, let’s just say that Quinn met the task. He threw for 319 yards and five touchdowns. Quinn has thrown for five or more TD passes in one game on three separate occasions and two have come against the Spartans. For his career, he was 71-of-137 for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns against the Spartans.
Brady Quinn Step-for-Step With 2005 Record Setting Pace
Notre Dame senior QB Brady Quinn set 11 single-season school records in 2005 and eventually finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. After four games of 2006, Quinn is on a similar pace to his start last year.
Notre Dame senior QB Brady Quinn has spread his pass completions around through the first four games of 2006. Quinn has completed passes to eight different receivers in Notre Dame’s first four contests, a breakdown of four wide receivers, two tight ends and two running backs. Senior WR Jeff Samardzjia and junior RB Darius Walker have been Quinn’s favorite targets thus far. Samardzjia and Walker have each grabbed 23 passes. Samardzjia has recorded 273 yards and four touchdowns, while Walker has 140 yards and one touchdown. Senior WR Rhema McKnight is next with 22 catches for a team-high 313 yards and four touchdowns. Senior TE John Carlson has 17 receptions for 297 yards and one TD. Quinn has thrown touchdown passes to a total of five different players this season: Carlson, McKnight, Walker, Samardzjia and senior FB Ashley McConnell.
While Mike Hart rushed for 124 yards to lead Michigan’s 120-yard rushing attack on Sept. 16, the Notre Dame front four really limited the vaunted, power running attack of the Wolverines. Michigan needed 41 carries to reach those 120 yards — just 2.9 yards per carry. In fact, 18 of Hart’s carries were for two yards or less, including nine for zero or negative yardage. Much of that is due in part to the play by the Irish front four. Trevor Laws, Victor Abiamiri, Ronald Talley and Derrick Landri combined for 32 total tackles, including four for loss. Laws’ 10 tackles were a career-high and Talley’s seven tied his career-best.
Rhema has McKnight to Remember
After missing almost all of 2005 following a knee injury suffered during the second game last year, fifth-year senior WR Rhema McKnight returned to the gridiron with a vengeance at Georgia Tech. McKnight led the Irish with eight catches for 108 yards against the Yellow Jackets. After pacing Notre Dame in catches in 2003 and 2004, McKnight picked up a key 19-yard catch on 3rd and 9 on the final possession of the game, prohibiting Georgia Tech from getting the ball one last time.
Abiamiri Named to Hendricks Watch List
Senior defensive end Victor Abiamiri was named to the 2006 Hendricks Award Preseason Watch List announced in June by the Hendricks Foundation. He has 15 tackles in 2006, including a season-high nine against Michigan. Abiamiri picked up his 12th career sack earlier this year against Penn State. He moved into a tie for ninth place with Wally Kleine (1983-86) on the Notre Dame career list (since 1982). He needs just 0.5 more tackles for loss to enter Notre Dame’s all-time top 10 in that category as well. He has been a key member of Notre Dame’s defensive line since his freshman season in 2003 when he became just the fourth freshman to start on the defensive line for Notre Dame since 1991. Abiamiri enjoyed a great season in 2005 totaling 48 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, a team-high eight sacks and seven quarterback hurries helping him earn the team’s Lineman of the Year Award from the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
Harris Named to Outland Trophy Watch List
Senior offensive tackle Ryan Harris was named to the 2006 Outland Trophy Watch List in June by the Football Writers Association of America. The award has been given annually to the nation’s top offensive or defensive interior lineman since 1946. Harris has started 36 career games at tackle, including the last 28 at left tackle protecting quarterback Brady Quinn’s blind side. Harris played a key role in 2005 as the team averaged 36.7 points per game and 477.3 yards of total offense. In 2004, he was named the team’s Westwood One/Guardian Life Insurance Guardian of the Year. Harris earned freshman All-America accolades from Rivals.com in 2003 and second-team freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News after becoming just the third true freshman lineman to start on the offensive line.
Another Weis, Rockne Comparison
Second year Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis has avoided any comparisons to any of the great all-time Irish head coaches, especially legendary head man Knute Rockne. However, Weis accomplished something after the victory over Penn State that only Rockne and himself can claim. With Notre Dame’s 41-17 rout of the Nittany Lions, Weis became just the second coach in Irish history to open his first two seasons in South Bend at 2-0. Rockne opened the 1918 and 1919 seasons with consecutive victories.
Defense More Than Carried Its Weight Against Georgia Tech, Penn State Notre Dame held Georgia Tech and Penn State scoreless over for a total of nearly five quarters before the Nittany Lions kicked a field goal at the 11:29 mark of the third quarter on Sept. 9. The scoreless streak spanned 68:16 and was the longest such streak since the 2002 season. Notre Dame went 94:28 without allowing any points over a three-game stretch that included Navy, Rutgers and USC.
Quinn and the Notre Dame Record Book
Quarterback Brady Quinn is in his fourth season as the starter. He has already made a lasting mark on the Irish football record book owning or sharing 32 school records. Since 1950, a Notre Dame quarterback has thrown for 300 yards or more 17 times. Quinn is responsible for eight of those performances – the most for any single Notre Dame quarterback. Quinn has thrown for 350 (vs. Boston College, 2003), 432 (vs. Purdue, 2004), 487 (vs. Michigan State, 2005), 327 (at Washington, 2005), 440 (at Purdue, 2005), 467 (vs. BYU, 2005), 432 (at Stanford, 2005) and 319 (at Michigan State, 2006). Quinn is the only Notre Dame quarterback to throw for over 400 yards five times in a career (in fact, he is the only one to do it twice) – and in Notre Dame’s road game at Purdue in `05 he became the first to throw for more than 300 yards in three consecutive games. He also is the first Irish quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards four times in a season.
Quinn’s TD Passes Streak
Brady Quinn tossed at least one touchdown pass in 16 games in a row for the Irish before the skid ended in the 2006 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, breaking John Huarte’s record of 10 set in 1964. The Dublin, Ohio, native totaled 40 scoring tosses during the run.
Quinn: A Touchdown Machine
Brady Quinn accounted for two or more touchdowns in 10 of Notre Dame’s 12 games last season and had an eight-game streak of multiple touchdown performances snapped in the Fiesta Bowl – three (passing) at Purdue, two (one run, one pass) vs. USC, six (passing) vs. BYU, three (passing) vs. Tennessee, four (passing) vs. Navy, two (passing) vs. Syracuse and three (passing) at Stanford.
Quinn Threw 21 TDs in Notre Dame Stadium in 2005
Brady Quinn shattered the Notre Dame record for touchdown passes at Notre Dame Stadium in a season, exploding for 21 in 2005 (5 vs. Michigan State, 1 vs. USC, 6 vs. BYU, 3 vs. Tennessee, 4 vs. Navy, 2 vs. Syracuse). The previous record for touchdown passes in Notre Dame Stadium in a single-season was 11 by Ron Powlus (1994) and Jarious Jackson (1999). Quinn was so dominant that his total home field touchdown passes would have broken the previous single-season record, regardless of venue, of 19 held by Ron Powlus (1994). Quinn threw 11 touchdown passes away from Notre Dame Stadium (32 total).
Morton Selected to the 2006 American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team
Senior OL Bob Morton was one of 11 players in NCAA Division I-A chosen to the 2006 American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. The two 11-man teams, a Division I-A team and a combined team from Divisions I-AA, II, III and the NAIA, honor players for their dedication and commitment to community service. Nominees have to be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization, service group or involved in other community service activities. Candidates have to display sincere concern and reliability, while also having made a favorable impression on the organizations with which they are involved. On the field success is not a criteria.
Young Makes ND History
Still listed as the starter at right tackle entering this weekend, Sam Young made Notre Dame history at Georgia Tech becoming the first true freshman to start the season opener on the offensive line since freshmen became eligible in 1972. Young is just the fourth Irish freshman to start on the offensive line joining an elite club that includes teammate Ryan Harris as well as Brad Williams and Mike Rosenthal. Harris started the final eight games of the 2003 season, Williams made starts against Navy and Boston College in 1996 and Rosenthal started against Ohio State, USC and Air Force in 1995.
Defense Shines at Georgia Tech
Notre Dame’s much-maligned defense rose to the occasion against a quick Georgia Tech team with very talented players at the skill positions. After hearing the cries of “617 yards” all summer, the defense responded by allowing just 259 yards of offense to the Yellow Jackets, the second-fewest total during the Charlie Weis era. The defense was at its best late in the game as they allowed just 71 yards of offense in the second half on 21 plays. Included in the second half effort was limiting Tech’s All-American WR Calvin Johnson to just 16 yards on two receptions. A key reason for the success was its effectiveness on third down where Georgia Tech converted on just 2-of-10 chances for the game and was 0-for-4 in the third and fourth quarters.
Zbikowski’s Rapid Returns
Safety Tom Zbikowski, a senior in 2006, has made a name for himself in the Notre Dame record books. Zbikowski scooped up a fumble and raced 25 yards for a touchdown against Penn State earlier this season. With the return, Zbikowski became the Irish all-time leader in fumble return yards (100) and joined Tony Driver (1997-00) as the only Notre Dame players to ever return a pair of fumbles for touchdowns. Zbikowski, who has six career TD returns (two interceptions, two punts, two fumbles), has clearly established himself among the best big-play return specialists in Notre Dame history. In a three-game stretch against USC, BYU and Tennessee in 2005, he returned a punt or interception for a touchdown four times – the first Irish defensive player to accomplish such a feat. Zbikowski also returned a fumble 75 yards for a TD against Michigan State in 2004. With his interception and punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee on Nov. 5, Zbikowski became the first Irish player to accomplish that feat (interception return and punt return in the same game) since Nick Rassas against Northwestern in 1965. Rassas returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown and a punt 72 yards for a score in Notre Dame’s 38-7 rout.
Grimes, West Kick Start Special Teams Unit
A focal point in the off-season of Head Coach Charlie Weis and Special Teams Coach Brian Polian was to get better field position for the offense off of kickoff returns. Three games into 2006, it looks as if the efforts put in by the coaches and players in the off-season has paid off as the 25.0 yards per kickoff return is the 24th-best in Division I-A. Freshman George West fielded the opening kickoff of the season, and in his first collegiate touch he sprinted out 33 yards to set up the Irish offense. Not to be outdone was sophomore WR David Grimes who sprinted out almost to midfield on his only kick return of the game for 46 yards. Grimes ranks 20th in the county with an average of 27.29 per kick return.
Historic Notre Dame Stadium
The 2006 football season marks the 76th year of Irish football in fabled Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have played 387 games in the facility to date and own a 292-90-5 (.761) record in the “House that Rockne Built.” The Irish are 183-54-2 (.770) over the last 42 years at home. The most wins in a season by the Irish at home is seven by the 1988 national championship team and the longest home winning streak in Notre Dame football history is 28 games (from 11.21.42 through 9.30.50).
In Front of a Full House
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 185 of its previous 211 games, including 60 of its last 65 contests dating back to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2000 season (the 2001, 2003 and 2005 games at Stanford, the 2004 game vs. Navy at the Meadowlands and the 2005 game at Washington 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 the series that an NCAA attendance record was set. It also represented the seventh time in the last four seasons that Notre Dame has been 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, vs. Oregon State in the Insight Bowl in 2004 – the game set a Bank One Ballpark record for football configuration). Notre Dame and Michigan played before an over-capacity 111,386 at Michigan Stadium in September of 2005. The 2005 Washington game was played before less than a capacity crowd as 71,473 witnessed the Irish defeat the Huskies, 36-17, at Husky Stadium (capacity: 72,500) in Seattle. At Purdue, the Irish and Boilermakers played before 65,491 football fans, a Ross-Ade Stadium record (since the renovation of the facility in 2003).
Samardzija’s Record Season Earned All-America Honors
Wide receiver Jeff Samardzija returns for his senior season in 2006 after earning consensus first-team All-America honors in 2005 when he led the team with 77 catches for 1,249 yards and 15 touchdowns. He became Notre Dame’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 1970 on an 80-yard touchdown pass against Stanford on Nov. 26 of last season. Samardzija eventually broke Tom Gatewood’s single-season receiving yardage record against Stanford, pushing his season total to 1,190 yards and tied Gatewood’s single-season receptions mark. He also surpassed the single-season touchdown total as his 15 scoring receptions led the nation and bested Derrick Mayes’ previous record of 11 from 1994.
Samardzija Opened 2005 with TD Catches in Eight Straight Games
Jeff Samardzija entered the 2005 campaign without a touchdown catch in his career, then proceeded to catch a touchdown pass in each of Notre Dame’s first eight games of last season. The two-sport athlete (also a top-line pitching prospect for the Chicago Cubs after he was drafted in the fifth round in this year’s Major League Baseball draft) became the first Irish receiver to begin the season with eight consecutive games with a touchdown catch – which made him the Notre Dame record holder for consecutive games with a touchdown reception. He surpassed Malcolm Johnson’s six-game run from 1998 against BYU. Samardzija, who also serves as the team’s holder on field-goal attempts, tied a Notre Dame record with three touchdown receptions versus Michigan State (later broken by teammate Maurice Stovall, who posted four touchdown receptions against BYU). Samardzija was the seventh player to catch three touchdown passes in a game and the first since Tom Gatewood versus Purdue in 1970.
Walker Rushed 1,000 Yards in Dramatic Fashion
Running back Darius Walker became the ninth Irish player to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season with 1,196 yards on 253 carries and seven touchdowns last year. Walker surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier during a career-best 35-carry, 186-yard outing at Stanford during which he scored the winning touchdown and added a two-point conversion for the final score. Walker also set an Irish mark for receptions by a back with 43 for 351 yards and two scores. Walker’s ever against Stanford pushed him into the top-10 all-time on the single-season rushing yardage list as well.
Walker’s 100-Yard Games
Darius Walker rushed for 100 yards seven times last season, marking the first time since 1993 that an Irish player posted seven or more 100-yard rushing performances in a season. Lee Becton ended the `93 campaign with seven consecutive 100-yard performances.
Older and Wiser
The 2006 Notre Dame offensive line is one of the most experienced units in school history. The Irish offense boasts over 100 combined career starts on the line. Senior tackle Ryan Harris has started 36 Notre Dame games and led the veteran group in starting assignments. Seniors Bob Morton and John Sullivan were second and third with 32 starts and 22 career starts, respectfully, while senior Dan Santucci has 17 starts to his credit.
Quinn, Samardzija and Walker Named to Maxwell Award Watch List
Senior quarterback Brady Quinn, senior wide receiver Jeff Samardzija and junior running back Darius Walker have been named to the 2006 Maxwell Award Watch List. The Maxwell Award is presented annually by the Maxwell Football Club to the top collegiate football player. Notre Dame’s three players on the Maxwell Award Watch List matches USC, Ohio State, Michigan and Miami (FL) for the most nominees. The list will be trimmed to 12 semi-finalists in October before three finalists are named in November.
Sullivan Named to Rimington Watch List
Senior center John Sullivan has been named to the Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List. He joins 38 other centers on the list for the Dave Rimington Trophy, awarded annually to the most outstanding center in college football. The Boomer Esiason Foundation presents the award to the center who receives the most first team All-America votes determined by the AFCA, Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and FWAA. Sullivan started the last seven games at center for the Irish in 2005, while making appearances in all 12 games. As a junior in 2004, he started all 12 games and called out all blocking assignments for the offensive line.
Quinn, Samardzija Named to Walter Camp Watch List
Senior quarterback Brady Quinn and senior wide receiver Jeff Samardzija were two of 35 “players to watch” chosen by the Walter Camp Football Foundation. The nation’s fourth-oldest individual college football award will have its watch list narrowed to 10 semi-finalists in early November before the winner is chosen based on voting conducted by the 119 Division I-A head coaches and sports information directors.
Zbikowski Named to Nagurski and Bednarik Watch Lists
Senior defensive back Tom Zbikowski has been named to both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List and Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List for 2006. The Nagurski Trophy is given to the nation’s top defensive player at the Charlotte Touchdown Club annual awards banquet. The Bednarik Award is given annually to the nation’s top defensive player as voted on by head coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club and various sports writers throughout the country. Zbikowski was named third-team All-America by the Associated Press after the 2005 season when he made 62 tackles and led the team with five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. He also added two touchdowns on punt returns. Zbikowski has started 26 straight games and has scored touchdowns via interception return, punt return and fumble return during his Notre Dame career.
Irish Alumni Association To Present Awards During Purdue Game
The Notre Dame Alumni Association will present three honorary awards during the festivities surrounding the Purdue game this weekend. Jerry Groom and Jack Connor, Irish teammates under legendary football coach Frank Leahy, will receive the Harvey G. Foster Award. Groom and Connor are being recognized for their devotion to the University of Notre Dame. They founded the Leahy Scholarship program, which has reached a total value of nearly $1.5 million and benefitted some 31 Notre Dame students since 1997. Terrence F. Sauvain Sr. will be presented the Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, CSC, Award. He is minority staff director on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and assistant to its ranking minority member, U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd. The final award, the Richard A. Rosenthal Award, was awarded to Paul Bonitatibus, Michael O. Read and Rod West. They received the award for their exemplary activity following Hurricane Katrina.
Notre Dame Stadium Gate A Now “All-America Gate”
The University of Notre Dame’s 79 consensus All-America football players are now honored inside Gate A of Notre Dame Stadium, as part of a multi-year plan to theme the five entrance gates to Notre Dame’s home football facility.
Each display inside Gate A at the stadium is a 10-by-16-foot Notre Dame blue powder-coated aluminum plate with the ND logo in gold at the top. The displays are entitled “Consensus All-Americans” in Notre Dame gold letters eight inches high across the top of the blue panel.
Featured on the panels are authentic Notre Dame helmets with name plates representing the consensus All-Americans from Notre Dame, plus room for four future consensus All-Americans.
The name plates are made of bronze, with black etched letters identifying each player’s name, year(s) he was named a consensus All-American, and hometown. A bronze plaque is also mounted on one of the two displays to explain how a consensus All-American is selected.
Players accorded the majority of votes at their positions by selectors are designated consensus All-Americans. Current teams utilized in designation of consensus selections are those chosen by the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers Association of America, the Walter Camp Foundation and The Sporting News.
Wide receiver Jeff Samardzija in 2005 was Notre Dame’s most recent consensus pick – with the first coming in 1913 (quarterback Gus Dorais). Two-time consensus selections include Frank Carideo (1929-30), Marchy Schwartz (1930-31), Bob Dove (1941-42), George Connor (1946-47), John Lujack (1946-47), Bill Fischer (1947-48), Leon Hart (1948-49), Emil Sitko (1948-49), John Lattner (1952-53), Ross Browner (1976-77), Ken MacAfee (1976-77), Bob Crable (1980-81), Michael Stonebreaker (1988, 1990), Todd Lyght (1989-90), Chris Zorich (1989-90) and Aaron Taylor (1992-93).
The displays were designed by Rockwell Group of New York and fabricated by Show Motion Inc., of Connecticut. The Notre Dame Monogram Club funded the project.
There are plans to theme the other three entry gates at the Stadium — with the intention of creating specific recognition of Notre Dame’s national championships and its national championship coaches.
Prior to the 2005 season, three-by-eight foot replica Heisman Trophies were added to the Gate B display, where pictures of all seven Irish Heisman winners were placed earlier.
The honoring of Notre Dame’s Heisman Trophy winners took the form of seven individual panels installed within existing brick niches of the old stadium wall just inside Gate B. There is one display each for Angelo Bertelli, John Lujack, Leon Hart, John Lattner, Paul Hornung, John Huarte and Tim Brown
Notre Dame Athletics in Print
Four new books either about Notre Dame athletics or written by past or current Irish coaches will be available in bookstores this fall. Head coach Charlie Weis is scheduled to release his autobiography, NO EXCUSES, Oct. 10. With the help of NFL.com national editor and author, Vic Carucci, the book will tell the remarkable story of his journey from being a student of Notre Dame to becoming head coach of his alma mater. Stories from his professional career of working in the NFL to personal events involving himself and his family will also be chronicled. Former head coach Lou Holtz’ autobiography, Wins, Losses, and Lessons hit bookshelves Aug. 15. Detailing stories from his youth to his days as a football head coach, this book is said to be a “reflective, inspiring and candid look back at an extraordinary life and career from a coaching legend.” Fighting Irish Legends, Lists and Lore is the latest book by Karen Heisler, wife of Notre Dame Senior Associate Athletic Director John Heisler, and “captures the history, tradition, and spirit of one of the nation’s most storied and revered athletic programs.” The book recounts stories of Notre Dame’s most famous athletes and coaches in every sport. Longtime writer and editor for Blue & Gold Illustrated Tim Priste released his latest book entitled, The New Gold Standard Aug. 16. The book takes readers inside head coach Charlie Weis’ first season at Notre Dame and how he “returned the program to its rightful (and historic) place among college football’s elite.”
Notre Dame Leads the Way in National Graduate Rate
The graduation rate for student-athletes at the University of Notre Dame is the highest in the nation among Division I-A colleges and universities in an annual federal report for the Department of Education, and is the second highest in a new survey developed by the NCAA. Notre Dame’s federal graduation rate is 90.4 percent, according to statistics released in January by the NCAA, slightly ahead of Duke University at 89.6 percent as the best among the major football-playing schools of Division I-A. The federal rate is based on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated with six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non-graduates. Notre Dame ranks second among Division I-A schools on another scale, called the Graduation Success Rate (GSR), which was developed last year by the NCAA. The 98 percent GSR is second only to the 99 percent of the U.S. Naval Academy, which, like all the military academies, is exempt from the federal survey because it does not offer grants-in-aid to student-athletes. The data for both surveys is based upon the entering classes from 1995 to 1998. The two graduation rate reports should not be confused with another new NCAA initiative, the Academic Progress Rate, which uses a series of formulas related to student-athlete retention and eligibility to measure the academic performance of all participants who receive a grant-in-aid on every team at every NCAA Division I college and university.
Football Ticket Demand Hits a Record High
How much interest is there in University of Notre Dame football games for 2006? There’s enough that the Sept. 9 Notre Dame-Penn State game and the Sept. 16 Notre Dame-Michigan game qualify as the two highest-requested games in the history of Notre Dame’s ticket lottery.
There’s enough that four ’06 home games rank in the all-time top 10 for requests — and all seven games rank in the top 30. There’s enough that the Nov. 25 Notre Dame-USC game in Los Angeles qualified as the most-requested road game in Irish ticket history.
And there’s enough that the Notre Dame ticket office expects to mail refunds worth more than a record $11.7 million (compared to refunds of $5.2 million a year ago) to unsuccessful lottery participants in the University’s ticket distribution for contributing alumni, monogram winners, undergraduate parents and benefactors. There was a 37 percent increase in applications submitted to the ’06 lottery compared to a year ago.
Notre Dame alumni making an annual contribution of $100 or more to the University are eligible to apply for two tickets to as many home and away football games as they choose. In excess of 30,000 tickets per game are available for each home contest for contributing alumni. Any time the number of applications exceeds the supply, a lottery is held – and lotteries were required for all seven 2006 home games (meaning every home game automatically sold out).
Demand was highest for the Sept. 9 home game vs. Penn State (66,670 tickets requested) and the Sept. 16 home game vs. Michigan (61,631), making those games the two highest-demanded home games in the history of Notre Dame Stadium. The previous all-time high was 59,368 requests for the 2001 home game against West Virginia. The high in 2005 was 54,211 for the USC game at Notre Dame Stadium.
Other high-demand home games in ’06 are contests against North Carolina (54,838 requests for sixth all-time), UCLA (51,933 for 10th all-time), Stanford (50,491 for 13th all-time) and Purdue (47,655 for 17th all-time).
The high demand for road games came for the regular-season finale at USC (an all-time record 33,251 requests). Notre Dame receives 15,000 tickets as the visiting team in that contest.
New Fighting Irish All-Access Package Launched on Aug. 4
The University of Notre Dame official athletic website, und.com, entered a new era on Friday, Aug. 4. The Fighting Irish All-Access package underwent a complete overhaul and und.com will bring Notre Dame alumni and fans full coverage free of charge for the 2006-07 season. Irish fans will no longer be required to subscribe or sign up for audio/video coverage on und.com. It features a new media player, which includes a bigger display screen and easier access to und.com’s multimedia offerings. As part of the new Fighting Irish All-Access launch, the und.com crew will post a bevy of video offerings from a variety of Irish sports and the University archives – just the first step toward developing und.com into the top source for Fighting Irish fans on the world wide web. Check und.com for more details.
Former Heisman Winners to be Honored at Notre Dame Home Games
All former Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winners will be featured on home game tickets as well as the corresponding game programs and schedule cards this season. The seven winners or family members of the winners have been invited back to Notre Dame to be honored during the weekend their likeness is featured on the game ticket and program. Angelo Bertelli graces the cover of the Penn State game, Johnny Lujack is on the Michigan game cover, John Lattner is featured during the Purdue weekend, Leon Hart will be honored at the Stanford game, Paul Hornung will be on the cover of the UCLA game, the North Carolina game ticket and program will honor John Huarte, while Tim Brown will be featured at the Army game. Lattner will serve as an honorary captain for the coin toss against the Boilermakers Saturday.
Notre Dame Football By The Numbers
.744 – Notre Dame’s winning percentage, the second-highest in the history of college football.
1 – Notre Dame is the only team, college or professional, to have all of its games broadcast nationally on the radio and is the only team to have all of its home games televised nationally (NBC).
5 – College Football Hall of Fame Coaches – Jesse Harper, Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine.
7 – Heisman Trophy Winners: Angelo Bertelli (1943), Johnny Lujack (1947), Leon Hart (1949), John Lattner (1953), Paul Hornung (1956), John Huarte (1964) and Tim Brown (1987).
10 – Alumni named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
11 – National Championships – since the Associated Press poll began in 1936 (1943-46-47-49-66-73-77-88), the most of any other school. The Irish also earned consensus national titles in 1924, 1929 and 1930 prior to the organization of the AP rankings.
12 – Unbeaten and untied seasons.
21 – Seasons in which the team has been voted the national champion by at least one selector.
27 – Bowl games in which the Irish have taken part.
31 – Unanimous first-team All-Americans — more than any other school.
41 – College Football Hall of Fame Players.
79 – Different consensus All-Americans — more than any other school.
99 – Percent graduation rate among football players who enter on scholarship and remain at least four years.
100 – Out of 118 years in which Notre Dame has finished with a winning record.
118 – Years of college football (including 2006).
164 – consecutive games televised nationally or regionally by NBC, CBS, ABC or ESPN.
178 – selections on All-America first teams.
187 – consecutive sellouts at Notre Dame Stadium.
282 – appearances by Notre Dame football on network television — more than any other school.
300+ – stations that broadcast Notre Dame football via Westwood One.
814 – All-time victories, second all-time in college football.