Sept. 20, 2005
(#16 AP/18 USA Today) Notre Dame (2-1) at Washington (1-2)
The Date and Time: Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005, 12:37 p.m. PDT (2:37 p.m. in South Bend)
The Site: Husky Stadium (72,500), FieldTurf surface
The Tickets: Tickets are still available by contacting the UW Ticket Office (206-543-2200) or online at www.gohuskies.com.
The TV Plans: ABC regional telecast with Brad Nessler (play by play), Bob Griese (analysis), Lynn Swann (sideline), Bruce Clark (producer) and Patrick McManus (director).
The Radio Plans: For the 38th consecutive season all Notre Dame football games are broadcast on approximately 300 stations in 50 states by Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play by play) and former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (analysis). This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 126 for the Washington game) as well.
A live broadcast from the Notre Dame student station, WVFI, also is available via the Notre Dame official athletics website at www.und.com (subscription service). All Notre Dame home games may be heard in South Bend on U93-FM (92.9) with pre-game analysis featuring Sean Stires, Brian Noe, Vince DeDario and Colin Burns. The post-game show is hosted by Jack Nolan and features former Notre Dame players Reggie Brooks and Mirko Jurkovic. See page 17 of this notes package for more information on Irish football radio and television shows.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics will be provided through College Sports Online’s Gametracker at www.und.com or www.gohuskies.com.
Two-Minute Drill (what you need to know about Saturday’s Notre Dame – Washington matchup) –
â€¢Notre Dame continues its rough early-season schedule with another road game this weekend, its third in four games. The Irish will continue on the road next weekend at #10/11 Purdue before returning to campus for a five-game homestand.
â€¢ Former Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham is in his first year at Washington. Saturday’s matchup will be the first time in Notre Dame history the Irish will face one of their former non-interim head coaches on the opposing sideline.
â€¢ Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Washington 5-0. Saturday will mark the third Irish appearance in Husky Stadium and first since 1995 (the other appearance occurred in 1949).
â€¢ Notre Dame is 2-1 in 2005 and ranked 16th in the Associated Press Top 25 and 18th in the USA Today coaches poll. Washington will enter this weekend’s game with a 1-2 record, earning its first victory of `05, 34-6, over Idaho last weekend.
â€¢Saturday’s game will mark the first of three against the Pacific-10 Conference for Notre Dame this season. The Irish will face USC (Oct. 15) and Stanford (Nov. 26) later in the schedule.
â€¢ Notre Dame is looking to improve to 3-1 for the second straight season. With a victory, the Irish will claim three wins in their first four games for just the third time (4-0 in `02, 3-1 in `04) since 1998.
â€¢ Notre Dame is currently ranked 19th in the country for passing offense with a 284.67 average per game. Should that number remain steady, the Irish will post their best statistical passing season, in terms of national ranking, since the 1979 team finished the year ranked 20th (196.2 per game). Notre Dame has not been higher than 28th (222.2 in 1986) in this category since the `79 season. The Irish single-season record is 252.7 yards per game set in 1970.
â€¢ Junior QB Brady Quinn is ranked 15th in the country for total offense per game, averaging 293 yards per contest. He is coming off the second-best individual performance by a Notre Dame quarterback in a single game (in terms of yardage), going 33 of 60 for 487 yards, along with school-record five touchdown passes, in a 44-41 overtime loss to Michigan State last weekend.
â€¢ Sophomore Darius Walker is the first Notre Dame running back to post three 100-yard performances in the first three games of the season since Phil Carter accomplished that feat in 1980. Those 100-yard performances already match the team’s total for a single player from last season (Walker twice, `05 graduate Ryan Grant once). The `03 team had four such performances, the `02 team five and the `01 seven.
â€¢ Notre Dame has scored an even 100 points in three games this season. That is the best point total for the first three games in a season since the 1992 team defeated Northwestern 41-7, tied Michigan 17-17 and defeated Michigan State 52-31, to post 111 points in three games.
â€¢ The Irish have totaled 500 yards in offense at Pittsburgh (502) and against Michigan State (594) this season. The last Notre Dame team to post 500 yards in offense twice in a single season was the 1999 team (566 vs. Oklahoma, 524 vs. Navy). The last time the Irish were able to post 500 yards in a single game more than twice in a season was Lou Holtz’ last year at the helm in 1996 (650 vs. Washington, 544 vs. Boston College, 548 vs. Rutgers, 565 vs. Pittsburgh).
2005: The Charlie Weis Era Begins
The 117th season of Notre Dame football is the first in the tenure of head coach Charlie Weis, who has started his career with two road victories over #23/25 Pittsburgh (42-21) and #3/3 Michigan (17-10) and an overtime loss to Michigan State 44-41 last weekend.
Weis is looking to become the ninth non-interim Notre Dame head football coach since 1913 to begin his career with at least three wins in his first four games (Tyrone Willingham, 4-0; Dan Devine, 3-1; Ara Parseghian, 4-0; Terry Brennan, 3-1; Frank Leahy, 4-0; Elmer Layden, 3-1; Hunk Anderson, 3-0-1; Jesse Harper, 4-0) this weekend at Washington.
Weis was named the 28th head football coach in Notre Dame history on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2004. A 1978 Notre Dame graduate, Weis takes the reins of the Irish program after a highly-successful career as an assistant coach in the National Football League.
The owner of four Super Bowl champion rings as products of a stellar 15-season career as an NFL assistant, Weis is a widely-respected disciple of professional coaching standouts Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. He came to Notre Dame after excelling as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, where he played an integral role in New England’s victories in three of the last four Super Bowls.
Weis is the first Notre Dame graduate to hold the football head coaching position at his alma mater since Hugh Devore (a ’34 graduate) served as interim coach in 1963 and is the first Notre Dame graduate to serve as the Irish football coach on a full-fledged basis since Joe Kuharich (a ’38 graduate who coached at Notre Dame from 1959 through ’62).
A veteran of 26 seasons in coaching, Weis coached nine seasons with the Patriots, including five as offensive coordinator. He helped produce four Super Bowl championships (New York Giants following the 1990 season, Patriots following ’01, ’03 and ’04 seasons), five conference titles and seven division crowns.
Notre Dame – Washington Series Notes
â€¢ Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Washington, 5-0, with three of those victories at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish are 2-0 at Washington, including a 23-15 victory over the #15 Huskies in 1995 (the Irish entered the game ranked 23rd). Prior to the 1995 visit, Notre Dame had appeared at Husky Stadium in 1949 (a 27-7 victory).
â€¢ Washington is one of eight NCAA Division I-A opponents against which Notre Dame has never lost (with a minimum of four games played in the series). The others in this select group include: California (4-0), Illinois (11-0-1), Minnesota (4-0-1), Rice (4-0), Rutgers (4-0), Tulane (8-0) and West Virginia (4-0).
â€¢ Washington is one of three Pac-10 Conference schools on the 2005 Notre Dame schedule and one of two the Irish will meet on the road (USC visits Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 15, the Irish travel to Stanford to close the regular season on Nov. 26).
â€¢ Notre Dame has outscored Washington in its four previous games by an aggregate score of 194-51, or an average score of 39-10. Washington has scored over 14 points in the five series meetings just twice (15 in 1995, 20 in 1996).
Notre Dame – Washington Series History
â€¢ Notre Dame and Washington began their abbreviated series in 1948 when the Huskies came to South Bend and lost to the Irish, 46-0.
â€¢ Notre Dame turned around and ventured to Seattle the following season, once again besting UW by a 27-7 score.
â€¢ The two teams would not meet again for 46 seasons until Notre Dame made its way to Husky Stadium in 1995 and pulled out a 29-21 victory.
â€¢ The teams met again in 1996, with the 11th-ranked Irish dispatching No. 16 Washington, 54-20.
â€¢ In the 1996 matchup, Notre Dame piled up 650 yards of total offense, marking the last time the Irish have topped the 600-yard mark in offensive production. Notre Dame piled up 594 yards last weekend vs. Michigan State, the most since that game versus the Huskies.
â€¢ Last season, Brady Quinn threw four touchdown passes (two each to Anthony Fasano and Matt Shelton) as the Irish defeated Washington 38-3 in Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame scored 21 points in the first quarter and cruised to victory from that point.
Notre Dame Versus the Pac-10 Conference
â€¢ Notre Dame has won 65 percent of its games versus Pac-10 Conference opponents, with a winning series record versus nine of the Pac-10 teams and an overall mark of 72-38-6 (.646) in 116 games against Pac-10 schools. Most of those games (76) have come versus USC (42-29-5) while the Irish have faced Stanford (13-6-0) 19 times.
â€¢ Notre Dame has played a handful of games vs. California (4-0), Washington (5-0), Arizona (2-1), Oregon (1-0-1), Oregon State (0-2) and UCLA (2-0). Notre Dame and Arizona State met for the first time in 1998, while the Irish met Oregon State for the second time in the 2004 Insight Bowl. Notre Dame played its first-ever game against Washington State in 2003, downing the Cougars, 29-26 in overtime.
â€¢ The Irish won at Washington in ’95 (29-21) and beat the Huskies at Notre Dame Stadium in ’96 (54-20) and 2004 (38-3), with the only other games in the series coming in ’48 and ’49.
Last Time At Husky Stadium
Notre Dame posted an unusual comeback for its victory at Husky Stadium in 1995. With Washington holding on to a 21-14 lead, Notre Dame wide out Derrick Mayes fumbled at the Husky 26-yard line with 3:53 remaining. Notre Dame forced Washington to punt, but the Huskies botched the snap on the ensuing punt attempt, giving Notre Dame the ball back at the 19-yard line.
Autry Denson scored a touchdown soon after and the Irish decided to go for a two-point conversion. Mayes, left uncovered on the conversion attempt, nabbed a quick pass from Ron Powlus to put Notre Dame ahead 22-21. With a minute to play, UW’s Damon Huard led his team down to the Notre Dame 33, but DB Allen Rossum intercepted a Huard pass and returned it 76 yards for the final 29-21 score.
Mayes set a record for career touchdown receptions in the game – posting his 19th and 20th. The Irish comeback erased a 171-yard rushing performance by Washington’s Rashon Sheehee.
Irish First-Year Head Coaches
As Charlie Weis continues his first season at the helm of the Irish, here are a few notes on Notre Dame’s head coaches in their inaugural years (see page 13 for a recap of each coaching debut season in ND history).
â€¢ The 27 previous head football coaches in Notre Dame history have combined to amass a 168-60-12 (.700) record in their first years at the helm.
â€¢ Since Notre Dame Stadium was opened in 1930, six Notre Dame coaches – Hunk Anderson, Ed McKeever, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis – have opened away from home in their first seasons – going 6-0 in those games.
â€¢ Weis is the first coach to begin his Irish career by beating two ranked opponents. The only other attempt was by Terry Brennan in 1954 (won 21-0 vs. #4 Texas, lost 27-14 vs. #19 Purdue).
â€¢ Weis is the first coach to begin his Notre Dame tenure with two victories on the road and on the opponent’s home field since Knute Rockne in 1918 (at Case Tech, at Wabash). Hunk Anderson faced his first two games away from Notre Dame in `31 (at Indiana, vs. Northwestern at Soldier Field – a win and a tie, respectively) and Dan Devine also started with two games away from South Bend in `75 (vs. Boston College at Foxboro, at Purdue – both wins).
â€¢ The two most recent Irish head coaches (Bob Davie; 7-6 in 1997, Tyrone Willingham; 10-3 in 2002) posted winning records in their first seasons. The last Irish coach to turn in a sub – .500 season in his first year is Lou Holtz, whose `86 team finished 5-6.
â€¢ The longest winning streak for a Notre Dame head coach to begin his career with the Irish is nine games, by Harper (1913-14) and Parseghian (`64).
â€¢ Since 1913, four Notre Dame coaches – Layden, Parseghian, Holtz and Willingham – have taken over the program the year after their predecessors were either .500 or below. All but Holtz, who went 5-6 in `86, posted winning records in their first seasons and the quartet had a combined 30-13 record in such seasons. The `04 Irish went 6-6 under Willingham.
Overtime Loss To MSU Provides Some Remarkable Statistics
Notre Dame and Michigan State battled through a 44-41 overtime victory for the Spartans last weekend and the teams combined for some notable statistics. Here is a quick look at some of the more notable statistics –
85 – points scored; the most for two teams in Notre Dame Stadium since the Irish defeated SMU 61-29 (90 points) in 1986. It was the most points scored in a game featuring Notre Dame since the Irish and Navy combined for 85 points at Veteran’s Stadium in Philadelphia in 1993 (58-27 ND victory).
594 – offensive yards gained by the Irish; the most since Notre Dame piled up 650 yards in 1996 against Washington.
98 – offensive plays, the most the Irish have run since the 104 plays against Iowa in 1968 (587 yards).
Quinn Throws Five
Junior QB Brady Quinn became the first Notre Dame quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a single game last weekend against Michigan State. Quinn finished the game 33 of 60 for 487 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. It ranks as the second-best individual statistical performance by a Notre Dame quarterback – just behind Joe Theismann’s 33 for 58, 526-yard peformance at USC in 1970. Unfortunately, both games ended up in the loss column for the Irish.
Brady Quinn set a Notre Dame record with five touchdown passes against Michigan State on Sept. 17, 2005.
Quinn’s touchdown passes vs. Michigan State
18 yards to Jeff Samardzija, first quarter, 5:14
31 yards to Samardzija, second quarter, 8:43
6 yards to Darius Walker, third quarter, 1:23
7 yards to Maurice Stovall, fourth quarter, 12:29
4 yards to Smardzija, fourth quarter, 2:31
Quinn and the Notre Dame Record Book
Junior QB Brady Quinn, in his third full year as the Irish starter, has already made a lasting mark on the Irish football record book. Here is a quick overview at some of his accomplishments and rankings all-time at Notre Dame (see pages 9, 11 and 13 for several career ranking breakdowns for Quinn) –
Touchdowns, Single Game – 5 – vs. Michigan State last weekend, the school record, breaking the previous record of four which was held by seven different individuals in nine different games.
Completions, Single Game – 33 – vs. Michigan State last weekend, matched Joe Theismann’s school record from the 1970 game at USC.
Yards, Single Game – 487 – vs. Michigan State last weekend, second all-time behind Theismann’s 526 at USC in `70.
Yards, Career – 5,271 – becoming just the fourth Irish quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards, Quinn stands 726 yards behind Rick Mirer for third on the all-time list. Ron Powlus is the career yardage leader with 7,602.
Touchdown Passes, Career – 35 – already third on the all-time list behind Rick Mirer (41) and Ron Powlus (52).
Avg. Passing Yards Per Game, Career – 195.2 – currently first on the all-time list ahead of Powlus (172.7).
Quinn also is well ahead of the pace to set the single-season passing yardage record for the Irish. At his current pace (284.7 yards per game), he would total 3,124 yards. The single-season record is held by Jarious Jackson, who threw for 2,753 yards in 1999. Averaging just 250 yards per game for the rest of the season he would end up with 2,854 yards. The Dublin, Ohio, native has the possibility of becoming Notre Dame’s first 3,000-yard single-season passer.
Walker Off To A Great Start
Sophomore RB Darius Walker has started the season with three consecutive 100-yard performances. He ran for an even 100 yards at #23/25 Pittsburgh (42-21 Irish victory), posted 104 yards in a 17-10 victory at #3/3 Michigan and rushed for a career-high 116 yards against Michigan State (44-41 OT loss) last weekend.
The effort against the Spartans makes Walker the first Irish running back to start the season with three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances in 25 years. Phil Carter achieved that feat in the first three games of the 1980 season.
Walker Expanding His Game
While sophomore Darius Walker set the Notre Dame freshman rushing record last season (786 yards in `04), he was limited in his role in the Irish passing game (10 catches, 74 yards). He has already eclipsed those numbers in 2005, posting 13 catches (tied for second on the team) for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
Hoyte Impressive in First Three Games
Senior defensive captain LB Brandon Hoyte has been a force for the Notre Dame football team over the course of the first three games this year. Embracing his new role as a playmaker in defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s scheme, Hoyte leads the team with 29 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and three sacks. He also has broken up a pass and forced a fumble. A preseason selection for the 2005 Butkus Award Watch List, Hoyte led the team with eight tackles (three solo) and and 2.5 tackles-for-a-loss against Michigan State last weekend.
Samardzija Three Play
Junior WR Jeff Samardzija entered the 2005 campaign without a touchdown catch, but has since caught a scoring toss in each of this season’s first three games. The two-sport athlete (who was a top-line starting pitcher for the Irish baseball team last season) becomes the first Irish receiver to have three straight games with touchdown catches to start the season since Derrick Mayes did it in 1994 versus Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State. Mayes was kept out of the end zone in the fourth game of that season.
Samardzija, who also serves as the team’s holder on field goal attempts, tied a Notre Dame record with three touchdown catches versus Michigan State. He is the seventh player to do it and the first since Tom Gatewood versus Purdue in 1970. Samardzija’s initial touchdown in the first quarter made him the first Irish receiver to catch touchdowns in three consecutive games since since Malcolm Johnson had TD catches in six straight midseason games (Arizona State, Army, Baylor, Boston College, Navy and LSU) from Oct. 10 through Nov. 11, during the 1998 season.
Zbikowski Becoming a Playmaker
Junior S Tom Zbikowski, just three games into his second full season as a starter, has quickly emerged as a playmaker for the Irish – both on defense and special teams. Zbikowski leads the team with two interceptions (including a key pick in the red zone at #3/3 Michigan), is second on the team with 24 tackles and has returned four punts for 64 yards this season – after not returning a single punt during the 2004 campaign.
He also gave the Irish a late scoring opportunity against MSU last weekend, forcing a fumble with 1:41 remaining.
Zbikowski’s special teams performance at Michigan earned the junior the title as the team’s special team’s captain for Notre Dame’s home opener against Michigan State last weekend.
First-Year Players Seeing Significant Time
Through the first two games of the 2005 season, Notre Dame has seen 17 players make their Irish playing debut. Included in the 17 players are nine true freshmen from Notre Dame’s 15-player class signed last year. The complete list of players that have played for the first time this season: James Bent, Justin Brown, David Bruton*, Maurice Crum, Jr., Casey Cullen, Paul Duncan*, Leo Ferrine, David Grimes*, LaBrose Hedgemon II, Joey Hiben*, Pat Kuntz*, Terrail Lambert, Steve Quinn*, Asaph Schwapp*, Scott Smith*, Ronald Talley and Michael Turkovich*.
* – indicates true freshman
Don’t Forget the Anniversary
The 2005 football season marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of fabled Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have played 380 games in that facility to date and own a 287-88-5 (.762) record in the “House that Rockne Built.”
The Irish were 3-3 in Notre Dame Stadium in `04, running their home record to 91-29 (.758) over the last 20 years.
The most wins in a season by the Irish at home is seven by the `88 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 `55, the Stadium’s 25th anniversary, Notre Dame went 8-2 on the season for coach Terry Brennan, including a 4-0 home record; the Irish turned in a 9-2-1 overall record and a 5-0 home mark to commemorate Notre Dame Stadium’s 50th anniversary in `80.
Irish Face Another Loaded Schedule
With the updates of the AP and USA Today/Coaches Poll, Notre Dame will continue to face one of the toughest schedules in the nation (rankings are AP/USA Today):
â€¢ Notre Dame is the only team that will play three games against top-four teams – #1/1 USC, #5/4 Tennessee and #3/3 Michigan (W, 17-10) in the preseason polls.
â€¢ Notre Dame is the only school that will face three teams that are in the top 10 of both preseason polls this season.
â€¢ Notre Dame will play games against teams ranked in the preseason top 25 this season. The Irish have already defeated #23/25 Pittsburgh 42-21 and #3/3 Michigan 17-10. Notre Dame also will face #12/11 Purdue, #1/1 USC and #5/4 Tennessee.
In Front of the Nation
In 2004, the Notre Dame football team once again received more network television exposure and played in more highly-rated games than any other program in college football.
The Irish played in the highest-rated network game of the `04 regular season (and the highest-rated regular-season game overall in two seasons) in its `04 regular-season finale at USC. That game, televised by ABC Sports, received a 6.3 Nielsen rating and was seen in 6.898 million households.
Overall, Notre Dame played in six games that ranked among the top 25 highest-rated network telecasts and no other school played in more than five (Tennessee and Georgia each played in five).
Including last weekend’s game against Michigan State, Notre Dame now has a remarkable streak of 151 consecutive games (more than 12 full seasons) that have been carried by either NBC (81), ABC (43), CBS (14) or ESPN (12). You have to go all the way back to the `92 season to find a Notre Dame game that wasn’t on one of those four networks.
The streak will continue throughout the 2005 season as well. All eight remaining games this season are scheduled to be broadcast on NBC, ABC and ESPN.
Taking it `To the House’
Continuing a trend from the 2004 season, Notre Dame was efficient in the red zone in the first two games of the `05 season at Pittsburgh and Michigan. The Irish are seven for eight in red zone scoring chances – and arguably were five for five against Pittsburgh (they ran out the clock in the red zone at the end of the 42-21 victory). Notre Dame also scored six touchdowns on its first seven possessions at Pitt.
Notre Dame was solid on both sides of the ball in the red zone (inside the 20-yard line) in 2004. On offense, the Irish made 36 trips to the red zone, coming away with 25 touchdowns (a 69.4% TD percentage). Opponents visited the red zone 38 times, managing 19 touchdowns (a 50% TD percentage).
In Front of a Full House
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 175 of its previous 200 games, including 43 of its last 46 games dating back to the end of the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2000 season (the `01 and `03 games at Stanford and last year’s game vs. Navy at the Meadowlands were not sellouts). At Michigan in `03, 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 has been 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 `01; at Air Force and Florida State, home vs. Boston College in `02, vs. Oregon State in the Insight Bowl in `04 – 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 two weeks ago. Notre Dame’s last game played before less than a capacity crowd was the 2003 contest at Stanford when a crowd of 46,500 witnessed the Irish defeat the Cardinal, 57-7, at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif.
In 2005, junior quarterback Brady Quinn has become just the 13th signal caller in Notre Dame history to start under center for three years. The following is a list of Quinn’s predecessors, along with their stats (when available) from their third starting season. In the 12 seasons played by three-year starting Irish quarterbacks, prior to Quinn’s `05 season, the group amassed a 90-30-4 combined record.
(see PDF for a statistical breakdown)
Jinx?, What Jinx?
Sophomore running back Darius Walker set a Notre Dame freshman rushing record in 2004 with 786 yards, eclipsing the mark of 756 Jerome Heavens set in 1975, en route to earning third-team Freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News. If Walker stays on the pace he set in his first season with the Irish, he will be primed to turn in one of the finest statistical seasons ever by an Irish sophomore. Here’s a look at how the top 10 rushers in Notre Dame history, plus a few other notables, fared in their sophomore year.
(see PDF for a statistical breakdown)
Older and Wiser…
The 2005 Notre Dame offensive line is one of the most experienced units in school history. With the entire starting group from a year ago still in the fold, the Irish offense boasts almost 100 combined career starts on the line. Entering the 2005 season, senior tackle Mark LeVoir started the last 24 Notre Dame games and leads the veteran group in starting assignments. Seniors Bob Morton and Dan Stevenson are a close second with 22 starts each, while junior Ryan Harris has 19 starts to his credit and junior John Sullivan is the junior man of the group with 12. Here is a look at the 10 most experienced offensive line units to wear the blue and gold since `85, with the `05 group added in for comparison.
Year Starts Heading Into Season
On the `Fas’ Track to Success
Senior tight end Anthony Fasano turned in a breakout 2004 season for the Irish, catching 27 balls for 367 yards and four touchdowns. Against Purdue, the 6-4, 257-pound Fasano hauled in a career-high eight passes for a career-high and Notre Dame tight end-record 155 yards and was named John Mackey National Tight End of the Week. His 27 catches in ’04 tied him with former Irish standout Pete Chryplewicz for the fifth-highest single-season total by a tight end.
(see PDF for a series of statistical breakdowns)
Already in the Books
Notre Dame senior wide receiver Matt Shelton cemented his name in the lore of Notre Dame football last season by setting a single-season record for average yards per reception. Shelton’s average of 25.8 yards per catch eclipsed Tony Hunter’s mark of 25.6 from the 1979 campaign. Here’s a look at the top five single seasons in school history in terms of yards per reception.
(see PDF for a statistical breakdown)
The record for most receptions by a pair of classmates at Notre Dame is 210, achieved by the 1966-68 combination of Jim Seymour (138) and Bob Gladieux (72). A prolific 2005 season by seniors Rhema McKnight and Maurice Stovall could eclipse that standard. Entering this weekend’s contest, McKnight has 103 career catches and Stovall 73 for 176 total – needing 34 catches combined to reach the record. It should be pointed out, however, that both McKnight and Stovall played as freshmen – Seymour and Gladieux piled up 210 catches in just three years of varsity action.
National Award Watch Lists
Maxwell award –
In June, Irish junior quarterback Brady Quinn was one of 53 players named to the 2005 Maxwell Award Watch List. The award, presented by the Maxwell Football Club, is given annually to the college football player of the year.
Quinn has thrown for over 800 yards (854) in Notre Dame’s first three games. He has added nine touchdowns (including a Notre Dame single-game record five against Michigan State), completed close to 60 percent of his passes (59.8) and is averaging 284.7 passing yards per game.
Quinn threw for 2,586 yards in `04, his second as the starting quarterback for Notre Dame. His sophomore season ended up as the best second-year campaign ever for an Irish quarterback, finishing second in ND history on the single-season passing list behind Jarious Jackson’s 2,753 yards in `99. Quinn’s attempts (353) and completions (191) last season stand atop the single-season lists at Notre Dame. He accounted for 20 touchdowns (17 passing, three rushing) in `04.
Starting the last 24 consecutive games at quarterback for Notre Dame, Quinn already has posted the top freshman and sophomore statistical seasons in school history. He currently ranks fifth all-time on the Notre Dame passing list, just 403 yards behind Jackson for fourth place.
The Maxwell Award is named after Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, a Philadelphia native and former All-American guard at Swarthmore and Chicago who went on to a career that included professional football, coaching and sportswriting.
Notre Dame has seen four different players earn the Maxwell Award a total of five times in the football program’s history. Tight end Leon Hart was the initial recipient in 1949, followed by HB John Lattner (1952 and `53), LB Jim Lynch (1966) and DE Ross Browner (1977).
MACKEY AWARD –
On Aug. 1, Anthony Fasano was named to the 2005 John Mackey Award Watch List which is given annually to the nation’s best collegiate tight end.
Fasano leads the team with 15 catches for 153 yards (10.2 avg.). He is averaging 51.0 receiving yards per game.
Fasano is coming off his most productive season in 2004. As a junior, he finished second on the team with 27 catches for 367 yards and four touchdowns. Proficient in pass catching, route running and blocking, Fasano is poised for a breakout year in Notre Dame’s new offense under the direction of head coach Charlie Weis and offensive coordinator Michael Haywood.
Fasano caught four passes for 60 yards in the ’04 season opener against BYU and continued to be a reliable force in the Irish offense throughout the campaign. He exploded for career highs in catches and yards against Purdue, nabbing eight receptions for a Notre Dame tight end-record 155 receiving yards.
He was named the John Mackey National Tight End of the Week for his performance against Purdue.
The Verona, N.J., native, one of 20 players on the watch list, also caught two touchdown passes against Washington and added scoring receptions at Tennessee and against Oregon State in the Insight Bowl.
Fasano also was a key contributor in 2003. As a sophomore, he caught 18 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He did not play during his freshman season in 2002.
NFL Hall of Famer John Mackey is considered to be the best to have played the tight end position. The award honors his leadership and career of excellence.
The John Mackey Award has been presented since 2000, with four NFL players as alumni: Dallas Clark of Iowa (’01), Daniel Graham of Colorado (’02), Kellen Winslow, Jr. of Miami (FL) (’03) and Heath Miller of Virginia (’04).
The Nassau County Sports Commmission, a non-profit organization to enhance quality of life by “Improving Life through Sports” and promote “Healthy Sports for Healthy Kids,” presents this national football award as a tribute to Nassau County sports legend and native John Mackey.
GROZA AWARD –
D.J. Fitzpatrick has been named to the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List as one of 30 preliminary candidates for the annual award recognizing college football’s finest placekicker.
Fitzpatrick is a perfect 13 for 13 in PATs this season. He has missed one of four field goal attempts (from 48 yards against Michigan State) and has posted a punting average of 41.8 – pinning four kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and launching a 60-yard punt at Michigan.
Fitzpatrick is entering his third season as the primary placekicker and punter for the Fighting Irish and is coming off an excellent season in 2004 in which he connected on 11 of 15 field goal attempts (73.3 percent), including a long of 47 yards. He scored 64 points on the season while making 34 of 35 conversion attempts. A proven performer in pressure situations, Fitzpatrick has made 25 of 32 attempts inside 50 yards for his career. He already ranks eighth in Notre Dame history for career field goals made with 25.
D.J. Fitzpatrick has moved from a walk-on kicker to dependable offensive force for the Irish.
Kickers on the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List were chosen based on statistics from the 2004 season and 2005 preseason expectations. However, all Division I-A kickers are eligible for consideration for the award. A panel of more than 300 experts votes on the award, including Division I-A head coaches, sportswriters and sportscasters, conference representatives, professional kickers and all previous Groza Award finalists.
The 20 semi-finalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced on Monday, Oct. 31, 2005, with the naming of the three finalists two weeks later on Monday, Nov. 14, 2005. The three finalists are recognized during the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Banquet and Silent Auction on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2005, at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott and the winner is announced on Thursday, December 8, 2005, during the ESPN Home Depot College Football Award Show in Orlando, Fla.
The award, now in its 14th year, is named for National Football League (NFL) Hall-of-Fame kicker Lou Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Nicknamed “The Toe,” Groza helped usher in the idea that a player could be used exclusively for kicking.
BUTKUS AWARD –
Senior linebacker and defensive team captain Brandon Hoyte has been named one of 65 candidates on the 2005 Butkus Award watch list. The award honors the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.
Hoyte has been a terror to opposing offenses this season. He leads the team with 29 tackles (including a team high 12 with 10 solos at Michigan), eight tackles for a loss and three sacks. He also has broken up a pass and forced a fumble in 2005.
A fifth-year senior in 2005, Hoyte is a two-time academic all-district honoree with 205 career tackles, six career sacks and four forced fumbles (including three in 2004). A native of Parlin, N.J., Hoyte is a leader both on and off the field for the Irish.
Hoyte finished second on the team in tackles last season, making 74 stops (38 solo) along with eight tackles for loss and three sacks. Projected as a starter on the outside for the Irish this season, Hoyte is poised to end his Irish career with an outstanding senior campaign.
Named a freshman All-American by The Sporting News in 2002, Hoyte has collected more than 50 tackles in each season (57 in ’02, 74 in ’03, 74 in ’04).
Making the Grade
The last four seasons of Notre Dame football have produced some impressive semesters in the classroom for the Notre Dame football team. In fact, the Irish had 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 were all posted in the seven semesters prior to the fall of `04, including the three semesters from fall of `02 to fall of `03 (2.84 in fall of `02, 2.79 in spring of `03 and 2.82 in fall of `03). The football program’s second-best semester GPA of the past 12 years came in the spring of `02 (2.90), followed by a 2.80 in the spring of `01 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 – former DE Kyle Businscak and senior LB Brandon Hoyte – received Academic All-District V honors in `03, marking Budinscak’s third selection and Hoyte’s second to the prestigious squad. Budinscak followed up with another All-District V honor in `04.
Taking Care of Business Off the Field, Too
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 `96 earned their degrees within five years). The `01 award followed Notre Dame’s previous honors in `82, `83, `84, `88 and `91. Notre Dame also holds the distinction of producing the first 100-percent rate in a single year when 24 of 24 student-athletes from the entering class of `82 earned their degrees within a five-year period (and 16 of those 24 did so within four years). Only eight other times has a school registered a 100-percent graduation rate. The `88 award had special meaning, as it was the first time a school won the national championship on the football field – as Notre Dame did, finishing 12-0 after a Fiesta Bowl win over unbeaten West Virginia – and in the classroom. Including the special mention category, the Irish have received some sort of recognition in 23 of the 24 years the award has been presented, with Duke next at 21.
All 2005 pep rallies will be held in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome) on Fridays before Saturday home games, beginning at 6:00 p.m. (EST). The football team enters the arena at 6:30 p.m. Beginning this season, all of Notre Dame’s pep rallies will be broadcast live (video and audio) on www.und.com for subscribers to “Fighting Irish All-Access.”
“Notre Dame Experience” Returns for 2005 Season
For years, the Joyce Center 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 2005 home football games in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome). For the fourth consecutive season, the “Notre Dame Experience” will combine with the Notre Dame Alumni Association Hospitality Center with interactive inflatables, photo booths, autograph sessions, football trivia and stage activities. Gates open three hours prior to kickoff and admission is free.
Tickets Available for 2005 Football Kickoff Luncheons
Tickets are now on sale for all the 2005 Notre Dame Kickoff Luncheons, held in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome) on the Friday prior to home football games. The luncheons feature head coach Charlie Weis and Irish players and assistant coaches, plus special guests and other attractions.
Tickets are $18 each, with a handling fee of $3 – 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 is available on Notre Dame’s athletics web site – www.und.com. The October 14 USC luncheon is sold out.
Notre Dame Athletics Continues Relationship with SIRIUS Satellite Radio
After a successful debut season in 2004, SIRIUS Satellite Radio will continue to offer Notre Dame football, and selected men’s/women’s basketball, games on its nationwide service.
Go to www.sirius.com for more information on the service. Notre Dame’s September football games can be heard on the following SIRIUS channels –
Sept. 24 vs Washington 126
Inside the Irish Huddle DVD
Legendary Notre Dame Quarterbacks, a project dedicated to the lore and history of University of Notre Dame football and its rich quarterbacking tradition, is beginning its existence with the release of a DVD, Inside the Irish Huddle, Stories from the Legendary Notre Dame Quarterbacks.
The DVD is now available and can ordered on NDQB1.com, the official website of the Legendary Notre Dame Quarterbacks.
Inside the Irish Huddle, made in association with Indianapolis and Chicago based Pathway Productions, includes interviews with and collegiate highlights of some of the most high-profile players and coaches in Notre Dame and college football history. Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Paul Hornung, Johnny Lujack, Tom Clements and Terry Hanratty are just a few of former players featured on Inside the Irish Huddle.
The project is spearheaded by former Irish quarterback Blair Kiel (1980-83).
Notre Dame Stadium Update
Thanks to funding by the Notre Dame Monogram Club, Notre Dame Stadium features a new look for its 75th anniversary this season.
â€¢ Positioned in the 195 portals of the original Stadium walls (now visible in the lower bowl concourse), there now are individual, four-by-10-foot, mesh banners with old-school, black-and-white photos highlighting Notre Dame’s 11 consensus national-championship seasons, its 139 first-team football All-Americans, its seven Heisman Trophy winners, its five national-championship coaches and its eight representatives in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
â€¢ Hanging from the ceiling around the lower concourse are 15 full-color, 12-by-15-foot banners – 10 of them featuring action shots of members of the 2005 Irish squad, and five featuring the 75th anniversary logo for Notre Dame Stadium. In addition, there will be four other five-by-eight-foot representations of the logo within the Stadium.
â€¢ One addition visible from inside the Stadium is a sign on the facing of the wall just above the tunnel – it reads “Irish” and includes the Monogram Club logo.
â€¢ Attached to light polls on Moose Krause Circle surrounding the Stadium and in the Stadium and Joyce North and South parking lots are 100 two-by-four foot pole banners, all of them featuring various Notre Dame marks and phrases – including combinations of Irish, We Are ND, a shamrock, the leprechaun, University of Notre Dame, Here Come the Irish, Fighting Irish, a gold helmet and the 75th anniversary Stadium logo.
â€¢ In addition, there are plans over the next few years to theme the entry gates at the Stadium – with the intention of creating specific recognition of Notre Dame’s national championships, its All-Americans, its Heisman Trophy winners and its national championship coaches. The first gate to be completed will be Gate B. It will recognize the Irish Heisman winners and will be completed later this fall.
Most of the signage and design work is being handled by Sport Graphics, Inc., in Indianapolis, Ind. Additional work for the gate designs is by the Rockwell Group in New York, N.Y.
Irish Football on the Printed Page
This fall, three new books about Fighting Irish football have debuted. The Spirit of Notre Dame, by Jim Langford and Jeremy Langford, officially went on sale during the last week of August. Detailing both athletic and student/alumni stories from the University, the book is said to be “the absolute essential title for the millions of people who have a place in their heart for the Fighting Irish.” The book is a production of The Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group and can be bought on www.randomhouse.com.
South Bend Tribune and Notre Dame football beat writer Eric Hansen has seen the release of his new book, Notre Dame, Where Have You Gone?. Hansen catches up with former Fighting Irish football players, from the All-Americans to the walk-ons to the one-play wonders to the once-tragic figures. The book is available for order at www.sportspublishinginc.com.
The third offering comes from Senior Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations at Notre Dame – John Heisler. Echoes of Notre Dame Football, The Greatest Stories Ever Told, was edited by the former long-time sports information director. A member of the CoSIDA Hall of Fame, Heisler’s book stitches together the best columns from the best columnists. It not only recounts the greatest moments in Notre Dame lore, it also tracks the chronological progression sportswriting styles from the esoteric to the ultra-modern. The book is available by calling 800-335-5323 or by sending an e-mail to WebOrders@triumphbooks.com. The book also features a foreword by Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis.
Matt Shelton, returning from a knee injury suffered last season, caught six passes against Michigan State.
Kevin White Radio Show
Look for the Kevin White Show for the next 30 weeks on ESPN 1000 AM radio in Chicago.
The hour-long program debuted Sept. 4 in its sixth season – with first-night guests including former Irish football-walk-on Dan “Rudy” Ruettiger (subject of the 1993 movie “Rudy”), former Irish placekicker Harry Oliver (he kicked a 51-yard field goal 25 years ago this week to help Notre Dame beat Michigan 29-27 in 1980), and current Irish hockey coach Jeff Jackson.
Guests regularly will include familiar names from all facets of college athletics.
The show features White, Notre Dame’s director of athletics, and ESPN 1000’s Dave Juday. It can be heard regularly at 11:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday.
Sponsors of the show include Gatorade, Xerox, adidas, Comcast, McDonald’s, Chase, Coca-Cola, Sirius Satellite Radio, Jordan Industries and Sayers Computer Source.
The show can be heard in more than 30 states around the country on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
Notre Dame will utilize the Big Ten Conference instant replay system during home games this season. The opposing team is given the option of agreeing to use the system as well, and it will only be implemented if both teams decide to utilize the system.
â€¢ The Big Ten instant replay model and the NFL instant replay system are different. In the Big Ten model, only the Big Ten Technical Advisor, working in the press box, can stop a game to review a play. Unlike the NFL model, in the Big Ten neither the coaches nor the game officials on the field may ask for a review.
â€¢ In order for a play to be changed the Technical Advisor must have indisputable video evidence that an error occurred. Television broadcast of the game will be the sole source of whether there is indisputable video evidence.
â€¢ The replay system will not guarantee that all officiating mistakes are identified and corrected.
â€¢The types of plays that are reviewable include plays that are governed by the sideline, goal line, end zone and end line, passing plays, and other detectable infractions, such as forward progress with respect to first down.