Senior linebacker Brandon Hoyte has been named a quarter-finalist for the 2005 Lott Trophy.

Football Plays Host To Michigan State In 2005 Home Opener Saturday

Sept. 13, 2005

Complete Release in PDF Format, recommended for easy reading, statistical breakdowns and increased sidebar information.
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(#10 AP/12 USA Today) Notre Dame (2-0) vs. Michigan State (2-0)

The Date and Time:Saturday, Sept. 17, 2005, 2:40 p.m. EST (3:40 p.m. EDT)

The Site:Notre Dame Stadium (80,795), natural grass surface

The Tickets: They’re all sold and it is the 180th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The MSU game marks the 228th home sellout in the last 229 games (dating back to 1964). It also is the 174th sellout in the last 199 Irish games and the 38th in the last 40 games involving Notre Dame, dating back to the end of the 2001 season (only the 2003 game at Stanford and the 2004 Navy game were not sellouts).

The TV Plans: NBC national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Lewis Johnson (sideline), David Gibson (producer) and John Gonzalez (director).

The Radio Plans: For the 38th consecutive season all Notre Dame football games are to be 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 125 for the Michigan State game) as well.

A live broadcast from the Notre Dame student station, WVFI, also is available via the Notre Dame official athletics website at (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

Two-Minute Drill (what you need to know about Saturday’s Notre Dame – Michigan State matchup) –

• Saturday’s game marks the beginning of the University’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of Notre Dame Stadium. The Stadium opened for Knute Rockne’s final season in 1930 and the Irish have compiled a 287-87-5 (.763) record in “The House that Rockne Built.”

• The University of Notre Dame has organized a stadium collection to take place on Saturday for the recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast region after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The collection will take place after the first quarter of Saturday’s game. For more information on the collection, see page six of this notes package.

• Notre Dame leads the series with Michigan State by a 43-24-1 count, including a 26-11-0 record in Notre Dame Stadium. Michigan State has won more games in Notre Dame Stadium (11) than any other Irish opponent and has claimed a victory in six of the last eight meetings (four straight at Notre Dame Stadium) between the two teams.

• Notre Dame head coaches are 10-2-1 in their first home games and have posted a 10-2 record in thEIr first game in Notre Dame Stadium. Lou Holtz (1986) and Elmer Layden (1934) are the two coaches who lost their first games in the Stadium. Both were hard-fought games, as Holtz lost to #4 Michigan 24-23 and Layden dropped a 7-6 decision to Texas. Knute Rockne actually experienced a tie in his first home game (7-7 vs. Great Lakes at Cartier Field in 1918), but defeated SMU 20-14 in 1930 – his first game in Notre Dame Stadium.

• The 2005 team has become the first Notre Dame football team to start the season with two wins over ranked teams on the road. The `05 team also is the first to knock off two ranked teams in its first two games, regardless of the game site, since 1990 when Lou Holtz’s team defeated #4 Michigan 28-24 at home and #24 Michigan State 20-19 in East Lansing to open the season.

• Notre Dame’s jump to No. 10 in the Associated Press Top 25 is the team’s third-most dramatic move up the AP rankings from one week to the next. The 1998 team jumped 12 spots from #22 to #10 when it knocked off #5 Michigan 36-20 in the first game of the season. The 1952 team moved up from #19 to #8 (11 spots) after defeating #5 Texas on the road to begin the year 1-0-1.

• Notre Dame’s captains for this weekend’s game will be senior Brandon Hoyte (defense), junior Brady Quinn (offense) and junior Tom Zbikowski (special teams). The offensive and defensive captains were selected for the entire season by a player vote. The special team captain is selected on a week-to-week basis by the coaching staff and is a reward for outstanding special teams play during the previous week’s contest.

• The Irish are looking to become the first Notre Dame team to open a season 3-0 since 2002 – and just the fourth Irish team to win its first three games in a season since 1991. Notre Dame won its first 10 games in 1993 and its first three in 1996.

• Notre Dame is the only school in the country with two wins over top 25 opponents this season. Clemson (#17 Texas A&M), Iowa State (#8 Iowa), LSU (#15 Arizona State), TCU (#7 Oklahoma), Florida State (#9 Miami), Georgia (#18 Boise State), Georgia Tech (#16 Auburn) and Texas (#4 Ohio State) all have one ranked victory.

• As per Notre Dame’s home opener tradition, all former Irish players have been invited back to campus this weekend to form a ceremonial tunnel on the field as the 2005 team takes the field before kickoff Saturday.

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 in fine fashion with road victories over #23/25 Pittsburgh (42-21) and #3/3 Michigan (17-10).

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.

First Two Wins – A Historical Perspective

Charlie Weis has led Notre Dame through two upset victories this season, defeating #23/25 Pittsburgh and #3/3 Michigan. Both wins came on the opponent’s home field – which is a first for the Irish program. A Notre Dame team has posted two ranked victories in its first two games three times previously. Dan Devine’s 1980 team began the year by defeating #9 Purdue 31-10 and #14 Michigan 29-27 at home. Lou Holtz’s 1987 team defeated #9 Michigan 26-7 in Ann Arbor and #17 Michigan State 31-8 at home, while his 1990 squad beat #4 Michigan 28-24 at home and #24 Michigan State 20-19 in East Lansing to begin the year.

Notre Dame – Michigan State Series Notes

• Notre Dame leads the series with Michigan State by a 43-24-1 count, including a 26-11-0 record in Notre Dame Stadium. Michigan State has won more games in Notre Dame Stadium (11) than any other Irish opponent.

• Michigan State has won six of the last eight games in the series, including four consecutive wins in Notre Dame Stadium (23-7 in 1997, 23-13 in 1999, 17-10 in 2001 and 22-16 in 2002). Only Purdue (1954-62) has won more consecutive games (five) in Notre Dame Stadium.

• Michigan State has beaten nationally-ranked Notre Dame teams on 14 occasions, with six of those games played at Notre Dame Stadium and seven against Irish teams ranked eight (AP poll) or higher.

• The Michigan State rivalry is the fourth-most frequent in Notre Dame history. The Irish and Spartans have met on the gridiron 68 times. Only Navy (78 games entering 2005), Purdue (76) and USC (76) have appeared on Notre Dame’s schedule more times than Michigan State.

• Notre Dame’s 43 victories in the series against the Spartans is the fourth-highest total against one opponent in school history behind Navy (68), Purdue (49) and Pittsburgh (44).

• The winner of Saturday’s game will claim the Megaphone Trophy, sponsored by the Detroit alumni clubs of Notre Dame and Michigan State.

Notre Dame – Michigan State Series History

• Notre Dame and Michigan State first met on the gridiron in 1897, with the Irish earning a 34-6 victory.

• The two schools played nine times through 1910, with Notre Dame winning the first eight of those encounters by a combined score of 222-6. Following a six-year layoff, Notre Dame won five of the next six games with the Spartans from 1916-21.

• The series then went on a 27-year hiatus until it resumed in 1948 when the top-ranked Irish downed Michigan State, 26-7, at Notre Dame Stadium. Since then, the series has been played continuously with the exception of breaks in 1953, ’58, ’95 and ’96.

• The last six games in the series all have been decided by 10 points or less, with the game-winning touchdown coming from at least 40 yards out late in the fourth quarter in five of the last six meetings. Here’s a breakdown of those nail-biting heroics (* – indicates game played at Notre Dame Stadium):

• 1999 – Gari Scott 80-yard TD pass from Bill Burke with 5:11 left (MSU 23-13)*

• 2000 – Herb Haygood 68-yard TD pass from Jeff Smoker with 1:48 left (MSU 27-21)

• 2001 – Charles Rogers 47-yard TD pass from Ryan Van Dyke with 7:51 left (MSU 17-10)*

• 2002 – Arnaz Battle 60-yard TD pass from Pat Dillingham with 1:15 left (ND 21-17)

• 2003 – Greg Taplin 40-yard interception return with 6:55 left (MSU 22-16)*

• 2004 – Notre Dame builds a 28-7 lead before MSU rallies with 17 points in 31-24 ND win.

Notre Dame Versus the Big Ten Conference

•Notre Dame has played almost three times as many games against Big Ten Conference opponents (331) as any other league. The Pacific-10 (112) is the only other conference against whom the Irish have played at least 100 games.

• Notre Dame has won more than 66 percent of its games versus Big Ten Conference opponents, with a record of .500 or better against 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams (Michigan is the lone exception). The Irish have an overall mark of 212-104-15 (.663) in 331 games against Big Ten schools, with more than 52 percent of those games (170) coming versus Michigan (14-18-1), Michigan State (43-24-1) and Purdue (49-25-2), all of whom are on Notre Dame’s 2005 schedule.

• For the third consecutive season, Notre Dame is playing three Big Ten schools (Michigan, W, 17-10; Michigan State and Purdue). Last year, the Irish ended up 2-1 against those same three Big Ten opponents (victories over Michigan and Michigan State, loss to Purdue).

Last Time In Notre Dame Stadium

After trading field goals back and forth in the first half, Michigan State utilized two big plays in the second half to defeat Notre Dame 22-16 on Sept. 20, 2003. Jaren Hayes posts a 71-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Greg Taplin returns an interception 40 yards for a touchdown for the Spartans. A rally by the Irish, highlighted by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Brady Quinn to Rhema McKnight, falls short. After the McKnight touchdown (with 2:29 remaining), Notre Dame forces Michigan State into a fourth-and-one situation (with 1:25 left), but the Irish were called for 12 men on the field which gave the Spartans an automatic first down and the ability to run out the clock.

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).

• First-year non-interim Notre Dame coaches are 4-5 against Michigan State in their first meeting against the Spartans during their debut season.

The wins: Willingham, 21-17, 2002; Faust, 20-7, 1981*; Parseghian, 34-7, 1964* and Brennan, 20-19, 1954*.

The losses: Davie, 7-23, 1997*; Holtz, 15-20, 1986; Devine, 3-10, 1975*; Kuharich, 24-30, 1959; Rockne, 7-13, 1918. * – games played at home

Add in two victories by Jesse Harper (23-0 in 1917) and Frank Leahy (26-6 in 1948) – both meetings coming after Harper and Leahy’s first season, and Notre Dame coaches are 6-5 in their first meeting with Michigan State.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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). 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 Devine also started with two games away from South Bend in `75 (vs. Boston College at Foxboro, at Purdue – both wins).

• 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.

• 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).

• 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.

Darius Walker Off to a Great Start

Sophomore RB Darius Walker has started the season with back-to-back 100-yard performances. He ran for an even 100 yards at #23/25 Pittsburgh (42-21 Irish victory) and posted 104 yards in a 17-10 victory at #3/3 Michigan last weekend.


Darius Walker has rushed for 204 yards in Notre Dame’s first two games of the 2005 season.



The effort against the Wolverines marks the second consecutive time that he has rushed for over 100 yards against Michigan. In his collegiate debut last season, Walker rushed for 115 yards (on 31 carries). Walker now owns four 100-yard rushing performances in his career, while the Pitt and Michigan games represent the first time the Lawrenceville, Ga., native has registered back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances.

He currently ranks 26th in the country for rushing yards per game with a 102.00 average.

Hoyte Impressive in First Two Games

Senior defensive captain LB Brandon Hoyte has been a force for the Notre Dame football team over the course of the first two games. Embracing his new role as a playmaker in defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s scheme, Hoyte leads the team with 21 tackles, 5.5 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 12 tackles (10 solo) and a sack at #3/3 Michigan last weekend.

Samardzija Two-for-Two

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 two games. The two-sport athlete (who was a top-line starting pitcher for the Irish baseball team last season) made a spectacular grab on a 19-yard pass from junior Brady Quinn at Pittsburgh, then followed up with another nifty catch at Michigan last weekend. Quinn’s five-yard pass was deflected by a Michigan defender before Samardzija was able to control the offering surrounded by a trio of Wolverine defenders.

Samardzija, who also serves as the team’s holder on field-goal attempts, leads the team in receiving yards (86) and touchdowns (two). He has made seven receptions this season for an average of 12.3 yards per catch.

Quinn Setting the Pace

Junior QB Brady Quinn has garnered much media attention this season due to the previous NFL offensive coordinator exploits of head coach Charlie Weis. Quinn has backed up much of the attention with his performance on the field. The Dublin, Ohio, native, now a three-year starter, has thrown for 367 yards in the first two games of the season with four touchdown passes. While not eye-catching numbers, Quinn does boast a 138.67 pass efficiency rating (ranked 43rd in the nation) and is averaging 200 yards of total offense per game.

Zbikowski Becoming a Playmaker

Junior S Tom Zbikowski, just two 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 vs. #3/3 Michigan last weekend), is tied for second on the team with 17 tackles and has returned two punts for 42 yards this season – after not returning a single punt during the 2004 campaign.

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 vs. Michigan State.

First-Year Players Seeing Significant Time

Through the first two games of the 2005 season, Notre Dame has seen 16 players make their Irish playing debuts. Included in the 16 players are eight 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, Asaph Schwapp*, Scott Smith*, Ronald Talley and Michael Turkovich*.

* – indicates true freshman

“Katrina Stadium Collection” Set for Michigan State Home Opener

The University of Notre Dame will collect funds for relief of the victims of Hurricane Katrina at its first home football game Sept. 17, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president announced.

Notre Dame Stadium, with a capacity of 80,795, is sold out for the 2:40 p.m. (EST) game against Michigan State.

“My hope is that the collective generosity of 80,000 fans will raise as much as possible in support of relief for this disaster, the full magnitude of which is still being determined with each passing hour,” Father Jenkins said.

The “Katrina Stadium Collection” will be taken between the first and second quarters during the contest which, as with all home games at Notre Dame, will be televised nationally by NBC.

Father Jenkins will lead the crowd in prayer and a moment of silence during pre-game ceremonies.

The University also took up a collection for hurricane relief during all Masses the weekend of Sept. 3-4 in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and in the University’s 27 residence halls.

Funds received in both collections will be distributed as follows: 50 percent to Catholic Charities USA, 25 percent to Congregation of Holy Cross ministries in Louisiana, and 25 percent to Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) staff in affected areas.

The Holy Cross ministries include Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Sacred Heart Parish and the Holy Cross School, all in the greater New Orleans area. ACE, a program founded at Notre Dame 10 years ago, trains teachers to serve Catholic schools in areas of poverty throughout the U.S. There are an estimated 25 ACE teachers in hard-hit areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Father Jenkins said Notre Dame continues to examine other options for aiding those most affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“Of course we are monitoring the well-being of our students who have families in the area, and we will be attentive to their needs, both emotionally and financially,” Father Jenkins said.

Notre Dame has 60 students from the areas where the storm hit.

“In addition, we are mobilizing all of the pertinent units on our campus to determine how we can best assist the academic and scholarly needs of students and faculty from colleges and universities that have been affected,” Father Jenkins said.

Notre Dame’s service learning enterprise, the Center for Social Concerns, also is organizing a number of activities to support the relief effort.

Further details on the “Katrina Stadium Collection,” including how those unable to attend the game might give, will be announced in the near future.

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 379 games in that facility to date and own a 287-87-5 (.757) record in the “House that Rockne Built.”

The Irish were 3-3 in Notre Dame Stadium in `04, running their home record to 91-28 (.765) 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):

• 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 poll.

• Notre Dame is the only school that will face three teams that are in the top 10 of both polls this season.

• Notre Dame will face five 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 victory at Michigan, Notre Dame now has a remarkable streak of 150 consecutive games (more than 12 full seasons) that have been carried by either NBC (80), 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 nine remaining games this season are scheduled to be broadcast on NBC, ABC and ESPN.

Home Series History a Plus

Notre Dame’s series record in Notre Dame Stadium against its six home opponents in 2005 (Michigan State, USC, BYU, Tennessee, Navy and Syracuse) is a combined 67-27-1 (.705). Their best mark over one of those opponents is the 25-3 advantage they own at home against Navy, and they have a losing record on their own field against only Tennessee (1-2).

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 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 174 of its previous 199 games, including 42 of its last 45 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 last weekend (the sixth-largest crowd in Notre Dame football history).

Three’s Company…

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 player stat 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 complete list of Notre Dame’s top rushers and their stats during their second season)

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 this 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

2005 99

1997 84

2002 76

1985 56

1996 56

1998 52

1987 50

1995 49

1993 46

1989 45

1990 43

Receiving Duo

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 65 for 168 total – needing 42 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 367 yards and four touchdowns during Notre Dame’s impressive 2-0 start to the season. His efficiency rating stands at 138.65 and he has thrown four touchdown passes in 2005. He also has led the Irish to touchdowns on each of the team’s first offensive drives at Pittsburgh and Michigan.

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.


Junior QB Brady Quinn is poised to make a permanent impression on the Irish record books this season.



Starting the last 23 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 36 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).


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 is tied for the team lead in catches with eight for 60 yards.

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.


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 eight for eight in PATs this season. He hit his only field goal attempt of the season this year (a 43-yard effort at Michigan) and has posted a punting average of 42.3 – pinning two kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and launching a 60-yard punt at Michigan last weekend.

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 22 of 28 attempts inside 50 yards for his career. He already ranks eighth in Notre Dame history for career field goals made with 23.

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 vote 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.


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 21 tackles (including a team high 12 with 10 solos at Michigan), 5.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks.

A fifth-year senior in 2005, Hoyte is a two-time academic all-district honoree with 226 career tackles, nine 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.

Voted defensive team captain by his teammates, Hoyte has seen action in 39 career games, making 17 starts and piling up 25 tackles for loss. He also is active in several community service projects including Notre Dame’s “Tackle The Arts.”

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.

Pep Rallies

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.

“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 maided 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 –

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 for more information on the service. Notre Dame’s September football games can be heard on the following SIRIUS channels –

Sept. 17 vs. Michigan State 125

Sept. 24 vs Washington 123

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, 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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 was 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

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

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 The book also features a foreword by Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis.

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 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.

Instant Replay

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.

• 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.

• 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.

• The replay system will not guarantee that all officiating mistakes are identified and corrected.

•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.