Oct. 4, 2004
Game Number Six
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-2) vs. Stanford Cardinal (3-1)
The Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 9, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. EST.
The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795/Natural Grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The Tickets: They’re all sold — with this being the 177th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The Stanford game marks the 225th home sellout in the last 226 games (dating back to 1964). It also is the 167th sellout in the last 191 Irish games and the 31st in the last 32 games involving Notre Dame, dating back to the end of the 2001 season (only last year’s game at Stanford was not a sellout).
The TV Plans: NBC national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Lewis Johnson (sideline), David Gibson (producer) and John Gonzalez (director).
The Radio Plans: For the 37th consecutive season, all Notre Dame football games are broadcast on more than 300 stations in all 50 states by Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play-by-play), former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (analysis), Larry Michael (pregame/halftime) and Al Smith (producer). A live broadcast from the Notre Dame student station, WVFI, also is available via the Notre Dame athletics web site at www.und.com. All Notre Dame football games may be heard in South Bend on U93-FM (92.9) with pre- and post-game analysis featuring Sean Stires, Shawn Lewallen, Jack Nolan, Mirko Jurkovic, Reggie Brooks and Vince DeDario. All Irish games also are carried live in the Chicago market on ESPN Radio 1000.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics, courtesy of College Sports Online’s GameTracker, will be made available for the Stanford game, via the Notre Dame (www.und.com) and Stanford (www.gostanford.com) athletics web sites.
Web Sites: Notre Dame (www.und.com), Stanford (www.gostanford.com).
IRISH WRAP UP THREE-GAME HOMESTAND SATURDAY AGAINST STANFORD
Notre Dame (3-2) will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Purdue when it plays host to a resurgent 3-1 Stanford team Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (EST) at Notre Dame Stadium. The contest will be televised nationally by NBC, marking the 142nd consecutive Irish football game to be broadcast across the country by one of the four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN).
Notre Dame is coming off a 41-16 defeat at the hands of (then) 15th-ranked Purdue last Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn had another impressive outing in the defeat, setting a Stadium record by passing for 432 yards while completing 26 of 46 tosses against the Boilermakers. Junior tight end Anthony Fasano also etched his name into the Notre Dame record books, setting a new Irish standard for receiving yards by a tight end with 155 yards on eight receptions. Fasano and junior wide receiver Rhema McKnight (seven catches for 113 yards) both surpassed 100 yards receiving to give Notre Dame two 100-yard receivers in the same game for the first time since 1977.
Stanford has been impressive thus far this season. The Cardinal come in with only a loss to top-ranked USC (31-28) marring an otherwise perfect ledger through four games. The Stanford offense enters this game averaging 33.8 points per game and has not been held under 27 points thus far this season. The Cardinal come to South Bend off a 27-13 victory over Washington.
Sophomore quarterback Trent Edwards ranks 39th in the NCAA in pass efficiency (131.65) and is 30th nationally in total offense (232 yards per game). Junior running back J.R. Lemon has rushed for 258 yards over the last two games, including a 162-yard outing last Saturday against Washington, Stanford’s best performance by a running back in 10 years. Lemon is averaging 6.9 yards per carry this season.
Senior free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe is Stanford’s top playmaker on defense. The team’s leading tackler the last two seasons, Atogwe currently has 24 stops (second on the team) with one interception, two forced fumbles, one pass break-up and two tackles for loss.
NOTRE DAME-STANFORD SERIES NOTES
â€¢ Saturday’s game marks the 19th meeting between Notre Dame and Stanford. The Irish lead the series 12-6, including a 7-2 advantage when playing host to the Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium.
â€¢ The two teams have met every year since 1988, with the exception of the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
â€¢ This year’s matchup will mark only the third time in the last 16 series meetings that neither Notre Dame nor Stanford is ranked at kickoff.
â€¢ After a five-game stretch from 1989-93 in which the visiting team won every game, the home team won each of the next seven games (1994-2002) before the Irish put a stop to that trend with a 57-7 victory last year at Stanford Stadium.
â€¢ Notre Dame has won six of the last nine games in the series by an average margin of 24.2 points per game. In the two matchups since Tyrone Willingham became the Irish head coach, Notre Dame has won by a combined score of 88-14.
â€¢ The Irish defense has played a pivotal role in the series, holding the Cardinal to an average of 18.7 points per game, including seven games where Stanford scored 14 points or less. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has averaged 30.2 points per game and has topped the 30-point mark nine times in the series (including six of the last nine meetings).
IF NOTRE DAME WINS …
â€¢ Notre Dame will earn its 800th all-time victory, joining Michigan as the only two NCAA Division I-A schools ever to reach that milestone.
â€¢ The Irish will claim their third consecutive victory over Stanford, matching their longest winning streak in the series (1964, 1988-89).
â€¢ Notre Dame will pick up its fifth consecutive home win over Stanford and its eighth in 10 all-time meetings with the Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium.
â€¢ The Irish will pick up their ninth home victory in the past 10 meetings with a Pac-10 Conference team since 1998 (only loss was to USC last season).
â€¢ Notre Dame will improve to 72-36-6 (.658) all-time against Pac-10 teams, including a 42-13-1 (.759) mark at Notre Dame Stadium.
â€¢ Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham will remain undefeated in three career games against Stanford, the school he coached for seven seasons.
â€¢ Notre Dame will retain possession of the Legends Trophy for the third consecutive year, and move to 2-1 this season in “trophy games” — the Irish defeated Michigan State (Megaphone Trophy), but lost to Purdue (the Shillelagh Trophy).
IF STANFORD WINS …
â€¢ Stanford will register just its third victory ever at Notre Dame Stadium and its first since Oct. 3, 1992, when the 19th-ranked Cardinal ousted the No. 7 Irish, 33-16.
â€¢ Stanford will be just the second Pac-10 Conference team to win at Notre Dame Stadium since 1998, a span of 10 games.
NOTRE DAME-STANFORD SERIES HISTORY
â€¢ Notre Dame leads the all-time series versus Stanford (12-6), including a 7-2 edge when the scene shifts to Notre Dame Stadium.
â€¢ Notre Dame and Stanford met for the first time in the 1925 Rose Bowl, with the famed Four Horsemen backfield leading Notre Dame to a 27-10 win and the school’s first national championship that season.
â€¢ The series then included one game in the 1940s and two in the ’60s. This year’s game will represent the 15th meeting between the schools in the last 17 years (no games in ’95 or ’96).
â€¢ This year’s contest marks only the third time in the last 16 series games that neither of the teams will have been ranked in the Associated Press poll. The 1999 matchup (a 40-37 Stanford win) and 2003 game (a 57-7 Irish victory) were the only other times since 1963 that both teams were unranked at kickoff.
â€¢ The winner of the Notre Dame-Stanford series receives the Legends Trophy, a combination of Irish crystal and California redwood. The trophy was presented for the first time in 1989 by the Notre Dame Club of the San Francisco Bay Area. Notre Dame has won eight of 13 games since the Legends Trophy was first introduced.
NOTRE DAME-STANFORD CONNECTIONS
â€¢ Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham is in his third season with the Irish after spending the previous seven years at Stanford, guiding the Cardinal to four bowl berths. Additional Willingham bio information may be found on pages 106-109 of the Irish media guide.
â€¢ Six current Irish assistant coaches also have spent time at Stanford (positions/years in parentheses): Bill Diedrick (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks – 1998-2001), Kent Baer (defensive coordinator/linebackers – 1995-2001), Mike Denbrock (offensive line – 2001), John McDonell (offensive line – 2001), Trent Miles (wide receivers – 2001) and Buzz Preston (running backs – 1999-2001). All six have worked with Willingham throughout his tenure at Notre Dame, as has Irish director of football operations Erica Genise, who served as Willingham’s administrative associate at Stanford from 1998-2001.
â€¢ Stanford assistant head coach/defensive tackles coach Dave Tipton worked with Willingham when the latter was both an assistant coach and head coach for the Cardinal. Tipton was Stanford’s outside linebackers coach from 1989-91, while Willingham was the Cardinal’s running backs coach during that same time. Tipton later served as defensive line coach on Willingham’s Stanford staff from 1995-2001.
â€¢ Fourth-year Irish men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark, the 2001 and 2003 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, was the head coach at Stanford for five seasons (1996-2000) before taking over the Notre Dame program in 2001. At Stanford, Clark took the Cardinal to the NCAA championship game in 1998, while making four NCAA appearances. In his first three-plus seasons at Notre Dame, Clark has guided the Irish to three NCAA Tournaments, the 2003 BIG EAST Conference title and a No. 14 ranking in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll. Clark also picked up his 200th career victory this past Sunday when the Irish blanked Loyola (Chicago), 4-0.
â€¢ Veteran Stanford play-by-play broadcaster Ted Robinson is a 1978 graduate of Notre Dame, and two of his children currently attend the University (daughter Annie is a senior, while son Pat is a freshman).
FRIEND OR FOE?
â€¢ Notre Dame’s 2004 roster includes 10 California natives: junior OL James Bonelli (Camarillo/St. Bonaventure), freshman QB Darrin Bragg (San Jose/Bellarmine Prep), senior QB Pat Dillingham (Portola Valley/St. Francis), junior DE Chris Frome (Saugus/Newhall Hart), freshman DB Terrail Lambert (Oxnard/St. Bonaventure), junior NG Derek Landri (Concord/De La Salle), junior WR Rhema McKnight (La Palma/Kennedy), freshman DL Brandon Nicolas (Santa Ana/Mater Dei), sophomore DB Freddie Parish IV (Redondo Beach/Long Beach Poly) and freshman DB Anthony Vernaglia (Anaheim Hills/Orange Lutheran). Conversely, Stanford has just one Indiana native on its roster — redshirt freshman OT Michael Macellari, a Granger native who played his high school ball just minutes from the Notre Dame campus at Clay High School.
â€¢ Irish junior DE Chris Frome and Stanford redshirt junior QB Kyle Matter played together at Hart High School in Newhall, Calif.
â€¢ Irish fifth-year senior TE Jared Clark, as well as Stanford redshirt freshman WR Matt Buchanan and sophomore TE Patrick Danahy all graduated from Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota, Fla.
â€¢ Notre Dame senior FS Quentin Burrell (Southwest DeKalb) and Stanford redshirt junior SS Calvin Armstrong (Columbia) are from Decatur, Ga.
â€¢ Notre Dame junior DE Travis Leitko (The Woodlands) and Stanford redshirt junior OLB Michael Lovelady (Christian) are both residents of the Houston area.
â€¢ Notre Dame senior FB Rashon Powers-Neal (Cretin-Derham Hall), junior TE Marcus Freeman (Cretin-Derham Hall) and sophomore OT Ryan Harris (Cretin-Derham Hall), along with Stanford fifth-year senior OLB Jared Newberry (DeLaSalle) all are products of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND STANFORD MET
For the first time in 2003, Notre Dame put everything together in all areas of the game winning its third consecutive game in easily defeating Stanford, 57-7, on Nov. 29, 2003, at Stanford Stadium.
The Irish got their running game going quickly as Julius Jones led the Irish down the field amassing 74 yards on the opening drive and finishing with a 10-yard TD run as the Irish marched 90 yards on 10 plays. Jones went on to have another huge game as the senior from Big Stone Gap, Va., rushed for 106 yards in the first quarter, had 170 by the half, and finished with 218 yards on 23 carries. He became the first player in Irish history to rush for three 200-yard plus games in a season and in a career.
It was the passing game that then stepped to the forefront as QB Brady Quinn found WR Matt Shelton on a 65-yard TD strike putting the Irish up 14-0 with 2:27 to go in the first quarter. For Shelton, it was the first TD catch of his career.
RB Ryan Grant also found his groove against the Cardinal as the Irish closed out the first quarter with a 21-0 lead on a Grant four-yard run. The junior, who found the endzone for the first three times this season, scored his second TD (a two-yard run) with 3:34 left in the first half.
The defense got on the scoreboard to closeout the first half as FS Quentin Burrell had a loose ball pop into his arms and took it 65 yards to the house as the Irish took a convincing 34-0 lead into the locker room. The Irish opened the third period where they left off as Quinn once again stretched the field and found WR Maurice Stovall all alone for a 45-yard scoring strike and a 41-0 Irish lead.
After Stanford answered 10 seconds later with a 65-yard scoring pass from Chris Lewis to Mark Bradford, the Irish defense was again on the offensive as SS Garron Bible scooped up a loose ball and went 48-yards for a touchdown.
The Irish then posted a safety before Grant closed out the scoring with the first three TD game of his career as the Irish won 57-7. The Irish posted a season-best 512 yards of total offense, which was (at the time) most yards during Tyrone Willingham’s tenure. The 57 points were also the most in Willingham era and were the most points by the Irish since recording 62 vs. Rutgers to close out the 1996 season.
Defensively, Notre Dame held Stanford to only 20 yards rushing and 251 total yards in completely dominating the Cardinal. The Irish recorded seven sacks in the game, including a career-high 3.5 by DE Justin Tuck. Tuck also became the Notre Dame single-season sack leader in the game as he now has 13.5 on the season, breaking the previous record of 10 which had been set twice previously.
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND STANFORD MET AT NOTRE DAME STADIUM
Ninth-ranked Notre Dame spotted Stanford an early seven-point lead, then reeled off 31 unanswered points to claim a 31-7 victory on Oct. 5, 2002 before a capacity crowd of 80,795 at Notre Dame Stadium. The win kept the Irish unbeaten at 5-0 and made Tyrone Willingham the first rookie Irish head coach to win his first five games since Ara Parseghian in 1964.
In order to maintain their unblemished record, the Irish had to overcome a pair of challenges. First, quarterback Carlyle Holiday did not play with an injured left shoulder, leaving the offense in the hands of former walk-on signal caller Pat Dillingham, who grew up less than 10 minutes from the Stanford campus. The other hurdle Notre Dame had to cross was the scrutiny brought about by their coach’s reunion with his former players. Willingham had spent seven seasons on The Farm, guiding the Cardinal to 44 wins and four bowl appearances.
Both challenges were successfully overcome by a complete team effort. Dillingham turned in a workmanlike effort, completing 14 of 27 passes for 129 yards with one interception. He also became the 13th Irish quarterback to win his debut in the last 15 opportunities.
Dillingham was backed by a strong rushing attack which rang up 249 yards on the ground. Running backs Rashon Powers-Neal (108 yards) and Ryan Grant (103 yards) combined to give Notre Dame its first 100-yard tandem in the backfield since 1997. Both players also found the end zone, with Powers-Neal registering the first score of his career.
While the Irish offense began to find its rhythm, the defense continued to bedevil the opposition, although that didn’t appear to be the case in the first half. Stanford drove 59 yards in six plays late in the first quarter, cashing in when Chris Lewis found Teyo Johnson for a 14-yard touchdown. It was the first offensive TD allowed by the Notre Dame defense in the first half all season.
A Nicholas Setta field goal late in the second quarter still left the Irish trailing at the half for the first time all season. The score was still 7-3 in the third quarter when Notre Dame unleashed a scoring barrage that blew the Cardinal away.
Powers-Neal started the rally, finishing off a six-play, 57-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run at the 4:22 mark. Then, just 24 seconds later, cornerback Shane Walton stepped in front of a Lewis pass and raced 18 yards for another score. With the crowd still buzzing, the Irish added to the fury, as linebacker Courtney Watson intercepted Lewis and returned the pick 34 yards for a third touchdown with 1:09 still left in the third quarter. Grant capped the deluge with a one-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the final period.
NOTRE DAME VS. THE PAC-10 CONFERENCE
â€¢ Notre Dame has won more than 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 71-36-6 (.655) in 113 games against Pac-10 schools — including the ’98, 2000, ’02 and ’03 wins over Stanford, the ’98 and ’99 wins over Arizona State, the ’99, ’00 and ’01 wins over USC, the ’03 victory over Washington State and the ’04 triumph over Washington. Nearly 70 percent of those games (75) have come versus USC (42-27-5) while another 16 percent have come against Stanford (12-6-0).
â€¢ Notre Dame has played a handful of games vs. Washington (5-0), California (4-0), Arizona (2-1), UCLA (2-0) and Oregon (1-0-1). The Irish also have played single games against Arizona State (win in 1999), Oregon State (loss in 2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl) and Washington (overtime win in 2003).
â€¢ Notre Dame is 12-2 (.857) in its last 14 home games against Pac-10 squads, dating back to 1993. The Irish also are 16-9-1 (.635) in their last 26 games overall vs. Pac-10 schools (4-5-1 vs. USC, 6-3 vs. Stanford, 3-0 vs. Washington, 2-0 vs. Arizona State, 1-0 vs. Washington State, 0-1 vs. Oregon State), starting with a ’92 victory over USC.
FAMILIAR FACES REUNITE
Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham is the fourth Irish mentor to face a school where he held the same title, taking on Stanford for the third time since he arrived in South Bend. Counting last year’s 57-7 win at Stanford Stadium, Irish head coaches now are 16-1 (.941) all-time when playing their former employers.
Prior to Willingham’s tenure, the last Notre Dame head coach to match up with one of his former teams was Dan Devine, whose Irish dropped a 3-0 decision on Sept. 9, 1978, to Missouri, where Devine was the skipper from 1958-70. In addition, Ara Parseghian was 9-0 all-time against Northwestern, where he had been the head coach from 1955-63, and Jesse Harper was 4-0 against Alma and 1-0 against Wabash during his five-year tenure with the Irish from 1913-17.
THE QUINN-TESSENTIAL QUARTERBACK
Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn turned in a career performance in last weekend’s loss to Purdue. The Dublin, Ohio, native completed 26 of 46 passes for 432 yards and one touchdown, rolling up the highest individual passing yardage total in Notre Dame Stadium history, the second-highest in school history (behind Joe Theismann’s 526 yards at USC in 1970) and the sixth-best total by any quarterback in the country this year. In addition, Quinn’s .565 completion percentage was the second-best of his career (minimum 15 attempts), topped only by his .590 mark (23 of 39) last year at Boston College.
Quinn has been particularly sharp in his last two outings (Washington and Purdue), completing 43 of 78 passes (.551) for 698 yards and five touchdowns with only one interception — good for a 148.89 pass efficiency rating. For the season, Quinn ranks 20th in the nation in total offense (268.8 yards per game) and 37th in passing efficiency (132.31), while his 1,356 passing yards through five games put him on pace to eclipse Jarious Jackson’s school record of 2,753 yards in 1999. In fact, there have been only six 2,000-yard passing seasons in school history, listed as follows:
Player Season Passing Yardage Jarious Jackson 1999 2,753 Joe Theismann 1970 2,429 Steve Beuerlein 1986 2,211 Rick Mirer 1991 2,117 Ron Powlus 1997 2,078 Joe Montana 1978 2,010 Brady Quinn 2004 2,983 (projected)
SHELTON GETS IT DONE
Senior wide receiver Matt Shelton produced another solid outing against Purdue with three catches for 61 yards. For the season, Shelton ranks third on the team with 11 catches for 304 yards (27.6 yards per catch) and four touchdowns. Shelton enjoyed a career day (of sorts) against Washington when he nabbed a career-best four catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns, including scoring catches of 27 and 24 yards. One week earlier at Michigan State, Shelton snared three passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, including gains of 53, 35 and 35 yards. A big-play specialist at Notre Dame, Shelton has averaged 39.4 yards on his five career touchdown grabs (27 and 24 vs. Washington, 35 at MSU, 46 vs. Michigan, 65 at Stanford in ’03).
WINNING THE FIELD POSITION BATTLE
One of the key (and sometimes overlooked) aspects of Notre Dame’s success this season has been its ability to maintain excellent field position. After starting 11 of 15 drives against BYU at or inside their own 20-yard line, the Irish have started 43 of their last 59 drives in “plus territory” — outside their own 20-yard line — with 14 drives that began in their opponent’s half of the field.
Another key fact to note: after an average starting field position at BYU of its own 22-yard line, Notre Dame has averaged starting at its own 36-yard line in the past four games (three wins, one loss) against Michigan, Michigan State, Washington and Purdue.
The Irish have caused 16 turnovers (10 FUM, 6 INT) this season and have made the most of their opportunities. Notre Dame has parlayed those takeaways into 52 points, which accounts for 40 percent of the Irish scoring (130 points) thus far in 2004.
THE FIVE-FINGER DISCOUNT
Notre Dame came up with a Willingham-era record six turnovers (3 FUM, 3 INT) on Sept. 18 at Michigan State and followed up with five more turnovers one week later against Washington, marking the fourth consecutive week the Irish had at least two takeaways. That should come as no surprise to many — during the past three-plus seasons (2001-04), Notre Dame has forced two or more turnovers in 30 of its 41 games, including 24 contests where they came up with at least three takeaways. Heading into this weekend’s game with Stanford, the Irish are 18th in the country in turnover margin (+1.2 per game, +6 overall).
STOPPING THE RUN IS JOB ONE FOR IRISH
The Notre Dame run defense has been exceptionally sturdy since head coach Tyrone Willingham and defensive coordinator Kent Baer arrived on the scene in 2002. Over the last three seasons, the Irish have held 17 of 30 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing, including three games this year (BYU – 22; Michigan – 56; Purdue – 99). In fact, Notre Dame opponents are averaging 2.8 yards per carry through the first five games this season.
In 2002, Notre Dame was ranked 10th in the nation in rushing defense, followed by a No. 29 national ranking last year. Through their first five games this season, the Irish are 14th in the country in rushing defense, allowing an average of just 90.8 yards on the ground.
WALKER POSTS UNPRECEDENTED FRESHMAN PRODUCTION
After sitting out Notre Dame’s opener at BYU, freshman running back Darius Walker has provided a consistent threat in the Irish running game by averaging 88.5 yards rushing per game the last four contests. Walker made a big splash in his home debut vs. Michigan, rushing 31 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-20 Irish win. He followed up with another solid effort at Michigan State, rushing for 98 yards on 26 carries, before running for 81 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries versus Washington. Purdue held Walker to 60 yards on 19 carries. His Michigan performance was good enough for The Sporting News and Sporting News Radio to name the Lawrenceville, Ga., native as its National Player of the Week, and for Rivals.com to tab him as the National Freshman of the Week for Sept. 11.
Walker’s numbers in his debut game vs. Michigan also put him among some select company in Notre Dame history:
â€¢ First Irish freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game since Julius Jones had 146 yards against Navy on Oct. 30, 1999.
â€¢ First Notre Dame freshman to score two touchdowns in a game since Matt LoVecchio ran for two scores at USC on Nov. 25, 2000.
â€¢ First Irish rookie to score in a home opener since Sept. 29, 1979, when Tony Hunter caught a 14-yard touchdown pass in a 27-3 win over Michigan State. Walker also is the first freshman to score two touchdowns in a home opener since at least 1970.
â€¢ First Notre Dame freshman running back to score twice in a game since Nov. 18, 1995, when Autry Denson rushed for two touchdowns in a 44-14 win at Air Force. (Note: Julius Jones did score twice vs. Boston College on Nov. 20, 1999, but one of his touchdowns came as a punt returner).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn has spread his pass completions around through Notre Dame’s first five games of the 2004 season. Quinn has completed passes to 15 different receivers in those five contests, a breakdown of seven wide receivers, five running backs, two tight ends and two passes to himself (caught off of deflections vs. Washington and Purdue). Junior wide receiver Rhema McKnight has been Quinn’s favorite target thus far, grabbing 21 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Junior tight end Anthony Fasano is next with 15 catches for 256 yards and two scores. Senior wide receiver Matt Shelton has 11 catches for 304 yards and four touchdowns while sophomore wide receiver Jeff Samardzija (10 for 172) and junior wide receiver Maurice Stovall (10 for 122) both have 10 catches to their credit this season. Quinn has tossed touchdown passes to four different players this season: McKnight, Shelton (four times), Fasano (twice) and senior fullback Rashon Powers-Neal.
BE LIKE MIKE
Senior linebacker Mike Goolsby has made a resounding return to the Notre Dame lineup this season after missing the entire 2003 slate with an injury. Through five games this season, Goolsby has been credited with 45 tackles (9.0 per game) while leading the team in three of five games thus far. In fact, the Joliet, Ill., native rolled up career-best tackle totals his first two games of the year, tallying 11 stops at BYU and 14 tackles against Michigan.
HOYTE MAKING BIG PLAYS
Senior linebacker Brandon Hoyte has been a catalyst for Notre Dame’s physical play on defense thus far this season, making several big hits and tackles for losses. Hoyte enters the Stanford game with 28 tackles to rank tied for third on the team, but his knack for making big hits has been a hallmark of his play thus far in 2004. Hoyte has forced three fumbles this season, collected one sack and has four tackles for loss (17 yards).
PAPER OR PLASTIC?
With 22 career sacks, senior defensive end and All-America candidate Justin Tuck is on the verge of becoming Notre Dame’s all-time leader in that category. The Kellyton, Ala., native set a school record with 13.5 sacks last year and has added 3.5 sacks so far this season. With one sack vs. Michigan, he passed Mike Gann (1982-84) for second place on the Irish career list behind Kory Minor’s 22.5 sacks from 1995-98. Here’s a look at the Irish career sack leaders since 1982 (when Notre Dame began recognizing sacks as a separate statistic — prior to that, they were labeled “tackles for loss”):
Player Seasons Sacks Kory Minor 1995-98 22.5 Justin Tuck 2002-04 22 Mike Gann 1982-84 21 Bryant Young 1990-93 18 Anthony Weaver 1998-01 17 Bert Berry 1993-96 16.5
FITZPATRICK SHARP IN THE PUNTING GAME
Senior punter D.J. Fitzpatrick has shown considerable improvement through his first five games this season. Fitzpatrick currently ranks 29th in the nation with a 42.5-yard punting average, a jump of almost six yards per kick from last year’s average (36.84), and he also has nine punts of at least 50 yards, including a career-long 59-yarder vs. Purdue. In addition, the Granger, Ind., product has dropped 12 punts inside the opposition’s 20-yard line and is helping Notre Dame to hold its opponents to only 6.8 yards per punt return. He has had career-best outings the last two games, averaging an impressive 49.3 yards on three punts against Purdue, and 46.0 yards on seven attempts against Washington one week earlier, including four punts of at least 50 yards and four punts downed inside the UW 20.
Including its first three games this season, Notre Dame is 11-4 (.733) in “one-possession games” (decided by eight points or less) since Tyrone Willingham took over as the Irish head coach in 2002. The only times the Irish have not won a close ball game under Willingham’s guidance were against Boston College in 2002 (14-7) and 2003 (27-25), Michigan State in 2003 (22-16) and BYU in 2004 (20-17).
RETURN TO SENDER
The return game has been a source of strength for Notre Dame in recent years. The Irish have logged 28 returns (punts, kickoffs, fumbles, interceptions) for touchdowns during the past six seasons (1999-2004), a figure that is tied for seventh in the country during that stretch. Here’s a look at the national leaders in touchdown returns since ’99 (research courtesy of the University of Colorado):
Team 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Bowls Total Miami (Fla.) 3 13 11 5 9 4 1 46 Virginia Tech 8 6 7 7 10 3 0 41 Kansas State 9 5 2 12 5 2 0 35 Colorado 5 4 7 7 1 3 4 31 Nebraska 6 7 5 6 4 0 3 30 N.C. State 3 2 4 9 10 1 1 30 NOTRE DAME 4 6 4 9 3 2 0 28 East Carolina 7 5 4 5 3 0 4 28 Fresno State 5 5 3 5 4 4 2 28 Texas Tech 3 7 8 5 3 1 1 28
THEY SHALL RETURN
â€¢ During the past 18-plus seasons (’86-’04), Notre Dame has produced 82 TDs via kickoff, punt, interception and fumble returns — with the most recent TD runback coming earlier this season on sophomore safety Tom Zbikowski’s 75-yard fumble return at Michigan State.
â€¢ In contrast, opponents in the past 18 seasons have combined for 25 total TD returns vs. the Irish.
â€¢ Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of the Irish return touchdowns since 1986:
Year PU KO INT FUM Year PU KO INT FUM1986 0 2 0 0 1997 0 2 1 01987 3 0 1 0 1998 0 0 2 31988 2 2 3 0 1999 1 0 2 11989 2 2 3 0 2000 2 1 1 21990 0 2 0 0 2001 0 1 2 11991 1 1 2 0 2002 2 1 4 21992 0 1 0 0 2003 1 0 0 21993 2 1 2 1 2004 0 0 1 11994 0 0 1 1 ND (82) 21 17 27 171995 1 0 2 1 Opp. (25) 7 4 9 51996 4 1 0 2
CURRY NAMED TO AFCA GOOD WORKS TEAM
Senior linebacker Derek Curry has been named to the 2004 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team, the AFCA announced Sept. 15. Curry was one of only 11 football student-athletes chosen for the NCAA Division I-A Team. Another 11 student-athletes were named to the team representing schools from NCAA Divisions I-AA, II, III and NAIA.
Nominations for the Good Works Team are submitted to the AFCA by college sports information departments. Nominees must be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization, service group or involved in other community service activities and must display sincere concern and reliability, while also having made a favorable impression on the organizations with which they are involved. Athletic ability is not a criterion.
Curry is currently in his third season as a starting linebacker for the Irish. A three-time monogram winner at Notre Dame, Curry has distinguished himself as one of the team’s undisputed leaders. In addition to his prowess on the football field, Curry has been a three-year volunteer for the Student-Athlete Advisory Council Pediatric Oncology Christmas Party; has volunteered at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of downtown South Bend and the Robinson Community Learning Center; is in his third year of “Iron Sharpens Iron”, an interdenominational Christian group at Notre Dame that brings students together in worship, prayer and bible studies; has volunteered for two years at “There Are Children Here”; and is a huddle leader for the Notre Dame chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Curry is the third Notre Dame football player named to the squad over the past six seasons. Grant Irons received the award as a junior in 1999 and went on to be a rare five-year monogram winner and two-time captain with the Irish while playing at linebacker and defensive end. He served as president of Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council and was involved in numerous community service programs at Notre Dame and in the surrounding South Bend community.
All-America linebacker Courtney Watson received the honor in 2003. Watson was responsible for creating and developing the football team’s community service initiative entitled “Tackle The Arts”, an interactive approach that helps inspire children to explore different areas of the arts including reading, creative writing and poetry, drawing and music. Watson also installed a food drive dimension to the event and combined with current Irish players Brandon Hoyte and Dan Stevenson as hosts of a picnic for at-risk children in the South Bend area. He regularly made surprise visits to the pediatric floor at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, addressed the Jackson Middle School football team at its banquet and participated in the St. Joseph County City Bureau Youth Fest. On a campus level, Watson was nominated and then elected a member of the Notre Dame Student Senate in 2002-03 and served as a member of the Residence Life and Academic Council committees.
IRISH HEAD COACH Tyrone Willingham
A veteran with 27 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels, Tyrone Willingham is in the midst of his third season as head football coach at the University of Notre Dame in 2004. Willingham has a record of 18-12 (.600) in two-plus seasons with the Irish, leading Notre Dame to a 10-3 record and a trip to the Gator Bowl in 2002 before a 5-7 campaign in 2003 and a 3-2 start in 2004.
In 2002, Willingham became the first Irish head coach ever to win 10 games in his first season, was named the ESPN/Home Depot College Coach of the Year, the Scripps College Coach of the Year, the Black Coaches Association Male Coach of the Year and received the George Munger Award College Coach of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia. In addition, he made history in 2002 as the first college football coach ever to earn The Sporting News Sportsman of the Year award. In nine-plus years as a college head coach, Willingham has compiled a solid 62-47-1 (.574) record and has guided his teams to bowl games on five occasions.
Willingham was introduced as the new Irish mentor on Jan. 1, 2002, following seven seasons as the head coach at Stanford. He compiled a 44-36-1 (.549) record during his tenure at Stanford, guiding the Cardinal to four bowl games, including the Rose Bowl following the 1999 season. Willingham was a two-time Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year (1995 and 1999), the only Stanford coach to earn that award more than once, and he was a finalist for national coach-of-the-year honors in ’95 and ’99. All told, Willingham spent 10 years at Stanford, initially serving as running backs coach from 1989-91.
Between his stints with the Cardinal, Willingham coached in the professional ranks for three seasons (1992-94) with the Minnesota Vikings, helping his team win a pair of NFC Central Division championships and reach the playoffs all three years. Willingham began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Michigan State, in 1977, before moving to Central Michigan as the defensive secondary coach for two years (1978-79). He returned to MSU from 1980-82, working with the secondary and special teams units, and also served on the coaching staffs at North Carolina State (1983-85) and Rice (1986-88).
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 166 of its previous 190 games, including 30 of its last 31 games dating back to the end of the 2001 season (the ’03 game at Stanford was not a sellout). At Michigan in 2003, the Irish and Wolverines helped bring in the largest crowd in NCAA history (111,726), marking the third time in the history of that series that an NCAA attendance record has been set. It also represented the sixth time in the last three seasons that Notre Dame has been a part of establishing a new stadium attendance record (at Nebraska and Texas A&M in 2001; at Air Force and Florida State, home vs. Boston College in 2002).
The Notre Dame ticket office received 52,179 ticket requests for last week’s game vs. Purdue, making it the fifth-highest requested Irish home game in history. The Notre Dame Stadium record of 59,368 ticket requests was set in ’01 when the Irish took on West Virginia. Demand for that game was based on parents of current Notre Dame students being guaranteed four tickets for that contest — plus contributing alumni having the opportunity to apply for four tickets instead of the usual two, based on its designation as an alumni family game. Prior to this week’s game vs. Stanford, the Irish have posted 176 consecutive sellouts at Notre Dame Stadium and 224 in their last 225 home games.
Here are the top 10 games in terms of alumni ticket demand at Notre Dame Stadium:
1. West Virginia 2001 59,368 2. USC 1997 57,048 3. Boston College 2002 55,482 4. USC 2003 54,244 5. Purdue 2004 52,179 6. Florida State 2003 51,051 7. Michigan 2002 50,883 8. Michigan State 2001 48,404 9. Nebraska 2000 47,865 10. Michigan State 1997 47,681
THE 2004 SCHEDULE
Notre Dame’s rugged 2003 schedule featured nine teams that advanced to bowl games, including three participants in Bowl Championship Series (BCS) contests. The 2004 slate figures to be just as formidable, although the Irish benefit from playing four of their first six contests within the friendly confines of Notre Dame Stadium.
In all, eight bowl qualifiers from 2003 dot the Irish schedule — Michigan (Rose Bowl), Michigan State (Alamo Bowl), Purdue (Capital One Bowl), Navy (Houston Bowl), Boston College (San Francisco Bowl), Tennessee (Peach Bowl), Pittsburgh (Continental Tire Bowl) and USC (Rose Bowl). This season, Notre Dame also will take on three Big Ten Conference schools — Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue — as well as three Pacific-10 Conference institutions — Washington, Stanford and USC. Other conferences represented on this year’s docket include the Mountain West (BYU), Southeastern (Tennessee) and BIG EAST (Boston College and Pittsburgh).
Last year’s Notre Dame ledger was ranked third in the nation according to the final NCAA statistical reports, marking the 22nd time in 27 seasons that the Irish have had their schedule ranked in the top 30 in the country. In addition to nine ’03 opponents advancing to bowl games, four of Notre Dame’s first eight foes last year were ranked among the nation’s top 25 at season’s end.
IRISH HAVE TOUGHEST REMAINING SLATE FOR 2004 SEASON
The six games remaining on Notre Dame’s 2004 football schedule comprise the most difficult slate in the country, according to NCAA figures released this week.
Notre Dame’s six opponents yet to be played have compiled an 18-5 record (.782) against other Division I-A opponents. The Irish hold a lead in that category over Oklahoma State (second at 21-7, .750) and Baylor and Texas A&M (tied for third at 20-7, .740).
Notre Dame’s overall schedule currently ranks fourth in difficulty, based on a combined 28-13 mark (.682) by Irish opponents in games played against Division I-A foes to date. Texas A&M stands first on that list with a 28-10 mark (.732).
Here’s the top 10 listing for teams based on remaining games and also based on their cumulative schedules:
Team Opp. Record Pct. This Week 1. Notre Dame 18-5 .782 Stanford 2. Oklahoma State 21-7 .750 at Colorado 3. Texas A&M 20-7 .740 at Iowa State Baylor 20-7 .740 Missouri 5. Texas 22-8 .733 vs. Oklahoma 6. Kansas 16-6 .727 Kansas State Arizona State 16-6 .727 Idle 8. Iowa 18-7 .720 Idle 9. Texas Tech 15-6 .714 Nebraska 10. UCLA 19-8 .703 Arizona
2004 NOTRE DAME OPPONENT UPDATE
The following is a look at Notre Dame opponents’ upcoming games. Since 1977, when the NCAA started rating strength of schedule, Notre Dame’s schedule has been rated the most difficult five times (1978, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1995) and has appeared in the top 30 a total of 22 times in the last 27 years. The 2004 Irish ledger currently is the fourth-toughest in the nation, based on cumulative opposition.
Opponent (Ranking*) '04 Record '03 Record Oct. 9 Oct. 16BYU 2-3 4-8 UNLV (10/8) WyomingMichigan (13/14) 4-1 10-3 Minnesota at IllinoisMichigan State 2-3 8-5 Illinois Minnesota
Washington 0-4 6-6 San Jose State Oregon StatePurdue (9/10) 4-0 9-4 at Penn State WisconsinStanford 3-1 4-7 at Notre Dame at Washington State
Navy 5-0 8-5 Idle vs. Notre DameBoston College 4-1 8-5 Idle PittsburghTennessee (17/17) 3-1 10-3 at Georgia at Mississippi
Pittsburgh 2-2 8-5 at Temple at Boston CollegeUSC (1/1) 4-0 12-1 California Arizona State
* – current Associated Press poll ranking listed first, followed by ESPN/USA Today poll ranking
Notre Dame Opponents’ Combined Record in 2003: 89-49 (.645); Record in 2004: 33-16 (.673)
NOTRE DAME ON THE SMALL SCREEN
With this week’s Stanford game slated to be televised nationally by NBC, the Irish will extend their streak of appearances on one of four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN) to 142 straight games, a stretch that spans 10 full seasons (1993-2003). The last time the Irish didn’t appear on one of those four networks was more than 11 years ago (Oct. 31, 1992), when Notre Dame downed Navy, 38-7, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. That game was shown locally in South Bend on WNDU-TV. Here’s a breakdown of the networks on which the Irish have played during this impressive streak:
YEAR GAMES NBC ABC CBS ESPN1992 4 3 1 -- --1993 12 7 4 -- 11994 12 7 5 -- --1995 12 6 4 1 11996 11 6 2 2 11997 13 6 3 2 21998 12 7 3 2 --1999 12 7 3 1 12000 12 6 3 3 --2001 11 6 4 -- 12002 13 7 4 1 12003 12 6 5 -- 12004 6 4 -- -- 2Totals 142 78 41 12 11
WHEN THE EYES OF THE NATION ARE UPON THEM
Notre Dame is 169-86-3 (.661) all-time when it is playing in front of a national television audience. The 2003 game at Michigan was another milestone for the Irish program — it was the 300th time a Notre Dame football game appeared on national or regional television.
During their 115-year history, the Irish have posted a combined 197-113-4 (.634) record in these national or regional TV games, beginning with a 27-21 victory over No. 4 Oklahoma on Nov. 8, 1952 in a game that was shown nationwide on ABC. Here’s a breakdown of Notre Dame’s success over the years when appearing on each of the various networks on both a national and regional basis (the current Irish win/loss streak on the four major networks is listed in parentheses):
NATIONAL TELEVISIONNBC (lost 1) 65-25-1 (.719)ABC (lost 3) 44-36-2 (.549)CBS (won 6) 22-11-0 (.667)ESPN/ESPN2 (won 1) 20-11-0 (.645)WGN 10-2-0 (.833)SportsChannel 4-1-0 (.800)Raycom 2-0-0 (1.000)TBS 1-0-0 (1.000)Katz 1-0-0 (1.000)Totals 169-86-3 (.661)
REGIONAL TELEVISIONABC (lost 2) 23-24-1 (.490)CBS (won 1) 4-2-0 (.667)TBS 1-0-0 (1.000)Big Ten Syndication 0-1-0 (.000)Totals 28-27-1 (.509)
NOTRE DAME FEATURED PROMINENTLY ON TELEVISION THIS YEAR
In addition to continuing its streak of consecutive games played on one of the four major television networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN), Notre Dame will be spotlighted on the small screen in several other ways during the 2004 season. Here’s a thumbnail look at each of the individual TV projects which are featuring the Irish this year:
â€¢ ESPN’s “College GameDay” is celebrating its 11th season of live remotes from college football’s top games.
â€¢ College Sports Television (CSTV), the 24-hour cable channel devoted exclusively to college sports, once again highlights Irish athletics during a two-hour block on Sunday nights called “Notre Dame Primetime.” The show, which is co-hosted by former Irish split end Derrick Mayes, focuses on all 26 Notre Dame sports and the continuing growth of Irish athletics.
â€¢ Besides these features, Notre Dame is now in the 14th season of its unique relationship with NBC. All Irish home football games since 1991 have been televised on the network, with the current agreement slated to continue through 2010. Tom Hammond (play-by-play) and Pat Haden (analysis) are in their fourth full season broadcasting the action for NBC in ’04.
NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN GARNERS NBC’S HIGHEST SEASON-OPENING RATING SINCE 1998
NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame’s 28-20 win over No.8 Michigan on Sept. 11 delivered a 4.0 national rating/10 share, making it the highest-rated season opener since a 5.1/14 on Sept. 5, 1998 for a 36-20 Irish win over fifth-ranked Michigan, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The 4.0/10 represents a 29 percent hike over last year’s opener — a 29-26 overtime win over Washington State that produced a 3.1/8. It’s the best rating for any Notre Dame telecast on NBC since a 4.4/11 vs. Boston College on Nov. 2, 2002.
NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS DEBUT ON SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO
In addition to its unparalleled television coverage, Notre Dame also has increased its radio footprint, announcing an agreement on Aug. 31 with SIRIUS Satellite Radio to become the official satellite radio partner for Notre Dame athletics. SIRIUS will broadcast every Irish football game this season, and also will air selected men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as other sporting events. In addition, SIRIUS will aid in the development of marketing initiatives with the University’s athletic department as a member of “Team Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame’s agreement with SIRIUS is one of the cornerstones in the formation of SIRIUS College Sports Radio, a partnership between SIRIUS and College Sports Television (CSTV) that includes 23 major universities around the country. SIRIUS radios for the car and home start at $149 and are available at major retailers nationwide. For more information, visit www.sirius.com.
NOTRE DAME IS AMERICA’S FAVORITE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROGRAM
According to an ESPN Sports Poll of nearly 7,000 college sports fans ages 12 and older taken from Jannuary to December 2003, Notre Dame is the nation’s favorite college football team, garnering 6.1 percent of the popular vote. Furthermore, the Irish were the only team to finish in the top 10 in all four regions of the country where the ESPN Sports Poll was conducted. Ohio State was the only other school to earn at least four percent of the vote, finishing at 5.3 percent.
KEVIN WHITE NAMED PRESIDENT OF DIVISION I-A ATHLETIC DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION
Notre Dame athletics director Kevin White is the new president of the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association for 2004-05. His appointment became effective Sept. 27 at the Association’s annual meeting in Dallas.
White, who is now in his fifth year at Notre Dame, served as first vice president in 2003-04 under Gene DeFilippo, director of athletics at Boston College. In addition to his new leadership role with the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association, White also is the third vice president of NACDA, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, for 2004-05.
MAKING THE GRADE
The first two seasons of the Tyrone Willingham era have produced some impressive semesters in the classroom for the Notre Dame football team. In fact, the Irish are coming off a 2004 spring semester in which the team’s 104 players combined for a 2.96 grade-point average that ranks as the program’s best semester GPA on record (dating back to 1992). The Notre Dame football program’s top six semester GPAs since ’92 all have been posted during the past seven semesters (prior to the fall of ’04), including the first three semesters of Willingham’s tenure (2.84 in the fall of ’02, 2.79 in the spring of ’03 and 2.82 in the fall of ’03). The football program’s second-best semester GPA of the past 12 years came in the spring of 2002 (2.90), followed by a 2.80 in the spring of 2001 and a 2.69 in the fall of ’01.
Upon closer examination, the 2004 spring semester saw 11 Irish football players post a Dean’s List GPA (sliding scale, based on major) while 21 turned in a semester GPA of 3.4-plus and more than half (53) had a GPA of 3.0 or better. In addition, two players — current fifth-year DE Kyle Budinscak and senior LB Brandon Hoyte — received Academic All-District V honors in 2003, marking Budinscak’s third selection and Hoyte’s second to the prestigious squad.
NOTRE DAME EXCELS IN THE CLASSROOM AS WELL AS ON THE FIELD
The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) annually honors the school with the highest graduation rate based on a particular entering freshman football class — and Notre Dame has won the award six times, most recently in 2001 with its 100-percent graduation rate (22 of 22 entering freshmen from 1996 earned their degrees within five years). The 2001 award followed Notre Dame’s previous honors in 1982, ’83, ’84, ’88 and ’91. Notre Dame also holds the distinction of producing the first 100-percent rate in a single years after 24 of 24 student-athletes earned their degrees within a five-year period out of the entering class of 1982 (and 16 of those 24 did so within four years). Only eight other times has a school registered a 100-percent graduation rate.
The 1988 award had special meaning, as it 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 24 years the award has been presented — with Duke next at 21.
TAKING ACADEMIC SUCCESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
The high graduation rate of the Notre Dame football program extends to the elite group of former players who have moved on to play in the National Football League. Notre Dame has seen 88 of its former players appear on NFL opening-day rosters during the past eight seasons (1996-2003) and 93.1 percent of those players (82) have earned their degrees from the University. In fact, Notre Dame’s own institutional research shows that 99 percent of scholarship football players who have entered the University since 1962 have received their degrees (896 of 905, based only on individuals who remained at the school at least four years). Those figures do not include players who transferred or withdrew before completing four or more years at Notre Dame.
The 93.1 percent graduation rate for NFL participants ranks even higher than Notre Dame’s most recent NCAA graduation rates for all student-athletes (87 percent), male student-athletes (85), female student-athletes (92), football student-athletes (81) and African-American student-athletes (78). Those numbers, released last fall, comprised all student-athletes entering Notre Dame from 1993-96.
TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR 2004 FOOTBALL KICKOFF LUNCHEONS
Tickets are now on sale for the 2004 Notre Dame Kickoff Luncheons held the Friday prior to each Irish home football game. The luncheons feature Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham, Irish players and assistant coaches, plus special guests and other attractions.
Tickets are $18 each, with a handling fee of $3 (payment may be made with one check for more than one luncheon). There are 10 seats per table — and if you wish to sit as a group at the same table with other guests, please return all reservations in one envelope. Checks should be made payable to “University of Notre Dame” and mailed to: Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Telephone and credit card reservations are not accepted. A printed reservation form also is available on Notre Dame’s athletics web site at www.und.com.
The luncheons are held in the Joyce Center fieldhouse (north dome) on the Notre Dame campus, with a noon (EST) start. Be aware that advance reservations are required for tickets, and tickets are not routinely available at the door. This year’s remaining luncheon dates are: Oct. 8 (Stanford), Oct. 22 (Boston College) and Nov. 12 (Pittsburgh).
All 2004 pep rallies will be held in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome) on Fridays before Saturday home games, beginning at 6 p.m. (EST). The Irish squad enters the arena at 6:30 p.m.
“NOTRE DAME EXPERIENCE” RETURNS FOR 2004 SEASON
For years, the Joyce Center Fieldhouse has been the “pregame meeting place” for several thousand Notre Dame alumni. In an effort to add to this tradition, the Notre Dame Athletics Department is providing an interactive fan experience for each of the 2004 home football games. For the third consecutive season, the “Notre Dame Experience” will combine the Notre Dame Alumni Association Hospitality Center with interactive inflatables, photo booths, autograph sessions, Notre Dame football trivia and stage activities. Gates open three hours prior to kickoff and will stay open until one hour after the game. Admission is free for all “Notre Dame Experience” events.
ORDER THE 2004 NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL PREVIEW MAGAZINE TODAY
This season marks the 11th edition of the Notre Dame Football Preview Magazine — an official publication by the University of Notre Dame athletic department. The 1994, ’95, ’96, ’97 and ’98 and 2000 editions were voted best in the nation in the special publications competition sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The preview magazine, published by Ave Maria Press, numbers nearly 100 pages, including game action shots of returning Irish players and coaches, position-by-position breakdowns and a feature on head coach Tyrone Willingham. It’s a collectors item perfect for autographs — with an emphasis on outstanding color photography unavailable in any other publication. The yearbook is priced at $10 (plus $5 for postage and handling) and can be ordered by calling 1-800-647-4641.
THE 2004 NCAA STATISTICS REPORT
The NCAA statistical rankings for Notre Dame and Stanford in 2004 (top 50 only):
Team Rankings Notre Dame StanfordRushing Offense 108.2 137.5Passing Offense 15th at 276.8 23rd at 266.8Total Offense 50th at 385.0 36th at 404.3Scoring Offense 26.0 21st at 33.8Rushing Defense 14th at 90.8 11th at 85.5Pass Defense 263.0 241.0Pass Efficiency Defense 119.82 34th at 108.46Total Defense 353.8 40th at 326.5Scoring Defense 48th at 21.6 18th at 14.3Net Punting 31st at 38.2 35.9Punt Returns 33rd at 11.5 8.8Kickoff Returns 18.4 3rd at 34.0Turnover Margin 18th at +1.2 37th at +0.5 (+6 overall) (+2 overall)
Individual Rankings Notre Dame StanfordRushing Darius Walker 46th at 88.5Passing Efficiency Brady Quinn Trent Edwards 37th at 132.31 39th at 131.65Total Offense Brady Quinn Trent Edwards 20th at 268.8 30th at 232.0Punting D.J. Fitzpatrick 29th at 42.5Punt Returns Carlyle Holiday 35th at 11.7Kickoff Returns T.J. Rushing 1st at 37.6
NEXT WEEK: NAVY
The nation’s longest ongoing intersectional rivalry reconvenes next Saturday, Oct. 16, when Notre Dame takes on undefeated Navy at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., at noon (EDT) in a game that will be nationally televised by CBS. The 2004 meeting between the Fighting Irish and the Midshipmen marks the 78th consecutive season that the two tradition-rich programs have squared off, having met every season since 1927. Notre Dame holds a 67-9-1 lead in the series, having won 40 consecutive matchups in the series dating to a 35-14 Navy victory in 1963 at Notre Dame Stadium.
Navy (5-0) is off to its best start since 1979, when the Midshipmen opened with six straight wins. This year’s debut for Navy follows an 8-5 record in 2003 that was capped by a Houston Bowl appearance.
Several games in the series have been played at neutral sites, with Giants Stadium being one of eight neutral sites to host a Notre Dame-Navy game. In addition to the teams’ two home stadiums, Navy and Notre Dame have played in seven cities in the U.S., as well as Dublin, Ireland. This year’s matchup will be the sixth time the two teams have played at Giants Stadium, but the first since 1992.