Sept. 4, 2005

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2005 Notre Dame Football Final In-Game Notes
Notre Dame 42, Pittsburgh 21
Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005 * Heinz Field * Pittsburgh, Pa.

Game time weather: 73 degrees, winds out of the north/northwest at seven mph, 53% humidity.


Notre Dame’s captains this evening were senior Brandon Hoyte (defense), junior Brady Quinn (offense) and junior Travis Thomas (special teams). The special team’s captain is selected by the Irish coaching staff week-to-week. Hoyte and Quinn were selected as season-long captains by their teammates. Pittsburgh won the toss and elected to receive. Notre Dame started the game defending the south end zone.

The 42 points scored by the Irish tonight are the most in a debut of a non-interim coach since 1913. Jesse Harper’s first Notre Dame team defeated Ohio Northern 87-0 on Oct. 14, 1913. For a more modern analysis, the 42 points scored today by the Irish are the most for a debut non-interim coach since Frank Leahy’s first Irish team defeated Arizona 38-7 on Sept. 27, 1941. Ed McKeever, an interim coach for Leahy in 1944, saw his team defeat Pittsburgh 58-0 in his first game.

First-year non-interim Notre Dame coaches (since 1913) are now 12-2 in season openers. The losses were Lou Holtz to #3 Michigan (24-23) in 1986 and Elmer Layden to Texas 7-6 in 1934.

Notre Dame now leads the series with Pittsburgh 44-18-1. The Irish have earned a victory in 12 of the last 14 meetings.

Notre Dame is 99-14-5 in season openers and has won its season debut in 17 of the last 20 years.

For history’s sake, the instant replay review in the second quarter was the first in the 117 years of Notre Dame football.

The 35 points scored by Notre Dame in the first half are the most since the Irish put up 35 points in the first 30 minutes against Rutgers on Nov. 23, 1996 (final score ND 62, Rutgers 0). The 28 points scored in the second quarter are the most by the Irish in a single quarter since they earned 28 points in the third quarter against Rutgers on Nov. 23, 2002. The last time Notre Dame scored 28 points in the second quarter came against Navy on Oct. 29, 1994 (final ND 58, Navy 21). The 42 total points scored are the most since the Irish scored 57 against Stanford in 2002. It is the most points scored in an opener since the Irish put up 48 against Kansas in the 1998 opener. It is also the most points scored in an opening game on the road since the Irish scored 52 against Purdue in 1983.

Notre Dame’s 319 total yards in the first half eclipsed Notre Dame’s team total in five complete games last season (BYU, Michigan, Tennessee, USC and Oregon State).

Notre Dame’s long drive in the second quarter (20 plays, 7:07 elapsed) was the longest for the Irish since the 2002 season opener against Maryland in the 2002 Kickoff Classic. The Irish used 7:01 of the clock to get an 18-yd field goal on Aug. 31, 2002.


Junior Brady Quinn’s 49 rushing yards (on five carries) in tonight’s game is a career high total, eclipsing the 28 yards (on four rushes) against Florida State on Nov. 1, 2003.

Sophomore Darius Walker’s 51-yd touchdown reception in the first quarter was the longest reception of his career and first touchdown reception of his career. It was the longest touchdown pass for Brady Quinn since he hooked up with senior Rhema McKnight for a 54-yd pass in the 2004 opening game at BYU. Walker’s reception yards (53) and catches (three) in today’s game are both career highs.

Walker’s two touchdowns in the first half mark the third multiple touchdown game of his career. He previously scored twice (rushing) in his debut game vs. Michigan last season and added two more rushing touchdowns against Pittsburgh in ’04. In fact, four of his nine career touchdowns have been scored against the Panthers.

Walker’s 100-yd rushing performance is his first since the sophomore rushed for 112 yards against Pittsburgh last season. It is the third 100-yd game of his career. His xxx total yards are a career high, besting his 139 yards against Pitt last year.

Senior Rashon Powers-Neal touchdown run in the second quarter was the third rushing TD of his career (and first since the 2004 Michigan game). He added a seventh career touchdown on a reception in the same quarter. Not done, Powers-Neal rushed for a third touchdown in the third quarter. Today’s game is the first multiple touchdown performance of his career.

Junior Jeff Samardzija’s touchdown reception in the second quarter was the first of his career.

Notre Dame saw 15 players make their Irish playing debut this evening. James Bent, Justin Brown, David Bruton*, Maurice Crum, Jr., Casey Cullen, Paul Duncan*, Leo Ferrine, David Grimes*, LaBrose Hedgemon III, Joey Hiben*, Pat Kuntz*, Terrail Lambert, Asaph Schwapp*, Ronald Talley and Michael Turkovich*. * – indicates true freshman