Sept. 13, 2006
- No. 2/3 Notre Dame and No. 13/11 Michigan both enter this weekend’s matchup following routs last week. The Irish defeated then No. 19 Penn State, 41-17, in their home opener, while the Wolverines beat Central Michigan, 41-17.
- Notre Dame and Michigan will meet for the 34th time Saturday. The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 18-14-1. After a two-year hiatus (2000, 2001), the Irish and Michigan have faced one another each of the past four seasons. In fact, the two have met 17 times over the last 21 years. The series is deadlocked at 7-7-1 in the 15-meetings in South Bend.
- Saturday’s meeting will be the first in which both Notre Dame and Michigan are ranked among the top 12 since Sept. 10, 1994. In that meeting, No. 6 Michigan slipped past No. 3 Notre Dame, 26-24, on Remy Hamilton’s game-winning field goal at Notre Dame Stadium. (see pages 2-3 for more information on the Notre Dame – Michigan series).
A Notre Dame Win This Week Would…
… improve Notre Dame’s all-time record to 814-266-42 (.74398) and combined with the Michigan loss would vault the Irish past the Wolverines (.74379) on the all-time NCAA winning percentage list.
… make Notre Dame 3-0 for the first time since 2002 when the Irish opened the season with eight consecutive victories.
… extend its winning streak over Michigan to three games — longest streak since winning four straight from 1987-90.
… extend its winning streak over the Wolverines to four games at Notre Dame Stadium.
… cut Michigan’s lead in the all-time series to 18-15-1.
… give the Irish an 8-7-1 lead in the all-time series with the Wolverines in games played at Notre Dame Stadium.
… improve Weis’ Notre Dame record to 12-3 overall, 2-0 against Michigan and 4-2 against Big Ten foes.
… extend Notre Dame’s home winning streak to six games.
… improve Weis’ Notre Dame record to 6-2 in home games.
… improve Weis’ Notre Dame record to 7-3 in afternoon games.
… improve Weis’ Notre Dame record to 6-1 in September games.
… improve Notre Dame’s all-time record at home to 293-89-5.
… improve Notre Dame’s all-time record against the Big Ten to 215-106-15.
A Notre Dame Loss This Week Would…
… make Notre Dame 2-1 for the third consecutive season.
… snap its winning streak over Michigan at two games overall and three games at Notre Dame Stadium. … be its first loss against Michigan at Notre Dame Stadium since 1994. … drop the Irish to 14-19-1 in the all-time series against Michigan. … drop the Irish to 7-8-1 in the all-time series with the Wolverines in games played at Notre Dame Stadium. … drop Weis’ Notre Dame record to 11-4 overall, 1-1 against Michigan and 3-3 against Big Ten foes. … snap Notre Dame’s home winning streak at five games. … drop Weis’ Notre Dame record to 5-3 in home games. … drop Weis’ Notre Dame record to 6-4 in afternoon games. … drop Weis’ Notre Dame record to 5-2 in September games. … drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 813-267-42. … improve Notre Dame’s all-time record at home to 292-90-5. … improve Notre Dame’s all-time record against the Big Ten to 214-107-15.
Notre Dame – Michigan Series Notes
- This year’s meeting will mark the 34th meeting between Notre Dame and Michigan, with the Wolverines holding a 18-14-1 series lead. Notre Dame has captured each of the last two meetings, including last year’s meeting on Sept. 10 in Ann Arbor. (see page 3 for recap). The Irish also own a 7-7-1 record against Michigan in South Bend.
- The first meeting between the two schools took place during the 1887 season. Michigan blanked Notre Dame, 8-0, in South Bend. The Wolverines proceeded to win the next seven games over the Irish. Notre Dame’s first victory over Michigan came during the 1909 season in Ann Arbor by a score of 11-3. The two teams would not meet for another 33 years. After the Wolverines and Irish split meetings in 1942 and 1943, the series took another break, this time 35 years. Since renewing the rivalry in 1978, Notre Dame and Michigan have played every season except 1983, 1984, 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2001.
- Either Notre Dame or Michigan has been ranked entering the game for each of the past 24 meetings. The last meeting between the Irish and Wolverines in which they were each unranked came way back in 1909 — an era before national polls. Furthermore, six times both teams have been ranked in the Top 10 and three games one or the other was ranked No 1.
- Saturday’s meeting will be the first in which both teams are ranked among the top 12 since 1994. In that meeting, No. 6 Michigan slipped past No. 3 Notre Dame, 26-24, on Remy Hamilton’s game-winning field goal at Notre Dame Stadium.
- Michigan is one of only two school’s that own a winning record against Notre Dame.
- Over the last 14 meetings (dating back to 1988), the Notre Dame-Michigan game has been decided by a touchdown or less on 10 different occasions.
- Notre Dame has been ranked higher than Michigan entering a matchup in the series nine times, posting an 4-4-1 record in those games. On four of those occasions the Irish were ranked No. 1 overall, with the Irish winning three meetings (1943, 1989, 1990) and losing one (1981).
On This Date
- Notre Dame has played just three previous games in its history on Sept. 16. The Irish are 3-0 all-time on this date, including a meeting with Michigan during the 1989 season. Raghib Ismail returned two kickoffs for touchdowns (89 and 92 yards) as No. 1 Notre Dame defeated No. 2 Michigan, 24-19, in Ann Arbor. Ismail remains the only player in NCAA history to return a pair of kickoffs in two different games.
Notre Dame vs. The Big Ten
- Notre Dame has faced no other conference as often as the Big Ten. The Irish have played 335 all-time games against the 11 current members of the league. Notre Dame is 214-106-15 in those meetings. The Irish has played almost three times as many games against the Big Ten as any other conference. The Pac-10 (114) is the only other conference against whom Notre Dame has played at least 100 games.
- Notre Dame has faced Michigan 33 times (14-18-1), fourth most of any Big Ten program. Purdue leads the Big Ten with 77 all-time games against Notre Dame (50-25-2) followed by Michigan State (43-25-1) and Northwestern (37-8-2).
- Last week’s matchup with Penn State, the 18th all-time meeting, was the first with the Nittany Lions as a member of the conference.
- Notre Dame will play four members of the Big 10 in 2006. In addition to Penn State and Michigan, the Irish will face Michigan State and Purdue. Notre Dame has played a member of the Big Ten every single season since 1915. In fact, the Irish will face four Big Ten schools in the same season for the first time since 1994. The Irish face Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue for the fifth consecutive season.
- Notre Dame has posted a 108-43-5 record against Big Ten opponents at home.
ANN ARBOR, Mich (AP) — A mere two games into his Notre Dame tenure, Charlie Weis has joined Knute Rockne in the record books.
And even though he isn’t interested in any comparisons to the famed Fighting Irish coach, if Weis keeps winning games like he did Saturday at No. 3 Michigan he might not have a choice.
Brady Quinn threw two touchdown passes in the first half and the 20th-ranked Fighting Irish held on to beat the Wolverines 17-10, making Weis the first Notre Dame coach to win his first two games on the road since Rockne in 1918.
“If I answered by dignifying that, (Bill) Parcells and (Bill) Belichick would humiliate me,” Weis said about his coaching mentors when asked about his connection to Rockne. “I’ve just coached two games and they’ve played two games. Let’s come back and revisit that in about 10 years.”
Notre Dame (2-0), which won at then-No. 23 Pittsburgh last week, snapped the Wolverines’ 16-game winning streak at Michigan Stadium and handed them their first loss against a non-conference team at home since 1998. The Irish – two years removed from losing 38-0 in Ann Arbor – also won at Michigan for the first time since 1993.
“I’m happy for the team, but I worry about their heads,” Weis said. “I told them to enjoy this tonight, but not too much. You don’t want to have a big win like this, then lay an egg at home the next week.”
Notre Dame hosts Michigan State next Saturday.
Weis helped New England win three Super Bowls as Belichick’s offensive coordinator, and earned his first championship ring with the New York Giants as one of Parcells’ assistants.
Against Michigan, the offensive guru began with a shotgun formation and an empty backfield. The Irish didn’t use a huddle at times during the opening 12-play drive and didn’t have a third down.
“I think that sent a message to start the game like that,” said Quinn, who ended the impressive possession with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Rhema McKnight.
The Wolverines (1-1) slowed down Notre Dame’s offense, but they squandered several chances in the fourth quarter to pull within a TD before finally capitalizing on their third opportunity.
“We just made too many mistakes in the red zone,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. “You can’t get the football down there and give it away like we did and expect to win a game like this.”
On a fourth-and-3, Chad Henne lofted a 25-yard pass to Mario Manningham with 3:47 left to make it 17-10.
The Wolverines then forced Notre Dame to punt, but four incomplete passes later, the Irish were celebrating on the sideline. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, players ran into the end zone to celebrate with their fans.
“Coming into the Big House and getting a win can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Victor Abiamiri said. “You want to do everything you can to let it sink in.”
Notre Dame didn’t need much help to beat the Wolverines for the third time in four years, but instant replay overturned two calls in its favor in the fourth quarter.
On a sneak from inside Notre Dame’s 1, Henne was ruled down, but a review showed that he fumbled and that the Irish’s Chinedum Ndukwe recovered the ball in the end zone. On the ensuing possession, officials ruled that Quinn fumbled, but a review showed that his knee was down, allowing the Irish to keep the ball deep in their territory.
Each time, Michigan’s student section responded by throwing water bottles and other debris on the field.
“I’m confident and hopeful those calls were properly made because if they weren’t, that would obviously be an issue,” Carr said.
Quinn was 19-for-30 for 140 yards and Darius Walker ran for 104 yards for the Irish.
D.J. Fitzpatrick’s 43-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave Notre Dame a 17-3 lead.
On its next possession, Walker fumbled, giving Michigan some hope.
The Wolverines drove to Notre Dame’s 5, but were turned away after being stuffed on two runs and two passes that fell incomplete. They got inside Notre Dame’s 1 on their next possession, before Henne’s fumble.
Henne was 19-of-44 for 223 yards with a TD. He was intercepted at Notre Dame’s 1 in third quarter and had the key fumble in the fourth. Kevin Grady, replacing the injured Mike Hart, ran for 79 yards. Jason Avant caught five passes for 90 yards.
The game was a defensive struggle as the Wolverines were held to their lowest point total since Iowa beat them 34-9 in 2002. That game started a home-winning streak that Notre Dame snapped in front of 111,386 fans.
Both teams lost a key player in the first half. Michigan running back Michael Hart left after being hit hard by linebacker Corey Mays in the first quarter. Notre Dame’s McKnight twisted his right knee after being tackled by Brandent Englemon on an incomplete pass in the second quarter.
Steve Breatson’s 30-yard reverse on the last play of the first quarter gave Michigan the ball in Irish territory for the first time. Garrett Rivas’ 38-yard field goal made it 7-3.
Notre Dame responded with its second 12-play drive for a TD, capped by Quinn’s 5-yard pass to Jeff Samardzija for a 14-3 lead with 4:24 left in the second quarter.
After the Irish’s strong start offensively, Michigan’s much-maligned defense held them in check for the most part, limiting them to 244 yards.
“We lost a football game, but I think we found a defense,” Carr said.
Notre Dame-Michigan Series Produces Exciting Games
- Eight of the last 15 Notre Dame-Michigan games have been decided by five points or less while only four of the last 22 games have been won by more than 10 points: Michigan’s 25-7 home win in 1981, Notre Dame’s 26-7 victory at Michigan in 1987, Notre Dame’s 36-20 triumph at home in 1998 and Michigan’s 38-0 victory in Ann Arbor back in 2004.
- Since the Notre Dame-Michigan series resumed in 1978, the average margin has been just 8.1 points over the span of 22 games, with the Irish holding a slim 12-9-1 edge. Take away the 2004 meeting and the average margin of victory is 6.7.
- Five of the last 20 games in the series have seen the winning points come in the final two minutes (1980, `88, ’90, ’94 and ’99), including two that were decided in the final seconds (’80 and ’94).
Irish, Wolverines Rank At Top Of Most NCAA Lists
- Notre Dame has won 11 consensus national championships, while Michigan has won nine titles.
- Notre Dame currently has 813 career Division I-A victories (second all-time), while Michigan leads with 851 career wins, although the Wolverines have played nine more seasons than the Irish.
- Michigan holds the record for times ranked in the Associated Press poll (725), followed closely by Notre Dame, which made its 687th AP poll earlier this week.
- Notre Dame ranks first all-time with 95 consensus All-America selections (from 79 players), while Michigan is tied for second on that list with 73 consensus All-America picks (from 61 players each). USC also has 73 selections, but from 65 players.
Irish Record Setters In The Notre Dame-Michigan Series
- Harry Jewett scored Notre Dame’s first ever touchdown on April 20, 1888 and it came against Michigan on a five-yard scamper.
- The following performances are tied for first in the Irish record book and came in games against Michigan: two kickoff returns for touchdowns (Raghib Ismail, 1989); and 26 tackles (Bob Crable, 1978).
- Crable also recorded the fourth (20 tackles against Michigan in 1981) and fifth most ever in a single game (19 tackles against Michigan in 1980).
- The following performances are tied for fourth in the Irish record book (all on four attempts): four field goals by Chuck Male (1979), John Carney (1985) and Reggie Ho (1988).
- Raghib “Rocket” Ismail’s 192 kick return yards in 1989 rank second in Irish history.
- Harry Oliver’s game-winning 51-yard field goal versus Michigan in 1980 is tied for the second-longest kick in Irish history, while Ricky Watters’ 81-yard punt return against the Wolverines in 1988 ranks 11th all-time at Notre Dame.
- Notre Dame’s all-time opponent records do not include any by Michigan (both team and individual).
Remember These Names
Here are just a few of the memorable names and performances from the Notre Dame – Michigan series in Notre Dame Stadium:
- 1980 – Harry Oliver’s legendary 51-yard field goal at the gun pushes Notre Dame to a 29-27 victory.
- 1986 – Unranked Notre Dame takes #3 Michigan to the brink, piling up 455 yards of offense behind Tim Brown (65 yards, touchdown run). John Carney misses possible game-winning field goal with 18 seconds remaining.
- 1988 – Reggie Ho kicks four field goals to lead Notre Dame to victory, 19-17. Mike Gillette misses a 49-yard attempt as time expires. Ricky Watters scores Notre Dame’s lone touchdown on an 81-yard punt return.
- 1990 – Rick Mirer connects with Adrian Jarrell for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 1:40 remaining to give Notre Dame a 28-24 victory. Michael Stonebreaker and Reggie Brooks (then a cornerback) post crucial second half interceptions of Elvis Grbac. Desmond Howard explodes for 133 yards receiving and two touchdowns for the Wolverines.
- 1994 – Remy Hamilton drills a 42-yard field goal to provide Michigan with its most recent victory in Notre Dame Stadium, 26-24. Hamilton’s kick erases a Ron Powlus – Derrick Mayes possible game-winning touchdown pass.
- 1998 – Autry Denson rushes for 163 yards and two touchdowns as Notre Dame scored 30 points in the second half en route to a 36-20 victory over #5 Michigan.
- 2002 – Ryan Grant rushes for a (then) career-high 132 yards and two touchdowns to help Notre Dame defeat Michigan 25-23. Shane Walton posts an interception on the Wolverines’ final offensive play to seal the victory.
- 2004 – Then freshman Darius Walker ran for 115 yards on 31 carries and two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Irish beat No. 8 Michigan, 28-20. He was the first Notre Dame freshman to rush for more than 100 yards since Julius Jones had 146 yards against Navy in 1999.
Last Week Against Penn State
- Notre Dame improved to 94-18-5 all-time in home openers.
- The attendance of 80,795 was the 186th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium. Since 1966, every Notre Dame home football game has been a sellout except one – a 1973 Thanksgiving Day game vs. Air Force. The Irish have now played in front of sellouts in 234 of their last 235 home games.
- Last Saturday’s game marked the 18th meeting between Notre Dame and Penn State. The Irish lead the series, 9-8-1. Notre Dame is 5-3-0 versus Penn State at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have won two-in-a-row (Nov. 14, 1992) against the Nittany Lions at Notre Dame Stadium.
- Notre Dame improved to 214-106-15 (.661) all-time against teams from the Big Ten Conference. The Irish have played almost three times as many games (335) against Big Ten opponents than any other conference. The Pac-10 (114) is the only other conference whom the Irish have played at least 100 games.
- Notre Dame’s 41-17 win over No. 19 Penn State is the biggest win for the Irish over a ranked team since Oct. 12, 1996 when No. 11 Notre Dame routed No. 16 Washington, 54-20, at Notre Dame Stadium.
- The Irish have not had a turnover in three consecutive games dating back to last year’s game at Stanford. The last Notre Dame turnover came with 4:22 left in the second quarter at Stanford on Nov. 26, 2005 – a total of 214:22 without a turnover.
- Senior tight end John Carlson’s fourth catch of the game, good for 32 yards, was the longest reception of his career. His previous long was 29 yards on his second catch of the game. His six receptions and 98 total yards were both career highs. Carlson was nearly the first Notre Dame tight end to eclipse 100 yards receiving since Anthony Fasano had 155 yards against No. 15 Purdue on Oct. 2, 2004.
- Senior place kicker Carl Gioia’s two field goals of 35 yards (one in the first quarter and one in the second) are the two longest of his career. His previous long was 29 yards versus Stanford in 2005.
- Senior wide receiver Jeff Samardzija’s second-quarter touchdown catch (seven yards) was his first of the season and 16th of his career. That moved him into a tie for fourth all-time with Jim Seymour (1966-68). The touchdown catch was also his 111th reception of his career, moving him into ninth on the all-time career reception list. He passed Malcolm Johnson (’95-’98).
- Senior quarterback Brady Quinn’s touchdown pass to Samardzija was his first of the season and first in 11 quarters dating back to the third quarter of last year’s Stanford game. (10 quarters without a TD pass).
- With three touchdown passes in the game, Brady Quinn has nine games with three or more touchdown passes.
- Senior defensive end Victor Abiamiri recorded his first sack of the season in the second quarter for the 12th of his career and moved into a tie for 10th (since records kept in 1982) with Brandon Hoyte (’02-’05).
- Junior running back Darius Walker’s seven receptions in the game (64 in career) moved him past Mark Green (’85-’88) for fourth all-time on the receptions by running backs list. Green had 61 in his career.
- Senior wide receiver Rhema McKnight’s second-quarter touchdown catch (nine yards) was his first of the season and first since Sept. 10, 2005 when he had a five-yard TD catch versus Michigan. That ties him for 11th on Notre Dame’s all-time touchdown list with Anthony Fasano (’03-’05).
- Senior defensive back Tom Zbikowski’s 25-yard fumble return was the second of his career and the first fumble recovery for the Irish since 2004 at Michigan State when Zbikowski returned a fumble 75 yards for a touchdown. The return for touchdown was the sixth of Zbikowski’s career (two fumbles, two punt returns, two interception returns). He is now the all-time leader in fumble return yards with 100 and is tied with Tony Driver (’97-’00) for the all-time recoveries mark (since 1985).
- Senior punter Geoff Price’s 62-yard punt in the third quarter was the longest of his career. Price’s previous best was 61 yards and came last week at Georgia Tech.
- Senior linebacker/running back Travis Thomas ran for 43 yards off a fake punt in the third quarter. That was the longest run of his career. His previous high was 16.
- A total of five Notre Dame freshmen made their college debuts today for Notre Dame: LB Toryan Smith, OL Eric Olsen, WR Robby Parris, TE Konrad Reuland and DL John Ryan. Sophomore QB Evan Sharpley made his first career appearance.
Notre Dame Second on All-Time Winning Percentage List… MAYBE
Notre Dame’s 2005 season and its 2-0 start in 2006 brought the Irish closer to the top spot in college football’s all-time winning percentage list. The Irish trail this week’s opponent, Michigan, on the all-time winning percentage list and on the all-time wins list. The Irish are 813-266-42 all-time for a winning percentage of .743979. At 2-0 in 2006, Michigan is 851-280-36 all-time for a winning percentage of .745922. The Irish could surpass the Wolverines for the top spot with a victory on Saturday.
Another Weis, Rockne Comparison
Second year Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis has avoided any comparisons to any of the great all-time Irish head coaches, especially legendary head man Knute Rockne. However, Weis accomplished something last weekend against Penn State that only Rockne and himself can claim. With Notre Dame’s 41-17 rout of the Nittany Lions, Weis became just the second coach in Irish history to open his first two seasons in South Bend at 2-0. Rockne opened the 1918 and 1919 seasons with consecutive victories.
While It Is Not Rockne, Weis Among Another Irish Legend
With Notre Dame’s victory over No. 19 Penn State last weekend, head coach Charlie Weis improved to 4-2 against top 25 opponents over his first two seasons on the Irish sidelines. Only one other Notre Dame coach has a higher winning percentage than Weis’ .667.
Defense More Than Carrying Its Weight
Notre Dame held Georgia Tech and Penn State scoreless over for a total of nearly five quarters before the Nittany Lions kicked a field goal at the 11:29 mark of the third quarter last Saturday. The scoreless streak spanned 68:16 and was the longest such streak since the 2002 season. Notre Dame went 94:28 without allowing any points over a three-game stretch that included Navy, Rutgers and USC.
2006 Irish Defense Among Rare Company
The question marks surrounding the Notre Dame defense was the talk across the country this summer. Well, after two games, let’s consider the questions answered. The Irish have allowed just a total of 27 points and 14 of those came late in the fourth quarter of last week’s 41-17 rout of Penn State. Over the last 30 years of Notre Dame football, only five teams have allowed fewer points after its first two games.
Quinn Ranks High Among Active QBs
Quarterback Brady Quinn currently ranks in the top five among all active Division I-A quarterbacks in 12 categories ranging from passing charts to total offense lists. The following lists the categories he currently ranks in the top five:
Samardzija Climbing Active WR Charts
With 16 career receiving touchdowns, 113 catches and 1,706 receiving yards, senior Jeff Samardzija is climbing the charts among active wide receivers. Samardzija currently ranks eighth in career catches, tied for fourth in career receiving touchdowns and ninth in receiving yards.
Rhema has McKnight to Remember
After missing almost all of 2005 following a knee injury suffered during the second game last year, fifth-year senior WR Rhema McKnight returned to the gridiron with a vengeance at Georgia Tech. McKnight led the Irish with eight catches for 108 yards against the Yellow Jackets. After pacing Notre Dame in catches in 2003 and 2004, McKnight picked up a key 19-yard catch on 3rd and 9 on the final possession of the game, prohibiting Georgia Tech from getting the ball one last time.
McKnight took another step toward full recovery in the rout of Penn State last weekend. He had five receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown catch was his first since the Michigan game in 2005. McKnight ranks ranks ninth all-time at Notre Dame in receptions (116), 10th in career receiving yards (1,537) and 11th in career touchdowns (8).
Quinn and the Notre Dame Record Book
Quarterback Brady Quinn is in his fourth season as the starter. He has already made a lasting mark on the Irish football record book owning 30 school records. Since 1950, a Notre Dame quarterback has thrown for 300 yards or more 16 times. Quinn is responsible for seven of those performances – the most for any single Notre Dame quarterback. Quinn has thrown for 350 (vs. Boston College, 2003), 432 (vs. Purdue, 2004), 487 (vs. Michigan State, 2005), 327 (at Washington, 2005), 440 (at Purdue, 2005), 467 (vs. BYU, 2005) and 432 (at Stanford, 2005).
Quinn is the only Notre Dame quarterback to throw for over 400 yards five times in a career (in fact, he is the only one to do it twice) – and in Notre Dame’s road game at Purdue in `05 he became the first to throw for more than 300 yards in three consecutive games. He also is the first Irish quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards four times in a season.
Quinn’s TD Passes Streak
Brady Quinn tossed at least one touchdown pass in 16 games in a row for the Irish before the skid ended in the 2006 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, breaking John Huarte’s record of 10 set in 1964. The Dublin, Ohio, native totaled 40 scoring tosses during the run.
Quinn’s touchdown passes over the 16-game streak:
2005: 3 at Stanford, 2 vs. Syracuse, 4 vs. Navy 3 vs. Tennessee, 6 vs. BYU, 1 vs. USC, 3 at Purdue, 1 at Washington, 5 vs. Michigan State, 2 at Michigan, 2 at Pittsburgh
2004: 2 vs. Oregon State (Insight Bowl), 1 at USC, 3 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 at Tennessee, 1 vs. Boston College
Quinn: A Touchdown Machine
Brady Quinn accounted for two or more touchdowns in 10 of Notre Dame’s 12 games last season and had an eight-game streak of multiple touchdown performances snapped in the Fiesta Bowl – three (passing) at Purdue, two (one run, one pass) vs. USC, six (passing) vs. BYU, three (passing) vs. Tennessee, four (passing) vs. Navy, two (passing) vs. Syracuse and three (passing) at Stanford.
Quinn Threw 21 TDs in Notre Dame Stadium in `05
Brady Quinn shattered the Notre Dame record for touchdown passes at Notre Dame Stadium in a season, exploding for 21 scoring tosses in 2005 (5 vs. Michigan State, 1 vs. USC, 6 vs. BYU, 3 vs. Tennessee, 4 vs. Navy, 2 vs. Syracuse). The previous record for touchdown passes in Notre Dame Stadium in a single-season was 11 by Ron Powlus (1994) and Jarious Jackson (1999). Quinn’s performance was so dominant that his total home field touchdown passes would have broken the previous single-season record, regardless of venue, of 19 held by Ron Powlus (1994). Quinn threw 11 touchdown passes away from Notre Dame Stadium (32 total).
Young Makes ND History
Still listed as the starter at right tackle entering the Michigan game, Sam Young made Notre Dame history at Georgia Tech becoming the first true freshman to start the season opener on the offensive line since freshmen became eligible in 1972. Young is just the fourth Irish freshman to start on the offensive line joining an elite club that includes teammate Ryan Harris as well as Brad Williams and Mike Rosenthal. Harris started the final eight games of the 2003 season, Williams made starts against Navy and Boston College in 1996 and Rosenthal started against Ohio State, USC and Air Force in 1995.
Abiamiri Named to Hendricks Watch List
Senior defensive end Victor Abiamiri was named to the 2006 Hendricks Award Preseason Watch List announced in June by the Hendricks Foundation. He has four tackles in 2006 and picked up his 12th career sack last week against Penn State. Abiamiri moved into a tie for 10th place with Brandon Hoyte (2002-05) on the Notre Dame career list (since 1982). He needs just four more tackles for loss to enter Notre Dame’s all-time top 10 in that category as well.
He has been a key member of Notre Dame’s defensive line since his freshman season in 2003 when he became just the fourth freshman to start on the defensive line for Notre Dame since 1991. Abiamiri enjoyed a great season in 2005 totaling 48 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, a team-high eight sacks and seven quarterback hurries helping him earn the team’s Lineman of the Year Award from the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
Harris Named to Outland Trophy Watch List
Senior offensive tackle Ryan Harris was named to the 2006 Outland Trophy Watch List in June by the Football Writers Association of America. The award has been given annually to the nation’s top offensive or defensive interior lineman since 1946. Harris has started the last 34 games of his Notre Dame career at tackle, including the last 26 at left tackle protecting quarterback Brady Quinn’s blind side.
Harris played a key role in 2005 as the team averaged 36.7 points per game and 477.3 yards of total offense. In 2004, he was named the team’s Westwood One/Guardian Life Insurance Guardian of the Year. Harris earned freshman All-America accolades from Rivals.com in 2003 and second-team freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News after becoming just the third true freshman lineman to start on the offensive line.
Defense Shines Under Lights at Georgia Tech
Notre Dame’s much-maligned defense rose to the occasion against a quick Georgia Tech team with very talented players at the skill positions. After hearing the cries of “617 yards” all summer, the defense responded by allowing just 259 yards of offense to the Yellow Jackets, the second-fewest total during the Charlie Weis era. The defense was at its best later in the game as they allowed just 71 yards of offense in the second half on 21 plays. Included in the second half effort was limiting Tech’s All-American WR Calvin Johnson to just 16 yards on two receptions. A key reason for the defense’s success was its effectiveness on third down where Georgia Tech converted on just 2-of-10 chances for the game and was 0-for-4 in the third and fourth quarters.
Zbikowski’s Rapid Returns
Safety Tom Zbikowski, a senior in 2006, has made a name for himself in the Notre Dame record books. Zbikowski scooped up a fumble and raced 25 yards for a touchdown last week against Penn State. With the return, Zbikowski became the Irish all-time leader in fumble return yards (100) and joined Tony Driver (1997-00) as the only Notre Dame players to ever return a pair of fumbles for touchdowns. Zbikowski, who has six career TD returns (two interceptions, two punts, two fumbles), has clearly established himself among the best big-play return specialists in Notre Dame history.
In a three-game stretch against USC, BYU and Tennessee in 2005, he returned a punt or interception for a touchdown four times – the first Irish defensive player to accomplish such a feat. Zbikowski also returned a fumble 75 yards for a TD against Michigan State in 2004.
With his interception and punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee on Nov. 5, Zbikowski became the first Irish player to accomplish that feat (interception return and punt return in the same game) since Nick Rassas against Northwestern in 1965. Rassas returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown and a punt 72 yards for a score in Notre Dame’s 38-7 rout.
Price is Right in Atlanta
Despite the fact he entered the season with only two career punts, Geoff Price has made his presence known over Notre Dame’s first two games. After Price averaged 50.4 yards on five punts against Georgia Tech, he responded with a career-best 62 yard boot versus Penn State. Price not only has three punts of 59 or more yards this season, but has also dropped three punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. While Price slipped out of the top spot among Division I-A punters, he stll ranks 4th with an average of 48.0 yards per punt.
Grimes and West Kick Start Special Teams Unit
A focal point in the off-season of Head Coach Charlie Weis and Special Teams Coach Brian Polian was to get better field position for the offense off of kickoff returns. One game into 2006, it looks as if the efforts put in by the coaches and players in the off-season has paid off as the 39.5 yards per kickoff return is the third-best in Division I-A. Freshman George West fielded the opening kickoff of the season, and in his first collegiate touch he sprinted out 33 yards to set up the Irish offense. Not to be outdone was sophomore WR David Grimes who sprinted out almost to midfield on his only kick return of the game for 46 yards.
Historic Notre Dame Stadium
The 2006 football season marks the 76th year of Irish football in fabled Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have played 387 games in the facility to date and own a 292-90-5 (.760) record in the “House that Rockne Built.” The Irish are 96-32 (.748) over the last 22 years at home. The most wins in a season by the Irish at home is seven by the 1988 national championship team and the longest home winning streak in Notre Dame football history is 28 games (from 11.21.42 through 9.30.50).
In Front of a Full House
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 183 of its previous 209 games, including 58 of its last 63 contests dating back to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2000 season (the 2001, 2003 and 2005 games at Stanford, the 2004 game vs. Navy at the Meadowlands and the 2005 game at Washington were not sellouts). At Michigan in 2003, the Irish and Wolverines attracted the largest crowd in NCAA history (111,726), marking the third time in the history of the series that an NCAA attendance record was set. It also represented the seventh time in the last four seasons that Notre Dame has been part of establishing a new stadium attendance record (at Nebraska and Texas A&M in 2001; at Air Force and Florida State, home vs. Boston College in 2002, vs. Oregon State in the Insight Bowl in 2004 – the game set a Bank One Ballpark record for football configuration). Notre Dame and Michigan played before an over-capacity 111,386 at Michigan Stadium in September of 2005. The 2005 Washington game was played before less than a capacity crowd as 71,473 witnessed the Irish defeat the Huskies, 36-17, at Husky Stadium (capacity: 72,500) in Seattle. At Purdue, the Irish and Boilermakers played before 65,491 football fans, a Ross-Ade Stadium record (since the renovation of the facility in 2003).
Nine Veteran Starters Return to Lead Irish Defense
A solid group of returning veterans returns to lead the Irish defense in ’06, led by nine starters from last season including four players entering their third season on the starting unit. A full off-season with the defensive coaching staff combined with a second season in defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s scheme as well as a talented crop of freshmen should alone make the Notre Dame defense better. Cornerback Ambrose Wooden (74 tackles in ’05) and safety Tom Zbikowski (71 stops in ’05) are the leading returning tacklers of the unit. While both figure to provide valuable leadership, other key returnees figure to be just as vital to the unit’s continued improvement. Chief among those returnees are senior defensive end Victor Abiamiri (eight sacks in ’05), senior tackles Derek Landri (eight tackles for loss in ’05) and Trevor Laws (33 tackles and two blocked field goals last season) and linebacker Maurice Crum, Jr. (57 tackles in ’05).
Samardzija’s Record Season Earned All-America Honors
Wide receiver Jeff Samardzija returns for his senior season in 2006 after earning consensus first-team All-America honors in 2005 when he led the team with 77 catches for 1,249 yards and 15 touchdowns. He became Notre Dame’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 1970 on an 80-yard touchdown pass against Stanford on Nov. 26 of last season. Samardzija eventually broke Tom Gatewood’s single-season receiving yardage record against Stanford, pushing his season total to 1,190 yards and tied Gatewood’s single-season receptions mark. He also surpassed the single-season touchdown total as his 15 scoring receptions led the nation and bested Derrick Mayes’ previous record of 11 from 1994.
Samardzija Opened 2005 with TD Catches in 8 Straight Games
Jeff Samardzija entered the 2005 campaign without a touchdown catch in his career, then proceeded to catch a touchdown pass in each of Notre Dame’s first eight games of last season. The two-sport athlete (also a top-line pitching prospect for the Chicago Cubs after he was drafted in the fifth round in this year’s Major League Baseball draft) became the first Irish receiver to begin the season with eight consecutive games with a touchdown catch – which made him the Notre Dame record holder for consecutive games with a touchdown reception. He surpassed Malcolm Johnson’s six-game run from 1998 against BYU.
Samardzija, who also serves as the team’s holder on field-goal attempts, tied a Notre Dame record with three touchdown receptions versus Michigan State (later broken by teammate Maurice Stovall, who posted four touchdown receptions against BYU). Samardzija was the seventh player to catch three touchdown passes in a game and the first since Tom Gatewood versus Purdue in 1970.
Walker Rushed 1,000 Yards in Dramatic Fashion
Running back Darius Walker became the ninth Irish player to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season with 1,196 yards on 253 carries and seven touchdowns last year. Walker surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier during a career-best 35-carry, 186-yard outing at Stanford during which he scored the winning touchdown and added a two-point conversion for the final score. Walker also cemented his status as an every down back in ’05, setting an Irish mark for receptions by a back with 43 for 351 yards and two scores. Walker’s big day against Stanford pushed him into the top-10 all-time on the single-season rushing yardage list as well.
Walker’s 100-Yard Games
Darius Walker rushed for 100 yards seven times last season, marking the first time since 1993 that an Irish player posted seven or more 100-yard rushing performances in a season. Lee Becton ended the `93 campaign with seven consecutive 100-yard performances.
Older and Wiser
The 2006 Notre Dame offensive line is one of the most experienced units in school history. With four student-athletes that started at least five games last year, the Irish offense boasts almost 100 combined career starts on the line. Entering the `06 campaign, senior tackle Ryan Harris started the last 32 Notre Dame games and led the veteran group in starting assignments. Seniors Bob Morton and John Sullivan were second and third with 26 starts and 20 starts, respectfully, while senior Dan Santucci has 13 starts to his credit.
Quinn, Samardzija and Walker Named to Maxwell Award Watch List
Senior quarterback Brady Quinn, senior wide receiver Jeff Samardzija and junior running back Darius Walker have been named to the 2006 Maxwell Award Watch List. The Maxwell Award is presented annually by the Maxwell Football Club to the top collegiate football player. Notre Dame’s three players on the Maxwell Award Watch List matches USC, Ohio State, Michigan and Miami (FL) for the most nominees. The list will be trimmed to 12 semi-finalists in October before three finalists are named in November.
Quinn enters his senior season owning every major Notre Dame passing record and flourished in his first season with head coach Charlie Weis last year. Quinn received third-team All-America praise by the Associated Press after setting single-season school records for attempts (450), completions (292), yards (3,919) and touchdowns (32).
Samardzija was on the receiving end of many of Quinn’s passes. His 2005 accolades included being named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America and ESPN.com. He was also a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award for college football’s top receiver after setting single-season records for receiving yards (1,249) and touchdown catches (15).
Walker already ranks 13th in career rushing yards at Notre Dame having carved up 1,982 yards in his two seasons for the Irish. Last year, Walker gained 1,196 yards and scored nine touchdowns while eclipsing the 100 yard mark in seven games. Against a stout Ohio State defense in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, he set a Notre Dame bowl record by tallying three rushing touchdowns. Walker also owns the school’s freshman rushing record with 786 yards in 2004.
Quinn, Samardzija Named to Walter Camp Watch List
Senior quarterback Brady Quinn and senior wide receiver Jeff Samardzija were two of 35 “players to watch” chosen by the Walter Camp Football Foundation. The nation’s fourth-oldest individual college football award will have its watch list narrowed to 10 semi-finalists in early November before the winner is chosen based on voting conducted by the 119 Division I-A head coaches and sports information directors.
Sullivan Named to Rimington Watch List
Senior center John Sullivan has been named to the Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List. He joins 38 other centers on the list for the Dave Rimington Trophy, awarded annually to the most outstanding center in college football. The Boomer Esiason Foundation presents the award to the center who receives the most first team All-America votes determined by the AFCA, Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and FWAA. Sullivan started the last seven games at center for the Irish in 2005, while making appearances in all 12 games. As a junior in 2004, he started all 12 games and called out all blocking assignments for the offensive line.
Zbikowski Named to Nagurski and Bednarik Watch Lists
Senior defensive back Tom Zbikowski has been named to both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List and Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List for 2006. The Nagurski Trophy is given to the nation’s top defensive player at the Charlotte Touchdown Club annual awards banquet. The Bednarik Award is given annually to the nation’s top defensive player as voted on by head coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club and various sports writers throughout the country. Zbikowski was named third-team All-America by the Associated Press after the 2005 season when he made 62 tackles and led the team with five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. He also added two touchdowns on punt returns. Zbikowski has started all 24 games in which he has played over the last two seasons and has scored touchdowns via interception return, punt return and fumble return during his Notre Dame career.
Notre Dame Leads the Way in National Graduate Rate
The graduation rate for student-athletes at the University of Notre Dame is the highest in the nation among Division I-A colleges and universities in an annual federal report for the Department of Education, and is the second highest in a new survey developed by the NCAA.
Notre Dame’s federal graduation rate is 90.4 percent, according to statistics released in January by the NCAA, slightly ahead of Duke University at 89.6 percent as the best among the major football-playing schools of Division I-A. The federal rate is based on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated with six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non-graduates.
Notre Dame ranks second among Division I-A schools on another scale, called the Graduation Success Rate (GSR), which was developed last year by the NCAA. The 98 percent GSR is second only to the 99 percent of the U.S. Naval Academy, which, like all the military academies, is exempt from the federal survey because it does not offer grants-in-aid to student-athletes.
The remainder of the top five after Notre Dame and Duke among I-A universities in the federal survey are Stanford at 88 percent, Northwestern at 86 percent, and Rice at 83 percent. On the GSR, the rest of the top five I-A schools following Navy and Notre Dame are Clemson and Northwestern, both at 97 percent, and Duke at 93 percent.
The data for both surveys is based upon the entering classes from 1995 to 1998. The two graduation rate reports should not be confused with another new NCAA initiative, the Academic Progress Rate, which uses a series of formulas related to student-athlete retention and eligibility to measure the academic performance of all participants who receive a grant-in-aid on every team at every NCAA Division I college and university.
Football Ticket Demand Hits a Record High
How much interest is there in University of Notre Dame football games for 2006? There’s enough that the Sept. 9 Notre Dame-Penn State game and the Sept. 16 Notre Dame-Michigan game qualify as the two highest-requested games in the history of Notre Dame’s ticket lottery. There’s enough that four ’06 home games rank in the all-time top 10 for requests — and all seven games rank in the top 30. There’s enough that the Nov. 25 Notre Dame-USC game in Los Angeles qualified as the most-requested road game in Irish ticket history.
And there’s enough that the Notre Dame ticket office expects to mail refunds worth more than a record $11.7 million (compared to refunds of $5.2 million a year ago) to unsuccessful lottery participants in the University’s ticket distribution for contributing alumni, monogram winners, undergraduate parents and benefactors. There was a 37 percent increase in applications submitted to the ’06 lottery compared to a year ago.
Notre Dame alumni making an annual contribution of $100 or more to the University are eligible to apply for two tickets to as many home and away football games as they choose. In excess of 30,000 tickets per game are available for each home contest for contributing alumni. Any time the number of applications exceeds the supply, a lottery is held – and lotteries were required for all seven 2006 home games (meaning all seven home games automatically reached sellout status).
Demand was highest for the Sept. 9 home game vs. Penn State (66,670 tickets requested) and the Sept. 16 home game vs. Michigan (61,631), making those games the two highest-demanded home games in the history of Notre Dame Stadium. The previous all-time high was 59,368 requests for the 2001 home game against West Virginia. The high in 2005 was 54,211 for the Notre Dame-USC game at Notre Dame Stadium.
Other high-demand home games in ’06 are contests against North Carolina (54,838 requests for sixth all-time), UCLA (51,933 for 10th all-time), Stanford (50,491 for 13th all-time) and Purdue (47,655 for 17th all-time).
The high demand for road games came for the regular-season finale at USC (an all-time record 33,251 requests). Notre Dame receives 15,000 tickets as the visiting team in that contest.
New Fighting Irish All-Access Package Launched on Aug. 4
The University of Notre Dame official athletic website, und.com, entered a new era on Friday, Aug. 4. The Fighting Irish All-Access package underwent a complete overhaul and und.com will bring Notre Dame alumni and fans full coverage free of charge for the 2006-07 season.
Irish fans will no longer be required to subscribe or sign up for audio/video coverage on und.com. It features a new media player, which includes a bigger display screen and easier access to und.com’s multimedia offerings.
As part of the new Fighting Irish All-Access launch, the und.com crew will post a bevy of video offerings from a variety of Irish sports and the University archives – just the first step toward developing und.com into the top source for Fighting Irish fans on the world wide web. Check und.com for more details.
Former Heisman Winners to be Honored at Notre Dame Home Games
All former Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winners will be featured on home game tickets as well as the corresponding game programs and schedule cards this season. The seven winners or family members of the winners have been invited back to Notre Dame to be honored during the weekend their likeness is featured on the game ticket and program.
Angelo Bertelli graces the cover of the Penn State game, Johnny Lujack is on the Michigan game cover, John Lattner is featured during the Purdue weekend, Leon Hart will be honored at the Stanford game, Paul Hornung will be on the cover of the UCLA game, the North Carolina game ticket and program will honor John Huarte, while Tim Brown will be featured at the Army game.
1966 National Championship Team to be Honored Purdue Weekend
This season marks the 40th anniversary of the 1966 Notre Dame football team that won the national championship and the team will be honored during its reunion on the Purdue game weekend. The `66 squad averaged over 36 points per game while permitting just five touchdowns on defense. That Irish squad posted a 9-0-1 record including three wins over top-10 teams with an average margin of victory in those contests of 33.7 points. Head coach Ara Parseghian won his first of two titles and tied Frank Leahy (later matched by Dan Devine) in the process as the quickest Notre Dame head coach to win a national championship, doing so in his third campaign.
Notre Dame Athletics in Print
Four new books either about Notre Dame athletics or written by past or current Irish coaches will be available in bookstores this fall.
Head coach Charlie Weis is scheduled to release his autobiography, NO EXCUSES, Oct. 10. With the help of NFL.com national editor and author, Vic Carucci, the book will tell the remarkable story of his journey from being a student of Notre Dame to becoming head coach of his alma mater. Stories from his professional career of working in the NFL to personal events involving himself and his family will also be chronicled.
Former head coach Lou Holtz’ autobiography, Wins, Losses, and Lessons hit bookshelves Aug. 15. Detailing stories from his youth to his days as a football head coach, this book is said to be a “reflective, inspiring and candid look back at an extraordinary life and career from a coaching legend.”
Fighting Irish Legends, Lists and Lore is the latest book by Karen Heisler, wife of Notre Dame Senior Associate Athletic Director John Heisler, and “captures the history, tradition, and spirit of one of the nation’s most storied and revered athletic programs.” The book recounts stories of Notre Dame’s most famous athletes and coaches in every sport.
Longtime writer and editor for Blue & Gold Illustrated Tim Priste released his latest book entitled, The New Gold Standard Aug. 16. The book takes readers inside head coach Charlie Weis’ first season at Notre Dame and how he “returned the program to its rightful (and historic) place among college football’s elite.”
Notre Dame Stadium Gate A Now “All-America Gate”
The University of Notre Dame’s 79 consensus All-America football players are now honored inside Gate A of Notre Dame Stadium, as part of a multi-year plan to theme the five entrance gates to Notre Dame’s home football facility.
Each display inside Gate A at the stadium is a 10-by-16-foot Notre Dame blue powder-coated aluminum plate with the ND logo in gold at the top. The displays are entitled “Consensus All-Americans” in Notre Dame gold letters eight inches high across the top of the blue panel.
Featured on the panels are authentic Notre Dame helmets with nameplates representing the consensus All-Americans from Notre Dame, plus room for four future consensus All-Americans.
The nameplates are made of bronze, with black etched letters identifying each player’s name, year(s) he was named a consensus All-American, and hometown. A bronze plaque is also mounted on one of the two displays to explain how a consensus All-American is selected.
Players accorded the majority of votes at their positions by selectors are designated consensus All-Americans. Current teams utilized in designation of consensus selections are those chosen by the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers Association of America, the Walter Camp Foundation and The Sporting News.
Wide receiver Jeff Samardzija in 2005 was Notre Dame’s most recent consensus pick – with the first coming in 1913 (quarterback Gus Dorais). Two-time consensus selections include Frank Carideo (1929-30), Marchy Schwartz (1930-31), Bob Dove (1941-42), George Connor (1946-47), John Lujack (1946-47), Bill Fischer (1947-48), Leon Hart (1948-49), Emil Sitko (1948-49), John Lattner (1952-53), Ross Browner (1976-77), Ken MacAfee (1976-77), Bob Crable (1980-81), Michael Stonebreaker (1988, 1990), Todd Lyght (1989-90), Chris Zorich (1989-90) and Aaron Taylor (1992-93).
The displays were designed by Rockwell Group of New York and fabricated by Show Motion Inc., of Connecticut. The Notre Dame Monogram Club funded the project.
There are plans to theme the other three entry gates at the Stadium — with the intention of creating specific recognition of Notre Dame’s national championships and its national championship coaches.
Prior to the 2005 season, three-by-eight foot replica Heisman Trophies were added to the Gate B display, where pictures of all seven Irish Heisman winners were placed earlier.
The honoring of Notre Dame’s Heisman Trophy winners took the form of seven individual panels installed within existing brick niches of the old stadium wall just inside Gate B. There is one display each for Angelo Bertelli, John Lujack, Leon Hart, John Lattner, Paul Hornung, John Huarte and Tim Brown
2005: Season in Review
- Notre Dame completed a 9-3 season in 2005 playing a schedule that included four ranked teams (according to the AP ranking) in the season’s first six games. Notre Dame won three of the games, taking down #23 Pittsburgh, #3 Michigan and #22 Purdue – all on the road – before a narrow loss to #1 USC at home on Oct. 15.
- The season culminated with Notre Dame’s appearance in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, a 34-20 loss to Ohio State. The game was the Irish’s second appearance in a Bowl Championship Series bowl game and Notre Dame’s first since 2000. The bowl game marked Notre Dame’s 27th bowl appearance (13-14) and the 15th in 19 years.
- Notre Dame’s 9-3 record marked a drastic improvement over the previous season’s 6-6 mark. The Irish lost their three games by a total of 20 points and narrowly missed a perfect regular season, losing two games by a total of six points (one in overtime, the other with :03 on the clock). Conversely, Notre Dame’s victories came by an average of 18.7 points per contest.
- Notre Dame had a 2-1 record against bowl teams during the regular season, including an 0-1 mark against BCS teams (wins over Michigan and Navy; loss to BCS participant USC). The three Irish opponents in bowls: Michigan (lost to Nebraska in Alamo), Navy (defeated Georgia Tech in Emerald) and USC (lost to Texas in Rose Bowl for the National Championship).
- The Notre Dame offense scored at a feverish pace in 2005, eclipsing 40 points six times, matching the school record set by both the 1991 and 1992 teams. The Irish scored 30 or more points in 10 of 12 games, setting a school record for 30-point performances (old record: nine in `91). The Irish scored 30+ points in nine straight games to end the regular season, the first Notre Dame team to do so. Notre Dame ended the season with 440 points scored to set a new Irish standard (old record: 426 in `91).
- With the impressive scoring pace, the Irish also put up yardage totals previously unprecedented in Notre Dame history. The 2005 Irish were the first Notre Dame team to have a 3,000-yard passer (Brady Quinn, 3,633 yards), 1,000-yard rusher (Darius Walker, 1,106 yards) and 1,000-yard receiver (Jeff Samardzija, 1,190 yards and Maurice Stovall, 1,023 yards) on the same roster.