Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Go After Second Straight Win This Week Against West Virginia

Oct. 8, 2001

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The Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2001, 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 game marking the 158th consecutive sellout in Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The West Virginia game also marks the 206th home sellout in the last 207 games (back to 1964) and the 132nd sellout in the last 154 games involving Notre Dame, including the first 10 games of 1998, the first 11 in ’99, the first five in ’00 and the first five in ’01.

The TV Plans: NBC Sports national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Jim Gray (sideline) and Ed Feibischoff (producer).

The Radio Plans: For the 34th consecutive season, all Notre Dame football games are broadcast nationally on radio by Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play-by-play), former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (game analysis) and Paul Hornung (pregame/halftime analysis). The Westwood One Network includes more than 200 stations. A live broadcast from the Notre Dame student radio station, WVFI, is available through the Notre Dame athletic department web site at All Notre Dame football games are heard on WNDV-AM and -FM in South Bend and are also carried live in the Chicago market on ESPN Radio 1000 with on-site pre and post-game from all home games at Notre Dame Stadium featuring Dave Wills, Ed Farmer and former Irish great Dave Duerson.

Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for the West Virginia game, via the Notre Dame ( athletic website.

Websites: Notre Dame (, West Virginia (

The Head Coach Fifth-year Irish head coach Bob Davie owns a 31-22 (.585) career record at Notre Dame. Davie was one of three finalists for the 2000 Football News Coach of the Year Award and was one of 10 finalists for the 1998 Walter Camp Foundation/Street and Smith’s Coach of the Year Award. The 2001 season marks Davie’s eighth year at Notre Dame overall, after serving as defensive coordinator and inside linebacker coach from 1994-96. He coached nine seasons at Texas A&M (’85-’93), two at Tulane (’83-’84), four at Pittsburgh (’77, ’80-’82) and two at Arizona (’78-’79), spending both years at Tulane as defensive coordinator and the last five at Texas A&M in that role. The University announced on Dec. 5, 2000, that Davie signed a five-year contract to continue coaching the Irish through the 2005 season.


  • Saturday’s game is just the fourth all-time meeting between Notre Dame and West Virginia. The Irish have won all three previous games against the Mountaineers, including a 42-28 win last year in Morgantown.
  • For more on the Notre Dame-West Virginia series, please see page 3 of this notes package. Notre Dame’s Probable Starting OFFENSE
Pos.    No. Player  NotesSE  21  Javin Hunter   Caught career-high eight passes against Texas A&MLT  78  Jordan Black   Started all 12 games in '00, most experience on lineLG  79  Sean Mahan   Shared time with Jim Jones in '00, played in all 12 gamesC   52  Jeff Faine   Lindy's ranks him as the third-best center nationallyRG  65  Sean Milligan Started games against Nebraska and PittsburghRT  75  Kurt Vollers   Moved back to RT for Pittsburgh gameTE  84  John Owens   Made first career catch at A&M after playing DL most of '00FL  6   David Givens   Multipurpose player who can run, catch, pass and return kicksQB  7   Carlyle Holiday 19 carries, 122 yards, one TD in win over PittsburghFB  36  Tom Lopienski Rated 12th among fullbacks by The Sporting NewsTB  12  Tony Fisher Doak Walker Award candidate, 17 career touchdownsor  22  Julius Jones   Carried 25 times for 69 yards and two TDs vs. Pittsburgh

Notre Dame's Probable Starting DEFENSE Pos. No. Player NotesLE 98 Anthony Weaver Three tackles for loss, one sack, one INT vs. PittsburghDT 60 Darrell Campbell Credited with two tackles for loss, one sack vs. PittsburghNG 94 Andy Wisne Career-high six tackles (1 TFL) against Michigan StateRE 95 Ryan Roberts Three tackles (1 TFL) in first start of season vs. PittsburghILB 51 Tyreo Harrison ABC/Chevrolet Player of the Game at A&M with 14 tacklesILB 33 Courtney Watson Ranked 17th in nation with 12.67 tackles per game in '01OLB 30 Rocky Boiman Named to The Sporting News ?Great Unknowns? teamLCB 34 Vontez Duff Made first career start against PittsburghFS 28 Donald Dykes Had 13 tackles against Nebraska in first career startSS 5 Ron Israel Logged career-high nine tackles in first two games of '01or 20 Gerome Sapp Made second start of his career (three tackles) vs. PittsburghRCB 42 Shane Walton Had an interception and forced a fumble vs. Pittsburgh
Notre Dame's Probable SPECIALISTS Pos. No. Player NotesPK/KO 13 Nicholas Setta Tied career long with 47-yard FG at Texas A&MP 17 Joey Hildbold Ray Guy Award candidate, #9 in nation with 45.2 avg. in '01HLD 80 Adam Tibble Second year as holder for SettaSNP 53 John Crowther Walk-on who snaps on field goals, PATs and puntsPR/KR 22 Julius Jones 2000 first-team All-America kickoff returner by


  • The Irish would improve to 19-4 against BIG EAST Conference teams since 1990 (and 9-2 in the Bob Davie era).
  • Notre Dame would stretch its winning streak in the month of October to 15 games and move to 16-2 overall in October under head coach Bob Davie.
  • The Irish would remain perfect all-time against West Virginia and log their second win over the Mountaineers at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Notre Dame would notch its 74th victory over a current member of the BIG EAST, its second highest win total over one conference behind the Big Ten (205 victories).
  • The Irish would earn back-to-back victories for the first time since having their seven-game winning streak snapped at the end of the 2000 season. IF WEST VIRGINIA WINS …
  • The Mountaineers would be only the second BIG EAST team since 1994 (a span of nine games) to win at Notre Dame Stadium. No. 25 Boston College turned the trick with a 31-29 win over the Irish on Nov. 20, 1999.
  • It would snap Notre Dame’s four-game winning streak against BIG EAST schools.
  • Notre Dame would lose its first game in the month of October since a last-minute 20-17 setback to USC on Oct. 18, 1997.


  • In the first meeting in the 1989 Sunkist Fiesta Bowl, top-ranked Notre Dame capped off its perfect 12-0 season by beating the nation’s only other unbeaten team in its 34-21 win over third-ranked West Virginia. Tony Rice completed seven of 11 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns, and the Irish ground game ran amassed 245 yards and two TDs. Notre Dame built a 23-3 lead, before West Virginia rallied to cut the lead to 26-13. The Mountaineers then intercepted Rice at the Notre Dame 26-yard line with a chance to continue the comeback, but the Irish defense which limited WVU to 282 yards of total offense forced West Virginia into a loss of 14 yards in the series and forced a punt. Rice then engineered a seven-play, 80-yard drive for a TD, a two-point conversion and a 34-13 lead.
  • In the second meeting (and the first in the regular season) on Nov. 22, 1997, Notre Dame used a key interception from Ivory Covington, then broke up a scoreless second half with a 78-yard scoring drive that enabled the Irish to defeat 22nd-ranked West Virginia, 21-14 in Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame rallied from 7-0 and 14-7 deficits, with Covington’s interception at the Irish five-yard line with 7:32 left in the game proving to be the decisive play of the game. Autry Denson then ran for 36 of his 144 yards on the first play, Ron Powlus found Bobby Brown for the score with 4:56 left. The Irish survived giving up 234 rushing yards and two TDs to Amos Zereoue still the most rushing yards against Notre Dame since 261 by USC’s Charles White in 1979.

THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND WEST VIRGINIA MET Notre Dame scored five touchdowns over an 8:28 span in the second and third quarters, and the Irish defense limited West Virginia to 78 yards in its final five possessions of the first half and first three of the second half en route to a 42-28 win at Mountaineer Field Notre Dame’s first win on an opponent’s home field since a 31-26 win at Boston College on Nov. 7, 1998. Tony Fisher scored three touchdowns ? two receiving and one rushing for the second time in his career to pace the Irish attack. After West Virginia took a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, Terrance Howard raced 80 yards the longest opponent run in the history of Mountaineer Field to tie the game at 14. Notre Dame then scored two TDs in the final 2:22 of the first half to build a 28-14 lead at halftime. David Givens found Joey Getherall on a 52-yard halfback pass on Notre Dame’s second possession of the second half, two plays before QB Matt LoVecchio connected with Fisher for a seven-yard TD pass. Just 2:24 later, Getherall returned a Mountaineer punt 73 yards for a touchdown and a 42-14 Irish lead. Notre Dame then withstood an late West Virginia rally, as the Mountaineers scored the final two touchdowns of the game for the 42-28 final score. NOTRE DAME-WEST VIRGINIA CONNECTIONS

  • Fifth-year Irish running backs coach Desmond Robinson served in that same capacity at West Virginia in 1995 and 1996 and also coached with the Mountaineers in 1988-91 (first three with the defensive line, with running backs in ’91).
  • In ’89, Robinson also worked alongside current WVU head coach Rich Rodriguez, who was cutting his teeth as a volunteer assistant for the Mountaineers that year.
  • Irish first-year cornerbacks coach David Lockwood was a four-year letterman at cornerback for West Virginia from 1985-88, and was a starter on the Mountaineers’ 1988 squad which lost its bid for the national championship to Notre Dame in the Sunkist Fiesta Bowl. Lockwood stayed at WVU in ’89 as a graduate assistant, working with Robinson and Rodriguez, and later returned to Morgantown in 2000 as the Mountaineers’ secondary coach under legendary mentor Don Nehlen.
  • Third-year Irish offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers and second-year WVU quarterbacks coach Bill Stewart worked together at William & Mary in 1981 and ’82, and again at Navy in ’84.
  • Rogers also served with WVU defensive coordinator Phil Elmassian on the staff at Syracuse from 1991-92, helping lead the Orangemen to a pair of 10-2 seasons and a berth in the ’92 Fiesta Bowl.
  • First-year Irish receivers coach Joker Phillips spent time on the same coaching staff with WVU receivers coach Steve Bird when the two were at Kentucky in 1990 and ’91.
  • Irish junior TB and special teams standout Chris Yura is a native of Morgantown, W.Va., and attended Morgantown High School. His parents, Catherine and Michael, both work at West Virginia as psychologists.
  • Irish sophomore WR Ronnie Rodamer also hails from Morgantown and was a teammate of Yura’s at Morgantown High School.
  • Mountaineer junior C Josh Kelly played with Yura and Rodamer at Morgantown High School.
  • Irish freshman CB Dwight Ellick and West Virginia redshirt freshman WR Harold Leath were teammates at Wharton High School in Tampa, Fla.


  • Notre Dame has won nearly 72 percent of its games (73-28-2) vs. teams that currently make up the BIG EAST Conference, with 59 of those 103 games coming against former independent Pittsburgh.
  • The Irish own a winning series record against all six BIG EAST teams they have faced.
  • Notre Dame owns more victories over BIG EAST opponents (73) than any other conference except the Big Ten (205).
  • The Irish are 34-11 (.756) all-time against BIG EAST schools at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Notre Dame is 18-4 (.818) against BIG EAST teams since 1990, including a run of eight consecutive victories from 1995-98.
  • The Irish have won their last four games against BIG EAST schools, including a 24-7 victory over Pittsburgh last Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • The last Notre Dame-Miami game took place in 1990 and is one of the most memorable games in the series, as Raghib Ismail returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, and Craig Hentrich kicked a school-record five field goals to help the sixth-ranked Irish upset the No. 2 Hurricanes, 29-20, at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Notre Dame capped its 1988 national championship season with a 34-21 win in the Sunkist Fiesta Bowl over third-ranked West Virginia.
  • Notre Dame’s last game versus Syracuse came in 1963, a 14-7 home victory for the Orangemen.
  • The Irish have never faced Temple or Virginia Tech on the gridiron.

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING Notre Dame and West Virginia have both played some of the nation’s best teams through the first five weeks of the season. In fact, of the six teams which have defeated the Irish and Mountaineers this season, all are either ranked or receiving votes in the latest Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches’ polls and they have a combined record of 22-2.

IRISH STRONG IN OCTOBER Notre Dame enters the West Virginia game with a 14-game winning streak in October, dating back to a 20-17 loss to USC in 1997. The Irish have a 15-2 (.882) mark in October under fifth-year head coach Bob Davie. Since the 1988 season, Notre Dame is 46-7 (.868) in October and was 32-7 in October in the 1990s.

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF The Notre Dame defense came alive against Pittsburgh, forcing five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) in a 24-7 win over the Panthers. It was the most takeaways by the Irish since Nov. 18, 2000, when they came up with five turnovers in a 45-17 win at Rutgers. The main culprit against Pittsburgh was sophomore SS Abram Elam, who notched the first interception and fumble recovery of his career, the latter coming at the Pittsburgh one-yard line as the Panthers were driving for the go-ahead score. The five takeaways also helped the Irish limit Pittsburgh to just seven points, their best defensive performance since a 30-0 shutout of Navy on Nov. 14, 1998.

IRISH defense GETTING ITS POINT ACROSS One of the strengths of this year’s Notre Dame squad has been its play on the defensive side of the ball. The Irish rank in the top 40 in the country in four defensive statistical categories, according to the latest NCAA rankings released Sunday. Notre Dame is 18th in total defense (286.0 yards per game), 20th in pass defense (163.75), 31st in scoring defense (18.75 points per game), and 38th in rush defense (122.25). Individually, junior LB Courtney Watson ranked 17th in the nation at 12.67 tackles per game when the first of four individual NCAA defensive statistics reports came out Oct. 2 (the next update comes out Oct. 23).

SECOND HALF SUCCESS Notre Dame has been particularly strong on defense in the second half this season. The Irish have yet to allow a single point in the third quarter of their first four games in 2001 and have given up just 14 second-half points all season (an average of 3.5 ppg), with one of those two second-half touchdowns coming on a return of a blocked punt at Texas A&M.

IRISH DISPLAY END TO END ACTION The biggest momentum shift in Notre Dame’s win over Pittsburgh came late in the third quarter, sophomore SS Abram Elam came up with a Panther fumble at the Irish one-yard line. With the entire field in front of them, the Irish proceeded to go all the way in just four plays with the majority of the yardage coming on a 67-yard touchdown run from sophomore QB Carlyle Holiday. It was the first time Notre Dame had marched the length of the field for a score since Oct. 3, 1998, when the 23rd-ranked Irish went 99 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of their 35-17 win over Stanford.

RED ZONE REPORT Over the last two seasons, Notre Dame has been particularly effective in the red zone. This year, the Irish are 7-of-8 (.875) inside their opponents’ 20-yard line, chalking up four touchdowns and three Nicholas Setta field goals. That follows on the heels of last season’s 33-of-35 (.943) performance in the red zone. Here’s a look at how the Irish have fared deep in their opponents’ territory this year:

NOTRE DAME ENJOYS HOLIDAY AGAINST PITTSBURGH Making just his second career start, sophomore QB Carlyle Holiday enjoyed his best day in an Irish uniform against Pittsburgh, rushing 19 times for 122 yards and a touchdown in Notre Dame’s 24-7 win. Holiday’s 122 yards rushing were the most by an Irish quarterback since Tony Rice ran for 141 yards at 17th-ranked Penn State on Nov. 18, 1989. It was also the most carries by a Notre Dame signal-caller since Jarious Jackson toted the pigskin 21 times against LSU on Nov. 21, 1998. The highlight of Holiday’s performance against Pittsburgh came late in the third quarter when he raced 67 yards for a touchdown, the longest scoring run by an Irish quarterback since Blair Kiel scampered 80 yards with a fake punt against Arizona on Oct. 25, 1980.

IRISH ARE SOUND IN THE KICKING GAME Junior K Nicholas Setta has been a mainstay for Notre Dame this season, converting all nine of his kicks (four FG, five PAT) this season and leading the Irish in scoring with 17 points. In addition, Setta has booted two of the longest field goals of his career in 2001, connecting from 43 yards out against Michigan State and matching his personal best with a 47-yarder at Texas A&M. All told, Setta has connected on at least one field goal in Notre Dame’s last seven games. The last time Setta didn’t hit a field goal was Nov. 11, 2000 against Boston College, but he still managed to put points on the scoreboard, scurrying five yards for a touchdown on a fake field goal attempt in the third quarter. Besides his field goal success this season, Setta has stretched his streak of consecutive extra points made to 37, the fourth-longest streak in school history. With his three PATs against Pittsburgh, Setta passed Ted Gradel who made 35 straight PATs from Nov. 8, 1986 to Nov. 28, 1987. Setta has not missed an extra point since Oct. 7, 2000, versus Stanford, and now turns his sights on Mike Johnston’s string of 53 straight PATs, which was set from Oct. 18, 1980 to Nov. 19, 1983. Craig Hentrich holds the school record with 136 consecutive extra points made from Sept. 30, 1989 to Sept. 26, 1992.


MANY HAPPY RETURNS FOR JONES Junior TB Julius Jones has been a solid force as a punt and kickoff return specialist for the Irish. Earlier this season, his 53-yard punt return late in the second quarter against Michigan State set up Notre Dame’s only touchdown of the game. It was the second-longest punt return of Jones’ career, topped only by his 67-yard jaunt against Boston College in 1999. Jones has been ranked among the nation’s top punt returners all season long, currently standing 27th in the nation with an average of 11.91 yards per return. Jones also ranks third in Irish history with 1,185 yards on 48 career kickoff returns, and needs just 87 yards to pass Raghib Ismail for second place on that list.

WATSON RANKS AMONG NATION’S TOP TACKLERS Junior LB Courtney Watson is ranked 17th in total tackles per game with 12.67 (38 total) according to the latest NCAA defensive statistics released Oct. 2. He recorded double digits in tackles in each of his first three games this season after logging only 11 tackles in the first two years of his Notre Dame career. Watson also notched a career-high 18 tackles against Nebraska, earning Chevrolet Player of the Game honors. His 18 stops against the Huskers were the most by an Irish defensive player since Melvin Dansby also recorded 18 against Navy in 1997.

SCOUTING THE IRISH OFFENSE Line The Irish return three talented and experienced players on the offensive line in senior tackles Jordan Black and Kurt Vollers and junior center Jeff Faine. All three are viable candidates for postseason honors. Black is in his third season as the starter at the left tackle position, playing in 24 games and accumulating more than 500 minutes of playing time. Vollers and Faine are starting for the second straight year on the offensive line, with Vollers splitting time between right guard and right tackle, and Faine toiling at center. Vollers has seen action in 28 games, starting 18, while Faine has played in 16 games, amassing nearly 450 minutes of playing time.

The preseason question for the Irish came at the guard positions after the graduation of both Jim Jones and third-team The Sporting News All-American Mike Gandy, a third-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears. Senior Sean Mahan started at left guard and junior Sean Milligan at right guard against Nebraska, then Vollers moved in at right guard against Michigan State and Texas A&M before Milligan returned to the position against Pittsburgh. Mahan played in 11 games in ’00, seeing increased playing time as the season progressed, while Milligan cracked the starting lineup against Nebraska and Pittsburgh. Junior Brennan Curtin has also been a solid contributor on the line, making the first two starts of his career at right tackle against Michigan State and Texas A&M. Senior John Teasdale missed the Nebraska and Michigan State games with an injury, but has since returned to action and also could see increased playing time at the guard position in a reserve role.

Backs Sophomore Matt LoVecchio (58-29-245, 1 TD, 3 INT in 2001) began the season as the starting QB for the Irish after winning his first seven games as a starter for the Irish in 2000. LoVecchio posted impressive numbers last year, throwing 11 touchdown passes and only one interception, while smashing the Notre Dame record for interception avoidance percentage at .0080. Fellow sophomore Carlyle Holiday (35-22-189, 3 INT, 43 carries for 173 yards, 1 TD) made his first career start against Texas A&M and picked up his first win as the starter a week later against Pittsburgh. Sophomore Jared Clark briefly saw action at Texas A&M and is also in the quarterback mix in a reserve capacity.

A trio of tailbacks seniors Tony Fisher (41-223, 1 TD) and Terrance Howard (6-9) and junior Julius Jones (53-175, 2 TD) gives the Irish a talented and diversified running attack. Fisher, a 2001 Doak Walker Award candidate, played all 11 games last year, running up 607 yards on 132 carries (4.6 yard avg.). Fisher also is a threat with his hands as he caught 12 passes, including three for touchdowns in ’00. Jones, a potential All-America candidate, returns as the team’s leading rusher from ’00 (657 yards on 162 carries) and scored a pair of touchdowns in Notre Dame?s win over Pittsburgh this year. Howard received a lot of work in the spring as both Fisher and Jones were held out of spring drills. He adds a combination of quickness and power, averaging 5.7 yards a carry in ’00.

The fullback position includes seniors Tom Lopienski, Jason Murray and Mike McNair. Lopienski has played in 25 games in his career, carrying the ball 35 times and catching 10 passes, while Murray saw action in eight games in ’00. McNair has fought through injuries the past two seasons, but after an impressive spring could make a significant contribution in ’01.

Receivers Even after the loss of Joey Getherall, these are the most competitive spots on the Irish depth chart. Senior flanker David Givens (14-130) was Notre Dame’s leading receiver in 2000, averaging 12.4 yards a catch. Givens also hauled in seven passes for 66 yards against Nebraska and added five catches for 39 yards against Pittsburgh. Senior split end Javin Hunter (21-190, 1 TD) is the Irish big-play threat, averaging 19.7 a catch in ’00, and grabbing a career-high eight balls versus Texas A&M. Senior flanker Arnaz Battle (3-23) made his debut at flanker for the Irish against Nebraska, catching two balls, but he will miss four to six weeks with a fractured right fibula (leg) suffered against Michigan State. Sophomore receivers Lorenzo Crawford, Omar Jenkins (6-64) and Ronnie Rodamer also could contribute, along with freshman Carlos Campbell. Jenkins logged a career-high four catches against Michigan State. The tight end position is a question mark for the Irish after the departures of All-Americans Jabari Holloway (fourth-round draft pick of New England Patriots) and Dan O’Leary (sixth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills). Senior John Owens (1-9) and junior Gary Godsey have both been converted to the tight end position after playing defensive line and quarterback, respectively, in 2000. Both players are over 270 pounds, are excellent blockers and have good hands. Owens also picked up his first career reception in the first quarter against Texas A&M.

SCOUTING THE IRISH DEFENSE Line The Irish defensive line is one of the most experienced and deepest units on the roster. Senior captain Grant Irons (nine tackles, two for loss in 2001), who missed most of last season after suffering a shoulder injury against Nebraska, started the first three games of 2001 before sitting out the Pittsburgh game with a sprained ankle. All-star candidate, senior captain and three-year starter Anthony Weaver (21 tackles, seven for loss, three sacks, one INT) had impressive games against Nebraska (eight tackles, two for loss, one sack, one forced fumble) and Pittsburgh (five tackles, three for loss, one sack, one INT). Junior Darrell Campbell (10 tackles, two for loss) took over the tackle position after the graduation of B.J. Scott and picked up four tackles, two for losses, against Pittsburgh. Senior Andy Wisne (12 tackles, one for loss) has moved into the starting nose guard position this season and recorded a career-best six tackles against Michigan State. Senior end Ryan Roberts (eight tackles, one for loss) filled in admirably for Irons in ’00 and did so again in the Pittsburgh game. Junior Cedric Hilliard (seven tackles, two for loss, one sack) at nose guard, and sophomore Kyle Budinscak (five tackles) at tackle are the other contributors.

Linebackers Two of three starters return among the Irish linebackers, seniors Rocky Boiman (third on the team in tackles with 58, including eight for loss in ’00) and Tyreo Harrison (46 tackles and one fumble recovery last year). Boiman (21 tackles, five for loss, one fumble recovery in ’01) anchors the outside spot, while Harrison (37 tackles, four for loss in ’01) is in his second season starting at the inside linebacker position. Boiman recorded a career-high 11 tackles versus Texas A&M, while Harrison had a career-high 14 stops against the Aggies. Junior LB Courtney Watson (42 tackles, eight for loss, one sack, one fumble recovery), who came into the ’01 season with 11 career tackles, recorded a team-high 18 tackles against the Huskers, earning Chevrolet Player of the Game honors for the Irish. He then added 10 tackles against Michigan State and Texas A&M and ranked 17th nationally at 12.67 tackles per game (as of Oct. 2). Sophomore Derek Curry backs up Boiman on the outside, while junior Justin Thomas and sophomore Mike Goolsby play behind Watson and senior Carlos Pierre-Antoine (two tackles) spells Harrison.

Backs Fifth-year strong safety Ron Israel (18 tackles, one for loss) and senior cornerback Shane Walton (14 tackles, one for loss, one INT, one forced fumble, one blocked kick) return to anchor the secondary. Israel logged a career-best nine tackles in the first two games of ’01, but sat out against Pittsburgh with a pulled hamstring. Walton is in his second season as the starting right cornerback after playing in 10 games in ’00 and is one of Notre Dame’s most improved players considering he did not even play football his freshman season, instead starring on the Irish men’s soccer team. Senior Clifford Jefferson (10 tackles, two for loss) started at right cornerback in the first three games of ’01 (missed the Pittsburgh game with an injury) after starting all 12 games and recording 77 tackles with eight pass breakups in ’99, and serving as Notre Dame’s top reserve (and starting two games) in ’00. Sophomore Vontez Duff (nine tackles) took over the starting right cornerback slot vs. Pittsburgh, the first starting assignment of his career. The reserves include junior Jason Beckstrom (six tackles) and sophomore Preston Jackson at left cornerback. Senior free safety Donald Dykes (27 tackles, one for loss, one fumble recovery), made his first start against Nebraska and had a career-high 13 tackles after recording only 18 stops all of last year. Key reserves include Jim Thorpe Award candidate junior SS Gerome Sapp (14 tackles), who is rated the 11th-best strong safety in the country by The Sporting News, and sophomore Abram Elam (10 tackles), who had an interception and fumble recovery against Pittsburgh, both the first of his career.

SCOUTING THE IRISH SPECIAL TEAMS P Joey Hildbold and K Nicholas Setta return, giving the Irish one of the best kicking tandems in the nation. Hildbold, a Ray Guy Award candidate, was voted one of the top three punters in the nation by Street and Smith’s after averaging 40.9 yards a kick in ’00, including 22 inside the 20. Hildbold is ninth in the nation at 45.2 yards per punt after averaging a career-best 50.5 per kick against Texas A&M. Setta continues to make improvements after going 8-for-14 in his first season as the Irish placekicker, converting all four of his field-goal attempts this season and matching his career long with a 47-yarder against Texas A&M. Setta also handles all kickoff duties this season. In the return game, junior All-American Julius Jones handles both kickoff (averages 22.1 yards a kick return this season) and punt return (27th in nation at 11.91 yards per return) duties for the Irish, ranking third in school history with 1,185 kickoff return yards. Sophomore cornerback Vontez Duff also returns kicks this season, along with seniors David Givens and Terrance Howard. After blocking four punts last season, Notre Dame was once again up to its old tricks when senior CB Shane Walton blocked a Nebraska punt at the beginning of the fourth quarter, eventually leading to Notre Dame’s only touchdown of the game.

THE 2001 CAPTAINS OLB Rocky Boiman, FL David Givens, DE Grant Irons and DE Anthony Weaver serve as captains for the 2001 season. All are first-time captains, except Irons who becomes only the 13th two-time captain in Notre Dame history and the first since Ron Powlus did it for the 1996 and ’97 seasons. Other multiple-time captains for the Irish include: Edward Prudhomme (1888-1889), Frank Keough (1893-1894), Jack Mullen (1897,1998 and 1899), Louis (Red) Salmon (1902-1903), Leonard Bahan (1918-1919), Pat Filley (1943-1944), Bob Olson (1968-1969), Bob Crable (1980-1981), Phil Carter (1981-1982), Ned Bolcar (1988-1989) and Ryan Leahy (1994-1995).

NUMBER CHANGES The Irish made three number changes from the 2001 media guide rosters as senior special teams player Chad DeBolt has changed from No. 24 to No. 58, senior snapper John Crowther has switched from No. 56 to No. 53 and freshman TE Matt Root has gone from No. 89 to No. 83.


  • Notre Dame once again play one of the nation’s toughest schedules as it faces seven teams that appeared in bowl games in 2000 (Nebraska, Purdue, Texas A&M, Boston College, West Virginia, Tennessee and Pittsburgh).
  • Five of Notre Dame’s 2001 opponents are ranked in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls (Nebraska – 4/4, Tennessee – 13/14, Purdue – 17/16, Stanford – 23/22 and Texas A&M – 25/19). Two other teams (Michigan State and Boston College) also received votes in one or both of the major polls this week.
  • Prior to the 2001 season, the Irish schedule was voted the sixth toughest out of 116 schools by Sports Illustrated (Seventh-ranked UCLA had the fifth toughest schedule according to SI, while Irish opponent USC had the toughest).
  • According to the latest NCAA rankings (as of Sept. 30), Notre Dame has the 17th-toughest schedule in the nation. These rankings take into account the cumulative performance of this season’s Irish opponents (past and future) against Division I-A competition only.

WEAVER, IRONS AND JONES EARN PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA HONORS Senior DE Anthony Weaver was a second-team preseason All-America choice by Athlon and junior TB Julius Jones also earned second-team recognition from Athlon as a kick returner. Street and Smith’s rated Jones a second-team kickoff returner and senior Grant Irons a second-team defensive end. Weaver was also named the 13th best player in the country according to Mel Kiper’s top 30 players for the 2001 season.

FIVE EARN PRESEASON HONORABLE MENTION ALL-AMERICA HONORS Street and Smith’s listed senior Tony Fisher among running backs, senior Jordan Black among offensive linemen, senior Anthony Weaver among defensive linemen, senior Rocky Boiman among linebackers and junior Joey Hildbold among punters as preseason honorable mention All-America selections. Street & Smith’s also rated Fisher as one of 11 candidates for the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the country and Hildbold as one of three candidates for the Ray Guy Award as the top punter in the nation.

IRISH PLAYERS RANK HIGH IN LINDY’S AND THE SPORTING NEWS Lindy’s rated junior center Jeff Faine as the number-three center in the country, while The Sporting News had Faine seventh. Lindy’s rated Anthony Weaver 18th and Grant Irons 15th among defensive end, with The Sporting News putting Irons 10th and Weaver 16th. The Sporting News rated Julius Jones 15th among running backs, senior Tom Lopienski 12th among fullbacks, senior Jordan Black 14th among offensive tackles, senior Rocky Boiman 14th among outside linebackers and junior Gerome Sapp 11th among strong safeties.

POSITION UNITS AND FRESHMAN RANK NATIONALLY AS WELL Athlon rated the Irish running backs as the fourth-best group in the nation. Lindy’s listed the Irish defensive line as eighth best. The Sporting News put Notre Dame’s offensive backfield seventh.

Athlon listed the Notre Dame freshman class as the 12th-best in the country, while Lindy’s had the Irish rookies 14th.

TB TONY FISHER NAMED TO DOAK WALKER AWARD WATCH LIST For the second consecutive season, Irish TB Tony Fisher has been named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List. The Doak Walker Award, named in honor of the late SMU running back, is given annually to the top running back in the nation.

GEROME SAPP NAMED TO THORPE AWARD WATCH LIST Junior SS Gerome Sapp was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list. The Thorpe Award is given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

WEAVER AND FAINE NAMED TO LOMBARDI AWARD WATCH LIST, FAINE TO RIMINGTON TROPHY LIST DE Anthony Weaver and C Jeff Faine, along with 79 other players nationally, were named to the updated Rotary Lombardi Award watch list. Weaver made a strong case for the award against Nebraska with eight tackles, including two for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. The Lombardi Award is given annually to the nation’s top lineman or linebacker. Faine was also one of 15 players named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s top center.

COACHING IN THE CLUTCH Knute Rockne owns the best career winning percentage among Notre Dame coaches in games decided by seven or fewer points, at 21-1-5 (.870). Among Irish coaches with 14-plus ?close games,? the other top winning percentages in tight games belong to Elmer Layden (22-7-3, .734), Frank Leahy (17-5-8, .700), Ara Parseghian (13-6-4, .652), Dan Devine (15-9-1, .620), Bob Davie (14-10, .583) and Lou Holtz (20-18-2, .525).

BIG CROWDS Notre Dame has played in front of capacity crowds in 131 of its previous 153 games. Each of the first 10 regular-season games involving Notre Dame during the ’98 season?and the first 11 in ’99?was played in front of a sellout crowd. The first five games of 2000 were played before capacity crowds and nine of 12 overall, and the first four contests in ’01 have all been sold out.

Besides being sellouts, all four of Notre Dame’s games this season have come before stadium record crowds. The Irish played in front of 78,118 fans at Nebraska, welcomed Notre Dame Stadium-record crowds of 80,795 for the Michigan State and Pittsburgh games, and took the field before 87,206 at Texas A&M, setting a Kyle Field, Big 12 Conference and state of Texas record in the process.

NOTRE DAME EXCELS IN ACADEMICS AS WELL AS ON THE FIELD Notre Dame will receive the 2001 American Football Coaches Association’s Academic Achievement Award, which is presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Memphis.

Notre Dame recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its football squad when all 20 members of its freshman class of 1995 earned a degree. Vanderbilt also recorded a 100 percent rate to share the 2001 award with Notre Dame.

Notre Dame won the award for the sixth time (previously in 1982,1983, 1984-tie, 1988, 1991). Notre Dame’s six awards are second most behind the 10 won by Duke University.

Notre Dame has earned honorable mention status 14 times.

The 2001 AFCA Academic Achievement Award will be presented to Notre Dame and Vanderbilt at the AFCA Kickoff Luncheon during the Association’s 2002 convention in San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to the 2001 AFCA Academic Achievement Award, the 2000 Notre Dame football squad had its most successful semesters in the classroom in the history of the program, based on final grades from the 2001 spring semester and the 2000 fall semester. In the spring, Notre Dame finished with a combined team grade-point average of 2.75, the highest combined GPA on record, besting the previous high of 2.67 set during the 2000 fall semester.


  • Notre Dame has three athletes who are two-sport standouts with the Irish:
  • Cornerback Shane Walton is less than two years removed from earning all-BIG EAST honors as a freshman forward on the ’98 Irish men’s soccer team. Walton entered the 2000 season as Notre Dame’s starter at right cornerback and finished with 29 tackles, one tackle for a loss, two interceptions including a 60-yard INT return for a touchdown against Purdue’s Drew Brees and three passes deflected. Walton joined the Irish football squad in the spring of ’99 and saw action in three games in the secondary during the ’99 season. He played in nine games overall with 61 appearances on special teams, earning his second Notre Dame monogram in as many years and in as many sports. This season, Walton blocked a punt against Nebraska to set up an Irish TD, and picked off a pass against Pittsburgh to help keep the high-powered Panther offense in check.
  • Walk-on Chad DeBolt made 72 special teams appearances in ’00 including a season-high 13 vs. USC and was one of just four walkons on the usual travel list. He recovered a blocked punt vs. Rutgers and blocked a punt vs. USC both of which led to Irish TDs. This season, he has made 40 special teams appearances and also charted a tackle in Notre Dame’s win over Pittsburgh.
  • DeBolt also stars for the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team which advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 2001. The Waterloo, N.Y., native played in all 16 games for the Irish in ’01 recording one goal, while scooping up 60 ground balls. For his career, he has one goal and 118 ground balls.
  • Kicker Nicholas Setta, who finished sixth at the Illinois state track and field meet in the high jump and was the top hurdler in the state, competed for Irish head coach Joe Piane and the Notre Dame track and field program last winter. Setta ran middle distance for the Irish and competed at the 2001 BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships. On the gridiron, Setta has connected on all nine of his kicks this season (four FG, five PATs), stretching his streak of consecutive PATs made to 37, the fourth-longest in school history. He also tied his career best with a 47-yard field goal at Texas A&M.

FORMER IRISH GREAT DAVE DUERSON Former Notre Dame football All-American Dave Duerson is still extremely involved with the University in a number of capacities. A former team captain, Duerson was named to the Notre Dame Board of Trustees in 2001, and was the winner of the 2001 Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association. The Sorin Award is presented annually to a graduate who has embodied ?the values of Our Lady’s University? in his service to the community. The president of Fair Oaks Farms, Inc., a Wisconsin-based international meat supplier that in 1999 was ranked 64th among Black Enterprise 100 companies, Duerson previously served as a member of the advisory council for the University’s Mendoza College of Business and currently is first vice president of the Notre Dame National Monogram Club (he will serve as president from June 2003-June 2005). He also is a member of the athletic department’s student development mentoring program.

JIM FLANIGAN NAMED CO-WINNER OF NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD In June, former Notre Dame football standout Jim Flanigan was named co-winner of the Walter Payton National Football League Man of the Year Award, which recognizes community service as well as playing excellence. Flanigan is the third Notre Dame graduate to win the award, joining Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann (’82) and Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson (’87). Past winners include 12 members of the Hall of Fame.

Flanigan, an anchor of the Chicago Bears defensive line for seven years before moving to the Green Bay Packers this season, makes a difference with the James Flanigan Foundation, which raises awareness of child literacy through efforts such as the Great American Book Drive, which delivers more than 700,000 books to 400,000 underprivileged children. His programs include Reach Out & Read Chicago, the Flanigan Foundation Literacy Advocate Award, Mission 99, the James and Susan Flanigan Endowed Scholarship at Notre Dame, and the Jim Flanigan Charity Golf Outing.

Flanigan was his class valedictorian at Southern Door High School in Brussels, Wis. At Notre Dame, he started on the defensive line as a junior and senior, earning honorable mention All-America honors in ’93. He twice made the Dean’s List as a business management major and received an academic leadership award.

JIM FLANIGAN NAMED CO-WINNER OF NFL MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD In June, former Notre Dame football standout Jim Flanigan was named co-winner of the Walter Payton National Football League Man of the Year Award, which recognizes community service as well as playing excellence. Flanigan is the third Notre Dame graduate to win the award, joining Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann (’82) and Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson (’87). Past winners include 12 members of the Hall of Fame.

Flanigan, an anchor of the Chicago Bears defensive line for seven years before moving to the Green Bay Packers this season, makes a difference with the James Flanigan Foundation, which raises awareness of child literacy through efforts such as the Great American Book Drive, which delivers more than 700,000 books to 400,000 underprivileged children. His programs include Reach Out & Read Chicago, the Flanigan Foundation Literacy Advocate Award, Mission 99, the James and Susan Flanigan Endowed Scholarship at Notre Dame, and the Jim Flanigan Charity Golf Outing.

Flanigan was his class valedictorian at Southern Door High School in Brussels, Wis. At Notre Dame, he started on the defensive line as a junior and senior, earning honorable mention All-America honors in ’93. He twice made the Dean’s List as a business management major and received an academic leadership award.

NOTRE DAME RECEIVES A GRACIOUS COMMITMENT The University of Notre Dame has received a commitment of $300,000 from Jim and Billy Carroll of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to endow athletic grants-in-aid at the University. Jim Carroll is the current president of Notre Dame’s national Monogram Club.

The Carrolls’ gift will help further the University’s goal of providing each Olympic sport with the full number of grants-in-aid permitted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

We aspire to excellence in everything we do, both in academics and athletics. Our aims for this grants-in-aid initiative are to give every sport at Notre Dame the means to excel and to place our athletic program among the contenders for the annual Sears Directors Cup, which recognizes overall athletic achievement, said William P. Sexton, vice president for University relations, in acknowledging the commitment. ?The Carrolls’ gift is a most generous contribution toward this effort, and we greatly appreciate this leadership support from our Monogram Club president.

Notre Dame’s 11th place finish in the 2000-01 Sears Directors Cup matched its previous best performance in the competition. Stanford University, a perennial top finisher, won the cup.

Billy and Jim Carroll both are graduates of Marist High School in Atlanta, Ga. Jim Carroll went on to become captain of the 1964 Notre Dame football team, the first coached by Ara Parseghian. Playing inside linebacker, he was named to several All-America teams. After being graduated from the University in 1965, he played professional football with the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.

The Carroll brothers have been in the automobile dealership business in Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida since 1967. They own insurance and real-estate holding companies and a restaurant in Cooper City, Fla.

Athletic grants-in-aid are the financial awards provided to student-athletes under NCAA regulations. The grants cover tuition, room and board, and books.

2000-01 NOTRE DAME ATHLETIC RESUME HIGHLIGHTS Notre Dame experienced its most successful season as an athletic department in 2000-01 highlighted with an 11th place Sears Directors’ Cup finish and its fifth consecutive BIG EAST Conference Commissioner Trophy. Here are some highlights from the 2000-01 season:

Women’s basketball 2001 NCAA Champions, track and field’s Ryan Shay won the 10,000 meters at the 2001 NCAA Track and Field Championships, fencing was third at NCAAs and two other teams (women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse) advance to the NCAA Final Four

Four teams ranked number one at some point in season women’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s fencing and baseball

31 athletic All-Americans

Sixteen of possible 22 teams achieved national rankings (no polls for men’s and women’s indoor or outdoor track) and ten teams achieved highest ranking in history of program

Top NCAA finishes include 1st in women’s basketball, 3rd in men’s and women’s fencing combined, national semifinals in women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse, 9th in men’s cross country

Three national players of the year Anne Makinen in women’s soccer, Ruth Riley in women’s basketball, Michelle Dasso in women’s tennis

IRISH FINISH 11th IN SEARS DIRECTORS CUP Notre Dame finished 11th in the final set of sports standings released in the 2000-2001 Sears Directors’ Cup all-sports competition, matching its highest finish ever. Spring NCAA competition earned the Irish points based on their semifinal appearance in men’s lacrosse (75 points), a third-round appearance in women’s tennis (50 points), a second-round showing in men’s tennis (30 points), regional appearances in both softball and baseball (50 and 30 points respectively), and a 21st-place finish in men’s track and field (63 points), giving Notre Dame 764.5 total points for 2000-2001. Winter sports points came from Notre Dame’s NCAA championship in women’s basketball (100 points), a third-place finish in fencing (80 points), a second-round finish in men’s basketball (30 points), a 37th-place finish in women’s swimming (31 points) and a 58th place finish in women’s indoor track and field (23.5 points). Notre Dame earned 202 points during the fall sports season, thanks to the Irish women’s soccer team’s NCAA semifinal finish, the men’s cross country team finishing ninth at the NCAA championships, the football team’s final ranking of 16, plus the volleyball team advancing to the NCAAs . Stanford (1,359 points) won the competition, followed by UCLA, Georgia, Michigan and Arizona. In previous years in which the Sears Directors’ Cup competition has been held, Notre Dame has finished 11th in 1993-94, 30th in ’94-’95, 11th in ’95-’96, 14th in ’96-’97, tied for 31st in ’97-’98, 25th in ’98-’99 and 21st in 1999-2000.

NOTRE DAME ONCE AGAIN A FAN FAVORITE Notre Dame ranked first and Florida State second in ESPN’s ?College Sports Fan Favorite Football Team Poll. The Irish pulled in top billing with 7.1 percent, followed by Florida State at 5.4 percent. Michigan (4.7%), Penn State (4.3%) and Ohio State (3.8%) rounded out the top five. Notre Dame and Florida State also were the only two schools named in all four regions listed in the poll.

FRIDAY FOOTBALL KICKOFF LUNCHEONS Tickets are available for the 2001 Notre Dame Football Kickoff Luncheons in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome). The luncheons will be held the same day and time (Friday at noon EST) before every Irish home football game this season. The 2001 Notre Dame Football Luncheons are sponsored by the Notre Dame Athletic Department and the speaking program each week includes a combination of special guests, head coach Bob Davie, members of the coaching staff and members of the Irish squad, in addition to video features. Tickets are $18 each (plus $3 handling charge per order) and are available by calling (219) 272-2870.

PEP RALLIES All 2001 football pep rallies will be held on Fridays prior to home games in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome), with planned start times of 7:00 p.m.

TENNESSEE KICK OFF TIME CHANGES TO 2:30 P.M. Kickoff for the Nov. 3 Notre Dame-Tennessee game at Notre Dame Stadium has been changed to 2:30 p.m. EST. Tickets and most schedules list it at its original 1:30 p.m. start.

ORDER YOUR MEDIA GUIDES AND YEARBOOKS TODAY The 2001 edition of the Notre Dame Media Guide is available for $10 (plus postage and handling) by calling the Notre Dame Hammes Bookstore at 219-631-6316. This year’s edition features 480 pages of facts, figures and historical notes about Notre Dame football. The 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999 versions of the media guide were voted best in the nation by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

This season marks the eighth edition of the Notre Dame Football Yearbook?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 yearbook, published with Host Communications, numbers more than 150 pages, including game action shots of returning Irish players and coaches, plus photo coverage of the Irish award winners and campus scenes. It’s a collector’s item that’s perfect for autographs with an emphasis on outstanding color photography unavailable in any other publication. The yearbook is priced at $8 (plus $4 for postage and handling) and can be ordered by calling 1-800-313-4678 or by writing to: Notre Dame Programs, 904 N. Broadway, Lexington, KY 40505.

IN OTHER NOTRE DAME SPORTS ACTION THIS WEEKEND… In addition to the Irish football game with West Virginia on Saturday, several other Notre Dame teams will be competing this weekend. On Thursday and Friday, the Irish hockey team opens its 2001-02 campaign with a two-game series against Union College faceoff for both games is set for 7:00 p.m. (EST) at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome). Also on Friday, the Notre Dame women’s soccer team returns to Alumni Field as it plays host to BIG EAST rival St. John’s in a 7:00 p.m. match. The Irish men’s swimming team gets back in the pool Friday at 7:00 p.m. when it welcomes Kalamazoo to the Rolfs Aquatic Center for a dual match. And, the Notre Dame volleyball team will play a pair of BIG EAST home matches this weekend, squaring off with Villanova Friday at 4:00 p.m., and meeting Rutgers Sunday at 2:00 p.m., with both events being contested at the Joyce Center Arena.