Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Insider: Unsung Hero of the Week

Sept. 13, 1999

Beginning in September, will begin offering a subscription service called the Irish Insider. The Insider will provide expanded content features including a bi-weekly Bob Davie column, exclusive Insider features, game analysis, previews and the video playbook from the Coach’s Edge. The “Unsung Hero of a Week” is a sneek preview of the type of in-depth, exclusive information that Irish Insider’s will recieve on a daily basis as part of their subscription.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Sometimes it is hard to accentuate the positive with two back-to-back heartbreaking losses but the Irish receiving corp shined brilliantly in the team?s 28-23 loss to Purdue.

Quarterback Jarious Jackson almost equaled the performance of Boilermaker sensation Drew Brees. Jackson registered 22 completions for 267 yards in an impressive aerial assault. Brees connected 24 times for 317 yards.

?That was a great college football game,? Davie said. ?The thing we have to do is learn from our experiences.?

While the Irish did make costly makes, the receivers turned in a stellar performance.

?The receivers are all one big unit and we just wanted to step it up overall,? senior Bobby Brown said about the receiver’s mindset entering the Purdue contest.

Senior Raki Nelson registers as this week?s unsung hero with five receptions for 68-yards. With the graduation of standout Malcolm Johnson and the injury to Joey Getherall, Nelson has stepped forward to lead the team. On third down situations, Nelson has become one of Jackson?s favorite targets. In the Michigan contest, Jackson went to Nelson on third and 20 and connected as the time ran out on the Irish comeback.

He tied his game high of five receptions against Michigan again this week with five against Purdue.

Nelson is averaging 14.1 yards per catch and 61 yards per game. Currently, the senior flanker?s total yards receiving ranks as the team?s highest with 183 yards.

?I think he has played well,? offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers said. ?He has obviously made some plays that has helped us. He is a senior and the kind of guy that we expect to make plays for us and he has done that.?

Nelson had five catches to tie with senior Joey Goodspeed for most receptions on the day. On those five catches, Nelson gained 68-yards. Three of his receptions earned the Irish first downs, including his longest catch of the day, which was a 21-yard gain.

The senior also earned the critical first down and goal for the Irish on the Purdue nine-yard line. On the third down and one, Jackson connected with Nelson for an 11-yard gain to put the Irish in scoring position on Purdue?s nine-yard line.

?A positive thing is that we have a lot of heart and a lot of resiliency on this football team,? Davie said. ?We are going to need it to bounce back against Michigan State.?

Watch for Nelson to once again build off another impressive performance, he and his team want nothing more than to enter their bye week with a clean slate of 2-2.