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Irish Look To Bounce Back Against Pittsburgh

Oct. 1, 2001

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-3) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (1-2)

The Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2001, at 1:30 p.m. EST.
The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,232/Natural Grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The Tickets: They’re all sold-with this game marking the 157th consecutive sellout in Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The Pittsburgh game also marks the 205th home sellout in the last 206 games (back to 1964) and the 131st sellout in the last 153 games involving Notre Dame, including the first 10 games of 1998, the first 11 in ’99, the first five in ’00 and the first four 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 Pittsburgh game, via the Notre Dame ( and Pittsburgh ( athletic websites.
Websites: Notre Dame (, Pittsburgh (

The Head Coach
Fifth-year Irish head coach Bob Davie owns a 30-22 (.577) 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 marks the 59th meeting between Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, with the Irish holding a 40-17-1 series lead. Notre Dame has also won eight of its last nine games against the Panthers, although Pittsburgh won the last meeting, 37-27, on Nov. 13, 1999, in the final game at Pitt Stadium.
  • Pittsburgh is making its first appearance at Notre Dame Stadium since 1996, when the Irish defeated the Panthers, 60-6. In their last four meetings at Notre Dame, the Irish have outscored Pittsburgh, 191-20 (an average score of 48-5).
  • For more on the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh series, please see page 3 of this notes package.

Notre Dame’s Probable Starting OFFENSE
SE 21 Javin Hunter Caught career-high eight passes against Texas A&M
LT 78 Jordan Black Started all 12 games in ’00, most experience on line
LG 79 Sean Mahan Shared time with Jim Jones in ’00, played in all 12 games
C 52 Jeff Faine Lindy’s ranks him as the third-best center nationally
RG 75 Kurt Vollers Fifth-year player who started all 12 games last season
RT 63 Brennan Curtin Has started last two games (first of his career)
TE 84 John Owens Made first career catch at A&M after playing DL most of ’00
FL 6 David Givens Multipurpose player who can run, catch, pass and return kicks
QB 7 Carlyle Holiday Made first career start against Texas A&M
FB 36 Tom Lopienski Rated 12th among fullbacks by The Sporting News
TB 12 Tony Fisher Doak Walker Award candidate, 17 career touchdowns
or 22 Julius Jones Irish leading rusher for ’00 with 657 yards

Notre Dame’s Probable Starting DEFENSE
LE 98 Anthony Weaver All-star candidate, 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble vs. Neb.
DT 60 Darrell Campbell Ready to impact defense after gaining 30 lbs. in offseason
NG 94 Andy Wisne Career-high six tackles (1 TFL) against Michigan State
RE 44 Grant Irons In second year as Irish captain
ILB 51 Tyreo Harrison ABC/Chevrolet Player of the Game at A&M with 14 tackles
ILB 33 Courtney Watson Recorded double digit tackles in first three games of ’01
OLB 30 Rocky Boiman Named to The Sporting News “Great Unknowns” team
LCB 15 Clifford Jefferson The most experienced defensive back on the Irish roster
FS 28 Donald Dykes Had 13 tackles against Nebraska in first career start
SS 5 Ron Israel Logged career-high nine tackles in first two games of ’01
RCB 42 Shane Walton A leader of the secondary, recorded 40 tackles in ’00

Notre Dame’s Probable SPECIALISTS
PK/KO 13 Nicholas Setta Tied career long with 47-yard FG at Texas A&M
P 17 Joey Hildbold Ray Guy Award candidate, #1 in nation with 48.8 avg. in ’01
HLD 80 Adam Tibble Second year as holder for Setta
SNP 53 John Crowther Walk-on who snaps on field goals, PATs and punts
PR/KR 22 Julius Jones 2000 first-team All-America kickoff returner by


  • The Irish would improve to 18-4 against BIG EAST Conference teams since 1990 (and 8-2 in the Bob Davie era).
  • Notre Dame will win its 14th consecutive game in the month of October and move to 15-2 overall in October under head coach Bob Davie.
  • The Irish would pick up their ninth win over Pittsburgh in the last 10 meetings between the two schools (and their fifth consecutive victory over the Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium).
  • Notre Dame would end its three-game regular-season losing streak.
  • The Irish will record their 41st series win over Pittsburgh, tying for the third most victories against one opponent in school history (Navy – 64, Purdue – 47, Pittsburgh/Michigan State/USC – 41).
  • Notre Dame would notch its 73rd victory over a current member of the BIG EAST, its second highest win total over one conference behind the Big Ten (205 victories).


  • The Panthers would claim their second consecutive victory over Notre Dame, winning back-to-back games over the Irish for the first time since they won three in a row in 1983, ’86 and ’87.
  • Pittsburgh would earn its first win at Notre Dame Stadium since a 10-9 triumph over the Irish in 1986.
  • It would snap Notre Dame’s three-game winning streak against BIG EAST schools.
  • The Irish would lose their first game in the month of October since a last-minute 20-17 setback to USC on Oct. 18, 1997.


  • Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Pittsburgh (40-17-1), including a 17-8 mark in games played at Notre Dame (all at Notre Dame Stadium).
  • The Irish have won eight of their last nine games with the Panthers, although Pittsburgh claimed the last meeting between the schools, 37-27, on Nov. 13, 1999, in the final game played at Pitt Stadium.
  • Despite losing its last encounter with Pittsburgh, Notre Dame has outscored the Panthers, 376-141, over the last nine games in the series, topping the 40-point mark six times in that span.
  • Notre Dame is 70-29-3 all-time against schools from the state of Pennsylvania, with the Pittsburgh series accounting for more than half of the games played (58) and the Irish victories (40).
  • The teams first played in 1909, ’11 and ’12 (all at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field), with Notre Dame picking up two wins and a tie and shutting out Pittsburgh in all three contests. The series resumed from 1930-37 before taking a five-year break. It picked up again from 1943-54, took 1955 off, and then played every year in a 23-season stretch (1956-78) before taking a four-year hiatus in the series. The Irish and Panthers met in 1982 and ’83, every season from 1986-92, and then 1996, ’97 and ’99.
  • Beginning in 1943, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh have met in 49 of the last 59 seasons (including 2001), with no gaps in the series of more than three years during that 59-year period.
  • The Irish and Panthers have combined to win 26 national championships (Notre Dame – 17, Pittsburgh – nine), ranking both among the top six schools in that category.
  • Pittsburgh notched its highest point total ever in the series (37) in its last meeting with Notre Dame in 1999, conversely, the Irish have topped the 37-point level 20 times against the Panthers, including an eight-game stretch from 1965-72.
  • Four of the 10 biggest victory margins in Notre Dame history have come against Pittsburgh: by 58 in 1944 (58-0), by 56 in 1945 (56-0) and 1965 (69-13), and by 54 in 1996 (60-6).


  • Notre Dame’s 2001 roster includes four Pennsylvania natives: junior OT Jim Molinaro (Bethlehem/Catholic HS), senior FB Jason Murray (Belle Vernon/Belle Vernon HS), freshman non-scholarship TB Mike Profeta (Cranberry Township/Seneca Valley HS) and senior OG Ryan Scarola (Export/Franklin Regional HS).
  • The 2001 Notre Dame roster includes players from 25 different states, while this season’s Pittsburgh roster lists 48 Pennsylvania natives and players from 13 other states.
  • Scarola and Pittsburgh senior DB Mark Ponko were teammates at Franklin Regional High School, while Murray and Pittsburgh freshman TE Erik Gill both attended Belle Vernon High School.
  • Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie was born in the western Pennsylvania town of Sewickley, graduating from Moon Senior High School in 1972. After graduating from Youngstown State in 1976, Davie was a graduate assistant coach on Jackie Sherrill’s 1977 staff at Pittsburgh as the Panthers went 9-2-1 and logged a 34-3 win over Clemson in the Gator Bowl. Davie’s first game as a college coach was a 19-9 loss to Notre Dame at Pitt Stadium on Sept. 10, 1977, the Panthers’ first game since their 1976 national championship season.
  • Davie returned to Pittsburgh as linebackers coach from 1980-82, helping produce a 29-5 combined record and three bowl trips (a 37-9 win over South Carolina in the Gator, a 24-20 win over Georgia in the Sugar, and a 7-3 loss to SMU in the Cotton). Davie coached under Sherrill in 1980 and ’81 before spending the 1982 season under Foge Fazio (who, like Davie, went on to become the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame in 1986-87).
  • Fifth-year Notre Dame running backs coach Desmond Robinson was a linebacker and defensive end at Pittsburgh from 1975-78, playing on the 1976 national championship team and going to four bowl games (Davie was a graduate assistant coach on Robinson’s 1977 club). Robinson later returned to Pittsburgh in 1981 as the defensive backs coach, working alongside Davie on the Panthers’ 11-1 team which downed Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
  • Current Pittsburgh assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach Bob Junko coached with Davie on Pittsburgh’s 1982 team (Junko was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator from 1982-85).
  • Fourth-year Irish offensive line coach Dave Borbely and Pittsburgh head coach Walt Harris were on the same staff at Tennessee during the 1984 and ’85 seasons, when Borbely was a graduate assistant offensive line coach (Harris coached at UT from 1983-88 as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator).
  • Eighth-year Notre Dame assistant head coach and linebackers coach Kirk Doll also worked with the linebackers at Arizona State from 1985-87, coaching on the same staff with Pittsburgh offensive line coach Tom Freeman, who guided the ASU line from 1984-91.
  • Doll also served with current Pittsburgh tight ends coach Bob Ligashesky at Arizona State during the 1986 and ’87 seasons when Ligashesky was a graduate assistant coach and the Sun Devils made a trip to the 1986 Rose Bowl.
  • Notre Dame assistant strength and conditioning coach Tony Rolinski worked in the Pittsburgh strength and conditioning department from 1994-96 while attaining his master’s degree in exercise physiology from the school. He then was the head strength coach at North Hills High School in Pittsburgh before serving as the head strength and conditioning coach at Duquesne in 1997-98.
  • Sixth-year Irish women’s lacrosse coach Tracy Coyne is a Pittsburgh native and a 1978 graduate of Cenevin High School (which also produced Notre Dame All-America QB Tom Clements, who led the Irish to the 1973 national title). In addition, Coyne worked in the Pittsburgh athletic department in 1985 as an administrative assistant to the senior women’s administrator.
  • Notre Dame’s all-time football roster includes more than 2,500 players who have appeared in at least one career game, with 18 hailing from Pittsburgh: RG Frank Winter (1898-1901), QB Clarence Diebold (1900), LG Lee Diebold (1910), HB John McSorley (1926-27), T Joe Papa (Kiski Prep, 1938-40), QB Joe Gasperella (Vandergrift HS, 1944-45), LG Ed Fay (Central Catholic HS, 1944-45), E Ray Jonardi (Baldwin HS, 1949-50), HB Dave Flood (Langley HS, 1950-52), T Bill McCarthy (North Catholic HS, 1951), FB Don Schaefer (Central Catholic HS, 1953-55), HB Tom Mittelhauser (South Hills Catholic HS, 1963), PK Joe Azzaro (Central Catholic HS, 1964-67), OG/LB Dan Dickman (North Catholic, HS, 1967), LB John Cloherty (Churchill Area HS, 1969-71), QB Jim Bulger (Central Catholic HS, 1970-71), FB Ray Zellars (Oliver HS, 1991-94) and OG Rob Mowl (Woodland Hills HS, 1998). Of the players listed, Zellars had the longest stint as a starter (in 1993 and ’94).


  • Notre Dame’s all-time football roster includes 18 quarterbacks from the state of Pennsylvania, highlighted by some of the most noteworthy QBs in the program’s history: Johnny Lujack (Connelsville/Connelsville HS, 1943, ’46-’47), Bob Williams (Wilkes-Barre/G.A.R., 1956-58), Terry Hanratty (Butler/Butler HS, 1966-68), Tom Clements (McKees Rocks/Cenevin HS, 1972-74), Joe Montana (Monongahela/Ringgold HS, 1975, ’77-’78) and Ron Powlus (Berwick/Berwick HS, 1994-97).
  • Lujack played on three national title teams and won the 1947 Heisman Trophy while Williams backed up Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung in 1956 before starting in ’57 and ’58. Williams made some key plays on both sides of the ball in the 7-0 win at Oklahoma in ’57, halting the Sooners’ NCAA-record 47-game winning streak. Hanratty was a three-year starter and helped the Irish win the 1966 national championship. Clements also was a three-year starter and led the Irish to a national title in his junior season (1973). Montana backed up Rick Slager in 1975 and was injured in 1976 before guiding the Irish to the 1977 national title (he also started in ’78 and led Notre Dame to a comeback victory over Houston in the Cotton Bowl).
  • Hanratty completed 58.9 percent of his passes in 1968 (fourth in Irish history) while his 366 passing yards vs. Purdue in 1967 remain second all-time at Notre Dame. He also ranks sixth at Notre Dame for career passing yards (4,152) and TDs (27) and fourth with 304 completions.
  • Clements ranks eighth in Irish history with 490 completions (in three seasons) and ninth in single-season completions (215 in 1974).
  • Montana ranks seventh at Notre Dame with 515 career completions (in three years) while his 141 completions in 1978 rank fourth all-time.
  • Powlus owns the Irish career record for completions (558) while ranking second in season and career completion percentage (.611 in 1997, .575 career). He also owns Irish records for the lowest career interception ratio (.0278, 27 of 969), career passing yards (7,602), TD passes in a season (19 in 1994) and career TD passes (52) while sharing the school record for TD passes in a game (four, three times).
  • Pittsburgh and the surrounding western Pennsylvania area have produced a number of Irish QBs including Lujack, Williams, Hanratty, Montana, Clarence Diebold (Pittsburgh, starter in 1900), Joe Gasperella (Pittsburgh/Vandergrift HS, ’44-’45), Jim Bigelow (Glenshaw/Shaler HS, ’52-’54 reserve), Pat Steenberge (Erie/Cathedral Prep, ’70-’71), Jim Bulger (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic HS, ’70-’71 reserve), Ken Karcher (Glenshaw/Shaler HS, ’81-’82), and Paul Failla (Sewickley/North Allegheny HS, ’91-’93).
  • Other Notre Dame QBs from Pennsylvania have included Philadelphia natives Vince McNally (Roman Catholic HS, ’25-’26), Charles McKinney (’26-’27 reserve) and Bill Whiteside (LaSalle HS, ’49-’50), plus John Mazur (Plymouth/Plymouth HS, backup in ’49-’50, starter in ’51) and Cliff Brown (Middletown/Middletown Area HS, ’71-’73).

In the final game ever played at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh defeated Notre Dame, 37-27, on Nov. 13, 1999, in the facility that opened in 1925 and was home to Panther football for 75 years. With Notre Dame trailing 30-27 and 7:01 left to play, the Irish defense forced Pittsburgh to punt. On a first-and-10 play from the Irish 37, Notre Dame quarterback Jarious Jackson completed a pass to wide receiver Joey Getherall, but Getherall was hit as soon as the ball came to him and it bounced directly to Pittsburgh’s Scott McCurley, who returned the interception to the Notre Dame 44-yard line. Ten plays later, Keven Barlow scored his second touchdown of the game from two yards out to seal the Panthers’ victory and break an eight-game losing streak against the Irish. The loss overshadowed a superb passing day by Jackson, who completed 22 of 37 passes for 317 yards and two TDs. The bulk of those completions went to wide receiver Bobby Brown, who caught 12 passes (one shy of the school record held by Jim Seymour) for 208 yards and a score.


  • Pittsburgh is the fifth-most common opponent in Irish football history, trailing four other ’01 foes: Navy (75th meeting in ’01), Purdue (73rd meeting in ’01), USC (73rd meeting in ’01) and Michigan State (65th meeting in ’01).
  • Notre Dame faces its five most common opponents this season (Navy, Purdue, USC, Michigan State and Pittsburgh).
  • The Irish have played 130 different teams in their 112 years of varsity football.


  • Notre Dame has won nearly 72 percent of its games (72-28-2) vs. teams that currently make up the BIG EAST Conference, with 58 of those 102 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 (72) than any other conference except the Big Ten (205).
  • The Irish are 33-11 (.750) all-time against BIG EAST schools at Notre Dame Stadium, with eight of those losses coming to Pittsburgh.
  • Notre Dame is 17-4 against BIG EAST teams since 1990, including a run of eight consecutive victories from 1995-98.
  • The Irish have won their last three games against BIG EAST schools, with all three victories coming last season (West Virginia, Boston College and Rutgers).
  • 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 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.


  • Some of the biggest-gaining plays in Notre Dame football history have come in games against Pittsburgh, including the longest punt, longest field goal, second-longest pass play, fourth-longest run from scrimmage and fifth-longest punt return.
  • The longest punt and field goal in Notre Dame history both have come in games against Pittsburgh (42 seasons apart). Bill Shakespeare booted an 86-yard punt versus the Panthers in 1935, while Dave Reeve connected on a 53-yard field goal in the 1976 season-opening loss to Pittsburgh (31-10). Shakespeare also had a 72-yard punt against the Panthers in 1934 (still seventh in Irish history).
  • Bob Kelly ripped off an 85-yard run versus Pittsburgh in 1944 (tied for fourth in the Irish record book), while John Huarte’s 91-yard pass play to Nick Eddy remains the second-longest in school history. Other long Irish pass plays versus the Panthers have included: Joe Theismann to Mike Creaney (eighth in ND record book, 78 yards, 1970), George Izo to Aubrey Lewis (14th, 74, 1957) and Izo to Red Mack (17th, 72 yards, 1958).
  • Five of the longest punt returns in Notre Dame history have also come against Pittsburgh: Joe Heap (fifth-longest, 92 yards, 1952), Lancaster Smith (seventh, 85, 1948), Allen Rossum (eighth, 83, 1996), Tom Schoen (12th, 78, 1967) and Autry Denson (14th, 74, 1996).


  • The following Notre Dame records were set in games against Pittsburgh: George Izo’s 12.8 passing yards per attempt (26 for 332, 1958), Tom Schoen’s nine punt returns (1967), 231 team punt-return yards and 38.5 yards per punt return (1996), low ND first downs (3, modern record, 1937), 31 rushing first downs (1993), 40 points in the second quarter (1996), and 49 points in the first half (modern record, 1968).
  • The following are tied for first in the Notre Dame record book and were set in games versus Pittsburgh: Daryle Lamonica’s four TD passes (1962), Ken Ivan’s nine PATs (1965), Allen Rossum’s two punt returns for TDs (1996), five Irish TD passes (1944), low total offense attempts (31 in 1937), modern records of 69 points, 10 TDs and nine PATs (1965), low ND rushing first downs (1 in 1937), low ND passing first downs (0 in 1989) and no ND punts (last done in 1993).
  • The first of Lee Becton’s six consecutive 100-yard rushing games (a Notre Dame record) came against Pittsburgh in 1993.
  • Bill Wolski’s 30 points (five TDs) versus Pittsburgh in 1965 rank second in the Irish record book, as do Ivan’s 10 PAT attempts in 1965.
  • Angelo Dabiero’s 22.6 yards per kick return average (6 for 136) against Pittsburgh in 1960 ranks sixth in Irish history, while Tim Brown’s 26.0 yards per catch ratio (6 for 156) in 1987 ranks fourth.
  • Former Pittsburgh players and teams hold the following Notre Dame opponent records: 303 rushing yards by Tony Dorsett (23 carries in 1975), 754 career rushing yards by Dorsett (96 carries from 1973-76), six career TD passes by Alex Van Pelt (1989-92), 10 career PATs and five career field goals by Carson Long (tied for first, 1973-76), and 411 team rushing yards (50 carries in 1975, tied for first).

One area which has been a strength for Notre Dame in 2001 has been the kicking game. Junior PK Nicholas Setta has converted all five of his kicks (three FG, two PAT) this season, and stretched his streak of consecutive extra points made to 34 when he knocked through his only PAT try against Michigan State. Setta has not missed an extra point since Oct. 7, 2000, versus Stanford, and holds the fifth-longest streak in Irish history. He needs two more successful conversion kicks to move into fourth place, passing Ted Gradel, who made 35 straight PATs from Nov. 8, 1986 to Nov. 28, 1987. Craig Hentrich holds the school record with 136 consecutive extra points made from Sept. 30, 1989 to Sept. 26, 1992. In addition, Setta has booted two of the longest field goals of his career this season, connecting from 43 yards out against Michigan State and matching his personal best with a 47-yarder at Texas A&M. He also drilled a 47-yard FG against Purdue in 2000.

Meanwhile, junior P Joey Hildbold, a 2001 Ray Guy Award candidate, continues to make a strong statement to the award committee with his performance this season. For the second game in a row, Hildbold posted a career-high average with 50.5 yards on six punts at Texas A&M. He also connected at an average of 50.1 yards on eight punts against Michigan State – in both cases, Hildbold narrowly missed the school record of 51.6 by Joe Restic against Air Force in 1975. Hildbold’s season average of 48.8 (21 punts, 1,024 yards) leads the nation in the latest NCAA rankings, and puts him in line to shatter the Irish single-season record currently held by Craig Hentrich (44.9 yards in 1990). It also bumps Hildbold into fourth place on Notre Dame’s career punting yardage list with 5,587 yards, passing Brian Doherty, who had 5,573 yards from 1971-73. And, Hildbold has jumped into second place on the Irish career punting average charts with a three-year average of 41.39 yards per punt (5,587 yards on 135 punts). He moves past Hunter Smith, who averaged 41.2 yards per punt from 1995-98.

Junior TB Julius Jones has been a solid force as a kick returner for the Irish. In fact, 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 in the fourth quarter against Boston College in 1999. Jones also piled up 47 yards on two kickoff returns against Texas A&M, giving him 1,166 yards on 47 career returns, good for third in Irish history in that category. For the season, Jones ranks 23rd in the nation in punt returns (12.8).

Junior LB Courtney Watson recorded 10 tackles against Texas A&M, marking the third consecutive game in which he has reached double digits in tackles. Watson notched a career-high 18 tackles against Nebraska, earning Chevrolet Player of the Game honors, and he now leads the team with 38 tackles. Watson’s 18 stops against the Huskers were also the most by an Irish defensive player since Melvin Dansby recorded 18 against Navy in 1997. Coming into the 2001 season, Watson only had 11 tackles in his entire Irish career.

With the Pittsburgh game slated to be shown on NBC, the Notre Dame football team will be playing its 104th consecutive game on one of four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN).That’s a streak that includes eight full seasons (1993-2000) as well as the first four games of the 2001 season. The last time the Irish didn’t appear on one of those four networks was Oct. 31, 1992, when Notre Dame downed Navy, 38-7, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. That game was only shown locally in the South Bend area on WNDU-TV.

Line — The Irish return three talented and experienced players on the offensive line in senior tackle Jordan Black, senior guard Kurt Vollers (who switched from tackle to guard beginning with the Michigan State game) 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 23 games and accumulating more than 400 minutes of playing time. Vollers and Faine are starting for the second straight year on the offensive line, with Vollers spending last season at left tackle and Faine toiling at center. Vollers has seen action in 27 games, starting 17, while Faine has played in 15 games, amassing close to 400 minutes of playing time.

The question for the Irish comes 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. Mahan played in 11 games in ’00, seeing increased playing time as the season progressed, while Milligan, on the other hand, made his third and fourth career appearances against Nebraska and Texas A&M. Junior Brennan Curtin made 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 returned to action against Texas A&M 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 (22-12-119, 3 INT, 24 carries for 51yards) made his first career start against Texas A&M and is expected to get the starting nod 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 (31-168, 1 TD) and Terrance Howard (4-6) and junior Julius Jones (28-106) – 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 returns as the team’s leading rusher from ’00 (657 yards on 162 carries) and is a potential All-America candidate. 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 24 games in his career, carrying the ball 34 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 (9-91) 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 before being limited against MSU and Texas A&M with a quadricep injury. Senior split end Javin Hunter (18-167, 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 (5-54) and Ronnie Rodamer also could contribute, along with freshman Carlos Campbell, who has been impressive this fall. 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.

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) is back at full strength after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Nebraska in 2000. All-star candidate, senior captain and three-year starter Anthony Weaver (16 tackles, four for loss, two sacks) had an impressive game against Nebraska with eight tackles, including two for loss. He also had one sack and a forced fumble. Junior Darrell Campbell (six tackles) has taken over the tackle position after the graduation of B.J. Scott. Senior Andy Wisne (10 tackles, one for loss) has moved into the starting nose guard position this season and recorded a career-best six tackles against Michigan State. The reserves are senior Ryan Roberts (five tackles) at right end, who filled in admirably for Irons in ’00 by recording 23 tackles and five sacks, junior Cedric Hilliard (six tackles, one for loss) at nose guard, and sophomore Kyle Budinscak (five tackles) at tackle.

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 (18 tackles, four for loss, one fumble recovery in ’01) anchors the outside spot, while Harrison (31 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 (38 tackles, seven for loss), 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 each against Michigan State and Texas A&M. Sophomore Jerome Collins backs up Boiman on the outside, while junior Justin Thomas and sophomore Mike Goolsby play behind Watson and senior Carlos Pierre-Antoine spells Harrison.

Backs — Fifth-year strong safety Ron Israel (18 tackles, one for loss) and senior cornerback Shane Walton (10 tackles, one for loss) return to anchor the secondary. Israel logged a career-best nine tackles in the first two games of ’01. 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) has started at right cornerback in the first three games of ’01 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. The reserves are junior Jason Beckstrom (three tackles) and sophomore Preston Jackson at left cornerback and sophomore Vontez Duff (eight tackles) at right corner. Senior free safety Donald Dykes (25 tackles, 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 (11 tackles), who is rated the 11th-best strong safety in the country by The Sporting News, and sophomore Abram Elam (eight tackles).

P Joey Hildbold and PK 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 leads the nation at 48.8 yards per punt after averaging a career-best 50.5 per kick against Texas A&M, respectively. Setta continues to make improvements after going 8-for-14 in his first season as the Irish placekicker, converting all three of his field-goal attempts this season, 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 22.7 yards a kick return this season) and punt return (53-yard return against Michigan State) duties for the Irish, ranking third in school history with 1,166 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.

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).

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 – 6/7, Purdue – 21/18, Stanford – 22/24 and Texas A&M – 24/22). 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 (Ninth-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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

All six of Notre Dame’s home football games for 2001 are sold out, with demand for tickets to the Oct. 13 Notre Dame-West Virginia game ranking highest in the history of Notre Dame Stadium. The sellouts are based on demand from contributing alumni (contributions to the University of $100 or more in the previous calendar year earn alumni the ability to apply for two tickets to any home or away contests), with approximately 33,000 tickets per home game available via a game-by-game lottery system.

The Notre Dame ticket office received requests for 59,368 tickets for the West Virginia game, breaking the record of 57,048 from the 1997 Notre Dame-USC game in the first year of the expanded Notre Dame Stadium.

Demand for the 2001 West Virginia game was based on parents of current Notre Dame students being guaranteed four tickets for that contest — plus contributing alumni having the opportunity to apply for four tickets instead of the usual two, based on its designation as an alumni family game.

Other high demand games for 2001 included Michigan State (48,404 requests – based on senior alumni designation that guarantees two tickets to all alumni out of school 35 or more years – which made it third all-time in terms of demand), USC (47,127 requested, making it seventh all-time) and Tennessee (43,843 requests).

There also were nearly 17,000 requests for tickets to the Sept. 8 road game at Nebraska. Notre Dame received 4,000 tickets for that contest, which attracted a Memorial Stadium-record 78,118 fans.

The six guaranteed sellouts for 2001 mean the final home game in ’01 on Nov. 17 against Navy will mark the 161st consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium and the 209th in the last 210 home games.

Notre Dame has played in front of capacity crowds in 130 of its previous 152 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.

Besides being sellouts, all three of Notre Dame’s games in 2001 have come before stadium record crowds. The Irish played in front of 78,118 fans at Nebraska, welcomed a Notre Dame Stadium-record crowd of 80,795 for the Michigan State game, 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 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. In the 2001 season opener at Nebraska, Walton blocked a punt to set up the Irish’s only TD of the game.
  • 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.

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 five of his kicks this season (three FG, two PAT), stretching his streak of consecutive PAT made to 34. He also matched his career best with a 47-yard field goal at Texas A&M.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 addition to Saturday’s football game with Pittsburgh, several other Notre Dame teams will compete at home this weekend. On Friday, the women’s swimming team will open its season by taking on Pittsburgh in a dual meet at 2:00 p.m. (EST) before joining the Irish men’s swimming team for the Notre Dame Relays at 6:30 p.m. – both competitions will take place at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Also on Friday, the Irish cross country teams will play host to the Notre Dame Invitational at the Warren Golf Course, with the women starting at 4:15 p.m. and men taking off at 5:00 p.m. In addition, the Irish men’s soccer team will be in action, taking on BIG EAST rival Georgetown at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Field. And, the Notre Dame hockey team will welcome the University of Toronto for an exhibition game Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome).