Sept. 1, 2008
GAME 1: NOTRE DAME (0-0) vs. SAN DIEGO STATE (0-1)
Saturday, September 6, 2008
TIME:3:43 p.m. ET
SITE (CAPACITY): Notre Dame Stadium (80,795); Notre Dame, Ind.
TICKETS: The game is officially sold out making it the 200th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium. Since 1966, every Notre Dame home football game has been a sellout except one – a 1973 Thanksgiving Day game vs. Air Force. The Irish have now played in front of sellouts in 248 of their last 249 home games.
TV: NBC national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play) and Pat Haden (analysis), Alex Flanagan (sideline), David Gibson (producer) and John Gonzalez (director). NBC will stream a live 30 min. pre-game show (3-3:30 p.m.) and post-game show on NBCSports.com.
RADIO: ISP Sports is the exclusive national rights-holder for Irish football radio broadcasts. The Notre Dame-ISP relationship will begin with the 2008 season and extend through the 2017 season — with ISP managing, producing and syndicating the Irish national football radio network. Notre Dame games to be broadcast with Don Criqui (play-by-play), former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (analysis) and Jeff Jeffers providing pre-game, sideline and post-game reports. This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 159).
All Notre Dame home games may be heard in South Bend on Sunny 101.5 FM and NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM. See page 11 of this notes package (PDF version) for more information on Irish football radio and television shows.
WEB SITES: Notre Dame (und.com), San Diego State (goaztecs.com).
REAL-TIME STATS: Live in-game statistics will be provided through CBS College Sports Gametracker via each school’s respective official athletic websites.
POLLS: Notre Dame is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls, while San Diego State failed to receive any votes in either poll.
SERIES INFO: Notre Dame and San Diego State will meet on the gridiron for the first time in the 120-year history of Irish football. The Aztecs are the 135th different opponent in Notre Dame football history. San Diego State is the first inaugural foe for the Irish since 2003 when Notre Dame knocked off Washington State, 29-26 in overtime, to open the season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Notre Dame opens the 2008 season with Mountain West Conference foe San Diego State. The Irish, which dropped their season opener in 2007 to Georgia Tech, will look to avoid losses in consecutive season openers for the first time since 1985-86. Michigan knocked off Notre Dame to open each campaign. The Irish are also looking to avoid losses in consecutive home openers for the first time since 1994-95 (when Michigan, 1994, and Northwestern, 1995, upended Notre Dame).
SAN DIEGO STATE HEAD COACH CHUCK LONG: Chuck Long’s road to San Diego State has been paved by success. In 25 years as both a player and coach on the collegiate and professional levels, he has built a resume that most can only dream of.
As a collegian at Iowa, he was the runner-up for the 1985 Heisman Trophy, throwing for over 10,000 career yards, winning the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Awards and leading his team to a Big Ten title and an appearance in the Rose Bowl. As a professional in the NFL, he was a first-round draft pick and spent eight seasons with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams.
As a coach, he won a national championship, logged five top-six finishes and made nine appearances in bowl games in 11 seasons as a collegiate assistant.
Long added to that already impressive list in December 2005 when he was named the 16th head coach in San Diego State football history and charged with returning the program to the national spotlight.
SAN DIEGO STATE SCOUTING REPORT: The San Diego State football team was picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West Conference preseason poll of MWC media members.
The Aztecs, who return 12 starters, including eight on the defensive side of the ball, received 92 points. Brigham Young, which captured its second straight MWC title in 2008, was selected to win the conference title after receiving 29 first-place votes and 299 overall. Utah earned 274 points and five first-place votes to come in second, while TCU was third with 293 points.
San Diego State has finished the same or better than predicted in the preseason poll in each of the last three seasons. Last season, SDSU was predicted to finish eighth in MWC play but managed to place sixth.
In addition, senior Russell Allen (Oceanside, Calif.) was named to the 2008 preseason all-conference team. A linebacker, Allen became the first Aztec to earn preseason all-conference honors since Antwan Applewhite’s selection in 2006.
The only quarterback on the San Diego State roster to ever start a collegiate game at the position is senior wideout Darren Mougey, but redshirt freshman Ryan Lindley won the job to replace departed four-year starter Kevin O’Connell (third round pick of New England). O’Connell, who threw for 3,063 yards and 15 TDs, also led the Aztecs in rushing with 408 yards and 11 more scores. Sophomore Brandon Sullivan returns after limited action in 2007. He rushed for 220 yards on 58 carries, the most among the returnees, while adding 18 catches for 119 yards. Right behind Sullivan is junior Atiyyah Henderson, who led SDSU in rushing in 2006 with 764 yards. He enters his junior campaign just 53 yards short of 1,000 for his career. San Diego State lost two wideouts to the NFL draft, but return both Mougey and sophomore Vincent Brown. Mougey, a 6-6, 230-pound converted QB, hauled in 32 passes for 368 yards in 10 games a year ago (his first at WR since his junior year of high school). Brown caught 31 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Aztecs return nine starters and 21 letterwinners on defense. San Diego State returns three starters from the defensive line, all three linebackers from possibly the best unit in the Mountain West Conference and three of the four in the secondary. Senior linebacker Russell Allen totalled 119 tackles last season to lead the team. Senior Vonnie Holmes and junior Aaron Moore, who each picked off four passes in `07, will lead an experienced secondary.
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Charlie Weis: A record combined win total for the first two seasons of any University of Notre Dame head football coach, consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances for the first time in Irish history, and the two most accomplished passing seasons in Notre Dame football annals – those are the most notable by-products of the first three seasons of the Charlie Weis era in South Bend.
Weis, a 1978 Notre Dame graduate and owner of four Super Bowl-champion rings as products of a stellar 15-season career as a National Football League assistant coach, wasted no time putting his signature stamp on his alma mater’s program in his first two years as Irish head coach in 2005 and 2006.
Weis and his Irish followed up a 9-3 record in ’05 and BCS appearance in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with a 10-3 overall mark in ’06 and a second consecutive BCS invitation, this time to the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Those 19 combined wins (including eight straight in the middle of the ’06 regular season) qualified as most in a two-year period by the Irish since they collected 21 in 1992-93. It was also the first time Notre Dame played in BCS games in successive years and the most prominent two-season bowl qualification since the Irish played in the Fiesta and Orange Bowls after the 1994 and ’95 campaigns. The only schools to play in BCS games after both the ’05 and ’06 seasons were Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC.
Notre Dame’s 10 regular-season wins in ’06 marked the ninth time that figure had been achieved in Irish history. Weis’ 19 combined wins in his first two seasons were the most by a Notre Dame head football coach in his first two years (the previous high was 17 by both Terry Brennan in 1954-55 and Dan Devine in 1975-76). For the second straight season in ’06 Weis was one of three finalists for the George Munger Award presented by the Maxwell Football Club (of Philadelphia) to the college coach of the year.
- This game will mark the start of the 120th football season at the University of Notre Dame dating back to 1887 … The Irish did not field teams in 1890 or 1891.
- Notre Dame enters the 2008 season with an all-time record of 824-278-42 (.739 winning percentage).
- The Irish return 38 lettermen and 16 starters from last year’s squad.
- Notre Dame and San Diego State will meet on the gridiron for the first time in the 120-year history of Irish football. The Aztecs are the 135th different opponent in Notre Dame football history. San Diego State is the first inaugural foe for the Irish since 2003 when Notre Dame knocked off Washington State, 29-26 in overtime, to open the season.
- The first game of the 200 straight sellout streak was the first game of Irish head coach Charlie Weis’ freshman year in 1974.
- The Irish are 69-8-3 (.881) in season openers inside Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame will open a season at home for the second straight year after opening the 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons all away from Notre Dame Stadium.
- The Irish, which lost last season to Georgia Tech to open the year, have never dropped back-to-back season openers inside Notre Dame Stadium. The only time Notre Dame lost consecutive season openers at home occurred the first two years of Irish football (1887 and 1888).
- In association with the beginning of Notre Dame’s yearlong program “Celebrating Over 60 Years of Success by Black Student-Athletes at Notre Dame,” Wayne Edmonds and Paul Thompson will present the colors. Edmonds is a 1956 graduate and the first black football player to win a monogram while competing for the Irish. Thompson is the son of the late Frazier Thompson, a 1947 graduate and former Irish track standout who was the first black graduate of the University and the first black monogram-winner in any sport at Notre Dame. They will be joined in the flag presentation ceremony by Ceyl Prinster, president of the Notre Dame Alumni Association, a 1976 graduate and president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Enterprise Fund.
- The Irish are 8-4 in season openers following a losing season and 12-5 following a non-winning campaign, including victories against five ranked opponents. In fact, when opening a season following a non-winning season the year prior Notre Dame is 5-1 against ranked foes.
- Notre Dame will play its 400th all-time game in Notre Dame Stadium this weekend. The Irish are 6-2 in other landmark games in the House That Rockne Built.
- In 119 years of Notre Dame football beginning in 1887, Notre Dame has had 101 winning years, only 13 seasons with a losing record and just five others with a .500 mark. Over the previous 17 non-winning seasons (excluding 2007), the Irish have improved their win total following that disappointing season on 12 different occasions, including a record seven-game increase in the 1964 campaign.
A WIN THIS WEEK WOULD…
- Give the Irish a victory in their season opener for the third time in four years.
- Make the Irish 100-15-5 (.854) all-time in season openers and 95-19-5 (.819) in home openers.
- Be the 18th victory in the last 22 season openers and 10th win in the last 13 home openers.
- Improve Notre Dame to 71-10-3 (.863) when opening a season at home.
- Be its sixth victory in the last seven seasons when opening the year at Notre Dame Stadium.
- Improve Notre Dame to 1-0 in the all-time series with San Diego State.
- Improve Notre Dame to 28-8 all-time against the Mountain West Conference.
- Improve Weis’ record to 23-15 overall and 3-1 against the Mountain West Conference.
- Improve Weis’ home record to 12-9.
- Improve Weis’ record to 8-7 in September games.
- Improve Weis’ record to 16-12 in afternoon games.
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record to 825-278-42 (.739).
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 299-96-5 (.754).
A LOSS THIS WEEK WOULD…
- Give Notre Dame a defeat in its season opener for the second straight season.
- Give the Irish losses in consecutive season openers for the first time since 1985-86.
- Give Notre Dame defeats in consecutive home openers for the first time since 1994-95 (when Michigan, 1994, and Northwestern, 1995, upended the Irish).
- Give Notre Dame back-to-back season openers inside Notre Dame Stadium for the first time in school history.
- Give the Irish losses in consecutive season openers at home occurred for the first time since the initial two years of Notre Dame football (1887 and 1888).
- Make the Irish 99-16-5 (.846) all-time in season openers and 95-20-5 (.813) in home openers.
- Be the fifth defeat in the last 22 season openers and fourth loss in the last 13 home openers.
- Drop Notre Dame to 70-11-3 (.851) when opening a season at home.
- Drop Notre Dame to 0-1 in the all-time series with San Diego State.
- Drop Notre Dame to 27-9 all-time against the Mountain West Conference.
- Drop Weis’ record to 22-16 overall and 2-2 against the Mountain West Conference.
- Drop Weis’ home record to 11-10.
- Drop Weis’ record to 7-8 in September games.
- Drop Weis’ record to 15-13 in afternoon games.
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 824-279-42 (.738).
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 298-97-5 (.751).
NOTRE DAME-SAN DIEGO STATE SERIES NOTES
Notre Dame and San Diego State will meet on the gridiron for the first time in the 120-year history of Irish football. The Aztecs are the 135th different opponent in Notre Dame football history. San Diego State is the first inaugural foe for the Irish since 2003 when Notre Dame knocked off Washington State, 29-26 in overtime, to open the season.
NOTRE DAME VS. THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
- Notre Dame has a 27-8 (.771) all-time record against current members of the Mountain West Conference, with the vast majority of those games (28) coming against Air Force.
- The .771 Irish winning percentage vs. the Mountain West Conference is the second best in school history against a major Division I-A conference, topped only by the .884 mark (23-3) Notre Dame has posted against Conference USA.
- Saturday’s game is just the eighth for the Irish against a team representing the Mountain West since that league began play in 1999.
- The other seven meetings for Notre Dame against an MWC opponent came against Air Force in 2000 (a 34-31 overtime win), 2002 (a 21-14 win), 2006 (a 39-17 win) and 2007 (a 41-21 loss) along with the 2003, 2004 and 2005 meetings with BYU.
- The only other MWC team the Irish have faced is TCU (a 21-0 win in 1972).
- Other Mountain West Conference teams include: Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV, Utah, Wyoming.
ON THIS DATE
Notre Dame has played three previous games in its history on Sept. 6. The Irish are 3-0 all-time on this date. All three previous meetings on this date have occurred inside Notre Dame Stadium:
- Sept. 6, 2003: Nicholas Setta’s 40-yard field goal in overtime gave the Irish a 29-26 come-from-behind victory over Washington State. Notre Dame, which trailed 19-0 at one point, registered its largest comeback since Oct. 16, 1999, when they trailed USC 24-3 early in the third quarter before storming back for a 25-24 win at Notre Dame Stadium.
- Sept. 6, 1997: Autry Denson rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns, while Ron Powlus tossed or 217 yards as Notre Dame escaped with a 17-13 victory over Georgia Tech in the season opener. The game not only marked the first for former head coach Bob Davie, but also served as the dedication game of the newly remodled Notre Dame Stadium.
- Sept. 6, 1980: Dan Devine’s Irish beat Purdue in the first game of the season, 31-10. This made nine victories in the last eleven games against their in-state rivals. Heralded Purdue quarterback Mark Herrmann injured his thumb in practice during the week and did not play. Notre Dame quarterback Mike Courey survived Devine’s five-man race to win the job. He completed 11-of-13 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
- The Irish are 99-15-5 (.853) in season openers and have taken 18 of the last 22.
- Notre Dame is 94-19-5 (.818) in home openers and have won eight of its last 11.
- Michigan State (and Georgia Tech in 2007) have been the Irish opponents in those home opening losses.
- There were no home games in 1929 due to construction of Notre Dame Stadium.
- When playing their season opener in Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish are 69-8-3 (.881).
- When Notre Dame’s season and home openers are one in the same, the Irish are 70-10-3 (.861).
- Notre Dame has captured five of its last six such openers (five-game winning streak was snapped last season against Georgia Tech).
- The Irish previously last lost a season opener at home on Sept. 2, 1995 when Northwestern (whom eventually captured the Big Ten title and appeared in the Rose Bowl) knocked off Notre Dame, 17-15.
OPENERS AN INDICATOR?
As stated previously, Notre Dame is 99-15-5 in season openers, but have they been foretelling of the season ahead? Take a look:
- The 99 seasons Notre Dame has won its opener, the Irish went on to post winning records 91 times (91.9%), with four losing seasons and four .500 records.
- The 15 seasons Notre Dame has lost its opener, the Irish posted winning records six times and a losing mark eight times (with one .500 season).
- The five seasons Notre Dame registered a tie in its opener, the Irish had four winning records and one losing record.
MORE ON OPENERS
- Notre Dame has failed to score first in its last five season openers, but have posted a 3-2 mark along the way. The Irish last scored first in a season-opener on Aug. 31, 2002 in a 22-0 victory over Maryland. In fact, that 2002 game is the only time this decade that Notre Dame scored first in a season opener.
- The Irish have captured their last 11 season openers when scoring first. A span that dates back to the 1986 opening year defeat to Michigan.
- Notre Dame dropped both the 1985 and 1986 openers against the Wolverines, both times opening with the game’s initial score.
- Since 1958 (when play-by-play became available), the Irish are 30-3 when scoring first and 12-5 when the opponent takes the game’s first lead.
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), Tyrone Willingham (10-5, .667), Ara Parseghian (13-6-4, .652), Dan Devine (15-9-1, .620), Bob Davie (14-12, .611) and Lou Holtz (20-18-2, .525). Current head coach Charlie Weis owns a .667 winning percentage in such games (6-3).
- San Diego State will become the 63rd team to visit Notre Dame Stadium when the Aztecs face the Irish in the 2008 season opener. Washington State in 2003 became the 62nd different opponent to face the Irish in Notre Dame Stadium (since its opening in 1930), with the Irish owning a 53-8-1 mark (.863) in games when the opponent was making its first visit to the Stadium. Thirteen of those teams previously had played at Notre Dame (prior to 1930), with the Irish owning a mark of 40-6-1 (.862) since 1930 versus teams making their first overall visit to Notre Dame.
- The six teams that have travelled to South Bend for the first time and came away with a victory at Notre Dame Stadium include (AP poll began in 1936): USC (1931), Texas (1934), Iowa (1940), Missouri (1972), 14th-ranked Clemson (1979) and 20th-ranked Florida State (1981). Michigan (1942) and Penn State (1982) also won their first games at Notre Dame Stadium but previously had played the Irish at Cartier Field.
- Since the 1981 loss to Florida State, 10 consecutive opponents have lost in their first trip to South Bend: Colorado (1984), Mississippi (1985), Boston College (1987), BYU (1992), Vanderbilt (1995), Rutgers (1996), West Virginia (1997), Arizona State (1999), Texas A&M (2000) and Washington State (2003).
- Seven teams that were ranked at gametime in the AP top-25 poll (which began in 1936) have lost in their first visit to Notre Dame, with the Irish being lower ranked in four of those games.
- Prior to the 2008 season, the Notre Dame football program had played home games versus a total of 114 different teams, at primarily old Cartier Field (pre-1930) or Notre Dame Stadium, with an overall home record of 99-11-4 (.886) in games versus all first-time visitors to Notre Dame (regardless of the site).
NOTRE DAME AND THE GOLDEN STATE
- Notre Dame owns a 67-38-5 all-time record against schools from the Golden state, last playing a California school (at Stanford) in 2007 (a 21-14 win). Other Irish series records vs. teams from California include a 4-0 mark vs. Cal, 1-0 vs. Pacific, 16-6 vs. Stanford, 4-0 vs. UCLA and 42-32-5 vs. USC.
- Notre Dame’s all-time varsity football roster includes just over 2,700 players who have appeared in at least one career game, with 124 of those hailing from the state of California.
- Notre Dame’s all-time California natives include 32 offensive linemen, 21 quarterbacks, 17 defensive ends, nine fullbacks, nine linebackers, eight running backs, seven defensive backs, seven wide receivers, five tight ends, four kickers, two safeties, two defensive tackles and one center.
- Those players include 11 from Los Angeles, five from Santa Ana, four from Long Beach, four from San Francisco, three from San Diego, three from San Jose, three from Santa Barbara, three from Pasadena, three from Hollywood, three from Concord, two from Santa Rosa, two from Oakland, two from Santa Maria, two from Huntington Beach, two from Carson, two from Downey, two from Arcadia, two from Anaheim, two from Sacramento, two from Hacienda Heights and one each from 61 other cities.
- The 2008 Notre Dame roster includes 11 California natives, with the seven scholarship members of that group dispersed fairly evenly among each class: one senior, one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen … that group is headlined by three potential starters: sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen (Westlake Village/Oaks Christian H.S.), junior TE Will Yeatman (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo H.S.) and senior DB Terrail Lambert (Oxnard/St. Bonaventure) … other veteran Irish players who hail from California include senior TE/LS Kevin Brooks (Thousand Oaks/Crespi Carmelite H.S.) and sophomore OT Taylor Dever (Grass Valley/Nevada Union) … the freshman players from California include QB Dayne Crist (Sherman Oaks/Notre Dame H.S.), TE Joseph Fauria (Encino/Crespi Carmelite H.S.), OL Mike Hernandez (Los Angeles/Loyola H.S.), LB Anthony McDonald (Sherman Oaks/Notre Dame H.S.), QB Nate Montana (Concord/ De LaSalle H.S.) and RB Eras Noel (Palmdale/Paraclete H.S.).
- Six of Notre Dame’s more noteworthy all-time players from California include 1964 Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback John Huarte (Santa Ana) plus five other consensus All-Americans: Nick Eddy (Lafayette, 1964-66), offensive back George Kuntz (Arcadia, 1966-68), split end Jack Snow (Long Beach, 1962-64), offensive tackle Aaron Taylor (Concord, 1992-94) and defensive back Shane Walton (San Diego, 1999-02).
- Other All-Americans from the state of California include defensive tackle Kevin Hardy (Oakland, 1967) and offensive tackle Mike Shiner (Sunnyvale, 1983).
NOTRE DAME – SAN DIEGO STATE CONNECTIONS
- Notre Dame’s roster features 11 players from the state of California. The roster of San Diego State does not have a player from the state of Indiana.
- Notre Dame’s roster features eight players from the state of Indiana. The roster of San Diego State features 77 players from the state of California.
- Notre Dame’s roster features players from 29 different states. The roster of San Diego State features players from just nine.
- A number of players from San Diego State and Notre Dame either attended the same high school or hail from the same hometown.
FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Notre Dame has historically recruited from all across the country and 2008 is no different. A total of 29 different states are represented on the Irish roster. Among Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division IA), only Army has more states represented on its 2008 roster.
CRUMBLING THE COMPETITION
- Senior LB Maurice Crum, Jr., totaled 100 tackles in 2006 to lead Notre Dame. Crum was the first Irish player to eclipse the 100 tackle mark since Courtney Watson had 117 in 2003.
- Crum, Jr. followed up that effort with a 84 tackle season in 2007 despite battling injuries throughout much of the season.
- Crum, Jr. is the 17th player in Notre Dame football history to be named captain consecutive years.
- Crum, Jr. enters the 2008 season with 241 career stops, needing just 54 tackles to enter Notre Dame’s top-10 list for career stops.
- Crum, Jr. has started every contest for Notre Dame (37) over the past three seasons.
- Crum, Jr. holds Notre Dame’s longest active streak in consecutive games played and started (both 37).
- Crum, Jr. started at outside linebacker as a sophomore, middle linebacker as a junior (both in a 4-3 scheme) and inside linebacker as a senior (in a 3-4 scheme).
- Crum, Jr. named an honorable mention `08 preseason All-American by The Sporting News.
- Crum, Jr. selected to the `08 Nagurski Trophy Watch List (defensive player of the year) and Lott Award Watch List.
- Crum, Jr. rated the No. 11 inside linebacker by Phil Steele for `08 and the 11th-best outside linebacker by Lindy’s.
- Crum, Jr. named to `08 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List.
- Only seven players enter the 2008 season with a longer active starting streak than Crum, Jr.’s 37.
- Crum, Jr. ranked tied for 28th in the NCAA in 2007 with the three forced fumbles.
- In 2007, Crum, Jr. added 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, four passes broken up, and two fumble recoveries.
- Crum, Jr. was responsible for five turnovers as he intercepted two passes, forced a fumble (that was recovered by a teammate) and recovered two fumbles that he forced.
- Crum, Jr. received national Defensive Player of the Week award from the Walter Camp Foundation following his performance at UCLA.
- Crum, Jr. scored first career touchdown when he returned a fumble he forced and returned 35 yards for a score at UCLA.
- Crum, Jr. became the first Irish player to ever record a pair of forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions in the same game.
- Crum, Jr. also set a single-game school record with four turnovers forced at UCLA.
WHO SAYS KUNTZ IS UNDERSIZED?
- Senior NT Pat Kuntz entered the 2007 season without a single start and just 11 tackles in 21 career games. Kuntz excelled in Notre Dame’s new 3-4 defensive scheme last season.
- Despite missing the final two games to injury, Kuntz started 10 games, totaled 53 career tackles with three tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, nine pass break-ups and one fumble recovery.
- Kuntz will move to defensive end after starting at nose tackle in 2007.
- Kuntz possesses a tremendous motor and work ethic and displayed an uncanny ability to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage.
- Kuntz led all defensive linemen in the Football Bowl Subdivision with nine pass break-ups last year and tied for the team-high honors.
- Kuntz has played in 31 career games with 10 career starts (all in 2007).
- Kuntz was on pace to surpass the school record for pass break-ups in a single-season. Of those players that have broken up 10 or more passes in a single season, he would have been just the second non-defensive back on the list (David Martin, 1966).
- Kuntz ranked 58th in the nation in passes broken up and just outside the top 100 in the nation in passes defended a year ago.
SOMETHING BRUTON IN THE NOTRE DAME SECONDARY
- Senior FS David Bruton will serve as one of three captains of 2008 Irish squad, joining Maurice Crum Jr. and David Grimes.
- Bruton is the top returning tackler on 2008 roster after ranking third on the team and pacing the secondary in 2007 with 85 tackles.
- Bruton enters 2008 with the second-most career tackles (117) on the team (behind Maurice Crum Jr., 240 tackles).
- Bruton also has recorded one sack, 5.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, three passes broken up, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery a year ago.
- Bruton logged 351:29 of playing time in 35 career games and has started 11 contests while making 444 special teams appearances.
- Bruton was primarily a special teams player in his first two seasons before starting at free safety throughout his junior year in 2007.
- Bruton is still the the top gunner on the punt coverage unit, as he was during his sophomore and junior seasons.
- Bruton is one of two returning starters in the Notre Dame secondary.
- Bruton was named to the Nagurski Watch List (defensive player of the year) for 2008.
- Bruton was rated the 12th-best safety in the nation by Lindy’s and the No. 19 free safety by Phil Steele in the `08 preseason.
- Bruton was named to `08 Jim Thorpe and Nagurski Award Watch List.
CLAUSEN FOUND HIS WAY
- Now, sophomore signal caller Jimmy Clausen had his best game to date against Air Force on Nov. 10, 2007. He completed 22-of-40 for 246 yards and three touchdowns. The completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns were all career-highs.
- Clausen was even better in the second-half against the Falcons. He was 17-of-29 for 192 yards and two scores. Clausen was victimized by at least five dropped passes.
- Clausen connected with now senior WR David Grimes for a 25-yard touchdown pass that gave Notre Dame a 7-0 lead with 1:17 left in the first half against Duke. The 25-yard TD pass was the longest of the season for Clausen and tied the longest scoring pass of the season for the Irish.
- Clausen wasted little time in matching his season-long touchdown pass. He found now sophomore WR Duval Kamara in the corner of the endzone with only four seconds remaining in the opening half to push the Irish lead to 14-0.
- Including his second half effort against Air Force (17-of-29 for 192 yards and two touchdowns), Clausen went 30-of-52 for 361 yards and four TDs in that four-quarter span against the Falcons and Blue Devils.
- Clausen finished the Air Force and Duke games with three touchdown passes, tying career-high and the Irish freshman quarterback record.
- Prior to the Air Force contest, Clausen’s best game came at Purdue on Sept. 29, 2007. Despite missing most of the fourth quarter after suffering a hip injury, he went 18-of-26 for 169 yards and one touchdown. Clausen recorded a completion percentage of 69.2% against Purdue — second-highest ever by a Notre Dame freshman quarterback (only Steve Beuerlein (.700, 14-for-20) at Penn State on Nov. 12, 1983 completed a higher percentage).
- Clausen ranked in the top five in the several Irish freshman quarterback single-game and season records.
CHECK OUT THAT SHINY KAMARA
Sophomore WR Duval Kamara finished 2007 with 32 receptions for 357 yards and four touchdowns. He set a pair of Notre Dame rookie receiving single-season records in 2007. Kamara’s 32 receptions are the most ever by an Irish receiver, breaking the previous mark of 28 held by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown in 1984. His four receiving touchdowns are also the most ever by a Notre Dame freshman.
THOSE AREN’T BOOS, THEY’RE HUGHES
Sophomore HB Robert Hughes finished 2007 with 294 yards rushing on 53 carries and four touchdowns. He totaled 246 of those yards on 35 carries over the season’s final two games. Hughes became the first Notre Dame freshman tailback to eclipse 100 yards rushing in consecutive weeks since Allen Pinkett during the 1982 season. Pinkett rushed for 129 yards against Navy (Oct. 30) and 112 yards against Pittsburgh (Nov. 6).
AR(MAN)DO TO BE RECKONED WITH
- Freshman HB Armando Allen totaled 1,176 all-purpose yards in 2007. He led Notre Dame with six receptions against Penn State and returned three kicks for 67 yards (including a long of 25 yards). Allen registered 110 all-purpose yards in his first career game with Notre Dame versus Georgia Tech. Allen recorded 84 kick return yards on five tries and 25 yards rushing on three carries. He also added a reception for one yard.
- Allen totaled 226 all-purpose yards against Navy on Nov. 3. The 226 all-purpose yards was tied for the 11th most in single-game Notre Dame history. It is also the most all-purpose yards by an Irish player since Darius Walker had 241 at Stanford on Nov. 11, 2005.
- Allen set new single-season school records for kickoff returns (33) and kickoff return yards (704) in 2007. He broke the previous school record for kickoff returns in a single-season of 26 held by Julius Jones (1999) and Tim Brown’s previous school record of 698 kickoff return yards in 1986. In fact, his 33 kickoff returns already rank seventh in Notre Dame career history.
- Notre Dame had 28 different players (13 on defense, 15 on offense) register their first career start in 2007. In comparison, the Irish featured a total of 16 players making their first career start over the previous two seasons combined (eight in 2005, eight in 2006).
- Notre Dame started eight true freshman in 2007, including HB Robert Hughes, QB Jimmy Clausen, HB Armando Allen, WR Golden Tate, WR Duval Kamara, OLB Kerry Neal, OLB Brian Smith and NT Ian Williams. In comparison, the Irish started a total of four freshman over the previous two seasons combined (two in `05, two in `06).
- Notre Dame was victimized by turnovers throughout 2007. The Irish were outscored, 89-68, off turnovers. The Irish also fumbled 26 times in 2007, losing 16. The Irish fumbled only 13 times (losing seven) over the entire 2006 season. The 26 total fumbles in a single-season were the most for Notre Dame since 2002 (when the Irish fumbled 28 times). The 16 lost fumbles were the most since 1996 (when the Notre Dame lost 23 fumbles).
- Notre Dame’s defense was also hindered by poor field position and non-offensive touchdowns in 2007. The Irish surrendered three non-offensive touchdowns. In fact, Notre Dame opponents had 13 touchdown drives (22 total scoring drives) that covered 45 yards or fewer. 2007 opponents of the Irish totaled 15 scoring drives of under 25 yards (seven for touchdowns).
IRISH MADE LIFE OF OPPOSING QUARTERBACK DIFFICULT
Former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan (32-of-49 for 291 yards) was the only opposing quarterback to complete 60% of his passes (minimum of 20 attempts) against the Irish in 2007. He also was the only opposing signalcaller to surpass 255 yards in the air. Excluding Ryan, the Irish passing defense limited opposing quarterbacks to a combined completion percentage of 50.9% (149-of-293).
IRISH SECONDARY ONE OF THE MOST IMPROVED IN THE COUNTRY
- With the return of experienced defensive backs, including senior SS Tom Zbikowski, senior DB Terrail Lambert, senior DB Ambrose Wooden, sophomore DB Darrin Walls and the emergence of junior FS David Bruton, the Irish figured to have a vastly improved secondary in 2007. Well, the improvements were significant and Notre Dame had one of its best units in years. The Irish allowed over 40 fewer yards per game in the air in 2007 than 2006 and over 100 fewer yards when compared to 2005. The 161.6 yards passing per game would rank as the best for a Notre Dame defense since 1996.
- With the return of a three-year starter in Lambert, a two-year starter in Bruton, senior SS Kyle McCarthy (who played in all 12 games a year ago behind former All-American Tom Zbikowski), plus the development of junior CB Raeshon McNeil, sophomore CB Gary Gray and freshman CB Robert Blanton, the Notre Dame secondary will again be formidable.
- The 161.58 yards passing per game ranked as the best for a Notre Dame defense since 1996 (when the Irish allowed just 150.5 ypg). In fact, the 2007 pass defense ranks as the fifth best for the Irish over the past 25 years (era when the pass attack truly exploded).
NEXT WEEK: MICHIGAN
Notre Dame is back at home next weekend for its annual matchup with the Michigan Wolverines. Kickoff on NBC is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. The Wolverines dropped their season-opener and the debut of first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez last weekend, 25-23, to Utah. Michigan hosts Miami (Ohio) this weekend. Last year, the Wolverines routed the Irish, 38-0, at Michigan Stadium. The Irish lost their last meeting with Michigan at Notre Dame Stadium, 47-21, in 2006.
TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR 2008 FOOTBALL KICKOFF LUNCHEONS/b>
Tickets are now on sale for the 2008 Notre Dame Kickoff Luncheons held the Friday prior to each Irish home football game. The luncheons feature Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, Irish players and assistant coaches, plus special guests and other attractions.
Tickets are $18 each, with a handling fee of $3 (payment may be made with one check for more than one luncheon). There are 10 seats per table — and if you wish to sit as a group at the same table with other guests, please return all reservations in one envelope.
Checks should be made payable to “University of Notre Dame” and mailed to: Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Telephone and credit card reservations are not accepted.
A printed reservation form also is available on Notre Dame’s athletics web site at www.und.com.
The luncheons are held in the Joyce Center fieldhouse (north dome) on the Notre Dame campus, with a noon (ET) start. Be aware that advance reservations are required for tickets, and tickets are not routinely available at the door.
All 2008 pep rallies will be held in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome), unless moved inside Notre Dame Stadium, on Fridays before Saturday home games, beginning at 6 p.m. (ET). The Irish squad enters the arena at 6:30 p.m.
NOTRE DAME IN SEPTEMBER
- Notre Dame is 120-47-4 (.713) all-time during the month of September.
- The Irish are 75-18-2 (.800) in September home games.
- Notre Dame has an all-time mark of 40-27-2 (.594) in road games during September.
- The Irish went 0-5 (second time in school history ND ever played five games in the month) in September last season (Georgia Tech, L, 3-33; at Penn State, L, 10-31; at Michigan, L, 0-38; Michigan State, L, 14-31; at Purdue, L, 19-33).
Notre Dame has 29 players with at least one career start to their credit. The Irish had just 15 such players heading into last season’s opener. Notre Dame has 10 players with double digit starts. Leading the way is senior LB Maurice Crum, Jr. with 37 career starts.
LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE ’08
Every spring after spring drills, the Irish coaching staff votes on the Leadership Committee, which head coach Charlie Weis brought to Notre Dame in 2004. The Leadership Committee consists of players who serve in an advisory role.
NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL TEAM ECLIPSES 3.0 GPA FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT SEMESTER
Members of the 2007-08 Notre Dame football team combined to post a semester grade-point average above 3.0 during the ’08 spring semester, marking the sixth straight semester (and the first six times in recorded history) that the Irish football team has topped the 3.0 GPA level as a group.
Fifty-four of the 104 players registered at least a 3.0 mark for the ’08 spring semester and 53 members of the team currently have a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0.
Fourteen members of the team earned a place on the Dean’s List and the team’s current cumulative GPA is over 3.0.
Statistics for the semester cumulative GPAs of the football team were not kept prior to 1992, but before Weis’ arrival in 2005, the previous best semester cumulative GPA was 2.911. Beginning with the ’05 fall semester, the Irish football team has recorded over a 3.0 combined GPA in each semester.
Weis’ first team in 2005 surpassed the 3.0 mark for the first time ever with a 3.044 combined GPA in the fall semester of ’05. At that time, that marked the highest figure ever attained by the football team. Then, the Notre Dame players followed that up with a combined and unprecedented 3.072 mark in the spring semester of ’06.
The fall semester of ’06 saw the Irish football team post a 3.041 cumulative GPA and 61 of the 104 players achieved at least a 3.0 during that semester. In the spring of `07, Irish players improved on that and recorded a 3.043 combined GPA.
BRUTON NAMED TO JIM THORPE AWARD WATCH LIST
Senior FS David Bruton was one of 40 players named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. The Thorpe Award is given annually to college football’s top defensive back.
Bruton is Notre Dame’s top returning tackler in 2008 after ranking third on the squad last year with 85 tackles. In 2007, Bruton added one sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, two passes broken up, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while starting 11 of the 12 contests he played. He was a key member of an Irish secondary that ranked second in the nation in passing yards allowed per game, permitting just 161.6 yards per game.
Bruton is one of 11 free safeties to make the watch list. He enters 2008 with the second-most career tackles on the team and has been a special teams stalwart for the Irish.
CRUM JR. PLACED ON CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD WATCH LIST
Senior LB Maurice Crum Jr. was named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award. Crum was one of 75 players selected to the preseason list for the award presented to college football’s outstanding defensive player.
Crum was one of 26 linebackers to make the list and one of 20 seniors at his position mentioned. The 6-0, 230-pounder enters 2008 with 241 career tackles, needing 54 stops to enter Notre Dame’s top-10 list for career tackles. Crum has started every game over the past three seasons and holds Notre Dame’s longest active streak for most consecutive games played and started (37). A 2008 graduate of Notre Dame with a degree in sociology, Crum was voted captain for the 2008 season becoming just the 17th two-time football team captain in school history.
CLAUSEN NAMED TO MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST
Sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen was one of 75 players named to the 2008 Maxwell Award Watch List. The preseason list was based on individual performances during the 2007 season.
Clausen was one of 26 quarterbacks to make the list and one of only three sophomore signal-callers honored (a total of 12 sophomores made the list). The 6-3, 212-pounder started nine of the 10 games he appeared in last year and made his mark on Notre Dame’s freshman passing records. Clausen started the second game of the 2007 season, the earliest any Notre Dame quarterback had started at that position since freshmen regained eligibility in 1972. He completed 138 of 245 passes for 1,254 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions in his rookie season. Clausen ranks second on Notre Dame’s freshman quarterback single-season lists for completions, attempts, yards and completion percentage.
BRUTON AND CRUM JR. NAMED TO NAGURSKI TROPHY WATCH LIST
Senior FS David Bruton and senior linebacker Maurice Crum Jr. have both been named to the watch list for the 2008 Bronko Nagurski Trophy. They are two of 88 players selected to the watch list of the Nagurski Trophy that is awarded annually to the best defensive player in college football.
CRUM JR. NAMED TO LOTT TROPHY WATCH LIST AGAIN
Senior LB Maurice Crum Jr. is among 42 of the top defensive players in the nation to be named to the 2008 Lott Trophy Watch List.
Crum, who was named to the 2007 watch list, is one of seven repeat nominees. The other players nominated for a second straight year are Jonathan Casillas of Wisconsin, Brian Cushing of USC, Zack Follett of Cal, Nic Harris of Oklahoma and Darryl Richard of Georgia Tech.
NOTRE DAME, NBC SPORTS EXTEND FOOTBALL CONTRACT THROUGH 2015
The University of Notre Dame and NBC Sports have reached agreement on a new five-year contract giving NBC the rights to televise Irish home football games from 2011 to 2015, extending the partnership between the University and network to 25 years.
A joint announcement of the extension was made on June 19 by NBC Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer and Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
Each season from 2011 to 2015, NBC will televise seven games at Notre Dame Stadium and an additional eighth off-site game airing in prime time.
Revenues from the NBC contract have played a key role in Notre Dame’s financial aid endowment since the start of the relationship in 1991. University officers decided then to use a portion of the football television contract revenue for undergraduate scholarship endowment (not athletic scholarships). To date, some 2,400 Notre Dame undergraduate students have received nearly $26 million in aid.
The University also has committed NBC revenues to endow doctoral fellowships in its Graduate School and MBA scholarships in its Mendoza College of Business.
The revenue generated through the NBC contract is a primary reason why Forbes magazine has recognized the substantial financial contributions made by Irish athletics to the University’s academic enterprise. In a 2007 survey, Forbes reported that the Notre Dame football program returns $21.1 million to academic initiatives, a total that is more than the survey’s next five programs combined.
NBC has been televising Irish home games since 1991, and this marks the fifth of a series of five-year agreements with Notre Dame. The original agreement covered the seasons from 1991 through 1995. The first five-year extension (announced in 1994) covered 1996 to 2000, the second extension (announced in May ’97) covered 2001 to 2005, and the third extension (announced in December ’03) covered 2006 to 2010.
NOTRE DAME AND ISP JOIN TO PRODUCE FOOTBALL RADIO NETWORK
The University of Notre Dame and ISP Sports, have approved a new, 10-year business partnership in which ISP will become the new exclusive national rights-holder for Notre Dame football radio broadcasts.
The Notre Dame-ISP relationship will begin with the 2008 season and extend through the 2017 season — with ISP managing, producing and syndicating Notre Dame’s national football radio network.
ISP, the largest collegiate-only sports marketing firm in the country, represents athletics marketing and multi-media rights for more than 40 Division I-A universities, five major conferences (including two Bowl Championship Series conferences, the BIG EAST Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference) and two postseason football bowl games.
ISP takes over for Westwood One, which had held Irish football radio rights since 1968, originally as the Mutual Broadcasting Company.
ISP has named Ron Murphy the general manager for the Notre Dame ISP Sports Network. Murphy brings over 30 years of advertising sales and management experience, having worked for several notable companies such as CBS, Yankee Entertainment and Sports (Y.E.S.) and FOX Sports Net.
Murphy joins ISP’s team of more than 250 professional sales people dedicated to the collegiate market, with relationships with more than 800 radio stations (and more than 100 television stations) around the country.
Headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C., ISP has nearly 50 sales offices around the country. Sutton founded the company in 1992. Among ISP clients are seven ACC athletic programs (Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest), five from the BIG EAST (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse, Villanova), five from the Southeastern Conference (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt) and three from the Pacific-10 Conference (California, UCLA, Washington). In 2007, the BIG EAST Conference and ISP announced a six-year agreement involving virtually all conference marketing and sales.
Notre Dame remains the only college football program to have its games broadcast on a truly national radio network of linear stations. Joe Boland, former sports director at WSBT in South Bend, originated the Irish Football Network in 1948. In 1956, the Mutual Broadcasting System first carried Notre Dame games on approximately 560 stations. From 1958-67, the ABC Radio Network carried Irish games on a similar-sized network. Mutual began carrying Notre Dame games again in 1968 (that year with 253 affiliates). Mutual eventually became Westwood One (now a publicly held company managed and partly owned by CBS Radio).
IRISH ATHLETICS TO TEAM WITH WSBT RADIO GROUP
The University of Notre Dame athletics department has partnered with the WSBT Radio Group for the next six years (2008-09 through 2013-14), making WSBT the radio home of Notre Dame football, men’s basketball, and hockey in the South Bend market.
WSBT Radio Group will be the designated exclusive local radio partner for Notre Dame football network broadcasts, with those games carried on NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM as well as on Sunny 101.5 FM. Irish football games are originated by the ISP Notre Dame Radio Network, a national listings of stations around the country.
In addition, WSBT Radio Group will carry the Notre Dame Football Friday Live Show on Cat country 99.9 FM, the Notre Dame Football Postgame Show home and away on Sunny 101.5 FM – and the Notre Dame Football Coaches Shows on NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM (on weeknights during the season). All three of those shows are produced by NDSP.
NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM also will originate the annual Blue-Gold spring football game.
YOUNG TO RECEIVE HARVEY G. FOSTER AWARD
Bryant Young, a 1994 Notre Dame graduate and former Irish and professional football player, will receive the Harvey G. Foster Award during a halftime ceremony at the Notre Dame-San Diego State game Sept. 6. The Foster Award is given annually to a Notre Dame graduate distinguished for athletic endeavors and community service.
An All-American defensive tackle for the Irish, Young played for 13 years with the San Francisco 49ers before retiring last year with 89 career sacks. His NFL accolades include Defensive Rookie of the Year, four Pro-Bowl and All-Pro honors, selection to the 1990s All Decade Team and Comeback Player of the Year after suffering a potentially career-ending leg injury in 1999. Last year, Young’s teammates voted him the winner of the Len Eshmont Award, the team’s most prestigious honor for inspirational and courageous play, for a record eighth time. No other player in 49ers history has won the award more than twice.
Young and his wife, Kristin (also a 1994 Notre Dame graduate), established the Young Dreams Foundation, which benefits youth organizations in San Francisco and Chicago. The supports summer youth football camps and college tuition for San Francisco Bay Area students. In addition, the Youngs have established several scholarships at Notre Dame for San Francisco and Chicago students.
For his philanthropic efforts, Young was named USA Today’s Most Caring Athlete in 2000 and was nominated as one of the 10 Most Influential African-Americans in the Bay Area.
ROCKNE AND YONTO
They represent two of the most storied names in Fighting Irish annals when it comes to coaching football at Notre Dame.
That Irish football family lost two individuals with major connections to the University’s coaching tree late this past summer with the deaths of Jack Rockne and Joe Yonto.
Rockne was the last remaining child of legendary Irish coach Knute Rockne. A long-time South Bend resident, Jack had been closely involved with Notre Dame athletics in recent years through the athletic department’s Rockne Heritage Fund. Though never associated with football the way his famous father was, he had been a frequent fan at Irish home games of late. In 2006 he received an honorary monogram from the Notre Dame Monogram Club in recognition of his contributions and dedication to the University.
Yonto made his name as the long-time Notre Dame defensive line coach, beginning in 1964 when Ara Parseghian came to town and continuing on Dan Devine’s staff and several years under Lou Holtz. When he wasn’t coaching on the field, he worked under athletics directors Gene Corrigan and Dick Rosenthal as a special assistant to the athletics director while helping administer the football program. Yonto coached a glossy list of All-Americans and first-round NFL draft picks, including the likes of Alan Page, Mike McCoy, Walt Patulski and Ross Browner.
Rockne and Yonto.
They were loyal sons of Notre Dame. They will be missed.
— John Heisler
Following a long tradition of Notre Dame two-sport athletes, the trio of junior P Eric Maust, senior QB Evan Sharpley and sophomore WR Golden Tate — all of whom made major contributions for the Irish baseball squad this past spring — will again suit up for the Notre Dame football team in 2008.
Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) filled in at punter during the 2007 season and averaged a team-high 42.1 yards on 21 punts, landing nine inside the 20 with only one touchback. He enters the 2008 season as the starting punter for the Irish. On the diamond, Maust served as the Irish Sunday starter, went 6-3 with a 4.52 earned-run average. He was named to the BIG EAST honor roll on two separate occasions during the season and was awarded all-BIG EAST second team.
Sharpley (Marshall, Mich.) had a breakout spring season in baseball. After spending most of the previous two springs with the Irish football squad, Sharpley turned his attention to baseball almost exclusively and the development was evident. He led the Irish in home runs (13) and slugging percentage (.691). Sharpley is the first Notre Dame player to ever throw multiple touchdown passes and hit a home run in the same academic year. He was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on March 24 after carrying Notre Dame to a sweep over Georgetown.
Tate (Hendersonville, Tenn.) saw action in 18 games (started nine) for the Irish baseball squad. He batted .262 with three doubles and four RBI. Tate also swiped three bases in five attempts. While Tate’s participating in spring football somewhat hindered his playing time, his incredible athletic ability did not go unnoticed. None more evident than when he scored from first base, standing and without a throw, on a single to right field against Lehigh.
Former Notre Dame walk-on and current senior OC Thomas Bemenderfer was elevated to scholarship status prior to the start of the 2008 season, as was junior P Eric Maust and senior CB Mike Anello.
Anello (Orland Park, Ill.) earned the scholarship following a sensational 2007 season. Anello was a starting gunner on the punt coverage team and tallied six tackles. He is currently involved in many of the special teams units for the 2008 season. Anello owns a 3.93 cumulative grade-point average (GPA), qualifying him for the dean’s list, and is a finance major in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
Bemenderfer (Mishawaka, Ind.) earned a scholarship for the second straight season. He began his college career as a scholarship athlete at Northwestern University before transferring to Notre Dame for the 2006-07 school year. He is currently listed as the backup center. A member of the dean’s list, Bemenderfer is enrolled in pre-professional studies in the College of Science and has a 3.762 GPA.
Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) filled in at punter during the 2007 season and averaged a team-high 42.1 yards on 21 punts, landing nine inside the 20 with only one touchback. A junior from Atlanta, Ga., Maust enters the 2008 season as the starting punter for the Irish. He is also one of the top pitchers for Notre Dame’s baseball team and recorded a 6-3 record last season. Maust is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business, majoring in finance, and owns a 3.153 GPA.
Notre Dame’s freshman class includes 23 scholarship players and four walk-ons: quarterback Nate Montana (who will be sharing No. 16), OL Carl Brophy (who will be wearing No. 69), Mike Hernandez (who will be wearing No. 65) and Dennis Mahoney (who will be wearing No. 71). Montana is the son of former Notre Dame quarterback and four-time NFL Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana. Brophy attended Gonzaga Preparatory School as did his sister Annie, a junior member of the Irish women’s golf team. She became first outright BIG EAST medalist in Notre Dame program history.
RANK AND FILE
Notre Dame’s penchant for playing the best teams in the country is well known. In fact, over the last 21 seasons (1987-2007), the Irish have played 98 games against ranked opponents, an average of nearly five games per season. Notre Dame has posted a record of 49-47-2 (.510) in these games, including a 24-17-1 (.595) mark against ranked teams at home.
IN FRONT OF A FULL HOUSE
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 201 of its previous 230 games, including 76 of its last 84 contests dating back to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2000 season (the 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 games at Stanford, the 2004 game vs. Navy at the Meadowlands, the 2005 game at Washington and the 2007 game at UCLA were not sellouts). At Michigan in 2003, the Irish and Wolverines attracted the largest crowd in NCAA history (111,726), marking the third time in the history of the series that an NCAA attendance record was set. Including the 2006 game at Georgia Tech, the Irish have been part of establishing a new stadium attendance record seven times since 2001. The list also includes: at Nebraska and Texas A&M in 2001, at Air Force and Florida State in 2002, home vs. Boston College in 2002, vs. Oregon State in the Insight Bowl in 2004 (the game set a Bank One Ballpark record for football configuration). Notre Dame and Michigan played before an over-capacity 111,386 at Michigan Stadium in September of 2005. At Purdue in `05, the Irish and Boilermakers played before 65,491 football fans, a Ross-Ade Stadium record (since the renovation of the facility in 2003). Penn State drew the second largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history for the meeting with the Irish last season.
SIRIUS TO BE EXCLUSIVE INTERNET RADIO BROADCASTER
SIRIUS XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI), the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the University of Notre Dame, announced Sept. 2 that, starting this season, SIRIUS will offer Fighting Irish football and basketball games on SIRIUS Internet Radio (SIR), the Internet version of the SIRIUS radio service. SIRIUS Internet Radio will be the exclusive online home of every Notre Dame regular season football game and will also carry every Fighting Irish regular season basketball game live.
It marks the first time that radio broadcasts of live sporting events are available on the SIRIUS Internet Radio platform.
SIRIUS Internet Radio is the Internet version of the SIRIUS radio service, available without the use of a radio to current SIRIUS subscribers, or for the monthly subscription fee of $12.95. SIRIUS Internet Radio delivers more than 80 channels of talk, entertainment, sports, and 100% commercial free music in CD-quality sound.
SIRIUS, which has aired Notre Dame sports since 2004, will also continue to broadcast the university’s football and basketball games nationwide on the SIRIUS radio service. All Notre Dame games air on The Catholic Channel, SIRIUS channel 159.
The Notre Dame football broadcasts are produced by ISP on the Notre Dame Radio Network.
ONLY THE BIG BOYS
Notre Dame is one of just five NCAA Division I-A programs that has never faced a non-Division I-A opponent since the current division setup was established in 1978 (the division’s names have undergone a change this year, but the setup is still the same). The four remaining schools that have yet to play a non-Division I-A opponent since the advent of the current format are Michigan State, USC, UCLA and Washington.
NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL FRIDAY LIVE
Every Friday night before a home game Notre Dame Football Friday Live is broadcast from Waterford Estates Lodge on SR 933 North of the Notre Dame campus from 8-9 pm on Cat Country 99.9 FM. Jack Nolan will host the show with former consensus Irish All-American Mirko Jurkovic. The show features live interviews with big names from Notre Dame football lore. The show can also be heard live on www.und.com.
Nearly 30 members of the University of Notre Dame’s 1953 football team will be returning for their 55th reunion this weekend when Notre Dame opens its 2008 season against San Diego State.
Members of the squad will be honored throughout the weekend, including at the game on Saturday.
Team members tentatively expected to return are Bob Arrix, Pat Bisceglia, Joe Bush, Leo Callaghan, Wayne Edmonds, Dick Fitzgerald, Dick Frasor, Dick Hendricks, Bob Joseph, John Kegaly, John Lattner, Jack Lee, Fred Mann, Paul Matz, Coach Bob McBride, Tom McHugh, Jim Mense, Jim Milota, Rockne Morrissey, Sam Palumbo, Tony Pasquesi, Bob Ready, Bob Rigali, Paul Robst, Bob Salvino, Robert Taylor, Frank Varrichione and Neil Worden.
On its way to a 9-0-1 record, the 1953 Irish defeated five ranked opponents, including wins over fifth-rated Oklahoma, 15th-ranked Pittsburgh, fourth-ranked Georgia Tech (ending a 31-game Yellow Jacket win streak), 20th-rated Navy and 20th-ranked USC.
Led by Heisman Trophy winner Lattner, the Irish ranked second nationally in total offense, and fourth in both scoring and rushing.
Notre Dame that season produced the only backfield in the history of college football to have all four starters drafted by the NFL in the first round – Lattner, running backs Joe Heap and Worden and quarterback Ralph Guglielmi.
Lattner won both the Heisman and Maxwell awards and was a unanimous first-team All-American. Tackle Art Hunter was a United Press International first-team pick, and end Don Penza was a second-team selection. Heap also was an Academic All-American that year.
The Irish finished second in the final AP and UPI polls to end the regular season behind unbeaten Maryland. But, after the Terps lost in the Orange Bowl, 10 other selectors chose Notre Dame the national champion.
— ND —