Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Rally Behind Young Quarterback

Oct. 7, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – (AP)Freshman Matt LoVecchio threw two touchdown passes to David Givens as No. 25 Notre Dame took advantage of a blocked punt and an interception to beat Stanford 20-14 on Saturday.

Stanford (2-3) scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Chris Lewis to Darin Naatjes with 1:07 left, but Jabari Holloway recovered the onside kick at the Stanford 45 as the Irish held on.

The victory was the fourth straight game by the Irish (3-2) decided by six points or less as Notre Dame improved its record in October under coach Bob Davie to 11-2.

The Irish won despite being held to 75 yards total offense in the second half. Notre Dame finished with 266 yards total offense, compared to 384 for Stanford.

The Irish, who lost starting quarterback Arnaz Battle when he broke his wrist against Nebraska in the second game, turned to LoVecchio when the Irish offense sputtered under Gary Godsey, who could not run the option.

The Irish, who had averaged just 224 yards total offense their past three games – did slightly better, but are in their worst offensive streak since being held to less than 200 yards total offense in their final five games of the 1963 season. Notre Dame entered the game with rated 106th out of 114 teams.

LoVecchio was 10-of-18 passing for 100 yards and rushed for 36 yards on 13 carries. Stanford’s Chris Lewis was 19-of-43 for 242 yards with one pass intercepted and a fumble.

The Irish offense did show signs of life in the first half. LoVecchio guided the Irish to an 11-play, 91-yard scoring drive. The Irish, who ran the ball on 19 of the 21 first-down plays against Michigan State in their last game two weeks ago, threw a pass on their first play against Stanford as LoVecchio completed an 11-yard pass to tight end Dan O’Leary.

LoVecchio ran for 10 yards on the second play, surpassing Godsey’s two-game rushing total of 2 yards. LoVecchio rushed for 17 yards on three carries during the drive and was 4-of-4 passing for 40 yards, connecting with Givens on a 17-yard TD.

Notre Dame, which converted just on just one third down in 11 tries against the Spartans, converted on all three third downs on their first possession and were 6-of-17 for the game.

The Irish had some short drives in the first half but couldn’t get a scoring drive going until Givens blocked a punt by Mike Biselli and the Irish recovered on the 10 with 39 seconds left in the first half. LoVecchio lobbed an 8-yard scoring pass to Givens two plays later to give the Irish a 13-0 lead.

It marked the third time this season the Irish scored a touchdown on a drive of 10 yards or less. Givens became the first Irish player with two touchdown catches in a game since Holloway, a tight end, had two against Purdue two years ago, and the first wide receiver since Derrick Mayes had two against Florida State in the 1996 Orange Bowl.

Stanford, which had six turnovers against Arizona, had two crucial turnovers against the Irish. Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, the Cardinal were on the Irish 15 when Lewis fumbled the snap and Irish end Anthony Weaver recovered.

Irish cornerback Brock Williams intercepted a pass by Lewis that was tipped by Tyreo Harrison. The Irish took over on the Stanford 34. Jones scored on a 7-yard run one play after he gained 24 yards on a pass from LoVecchio.

Stanford also failed to score when Mike Bisselli missed a 29-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

DeRonnie Pitts had eight catches for 100 yards for the Cardinal.