Oct. 21, 2008
GAME 7: NOTRE DAME (4-2) vs. WASHINGTON (0-6)
Saturday, October 25, 2008
TIME: 5:00 p.m. PT
SITE (CAPACITY): Husky Stadium (72,500); Seattle, Wash.
TICKETS: The game is not sold out. Tickets are available by contacting the UW Ticket Office (206-543-2200) or online at gohuskies.com. Notre Dame has played before 67 sellout crowds over its last 74 road games. The only non-sellouts include the 2001-07 games at Stanford, the 2004 game vs. Navy (The Meadowlands), the 2005 game at Washington and the 2006 game at Air Force.
TV: ESPN2 national telecast with Mark Jones (play-by-play), Bob Davie (analysis), Todd Harris (sideline), Bart Fox (producer) and Kelly Atkinson (director).
RADIO: ISP Sports is the exclusive national rights-holder for Irish football radio broadcasts. The Notre Dame-ISP relationship begins with the 2008 season — with ISP managing, producing and syndicating the Irish national football radio network. Notre Dame games will be broadcast by Don Criqui (play-by-play), former Irish great 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 12 of this notes package for more information on Irish football radio and television shows.
WEB SITES: Notre Dame (und.com), Washington (gohuskies.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 did receive votes in the USA Today coaches poll, but did not in the Associated Press poll, while Washington did not receive a vote in either poll.
SERIES INFO: This meeting will be the seventh all-time meeting between the two schools and fourth ever matchup in Husky Stadium. Notre Dame has won all six previous meetings, including a 36-17 triumph in 2005. The Irish have beaten Washington by at least 19 points in five of the six all-time games. (see All-Time Series Results on page 22 of PDF version of notes).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Former Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham (2002-04) is in his third year at Washington. Saturday’s matchup will be the second time in Notre Dame history the Irish will face one of their former non-interim head coaches on the opposing sideline (other occurrence came against Willingham and Washington in 2005).
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Charlie Weis: A record combined win total for the first two seasons of any 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 ND head 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 year 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.
The architect in ’05 and ’06 of the two most prolific passing seasons in Irish football history, Weis effectively transformed the ND offense into one of the most productive in the nation, as the Irish scored more points in `05 (440) than in any previous season in school history – and also qualified as the most improved offensive attack in the nation, jumping its total offense production (477.33 yards per game) a national-best 131.8 yards per game better than in ’04. The Irish followed that up with another strong passing attack in ’06, with Notre Dame’s average of 264.1 passing yards per contest ranking 13th nationally and second all-time in the Notre Dame record book (behind only the 330.3 mark from ’05). The Irish protected the football nearly as well as any team in the country in ’06, with their 14 overall turnovers in 13 games ranking tied for fourth of the 119 NCAA I-A teams.
On a combined basis in 2005 and ’06 under Weis, Notre Dame led the nation in interception avoidance with only 1.6 percent of Irish passes picked off over those two years. The Irish, thanks in large part to the play of quarterback Brady Quinn, finished third in TD passes with 69 and sixth in passing yards per game (295.8) and passing rating (151.7). In ’05 and ’06 combined, compared to the previous two seasons, the Irish improved their points per game by 11.5, and their total yards per game by 90.9.
A WIN THIS WEEK WOULD…
- Improve Notre Dame to 5-2 on the season.
- Improve Notre Dame to 2-0 (1.000) this season and 8-9 (.471) under Weis coming off a defeat.
- Give the Irish their third victory in the last five road games.
- Give Notre Dame a victory over Washington for the seventh consecutive meeting.
- Improve the Irish to 7-0 (1.000) in the all-time series with the Huskies – the most victories over a NCAA FBS opponent without a tie or defeat.
- Improve Notre Dame to 4-0 (1.000) in the all-time series with Washington in Seattle.
- Give Notre Dame its fourth consecutive victory over the Huskies in Husky Stadium.
- Improve an unranked Irish squad (post 1932) to 3-0 (1.000) all-time against Washington.
- Improve an unranked Notre Dame squad to 2-0 (1.000) all-time against the Huskies in Husky Stadium.
- Improve Notre Dame to 5-0 (1.000) all-time against Washington when the Huskies are unranked.
- Improve Notre Dame to 3-0 (1.000) all-time against Washington in Husky Stadium when the Huskies are unranked.
- Improve Notre Dame to 80-41-6 (.654) all-time against the Pac-10 Conference.
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time road record against the Pac-10 to 32-24-5 (.566).
- Improve Weis’ record to 27-17 overall (.614), 2-0 (1.000) against Washington and 8-3 (.727) against the Pac-10.
- Improve Weis’ overall road record to 11-6 (.647) and his road record against the Pac-10 to 5-1 (.833).
- Improve Weis’ record to 9-5 (.643) in October games.
- Improve Weis’ record to 22-14 (.611) in afternoon games.
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record to 829-280-42 (.738).
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record on the road to 290-139-22 (.667).
- Improve Notre Dame’s all-time record to 61-15-2 (.795) when it plays after a bye week (since 1900).
- Improve Notre Dame’s record to 29-5 (.853) when it plays after a bye week (since 1984).
- Improve Notre Dame’s record to 3-2 (.600) when it plays after a bye week under Weis.
A LOSS THIS WEEK WOULD…
- Drop Notre Dame to 4-3 on the season.
- Give the Irish losses in their first three road games of the season for the second consecutive season.
- Even Notre Dame to 1-1 (.500) this season and 7-10 (.412) under Weis coming off a defeat.
- Snap the six-game winning streak for the Irish over Washington.
- Drop the Irish to 6-1 (.857) in the all-time series with the Huskies.
- Drop Notre Dame to 3-1 (.750) in the all-time series with Washington in Seattle.
- Deny Notre Dame its fourth consecutive victory over the Huskies in Husky Stadium.
- Drop an unranked Irish squad (post 1932) to 2-1 (.667) all-time against Washington.
- Even an unranked Notre Dame squad to 1-1 (.500) all-time against the Huskies in Husky Stadium.
- Drop Notre Dame to 4-1 (.800) all-time against Washington when the Huskies are unranked.
- Drop Notre Dame to 2-1 (.667) all-time against Washington in Husky Stadium when the Huskies are unranked.
- Drop Notre Dame to 79-42-6 (.646) all-time against the Pac-10 Conference.
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time road record against the Pac-10 to 31-25-5 (.549).
- Drop Weis’ record to 26-18 overall (.591), 1-1 (.500) against Washington and 7-4 (.636) against the Pac-10.
- Drop Weis’ overall road record to 10-7 (.588) and his road record against the Pac-10 to 4-2 (.667).
- Drop Weis’ record to 8-6 (.571) in October games.
- Drop Weis’ record to 21-15 (.583) in afternoon games.
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 828-281-42 (.738).
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record on the road to 289-140-22 (.665).
- Drop Notre Dame’s all-time record to 60-16-2 (.782) when it plays after a bye week (since 1900).
- Drop Notre Dame’s record to 28-6 (.824) when it plays after a bye week (since 1984).
- Drop Notre Dame’s record to 2-3 (.400) when it plays after a bye week under Weis.
IRISH TEAM NOTES
- Notre Dame entered the game against North Carolina with a +5 advantage in turnover margin and ranked tied for 20th in the NCAA FBS. In fact, Notre Dame had gone the two previous games (Purdue and Stanford) without committing a single turnover. The Irish had not gone two straight games without a turnover since the 2006 season when ironically enough Notre Dame went without turnovers in victories over the Boilermakers and Cardinal.
- Freshman RB Jonas Gray mishandled a kickoff in the waning seconds of the first half against North Carolina. The Irish had run 203 offensive plays since their last turnover — a fumble by freshman WR Michael Floyd in the third quarter against Michigan State.
- Notre Dame would commit four turnovers over its next 43 plays in the second half against the Tar Heels.
- The Irish committed five turnovers (two interceptions, three fumbles) against the Tar Heels, while North Carolina failed to commit one. The minus-five in turnover margin is the largest for Notre Dame in a game this season and largest turnover margin since Nov 2, 2002 in a 14-7 loss against Boston College.
NOTRE DAME AWAY FROM THE FRIENDLY CONFINES
- Notre Dame has opened the 2008 season with a perfect 4-0 record inside Notre Dame Stadium, but the Irish have not been able to replicate that success on the road. The Irish have dropped both of their games away from Notre Dame.
- The most obvious reason for the Irish lack of success on the road is simple — turnovers. Notre Dame has forced 13 turnovers in its four home games, but just one turnover in the losses at Michigan State and at North Carolina. In fact, the Irish have a +7 turnover margin at home and -7 turnover margin on the road.
NO RUNNING BACKS
Notre Dame opened the game against North Carolina with four wide receivers, one tight end and no running backs. The Irish had not opened five wide, no running backs, since Oct. 22, 2005 against BYU (just the second time under Weis and more than likely in Notre Dame school history). Notre Dame also opened that game with four WRs and one tight end. Brady Quinn proceeded to throw for 467 yards and a school record six touchdown passes that afternoon. Sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen set career-highs in completions (31), attempts (48) and yards (383) in the loss to the Tar Heels.
IRISH MOVED THE BALL UP AND DOWN THE FIELD
- Notre Dame totaled 472 yards in the loss against North Carolina. It was the second-most total yards for the Irish this season and most since the Irish racked up 476 against Stanford in 2005.
- The Irish have racked up 430 or more yards of total offense in each of their last three games. Notre Dame had not surpassed 400 yards of total offense in three straight games since 2005 when the Irish had 594 (Michigan State), 560 (Washington) and 621 (Purdue).
NOTRE DAME GETS OFF TO FAST START
The Irish opened the first quarter against the Tar Heels in no-huddle (as it has the last three games) and racked up 158 total yards on 23 plays (good for a 6.9 yard average per play). Notre Dame totaled 11 first downs, compared to just four for the Tar Heels. North Carolina recorded 73 yards on 14 plays.
MORE, MORE BIG PLAYS
- Sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen completed his 20th pass of 20 yards of more when he found freshman WR Michael Floyd for 32 yards midway through the first quarter against North Carolina (helped the Irish get out of their own end zone as the drive started at the Notre Dame seven-yard line). Clausen added his 21st when he found sophomore WR Golden Tate for 47 yards to setup a touchdown late in the second quarter. He then connected with Floyd for 24 yards in third quarter to give him 22 passes of over 20 yards.
- Clausen finished the afternoon against the Tar Heels with a total of five 20+ yard completions to give him 24 for the season. He connected on just 13 through 10 games in 2007.
- The Irish had six passing plays of over 30 yards in the entire 2007 season. Not only does sophomore WR Golden Tate have more by himself (seven), Notre Dame has 12 as team though six games.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen completed passes to six different receivers in the first half alone against North Carolina, including four different receivers for multiple receptions. Clausen completed a pass to a seventh different receiver in the second half.
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
- Notre Dame entered the North Carolina game converting on just 33.8% (22-of-65) on third down this season. The Irish proceeded to convert 6-of-8 on third down in the opening 30 minutes. In fact, North Carolina had allowed just 35.4% (28-of-79) on third down prior to the game. Notre Dame limited the Tar Heels to just 2-of-7 in the first half.
- The Irish finished the afternoon 10-of-16 on third down conversions.
CHECKING THE WEIS ERA RECORD BOOK
- The 31 pass completions by Notre Dame were a season-high and the fourth-most during the Weis’ tenure.
- The 48 pass attempts by the Irish were a season-high and the fifth-most under Weis.
- The 383 passing yards were a season-high and fifth-most during the Weis era.
- The 78 total offense plays were a season-high and were tied for the 10th-most under Weis.
- The 472 yards of total offense were the second-most in 2008 and ninth-most during the Weis era.
- The 592 all-purpose yards were the most this season and eighth-most under Weis.
- The 85 all-purpose plays were the most in 2008 and the second most during the Weis era (fell shy of Weis era record of 97 set last season against Navy).
- The 27 first downs were the most this season, most since 27 against Navy in 2007 and tied for 10th-most under Weis.
- The 10 third-down conversions tied for the most during the Weis era (occurred four previous times under Weis).
- The 120 kickoff return yards were the second-most this season and eighth-most under Weis.
- Clausen’s 48 pass attempts were the second-most by an Irish quarterback during the Weis era.
- Clausen’s 31 completions were the third-most by a Notre Dame quarterback under Weis.
- Clausen’s 383 yards were fifth-most by an Irish quarterback during the Weis era.
- Clausen’s 377 total yards were fifth-most by an Irish player during the Weis era.
- Notre Dame’s 2007 recruiting class, which was widely considered one of the top classes in the country, experienced serious growing pains a year ago, but from the early returns from 2008 the experience was rewarding.
- The Irish have scored 21 touchdowns in 2008 and 11 have come from sophomores. WR Golden Tate and freshman WR Michael Floyd are tied for the Notre Dame lead with four touchdowns. RB Armando Allen has scored three touchdowns, while RB Robert Hughes has a pair. WR Duval Kamara and LB Brian Smith each have one touchdown. When you toss in Floyd, freshman TE Kyle Rudolph and freshman DB Robert Blanton, a first or second year player has scored 18 of Notre Dame’s 21 touchdowns.
- Sophomore Jimmy Clausen has thrown 14 touchdown passes.
- The top two running backs are both sophomores.
- Tate leads the Irish in receiving yards (518), receptions (28) and touchdowns (tied, 4).
- Allen leads the Irish in rushing yards (298), yards per rush (4.9) and ranks second in touchdowns (3).
- Three of the top four players in scoring and six of the top 11 are all sophomores (three others are freshman).
- The top three players in total offense and five of the top six are sophomores.
- The top two players and three of the top four in all-purpose yards are sophomores.
- Five of the top 16 tacklers on the Irish squad are sophomores (and three others are freshman).
COMING OFF A REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULED BYE WEEK
Notre Dame has won more than 80 percent of its games (61-14-2, .805) when it plays after a bye week (since 1900). The Irish have an even higher percentage (28-5, .848) playing after an off week since 1984.
NOT THAT FAR OFF FROM 2006
- One can draw quite a comparison between the 2008 Notre Dame team through its first six games to the 2006 club at the midpoint of the season.
- The numbers are quite similar, but what is not similar is the experience and maturity of the respective starting lineups. For instance, 18 of the 22 starters from 2006 were either seniors or fifth-year seniors. This season, just eight of the 22 starters are seniors or fifth-year seniors. In fact, 12 of those starters will have two full years of eligilbility after this season ends.
- The 2006 Notre Dame squad featured an offense that included a senior QB in Brady Quinn, a junior RB in Darius Walker, a fifth-year senior WR in Rhema McKnight, a senior WR in Jeff Samardzija, a senior TE in John Carlson and an offensive line that benefitted from four more seniors in G Bob Morton, C John Sullivan, G Dan Santucci and T Ryan Harris. Quinn, Walker, Carlson, Sullivan, Santucci and Harris are all currently on NFL rosters. McKnight and Samardzija (who turned down a NFL career for a MLB career) rank as the top-two receivers in school history.
- Interestingly enough, the 2008 Irish offensive unit, which includes just two seniors and eight players with at least two years of eligibility following this season, matches up quite well to that experienced group that ranked as one of the top offensive teams in school history.
- That comparable trend carries over to the other side of the ball as well. The 2006 Notre Dame defense, which included NFL second-round draft picks Trevor Laws and Victor Abiamiri, third-round selection Tom Zbikowski, fifth-round choice Derek Landri, sixth-round pick Mike Richardson and seventh-round choice Chinedum Ndukwe (all of whom were seniors or fifth-year seniors at the time).
- While the 2008 edition does include a pair of fifth-year seniors, Maurice Crum, Jr. and Terrail Lambert, as well as seniors David Bruton and Pat Kuntz (who each will exhaust his eligibility after the 2008 season), but the remaining seven starters include senior Kyle McCarthy (who has another year remaining), two juniors and four sophomores.
QUITE AN EARLY TURNAROUND
- Notre Dame opened the 2007 season with five straight losses for the first time in school history. The 2008 Irish opened the year at 4-1, nearly reversing that trend 180 degrees in one season. The four-game improvement over the first five games of a season is the greatest ever by a Notre Dame squad.
- In fact, it was the greatest turnaround through five games by an NCAA FBS school in 10 years since South Carolina opened the 2000 season with a 4-1 record. The Gamecocks were 0-5 after five games of the 1999 season.
- Interestingly enough, that 2000 South Carolina squad was under a second-year coach that underwent a similar type turnaround in South Bend. His name… Lou Holtz.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
- Notre Dame lost both meetings with Big Ten rivals Michigan and Purdue in 2007. The Irish were outscored 71-19 in those games, including a 38-0 shutout at the hands of the Wolverines.
- Notre Dame upended both Michigan and the Boilermakers this season. They outscored the two longtime rivals, 73-38, in the meetings.
- The 35-17 rebound victory over the Wolverines is the fifth-greatest turnaround from one season to the next against the same opponent.
OPENERS AN INDICATOR?
Notre Dame is now 100-15-5 in season openers, but have they been foretelling of the season ahead? Take a look:
- The 99 previous 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 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.
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 .636 winning percentage in such games (7-4).
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.
NOT SO MANY NEW FACES
- Notre Dame had 28 different players (13 on defense, 15 on offense) register their first career start in 2007 (a total of 16 players made their first career starts the two previous seasons combined). The Irish have had just seven players (DE Ethan Johnson, RG Chris Stewart, FS Sergio Brown, FS Harrison Smith, TE Kyle Rudolph, WR Michael Floyd) make their first start in 2008.
- Notre Dame started eight true freshmen 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 have started three freshmen in 2008 (DE Ethan Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph and WR Michael Floyd).
IN FRONT OF A FULL HOUSE
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 207 of its previous 238 games, including 82 of its last 90 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.
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.
CHARLIE AND THE IRISH OFFENSIVE FACTORY
Fourth-year head coach Charlie Weis came to Notre Dame with a tremendous reputation as one of the premier offensive minds in all of the NFL. The Irish saw immediate results in 2005, setting 11 school records, including passing yards (3,963), touchdown passes (32, bested in 2007), total offense yards (5,728) and total points (440). Notre Dame has surpassed the 40-point barrier on 11 different occasions in Weis’ 43 games as head coach. Prior to his arrival, Notre Dame had eclipsed 40 points just nine times in its previous 97 contests. In addition, the Irish had 83 separate 100-yard receiving games over its first 116 seasons of football, but Notre Dame has had 24 the past four years under Weis. To put those numbers in perspective, Notre Dame averaged a 100-yard receiving effort every 13 games. Under Weis, the Irish is almost recording a 100-yard receiving effort every other game.
— ND —