Oct. 29, 2001
The following is a partial excerpt from the Notre Dame football release. To view the complete release, please see the PDF version.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-4) vs. (#7 AP/#7 ESPN/USA Today) Tennessee Volunteers (5-1)
The Date and Time: Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001, at 2:30 p.m. EST.
The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795/Natural Grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The Tickets: They’re all sold with this game marking the 160th consecutive sellout in Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The Tennessee game also marks the 208th home sellout in the last 209 games (back to 1964) and marks the 135th sellout in the last 157 games involving Notre Dame, including the first 10 games of 1998, the first 11 in ’99, the first five in ’00 and the first eight in ’01.
The TV Plans: NBC Sports national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Lewis Johnson (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 www.und.com. 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 Tennessee game, via the Notre Dame (www.und.com) and Tennessee (www.utsports.com) athletic websites.
Websites: Notre Dame (www.und.com), Tennessee (www.utsports.com).
The Head Coach
Fifth-year Irish head coach Bob Davie owns a 33-23 (.589) 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.
IF NOTRE DAME WINS …
- Notre Dame will even its series record with Tennessee at 3-3 and earn its first win over the Volunteers since a 34-29 triumph on Nov. 10, 1990 in Knoxville.
- The Irish will pick up their first win over Tennessee at Notre Dame Stadium since a 31-14 victory on Nov. 11, 1978.
- Notre Dame will claim its first win over a Southeastern Conference opponent since a 39-36 win over LSU on Nov. 21, 1998.
- The Irish will record their first victory over a ranked opponent since they downed 13th-ranked Purdue, 23-21, on Sept. 16, 2000.
- Notre Dame will defeat a top-10 opponent for the first time since it picked off No. 5 Michigan, 36-20, on Sept. 5, 1998.
- The Irish will improve to 6-3 at home vs. ranked opponents over the last five seasons.
IF TENNESSEE WINS …
- The Volunteers will notch their third consecutive win over Notre Dame and their fourth victory in the last five meetings with the Irish.
- Tennessee will garner its first win at Notre Dame Stadium since a 35-34 upset of fifth-ranked Notre Dame on Nov. 9, 1991.
- The Vols will improve to 4-2 all-time vs. Notre Dame and remain one of only five ?major? schools to lead their series with the Irish (joining Nebraska, Florida State, Georgia and Michigan).
NOTRE DAME-TENNESSEE SERIES HISTORY
- Tennessee leads the all-time series with Notre Dame, 3-2, but the teams have split their two previous meetings at Notre Dame Stadium.
- The 14th-ranked Irish beat Tennessee 31-14 at home in 1978, but the unranked Volunteers upset the 13th-ranked Irish in ’79 at Neyland Stadium (40-18).
- The next two games in the series proved to be memorable ones,with the top-ranked Irish winning a back-and-forth game at No. 9 Tennessee in 1990 (34-29) before the 13th-ranked Volunteers rallied at No. 5 Notre Dame in 1991 (35-34).
- Fourth-ranked Tennessee won its last game with the Irish, scoring 28 points in a 24-minute span in the second and third quarters to defeat No. 24 Notre Dame, 38-14, in 1999 at Neyland Stadium.
- At least one of the two teams has been ranked in the top 15 all six times the teams have met (including 2001), but this will mark the first time in six meetings Notre Dame has not been ranked when facing the Volunteers.
- Entering the 2001 season, both Notre Dame and Tennessee ranked in the top 10 on the NCAA Division I-A all-time wins list the Irish were second with 776 victories while the Volunteers checked in at No. 8 with 707 wins.
- Tennessee is one of only five current ?major? schools to hold a series advantage over Notre Dame the others are Nebraska (8-7-1), Florida State (3-1), Georgia (1-0) and Michigan (17-11).
- In a strange scheduling twist, all six games in the series (including 2001) have been played within an eight-day range (Nov. 3, Nov. 6, Nov. 9, twice on Nov. 10, and Nov. 11).
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND TENNESSEE MET
Fourth-ranked Tennessee scored in the closing seconds of the first half for a 17-7 lead before using a big second half to defeat the 24th-ranked Irish, 38-14, in front of the second-largest crowd (107,619) in Neyland Stadium history. UT outgained the Irish, 413-291 and won the turnover battle (2-0). Notre Dame’s Jarious Jackson completed 11 of 18 passes for 127 yards, with Joey Getherall catching six balls for 61 yards. Julius Jones gained 46 yards on 12 rushes and 93 on four kickoff returns (he finished with 176 total yards, including a 32-yard catch and a five-yard punt return). Tee Martin enjoyed a big day for the Volunteers,completing 18 of 32 passes for 196 yards and three TDs (he also ran six times for 46 yards and another score). Travis Henry led UT’s ground game with 16 rushes for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Tennessee jumped ahead with a 24-yard field goal from Alex Walls on its first drive and added a 21-yard TD pass from Martin to Donte’ Stallworth in the second quarter. The Irish responded by going 65 yards in 14 plays with David Givens scoring from four yards out (the first rushing TD allowed by the Volunteers in 1999). UT’s final drive of the first half was kept alive by a pair of Irish penalties on failed third-down plays, and the 81-yard march capped by Martin’s two-yard toss to Eric Parker.
The Volunteers broke the game open in the third quarter, adding a pair of TDs on big plays Martin connected on a 43-yard scoring strike to Leonard Scott and Henry rumbled in from 40 yards out. Notre Dame scored late in the third quarter as Getherall found the end zone on an 11-yard reverse, but the Irish failed to cash in after recovering the ensuing onside kick they drove to the UT nine-yard line, but Tony Fisher was stopped on fourth-and-two. Martin’s 14-yard touchdown run ended the scoring late in the fourth quarter.
RECAPPING THE OTHER NOTRE DAME-TENNESSEE MEETINGS
- No. 14 Notre Dame 31, Tennessee 14 (Nov. 11, 1978 at Notre Dame Stadium)
Tennessee lost despite a 299-286 edge in total yards,with the Irish making several big plays on defense (three interceptions and a fumble recovery). Notre Dame’s Vagas Ferguson picked up 97 yards on 20 rushes while Joe Montana completed 11 of 25 passes for 144 yards. Chuck Male kicked three field goals (24, 37 and 37 yards), two in the first half, but UT’s Frank Foxx scored on a five-yard run to give the Volunteers a 7-6 halftime lead. Pete Buchanan (two yards) and Montana (five yards) scored rushing TDs in Notre Dame’s 17-point third quarter. Tennessee cut the lead to 24-14 with 8:10 left to play after Jim Streater hooked up with Phil Ingram for a 73-yard pass play. Joe Restic sealed the win with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown. The game featured a coaching matchup between Dan Devine of the defending national champion Irish and Tennessee’s Johnny Majors.
- Tennessee 40, No. 13 Notre Dame 18 (Nov. 10, 1979 at Neyland Stadium)
Tennessee held a 352-118 edge in rushing yards, led by Hubert Simpson’s 27 rushes for 117 yards and James Berry (18 for 94), but the Irish passed for 321 yards to just 89 for the Volunteers. Simpson had four TD runs (covering 24, 1, 1 and 8 yards), while Jimmy Streater scored on a five-yard run and Alan Duncan kicked a 35-yard field goal. Notre Dame’s Rusty Lisch completed 15 of 28 passes for 248 yards in the loss.The Irish lost two fumbles while Vagas Ferguson was held to 89 yards on 22 rushing attempts, although he did score on runs of 1, 2 and 10 yards).
- No. 1 Notre Dame 34, No. 9 Tennessee 29 (Nov. 10, 1990 at Neyland Stadium)
The mistake-prone Irish pulled out a narrow victory despite 516 yards of Tennessee offense, 10 penalties, a fumble inside the Vols’ five-yard line and the loss of an onside kick. The game ended in dramatic fashion as Irish junior CB Rod Smith intercepted an Andy Kelly pass on the goal line with 0:46 left to play. The game included six lead changes, four coming in the second half. Irish senior TB Ricky Watters rushed 17 times for a career-best 174 yards and two TDs, the last coming on a 10-yard scamper with 5:30 remaining for a 27-23 Irish lead. Tennessee’s Greg Burke had broken a 20-20 tie just minutes earlier with a 45-yard field goal
After Watters’ second TD, a midfield interception by Irish LB Donn Grimm set up Raghib Ismail’s 44-yard TD run down the right sideline, giving the Irish a 34-23 cushion with just 3:33 left. But Kelly engineered a 10-play, 68-yard drive that produced a 12-yard scoring toss to Alvin Harper, but the Volunteers missed the two-point try, leaving the score at 34-29. Carl Pickens then recovered the onside kick but Smith saved the day with his last-minute interception at the goal line.
The early moments of the second half included a five-yard TD run by UT’s Tony Thompson and Watters’ 66-yard scoring jaunt in which he broke three tackles up the middle before outracing Dale Carter. Harper later beat Irish CB Todd Lyght for a 32-yard TD catch and Notre Dame K Craig Hentrich forged a 20-20 tie with a 20-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. The first half also featured some scoring fireworks, including a 59-yard scoring pass from Rick Mirer to Rodney Culver and a 26-yard field goal by Hentrich which provided the Irish with a 10-6 lead at halftime.
- No. 13 Tennessee 35, No. 5 Notre Dame 34 (Nov. 9, 1991 at Notre Dame Stadium)
In the final home game for Notre Dame’s 1991 senior class, the Irish jumped out to a 21-0 lead only to see Tennessee claw back for the one-point victory. However, the outcome was still in doubt until the final gun, as Irish walk-on kicker Rob Leonard had a 27-yard field goal attempt partially blocked by Tennessee’s Jeremy Lincoln on the game’s final play.
Tony Brooks led the Irish on offense with 126 yards on 20 carries. Notre Dame used 233 first-half rushing yards to fashion a 31-14 lead at the intermission.The momentum began to shift in the final minute of the first half, when Daryl Hardy’s block of a Craig Hentrich field goal set up Floyd Miley’s recovery and rumble for an 85-yard score. On the play, Hentrich was injured and was unable to kick for most of the second half.The Irish managed just 82 rushing yards in the second half while Rick Mirer completed 11 of 21 passes in the game for 142 yards.Notre Dame clung to a 34-28 lead with five minutes to play when Mirer’s pass, intended for Tony Smith, was intercepted by Dale Carter at the Irish 45-yard line.Three plays later, Andy Kelly completed a 26-yard TD pass to Aaron Hayden and John Becksvoort kicked the winning PAT with 4:03 to play.
In the loss, the Irish defense recovered three fumbles and cashed in a Tom Carter interception for a 79-yard TD. Kelly finished the day with 24 completions in 38 attempts for 259 yards.Notre Dame’s 21-0 start included Brooks’12-yard TD run, Carter’s long interception runback and a 10-yard scamper from Mirer.The second quarter featured Cory Fleming’s 21-yard TD catch from Kelly, a 24-yard field goal by Hentrich and a two-yard plunge by Irish fullback Jerome Bettis. Tennessee chipped away in the third quarter,with a four-yard TD catch by Von Reeves and a four-yard TD run by Hayden sandwiched around Hentrich’s 20-yard kick.
NOTRE DAME-TENNESSEE CONNECTIONS
- Notre Dame has two players on its current roster from the state of Tennessee senior walk-on LB Mark Mitchell (Memphis, Tenn./Christian Brothers HS) and freshman WR Matt Shelton (Collierville, Tenn./Collierville HS). By contrast, Tennessee has no players on its roster from the state of Indiana.
- There are four Memphis natives on the rosters of the two teams besides Mitchell, Tennessee senior DB Andre Lott, freshman K Thomas Patterson and sophomore wide receiver Adrion Smith also hail from the birthplace of Elvis.
- In addition, there are four products of the Cincinnati metro area playing in Saturday’s game Notre Dame senior LB Rocky Boiman (St. Xavier HS) joins UT freshman DB Joe Ashbrook (Christian Academy), senior P Brad Blaylock (Princeton HS) and sophomore OT Michael Munoz (Mason, Ohio/Cincinnati Moeller HS)as natives of the Queen City.
- Eighth-year Notre Dame assistant head coach and linebacker coach Kirk Doll was a member of the same mid-1970s Wichita State coaching staff as Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer. Doll was a graduate assistant coach for the Shockers during the 1975 and ’76 seasons, while Fulmer was on the Wichita State staff from 1974-78. Current Tennessee assistant athletic director for physical development John Stucky also was on that same Wichita State coaching staff from 1974-76.
- Fulmer is in his 23rd season at Tennessee (10th as head coach) and was a Volunteers assistant coach during the same time as current Irish offensive line coach Dave Borbely, who was an offensive line graduate assistant with the Volunteers during the 1984 and ’85 seasons. Current Tennessee offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders was a freshman and sophomore quarterback on those UT teams in ’84 and ’85.
NOTRE DAME VS. SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS
- Of the eight Southeastern Conference teams Notre Dame has faced over the years, the Irish own a winning record against five of them, an even series record with one (Mississippi) and a losing record with two (Georgia and Tennessee).
- This marks the sixth time in the last seven seasons the Irish have played an SEC opponent, af- ter meeting Vanderbilt in ’95 and ’96, LSU in ’97 and ’98, and Tennessee in ’99 and ’01. Irish future schedules include Tennessee (in ’04 and ’05) and Alabama (’05 and ’06).
- The Irish are 6-3 vs.SEC teams since 1990. Notre Dame and Tennessee split a pair in 1990 and ’91.The top-ranked Irish beat the No. 9 Volunteers in Knoxville during the ’90 season (34-29), but Tennessee returned the favor at Notre Dame Stadium in 1991, when the 13th-ranked Volunteers rallied for a 35-34 win over the fifth-ranked Irish.
- No. 18 Notre Dame upset No. 3 Florida in the 1991 Sugar Bowl (39-28), while the Irish handled Vanderbilt in ’95 (41-0) and ’96 (14-7). Notre Dame also split a pair of games with LSU in 1997 and beat the Tigers in 1998 (39-36).
- Notre Dame’s last game vs. Alabama was a convincing 37-6 victory for the No. 7 Irish over the 10th-ranked Crimson Tide in 1987, one of the more noteworthy wins in the early years of the Lou Holtz coaching era at Notre Dame (’87 was his second season).
- The Irish last faced South Carolina in 1984 (lost 36-32) and met Mississippi in 1985 (won 37-14).
- Five of the Irish games vs. SEC teams have come in bowl games, including the 24-23 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama that capped the 1973 national championship season.
IRISH defense GETTING ITS POINT ACROSS
One of the strengths of this year’s Notre Dame squad has been its play on the defensive side of the ball. The Irish rank in the top 40 in the country in four defensive statistical categories, according to the latest NCAA rankings released Sunday. Notre Dame is sixth in pass defense (161.57 yards per game), 14th in total defense (294.0), 25th in scoring defense (19.43 points per game), and 40th in rush defense (132.43). Individually, junior LB Courtney Watson ranked 17th in the nation at 12.67 tackles per game when the first of four individual NCAA defensive statistics reports was released Oct. 2 (the next update comes out Oct. 31).
TIME HAS BEEN ON NOTRE DAME’S SIDE
One of the products of Notre Dame’s improved rushing attack over the last four games has been its ability to control the ball and keep possession away from its opponents. In fact, in their last four outings, the Irish have averaged a time of possession of 37:16, with three games of more than 37 minutes. This trend peaked against Boston College when Notre Dame held the ball for a whopping 40:15, its best time of possession since it had the pigskin for 40:41 in a 34-30 win over 23rd-ranked Oklahoma on Oct. 2, 1999.
In conjunction with their extended time of possession, the Irish have been getting a lot of work on the offensive side of the ball. Notre Dame has been averaging more than 75 offensive plays over the last four weeks, including 83 plays against West Virginia and 82 snaps against Boston College. The 83-play outing vs. WVU represents the most snaps the Irish have taken in one game since they were on offense for 86 plays against Navy on Oct. 30, 1999. And, it’s the first time Notre Dame has had at least two games with 80-or-more plays since the 1997 season, when the Irish topped the 80-play mark against Purdue (84) and Boston College (83). Incidentally, the school record for most offensive plays in a single game is 104 vs. Iowa in 1968.
HOLIDAY AN EMERGING THREAT IN IRISH BACKFIELD
Sophomore QB Carlyle Holiday has made only five starts in his Notre Dame career, but already he is taking on the look of a grizzled veteran. He is 3-2 as a starter, guiding the Irish to wins over Pittsburgh, West Virginia and USC while directing a Notre Dame attack which has averaged more than 350 yards of total offense over the last four weeks.
Holiday has done much of his damage with his legs, averaging 114.8 yards on nearly 20 carries per game during Notre Dame’s last four contests. He also has reeled off four runs of 30 yards or more, including a 67-yard touchdown scamper against Pittsburgh, the longest scoring run by an Irish quarterback since Arnaz Battle raced 74 yards late in a 48-13 win over Kansas on Aug. 28, 1999.
Holiday also has posted three 100-yard games in the last four weeks, including back-to-back 100-yard outings against Pittsburgh (122 yards) and West Virginia (130 yards), becoming the first Irish quarterback since 1980 to top the century mark in consecutive games. He later added 109 yards in a loss to Boston College. By contrast, Notre Dame’s top two career rushing leaders among quarterbacks Tony Rice and Jarious Jackson each ran for over 100 yards only twice in their careers. Holiday nearly made it four straight 100-yard games against USC, finishing with 98 yards on 18 carries against the Trojans.
For the season, Holiday leads the team with 510 yards rushing on 102 carries, good for third on the school’s single-season QB rushing chart. If he finishes as the team leader in rushing, he would be only the third Notre Dame quarterback since 1918 to lead the Irish in that category Paul Hornung ran for a team-high 420 yards in 1956, while Rice topped the squad with 700 yards rushing in ’88 and a school-record 884 yards on the ground in ’89. Here?s a look at the top single-season rushing totals ever by a Notre Dame quarterback:
DUFF HAS THE STUFF FOR THE IRISH
When sophomore CB Vontez Duff was given the chance to move into Notre Dame’s starting lineup against Pittsburgh, he took full advantage. The Copperas Cove, Texas, native who had not started a game and had only four tackles prior to this season has charted seven tackles in his last four games and has come up with the first two interceptions of his career in the last two weeks vs. USC and Boston College (both thefts also led to Notre Dame scores). Duff also has been a significant weapon on the Irish kickoff return team, averaging 22.2 yards on six runbacks this season with three of his returns going for better than 30 yards.
SETTA RIGHT ON TARGET THIS SEASON
Junior PK Nicholas Setta remains one of Notre Dame’s top offensive weapons this season, thanks to his accuracy from various distances. Setta has gone 23-of-24 on placement kicks this season (14 PATs, nine field goals), including a perfect five of five on field-goal attempts from 40 yards or more. In addition, Setta has made 46 consecutive extra points dating back to last season’s win over Stanford, the fourth-longest PAT streak in school history. And, with his 42-yard boot against Boston College, Setta now has a field goal in Notre Dame’s last nine regular-season games, passing Harry Oliver (1980) and Dave Reeve (1975-76) for the second-longest streak in school history. John Carney holds the record with field goals in 11 straight games during the ’86 season. Setta?s only miss this season was a 32-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter at Boston College, a kick that came into a stiff 15-25 mph wind.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS FOR NOTRE DAME
Not only have the Irish had success with their kicking game, but they have also done well returning kicks this season. Notre Dame ranks 28th in the nation in kickoff returns, averaging a solid 22.7 yards per return, and 30th in the land in punt returns with a healthy 11.47 yards per runback. Junior KR Julius Jones has been the primary return specialist for the Irish this season, ranking in the top 30 in the country in both kickoff and punt returns. Sophomore Vontez Duff has also stepped in on kick returns, averaging 22.2 yards per runback this year, with three of his six returns for at least 30 yards.
HUNTER PROVES TO BE RELIABLE OPTION FOR IRISH
Senior SE Javin Hunter has turned out to be a dependable outlet for Notre Dame this season, averaging more than four catches per game through the first six games of the 2001 campaign. All together, he has 31 catches this season, five more than he had in his first three years with the Irish combined. Also, he has come up with at least three receptions in every Notre Dame game this season, becoming the first Irish wideout in four years to have three-or-more catches in the first seven games of a campaign. Malcolm Johnson was the last Notre Dame receiver to put together a similar streak, turning the trick during the ’97 season.
JONES AN ALL-PURPOSE THREAT FOR THE IRISH
Junior TB Julius Jones has been one of Notre Dame’s top all-around threats this season, whether it be in the backfield or returning punt and kickoffs. Despite suffering from an Achilles injury the last two games, the native of Big Stone Gap, Va., continues to lead the Irish in all-purpose yardage at 135.0 yards per game, good for 27th in the nation according to the latest NCAA statistical reports released Sunday. He has been a major threat as a kick returner, ranking 27th in the country in punt returns (11.67 yards per game) and 26th in kickoff returns (26.4), highlighted by his 53-yard punt return against Michigan State and 58-yard kickoff return against West Virginia, both of which led to Notre Dame scores. Jones has also been solid in the Irish backfield, ranking second on the team with 449 yards this season. He has been especially strong in Notre Dame?s last four games, averaging 85.8 yards rushing and scoring six touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving), leading the Irish to three wins in four outings. For the season, Jones stands second on the team with 36 points scored.
SCOUTING THE IRISH OFFENSE
- Line The Irish return three talented and experienced players on the offensive line in senior tackles Jordan Black and Kurt Vollers 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 27 games and accumulating more than 550 minutes of playing time. Vollers and Faine are starting for the second straight year on the offensive line, with Vollers splitting time between right guard and right tackle, and Faine toiling at center. Vollers has seen action in 31 games, starting 21, while Faine has played in 19 games, amassing more than 500 minutes of playing time.
The preseason question for the Irish came 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 before Milligan returned to the position in the last four games vs. Pittsburgh, West Virginia, USC and Boston College. Mahan played in 11 games in ’00, seeing increased playing time as the season progressed, while Milligan cracked the starting lineup against Nebraska, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, USC and Boston College. Junior Brennan Curtin has also been a solid contributor on the line, making the first two starts of his career at right tackle against Michigan State and Texas A&M.
- Backs Sophomore Carlyle Holiday (78-46-466, 2 TD, 5 INT, 102 carries for 510 yards, 2 TD) made his first career start against Texas A&M, and has averaged 114.8 yards rushing in his last four outings against Pittsburgh, West Virginia, USC and Boston College. He also tossed the first two touchdown passes of his career against BC. Sophomore Matt LoVecchio (65-33-263, 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. 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 (67-344, 3 TD) and Terrance Howard (20-59, 1 TD) and junior Julius Jones (120-449, 5 TD, nine catches for 57 yards, 1 TD) 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. He rushed for two touchdowns against West Virginia, the fourth time he has rushed for two TDs in his career. However, he saw limited playing time against USC and missed the Boston College game, both because of a hamstring injury. Jones, a potential All-America candidate, returns as the team’s leading rusher from ’00 (657 yards on 162 carries) and has scored six touchdowns in Notre Dame’s last four games (wins over Pittsburgh, West Virginia and USC, and a loss to Boston College). Jones has also proven to be a potent threat as a receiver, catching a career-high three passes for 27 yards and his first career receiving touchdown against BC. 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. With Fisher and Jones hobbled by injuries the last two games vs. USC and Boston College, Howard has seen additional playing time, scoring his first touchdown of the season against USC and rushing nine times for a season-high 35 yards against Boston College. The fullback position includes seniors Tom Lopienski (7-14), Jason Murray (2-3) and Mike McNair. Lopienski has played in 28 games in his career, carrying the ball 39 times and catching 10 passes, while Murray saw action in eight games in ’00 and has played in four games in ’01, carrying twice for three yards against USC. 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 (22-210) 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 and added five catches for 39 yards against Pittsburgh. Senior split end Javin Hunter (31-350, 1 TD) is the Irish big-play threat, averaging 19.7 a catch in ’00, and grabbing a career-high eight balls vs. Texas A&M. He has caught at least three passes in all seven of Notre Dame’s games in ’01, the first Irish player in four seasons to accomplish that feat. Senior flanker Arnaz Battle (5-40) made his debut at flanker for the Irish against Nebraska, catching two balls, but suffered a fractured right fibula (leg) against Michigan State and missed the next four games. He return for the Boston College game and caught two passes for 17 yards against the Eagles. Sophomore receivers Lorenzo Crawford, Omar Jenkins (6-64) and Ronnie Rodamer also could contribute, along with freshman Carlos Campbell. 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 (3-23, 1 TD) 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 against Texas A&M and later logged his first career touchdown reception against Boston College.
SCOUTING THE IRISH DEFENSE
- Line The Irish defensive line is one of the most experienced and deepest units on the roster. An all-star candidate, senior captain and three-year starter at left end, Anthony Weaver (32 tackles, 11 for loss, three sacks, one INT, one forced fumble) has had impressive games this season against Nebraska (eight tackles, two for loss, one sack, one forced fumble), Pittsburgh (five tackles, three for loss, one sack, one INT) and West Virginia (seven tackles, two for loss). Junior Darrell Campbell (16 tackles, four for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble) took over the tackle position after the graduation of B.J. Scott, picking up four tackles, two for losses, against Pittsburgh. Senior Andy Wisne (16 tackles, two for loss) moved into the starting nose guard position this season and recorded a career-best six tackles against Michigan State. However, he missed the Boston College game with a concussion and will sit out the Tennessee game as well. After making seven starts last season, senior end Ryan Roberts (19 tackles, four for loss, three sacks) returned to the starting lineup in ’01, beginning with the Pittsburgh game. He put together his best game against USC, rolling up career highs of nine tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks against the Trojans. Senior captain Grant Irons (12 tackles, three for loss, one sack, one INT in 2001), who missed most of last season after suffering a shoulder injury against Nebraska, started the first three games of 2001, sat out the Pittsburgh game with a sprained ankle, before returning off the bench for the WVU, USC and Boston College games. Against BC, Irons came up with his first career interception, leading to Notre Dame’s first touchdown. Junior Cedric Hilliard (11 tackles, three for loss, one sack) contributed in a reserve role at nose guard for the first six games of the ’01 season before making his first career start at Boston College in place of Wisne. Sophomore Kyle Budinscak (five tackles) made the first career start at defensive tackle against West Virginia.
- 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 (34 tackles, nine for loss, three sacks, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble in ’01) anchors the outside spot, while Harrison (team-high 61 tackles, five for loss, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble in ’01) is in his second season starting at the inside linebacker position. Boiman recorded a career-high 11 tackles versus Texas A&M and chalked up a pair of sacks against USC, while Harrison had a career-high 14 stops against the Aggies. Harrison added a team-high 11 tackles against USC and came up with a Boston College fumble late in the fourth quarter, giving the Irish one more scoring chance. Junior LB Courtney Watson (54 tackles, nine for loss, one sack, one fumble recovery), who came into the ’01 season with 11 career tackles, recorded a team-high 18 tackles against the Huskers, earning ABC Chevrolet Player of the Game honors for the Irish. He then added 10 tackles against Michigan State and Texas A&M and ranked 17th nationally at 12.67 tackles per game (as of Oct. 2). Sophomore Derek Curry (two tackles, one for loss) backs up Boiman on the outside, while junior Justin Thomas and sophomore Mike Goolsby play behind Watson and senior Carlos Pierre-Antoine (two tackles) spells Harrison.
- Backs Senior cornerback Shane Walton (26 tackles, two for loss, one INT, three pass breakups, one forced fumble, one blocked kick) returns to anchor the Irish secondary in 2001. 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. He tied his career high with seven tackles against USC and leads the team with three pass breakups this season. Sophomore Vontez Duff (15 tackles) took over the starting right cornerback slot beginning with the Pittsburgh game, the first starting assignment of his career, and has picked up interceptions in each of Notre Dame’s last two games (USC and Boston College), the first thefts of his career. At strong safety, junior Gerome Sapp (20 tackles), a Jim Thorpe Award candidate, was rated the 11th-best strong safety in the country by The Sporting News and has started three of the last four games for the Irish. Key reserves include junior Jason Beckstrom (10 tackles), who has started two of the last three games as part of the Irish nickel package, senior Clifford Jefferson (12 tackles, two for loss), who has seen action at right cornerback in four games, starting three (did not play vs. Pittsburgh, WVU and BC) 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, and sophomore Preston Jackson at left cornerback. Senior free safety Donald Dykes (38 tackles, one for loss, two fumble recoveries) made his first start against Nebraska and had a career-high 13 tackles after recording only 18 stops all of last year. He came up with a critical fumble recovery in the fourth quarter against USC, leading to a game-clinching TD for the Irish. Dykes tied for team-high honors with six tackles at Boston College but also suffered an ankle injury which will keep him out of the Tennessee contest. Other key players include fifth-year strong safety Ron Israel (18 tackles, one for loss), who logged a career-best nine tackles in each of the first two games of ’01, but suffered a hamstring injury prior to the Pittsburgh game, saw limited action against West Virginia and did not play against USC or Boston College, junior FS Glenn Earl (14 tackles), who was injured in the season opener against Nebraska, missed the Michigan State and Texas A&M games, but has played in the last four games in a reserve role and could start in place of Dykes against Tennessee, and sophomore Abram Elam (17 tackles, two INT, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble), who had an interception and fumble recovery against Pittsburgh, and added another interception and forced a fumble against USC.
SCOUTING THE IRISH SPECIAL TEAMS
- Joey Hildbold and K 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 is 17th in the nation at 43.7 yards per punt after averaging a career-best 50.5 per kick against Texas A&M. Setta continues to make improvements after going eight for 14 in his first season as the Irish placekicker, converting on nine of his 10 field-goal attempts this season and 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 (26th in the nation at 26.4 yards a kick return this season) and punt return (27th in the country at 11.67 yards per return) duties for the Irish, ranking second in school history with 1,294 kickoff return yards. In addition, sophomore cornerback Vontez Duff has returned kicks this season, averaging 22.2 yards on six kickoff returns and going at least 30 yards on three of his six runbacks. Seniors David Givens and Terrance Howard also have experience as kick return specialists. 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.
THE 2001 CAPTAINS
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.
THE 2001 SCHEDULE
- 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, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Boston College, Tennessee and Purdue).
- Five of Notre Dame’s 2001 opponents are currently ranked in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls (Nebraska – 2/2, Tennessee – 7/7, Stanford – 10/13, Purdue – 20/15 and Texas A&M – 24/17). Two other teams (Michigan State and Boston College) also received votes in one or both of the major polls this week.
- Notre Dame’s five road opponents for ’01 so far have combined for a 32-5 (.865) record to date Nebraska (9-0), Texas A&M (7-1), Boston College (6-2), Stanford (5-1) and Purdue (5-1).
- Prior to the 2001 season, the Irish schedule was voted the sixth toughest out of 116 schools by Sports Illustrated (No. 9/11 UCLA had the fifth toughest schedule according to SI, while Irish opponent USC had the toughest).
- According to the latest NCAA rankings (as of Oct. 28), Notre Dame has the 10th toughest schedule in the nation. These rankings take into account the cumulative performance of all Irish opponents (past and future) during the 2001 season.
WEAVER, IRONS AND JONES EARN PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA HONORS
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.
FIVE EARN PRESEASON HONORABLE MENTION ALL-AMERICA HONORS
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.
IRISH PLAYERS RANK HIGH IN LINDY’S AND THE SPORTING NEWS
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.
POSITION UNITS AND FRESHMAN RANK NATIONALLY AS WELL
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.
TB TONY FISHER NAMED TO DOAK WALKER AWARD WATCH LIST
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.
GEROME SAPP NAMED TO THORPE AWARD WATCH LIST
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.
WEAVER AND FAINE NAMED TO LOMBARDI AWARD WATCH LIST, FAINE TO RIMINGTON TROPHY LIST
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.
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), Ara Parseghian (13-6-4, .652), Dan Devine (15-9-1, .620), Bob Davie (14-11, .560) 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 134 of its previous 156 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, and the first seven contests in ’01 have all been sold out.
Besides being sellouts, six of Notre Dame’s seven games this year have come in front of stadium record crowds. The Irish played in front of 78,118 fans at Nebraska, welcomed Notre Dame Stadium-record crowds of 80,795 for the Michigan State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and USC games, 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 EXCELS IN ACADEMICS AS WELL AS ON THE FIELD
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 three 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. This season, Walton ranks sixth on the team with 26 tackles (second among Irish DBs) and leads the squad with three pass breakups. He also blocked a punt against Nebraska to set up an Irish TD, and picked off a pass against Pittsburgh to help keep the high-powered Panther offense in check.
- 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. This season, he has made 50 special teams appearances and also charted one tackle against Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Boston College. 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 23 of his 24 placement kicks this season (nine FG, 14 PATs), stretching his streak of consecutive PATs made to 46, the fourth-longest in school history. He also tied his career best with a 47-yard field goal at Texas A&M and has made all five of his field goal attempts from 40 yards or more in 2001.
FORMER IRISH GREAT DAVE DUERSON
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.
2000-01 NOTRE DAME ATHLETIC RESUME HIGHLIGHTS
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
IRISH FINISH 11th IN SEARS DIRECTORS CUP
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 ONCE AGAIN A FAN FAVORITE
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.
FRIDAY FOOTBALL KICKOFF LUNCHEONS
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.
LOCATIONS ANNOUNCED FOR 2002 AND 2004 NOTRE DAME-NAVY GAMES
The Naval Academy announced Oct. 10 that PSINet Stadium in Baltimore will play host to the 2002 Notre Dame-Navy game, and Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., will play host to the 2004 Notre Dame-Navy contest. It will be the first time the series will be played at PSINet Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. Notre Dame and Navy have played five times at Giants Stadium, with the Irish winning all five encounters, including a 38-7 win in their most recent visit in 1992. The Notre Dame-Navy matchup is the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country the two teams will square off for the 75th time this season on Nov. 17 at Notre Dame Stadium.
ORDER YOUR MEDIA GUIDES AND YEARBOOKS TODAY
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 Yearbookan 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.
SEVERAL NOTRE DAME TEAMS IN ACTION AT HOME THIS WEEK …
Besides the Irish football team, a handful of other Notre Dame teams are scheduled to be in action on campus this week. On Tuesday, the nationally-ranked Irish men’s soccer team will battle IUPUI in a non-conference match at 7:00 p.m. EST at Alumni Field. On Thursday, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team will play its first exhibition game of the 2001-02 season against an International Select team at 7:30 p.m. EST at the Joyce Center. On Friday, the Irish men’s swimming team welcomes Tennessee to the Rolfs Aquatic Center for a dual meet. And, on Saturday, the Notre Dame men’s soccer team returns to BIG EAST action, playing host to Syracuse in a 7:30 p.m. EST match at Alumni Field.