Darius Walker and the Irish will take on the Buckeyes on Jan. 2 at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Irish To Face Buckeyes In Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Dec. 7, 2005

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2006 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Notre Dame (9-2) vs. Ohio State (9-2)

The Rankings:
Notre Dame – 5th AP, 6th USA Today, 5th Harris,6th BCS
Ohio State – 4th AP, 4th USA Today, 4th Harris, 4th BCS

The Date and Time:
Monday, Jan. 2, 2006, 3:00 p.m. MST (5:00 p.m. EST in South Bend, Ind.)

The Site:
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz. (73,752) – Natural Grass Surface

The Tickets: For information on tickets, visit www.tostitosfiestabowl.com .

The TV Plans: ABC national telecast with Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analysis) and Jack Arute (sideline).

The Radio Plans: ESPN Radio national broadcast with Dave Paach (play-by-play), Rod Gilmore (analysis) and Stacy Dalea-Schuman (sideline).

Westwood One radio, who completed their 38th year broadcasting Notre Dame football games this season, will offer a limited broadcast to stations within a 75-mile radius of Notre Dame’s campus that broadcast Irish football games this season. The broadcast will feature Tony Roberts (play-by-play) and Allen Pinkett (analysis) with Al Smith (producer).

The broadcast can be heard on WLS-AM in Chicago, Ill., WRSW-FM in Warsaw, Ind., WJOT-AM in Wabash, Ind., WNDV-AM in South Bend, Ind., WEFM-FM in Michigan City, Ind., WNDV-FM in South Bend, Ind., WKZO-AM in Kalamazoo, Mich., WDND-AM in South Bend, Ind., and WQSN-AM in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Websites: Notre Dame – www.und.com; Ohio State – www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com; Fiesta Bowl – wwww.tostitosfiestabowl.com

Two-Minute Drill (what you need to know about Notre Dame and the 2006 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl) –
• Notre Dame is making its first Bowl Championship Series appearance since the 2000 season, when the Irish faced Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl. Notre Dame is looking to break a seven-game losing streak in bowl games.
• Notre Dame and Ohio State will be meeting for just the fifth time. The series is tied at 2-2, with the Irish winning the first two games of the series in 1935 and ’36. Ohio State won the two most recent contests between the two teams in 1995 and ’96.
• The Irish will be making their 27th bowl game appearance on Jan. 2, 2006. Notre Dame is 13-13 all-time in bowl games.
• Brady Quinn’s stellar 2005 campaign has pushed him to ownership of all of Notre Dame’s significant passing records, including career/single-season yardage, career/single-season attempts and completions and career/single-season touchdown passes.
• Senior WR Maurice Stovall and Jeff Samardzija have combined to become the only pair of teammates in the country with 10 or more touchdown receptions. Samardzija has a school-record 15, while Stovall is close behind with 11 (including 10 in Notre Dame’s last five games).
• Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio) are the only schools in the country to boast a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers.
• Notre Dame is currently averaging 38.18 points per game, on pace to break the school record of 37.6 posted by the 1968 team. The Irish also have scored 55 touchdowns this season, four off the record (59) compiled by the 1991 team. The school record for points in a season (426 in 1991) is in reach as well, as the Irish currently have 420 points – needing just six more to reach the single-season record.
• Notre Dame’s offensive improvement in 2005 continues to lead the nation. The Irish have improved 143.6 yards per game this year from their 2004 production, ranking ahead of USC (+122.2) and Iowa (+121.8).
• Sophomore RB Darius Walker became the ninth player to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season at Stanford. Walker’s career-best 186-yard performance against the Cardinal pushed him to eighth on the all-time single-season rushing list with 1,106 yards.
• Notre Dame finished sixth in the final Bowl Championship Series rankings, the highest for the team since midway through the 2002 season when the Irish peaked at No. 4. The No. 6 BCS ranking is the highest final ranking for the Irish since the inception of the BCS and guaranteed Notre Dame an at-large berth in one of the four BCS games.
• Notre Dame’s minus-11-yard defensive rushing performance against Stanford marks the best effort (and fourth-best in modern history) by an Irish defensive unit in 37 years. The 1968 team held Georgia Tech to -42 yards rushing in a 36-4 victory on Nov. 16, 1968.

Notre Dame – Ohio State Series History
Notre Dame and Ohio State are separated by 280 miles, but they have faced each other on the gridiron just four times previous to this year’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl … the Irish won the first two meetings in 1935 and 1936, while Ohio State earned victories in the two most recent meetings in 1995 and 1996 … the two teams have never met on a neutral field … see page 26 of this notes package for a complete recap of the 1935 “Game of the Century” between Notre Dame and Ohio State … the teams current AP rankings (Ohio State, No. 4; Notre Dame, No. 5) are exact duplicates of the same rankings both teams held in the last meeting from the 1996 season …. Ohio State won that contest 29-16 in Notre Dame Stadium … the 1996 game marks the most recent matchup for a top-five Notre Dame team against a top-five ranked opponent.

The Last Time… Notre Dame vs. Ohio State
Ohio State dominated the most recent matchup between the two teams in 1996, earning a 29-16 victory. The Buckeyes led 22-7 at halftime, with the Irish rushing attack putting up just 28 net yards in the first 30 minutes.

Notre Dame would cut the lead to 13 points in the second half and forced an Ohio State punt with 3:35 left. Autry Denson grabbed it and returned the punt 90 yards for an apparent touchdown, but Ty Goode was called for holding on the return and the Irish would not threaten again in the contest.

Pepe Pearson led Ohio State with 173 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Stanley Jackson completed nine of 15 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. For Notre Dame, Ron Powlus ended up 13 of 30 for 154 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Denson compiled 55 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl History
Notre Dame will be making its fourth appearance (1-2) in the Fiesta Bowl and first since 2001 … the Irish earned a victory in their first trip to Tempe, Ariz., for the Fiesta Bowl in 1989, defeating West Virginia, 34-21, to win the program’s most recent of 11 National Championships … Colorado defeated Notre Dame, 41-24, in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl and Oregon State knocked off the Irish, 41-9, in the 2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Notre Dame Bowl History
The Irish have made 26 bowl appearances in the program’s history, compiling a 13-13 record … after winning 13 of its first 19 bowl appearances, Notre Dame has lost its last seven post-season games … Notre Dame made its first bowl appearance in 1924 when Knute Rockne took his famed Four Horsemen backfield across the country to meet Stanford in the Rose Bowl … due to University regulations, the Irish did not appear in a bowl game again until the 1970 Cotton Bowl … Notre Dame has appeared in 10 different bowl games over the years: Rose (1924), Cotton (1970, ’71, ’78, ’79, ’88, ’93 and ’94), Orange (1973, ’75, ’90, ’91, ’96), Sugar (1973, ’80, ’91), Gator (1976, ’99, ’03), Liberty (1983), Aloha (1984), Fiesta (1989, ’95, ’01, ’06), Independence (1997) and Insight (2004) … some of the most memorable moments in Notre Dame history have occurred in bowl games, including National Championship-clinching victories at the 1973 Sugar Bowl (24-23 over #1 Alabama), 1978 Cotton Bowl (38-10 over #1 Texas) and 1989 Fiesta Bowl (34-21 over unbeaten West Virginia) … the “Ice Bowl” or “Chicken Soup Bowl” was played in 1979 when Notre Dame, led by future NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana, scored 23 points in the final 7:37 to shock Houston (the game was possibly the coldest Cotton Bowl in history, hence the “Ice Bowl”; Joe Montana missed a portion of the game due to a lower than normal body temperature and sipped chicken soup to warm up, hence “The Chicken Soup Bowl.”) … in the 1983 Liberty Bowl, Notre Dame prevented the Doug Flutie-led Eagles a chance at a 10-2 record and spot among the nation’s top 10 with a 19-18 victory … Notre Dame denied Texas A&M a shot at the national title in the 1993 Cotton Bowl, knocking off the undefeated Aggies 28-3.

Notre Dame vs. the Big Ten Conference
Notre Dame has played almost three times as many games against Big Ten Conference opponents (333) as any other league … the Pacific-10 (112) is the only other conference against whom the Irish have played at least 100 games … Notre Dame has won more than 66 percent of its games versus Big Ten Conference opponents, with a record of .500 or better against 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams (Michigan is the lone exception) … the Irish have an overall mark of 214-104-15 (.665) in 333 games against Big Ten schools, with more than 52 percent of those games (171) coming versus Michigan (14-18-1), Michigan State (43-25-1) and Purdue (50-25-2), all of whom were on Notre Dame’s 2005 schedule … for the third consecutive season, Notre Dame played three Big Ten schools (Michigan, W, 17-10; Michigan State, L, 41-44 in OT, and Purdue, W, 49-28) during the regular season … Notre Dame has never faced a Big Ten Conference team in a bowl game … the Irish faced Penn State in the 1976 Gator Bowl (20-9 Irish victory) before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten.

Fiesta Bowl Revenue Direction
The University of Notre Dame’s share of Fiesta Bowl revenues will be dedicated to three academic priorities, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president, announced on Dec. 5, 2005.

The estimated $14.5 million share will go toward undergraduate and graduate financial aid, library acquisitions and scientific instruments for the new Jordan Hall of Science that will open in mid-2006, Father Jenkins said.

Notre Dame will play Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., on Jan. 2 as part of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

“We’re, of course, pleased that our team has competed at such a high level this year and is being rewarded with this bowl opportunity, but we’re also very grateful that the funds from our participation will go to address such important needs for the academic mission of the University,” Father Jenkins said.

He noted that over the past seven years the non-salary portions of the University’s budget have been essentially flat in order to cope with economic pressures that have affected Notre Dame and many other colleges and universities.

“These funds from the BCS are being made available at a very opportune time,” he said.

Under the BCS system, Notre Dame, as an independent university, keeps its entire share of the bowl proceeds. Universities that are a part of a conference share their allotments. In future years, under a new BCS arrangement, Notre Dame’s share will be reduced to $4.5 million in years that it participates in the BCS, with a guaranteed payment of $1.3 million in years that it does not qualify. Under the existing system, Notre Dame receives no funds when it does not play in a BCS game.

The Fiesta Bowl revenue is the latest example of Notre Dame athletics supporting the academic priorities of the University.

Bowl game revenue has produced more than $69 million in the past 25 years. These funds, along with a substantial portion of the proceeds from the University’s television contract with NBC, have been used to support student financial aid, and together have supported more than 2,000 scholarships.

Notre Dame’s University Libraries include the Theodore M. Hesburgh Library and 10 other libraries on campus containing nearly 3 million volumes, more than 5,000 electronic titles, some 3 million microform units, and 21,000 audiovisual items. The University’s most recent strategic plan calls for a commitment to building library collections that will “bring the best students and faculty to Notre Dame and attract international scholars.”

The Jordan Hall of Science is a 201,782-square-foot building under construction on the east side of Juniper Road, north of the Joyce Center. It will feature undergraduate laboratory space for the departments of chemistry, biochemistry, biology and physics, as well as two 250-seat lecture halls, a 150-seat multi-visualization room, an observatory, teaching labs, herbarium, greenhouse and departmental offices. It was underwritten with a leadership gift from University alumnus and Trustee John W. “Jay” Jordan II and is scheduled for completion next summer. – from the University of Notre Dame News and Information Office

2005: The Charlie Weis Era Begins
The 117th season of Notre Dame football is the first in the tenure of head coach Charlie Weis, who started his career with a 9-2 record, including wins over three ranked opponents.

Weis was named the 28th head football coach in Notre Dame history on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2004. A 1978 Notre Dame graduate, Weis took the reins of the Irish program after a highly-successful career as an assistant coach in the National Football League.

The owner of four Super Bowl champion rings as products of a stellar 15-season career as an NFL assistant, Weis is a widely-respected disciple of professional coaching standouts Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. He came to Notre Dame after excelling as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, where he played an integral role in New England’s victories in three of the last four Super Bowls.

Weis is the first Notre Dame graduate to hold the football head coaching position at his alma mater since Hugh Devore (a ’34 graduate) served as interim coach in 1963 and is the first Notre Dame graduate to serve as the Irish football coach on a full-fledged basis since Joe Kuharich (a ’38 graduate who coached at Notre Dame from 1959 through ’62).

Now in his 27th season in coaching, Weis coached nine seasons with the Patriots, including five as offensive coordinator. He helped produce four Super Bowl championships (New York Giants following the 1990 season, Patriots following ’01, ’03 and ’04 seasons), five conference titles and seven division crowns.

Irish First-Year Head Coaches
As Charlie Weis continues his first season at the helm of the Irish, here are a few notes on Notre Dame’s head coaches in their inaugural years (see page 27 for a recap of each coaching debut season in ND history) … the 27 previous head football coaches in Notre Dame history have combined to amass a 168-60-12 (.700) record in their first years at the helm (not including 2005) … Weis is the first coach to begin his Irish career by beating two ranked opponents in his first two games … the only other attempt was by Terry Brennan in 1954 (won 21-0 vs. #4 Texas, lost 27-14 vs. #19 Purdue) … Weis is the first coach to begin his Notre Dame tenure with two victories on the road and on an opponent’s home field since Knute Rockne in 1918 (at Case Tech, at Wabash) … Hunk Anderson faced his first two games away from Notre Dame in ’31 (at Indiana, vs. Northwestern at Soldier Field – a win and a tie, respectively) and Dan Devine also started with two games away from South Bend in ’75 (vs. Boston College at Foxboro, at Purdue – both wins) … the two most recent Irish head coaches (Bob Davie, 7-6 in 1997; Tyrone Willingham, 10-3 in 2002) posted winning records in their first seasons … the last Irish coach to turn in a sub – .500 season in his first year is Lou Holtz, whose ’86 team finished 5-6. Notre Dame has assured itself of a winning record in Charlie Weis’ first season with a 9-2 record entering the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl … first-year coaching records since 1913 (most wins listed first) – Tyrone Willlingham (10-3 in 2002), Ara Parseghian (9-1 in 1964), Terry Brennan (9-1 in 1954), Charlie Weis (9-2 in 2005), Frank Leahy (8-0-1 in 1941), Dan Devine (8-3 in 1975), Jesse Harper (7-0 in 1913), Bob Davie (7-6 in 1997), Hunk Anderson (6-2-1 in 1931), Elmer Layden (6-3 in 1934), Lou Holtz (5-6 in 1986), Gerry Faust (5-6 in 1981), Joe Kuharich (5-5 in 1959), Knute Rockne (3-1-2 in 1918).

First-year coaches’ bowl game history –

Coach Bowl Game Outcome Score
Tyrone Willingham 2003 Gator Bowl L 6-28
Bob Davie 1997 Independence Bowl L 9-27

Notre Dame Scoring at an Historic Pace
40 points – Notre Dame has scored over 40 points six times this season, matching the school record set by both the 1991 and 1992 teams.

30 points – The Irish have scored 30 or more points in 10 of 11 games this season (a 17-10 victory at Michigan was the lone exception), setting the school record for 30-point performances. The previous record for 30 point games in a season was nine by the 1991 edition of the Fighting Irish (which included a 30-point performance in a bowl game). Notre Dame also has scored 30 or more points in nine straight games, becoming the first Notre Dame team to accomplish that feat.

From an historic perspective, Notre Dame has only scored over 30 points in eight games or more just five times in the program’s history. The 1966, 1992 and 1993 teams all posted eight 30-point performances (the ’93 team total includes a bowl game as well).

Notre Dame is currently seventh in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 38.18 points per game. If the 38.18 average holds up, it would set a Notre Dame single-season record.

In addition, the 2005 Irish team already has scored more points this season (420) than any of the previous 13 Notre Dame teams. The school record for points scored (426 in 1991) also is in reach, as the Irish need six points against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

With one game remaining on the schedule, Charlie Weis’ first Notre Dame team already has piled up 420 points – the most in a debut season for a non-interim Irish head coach. Weis’ first squad also is averaging 38.18 points per game, just behind Jesse Harper’s debut season average of 38.29 in 1913 (268 points in seven games).

Irish Offense Putting Up Unprecedented Yardage Totals
The 2005 edition of the Fighting Irish has become the first Notre Dame team to have a 3,000-yard passer (Brady Quinn, 3,633 yards), 1,000-yard rusher (Darius Walker, 1,106 yards) and 1,000-yard receiver (Jeff Samardzija, 1,190 yards and Maurice Stovall, 1,023 yards) on the same roster.

Notre Dame’s Offensive Improvement the Best in the Nation
Entering post-season action, Notre Dame’s 143.6 yards-per-game improvement for the Irish offense this season is rated first in the nation, ahead of USC, Iowa and Washington State. Here is a look at this year’s top 10 most improved offenses:

Most Improved Teams in Total Offense
Rank School 2004 2005 Improvement
1. Notre Dame 345.5 489.1 +143.6
2. USC 449.1 571.3 +122.2
3. Iowa 312.7 416.6 +121.8
4. Washington State 368.6 487.5 +120.7
5. Penn State 310.7 437.4 +113.6
6. Central Florida 280.0 396.9 +113.0
7. New Mexico 298.0 398.2 +99.4
8. Maryland 298.0 399.4 +97.8
9. Clemson 295.6 390.3 +90.8
10. Arizona State 435.4 518.1 +82.7

Offense Piling Up Yardage
The offense has been the highlight of the 2005 Notre Dame football season thus far. The Irish are currently 10th in the country in total offense (489.09) and are on pace for the most prolific offensive season since the team ended the 1996 season ranked 10th in total offense. Currently, the Irish are averaging 334.27 passing yards per game and are on pace to shatter the Notre Dame record of 252.7 set in 1970 (Notre Dame finished that season ranked eighth in the country in passing offense and second overall with a school-record 510.5 total yards per game).

One measuring stick for offensive production is games in which the team compiles over 500 yards of total offense. Notre Dame has accomplished that feat seven times this season (502 at Pittsburgh, 594 vs. Michigan State, 560 at Washington, 621 at Purdue, 511 vs. BYU, 505 vs. Navy, 663 at Stanford) – marking the first time the Irish have posted seven 500-yard performances in a season.

Here is a breakdown of Notre Dame’s 500-plus games in two comparable seasons (1970, 1992) –
1970 (six): 633 vs. Purdue, 513 vs. Michigan State, 600 vs. Navy, 574 vs. Army, 606 vs. Pittsburgh, 557 vs. USC
1992 (five): 561 vs. Northwestern, 509 vs. Michigan State, 580 vs. Purdue, 521 vs. Pittsburgh, 576 vs. Boston College

Keep an Eye on Third Down
Notre Dame has been highly effective offensively on third down this season. The Irish are ninth in the nation (81 of 167, .485) on third down and are holding their opponents to a respectable .327 (50 of 153, 18th in the nation) on defense. Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas and Auburn are the only schools in the country ranked in the top 18 for both offensive and defensive third-down percentage.

663-Yard Effort Ranks Among the Best All-Time
Notre Dame’s offensive explosion (663 total yards) against Stanford on Nov. 26 ranks among the best in the program’s history. Dating back to 1963, it ranks fifth on the list and is the second 600-yard total offense effort of the season (621 at Purdue).

Top Total Offense Totals Since 1963 –
1. 720 vs. Navy, 1969
2. 680 vs. Air Force, 1977
3. 673 vs. Illinois, 1968
4. 667 vs. Georgia Tech, 1977
5. 663 vs. Stanford, 2005
6. 650 vs. Washington, 1996
650 vs. Michigan State, 1991
8. 648 vs. Rutgers, 1996
9. 636 vs. Purdue, 1972
10. 633 vs. Purdue, 1970
11. 630 vs. Navy, 1987
12. 621 vs. Purdue, 2005

Team Records in Jeopardy
Notre Dame is on pace to break several team single-season offensive records this season.

Here is an overview of the team records that may fall (or have already fallen) this season –

Record Number (Year) Current Team Total
Pass Attempts 411 (2003) 409
Pass Attempts Per Game 31.6 (2003) 37.1
Pass Completions 195 (2003) 265*
Pass Completions Per Game 16.2 (1970) 24.1
Completion Percentage .638 (1993) .648
Lowest Interception Percentage .016 (1996) .019
Passing Yards 2,858 (1999) 3,677*
Passing Yards Per Game 252.7 (1970) 334.3
Touchdown Passes 21 (1994) 32*
Total Offense Attempts 924 (1970) 872
Total Offense Yards 5,467 (1991) 5,308
Total Offense Yards Per Attempt 6.59 (1991) 6.17
Total Points 426 (1991) 420
Points Per Game 37.6 (1968) 38.2
Touchdowns 59 55
Touchdowns Per Game 5.3 (1949) 5.0
Extra Points 57 (1991) 52
* – indicates record already broken

First-Year Players Seeing Significant Time
Through 11 games of the 2005 season, Notre Dame has seen 28 players make their Irish playing debut. Included in the 28 players are 11 true freshmen from Notre Dame’s 15-player class signed last year. The complete list of players that have played for the first time this season: James Bent, Justin Brown, David Bruton*, Craig Cardillo, Dan Chervanick, Maurice Crum, Jr., Casey Cullen, Paul Duncan*, Leo Ferrine, David Fitzgerald, David Grimes*, LaBrose Hedgemon III, Ray Herring*, Joey Hiben*, D.J. Hord*, Pat Kuntz*, Terrail Lambert, Ashley McConnell, Marty Mooney, Steve Quinn * Asaph Schwapp*, Dwight Stephenson, Jr., Scott Smith*, Ronald Talley, Michael Turkovich*, Anthony Vernaglia and Rich Whitney III.
* – indicates true freshman

Four Ranked Teams in Six Games
Including the Oct. 15 matchup with No. 1 USC, Notre Dame faced four ranked teams (according to the AP ranking) in this season’s first six games for the fifth time in the program’s history this year. Notre Dame won three of the games this year, taking down #23 Pittsburgh, #3 Michigan and #22 Purdue – all on the road.

Notre Dame faced a similar challenge in 2003, 2000, 1979 and 1953. The 1953 team (W, 28-21 at #6 Oklahoma; W, 24-14 vs. #15 Pittsburgh; W, 27-14 vs. #4 Georgia Tech; W, 38-7 vs. Navy) is the only Irish squad to win all four games.

Schedule Transformation
Notre Dame faced a daunting schedule at the start of the 2005 season, but the Irish slate ended up transforming itself during the course of the season. Here is a look at the 2005 campaign game-by-game, with team rankings from when the game was played. (Rankings are AP/USA Today/Harris Interactive)

Date ND Rank Opponent Opponent Rank Notes
Sept. 3 NR Pittsburgh 23/25 Pitt loses first three before finishing 5-3
Sept. 10 20/23 Michigan 3/3 UM starts season 3-3, finishes 4-1
Sept. 17 10/12 Michigan State NR MSU begins 4-0, finishes 1-6
Sept. 24 16/18 Washington NR Huskies finish with a 2-9 record
Oct. 1 13/14/13 Purdue 22/20/22 Ranked in top 10 after 2-0 start, PU loses six straight before winnning last three games
Oct. 15 9/9/8 USC 1/1/1 Irish and Trojans battle to the final whistle
Oct. 22 9/12/11 BYU NR BYU wins five of last seven, Las Vegas Bowl bound
Nov. 5 8/9/9 Tennessee NR UT fails to go to a bowl game for first time since ’88
Nov. 12 7/7/7 Navy NR Midshipmen Poinsettia Bowl-bound with 7-4 record
Nov. 19 6/7/6 Syracuse NR Orange finish with one win under new head coach
Nov. 26 6/6/5 Stanford NR Irish 38-31 victory prevents bowl trip for Cardinal

Notre Dame’s Solid Start in 2005
Notre Dame’s three victories over ranked opponents have all occurred on the road this season – and all on the opponent’s home field. That marks the first time Notre Dame has defeated three ranked teams on the road since 2002 (vs. #21 Maryland, at #18 Air Force, at #11 Florida State), but the first time since 1990 that feat has been achieved on the opponents’ home fields (at #24 Michigan State, at #9 Tennessee, at #18 USC).

The three ranked victories also occurred in the first five games of the year. The 2005 season marks the 11th time Notre Dame has faced three ranked opponents in its first five games of the season – and the ’05 season is the first time since 1980 (vs. #13 Miami, vs. #14 Michigan and vs. #9 Purdue) that the team has won all three such games in five attempts (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003).

Notre Dame Closing Gap In All-Time Winning Percentage
Notre Dame’s recent final win/loss records ended up pushing the Irish out of the top spot in college football’s all-time winning percentage list. Notre Dame is currently second on the all-time winning percentage and all-time wins list behind Michigan, but the winning percentage gap has narrowed. Michigan, with its regular season 7-4 record will face Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28, is currently 849-279-36 all-time for a winning percentage of .7448.

The Irish are 9-2 and 811-265-42 all-time for a winning percentage of .7442. The Notre Dame – Michigan bowl game outcomes will determine ownership of the all-time winning percentage mark until the 2006 season.

Notre Dame Winning Time-of-Possession Battle
While Notre Dame’s offense has been piling up the yardage this season (averaging 489.09 yards per game), it also has won the time of possession battle in nine of 11 games this season. Only BYU (33:39) and Navy (31:35) have been able to hold the ball for more than 30 minutes against Notre Dame. Overall, Notre Dame averages 33:11 minutes per game with the ball, compared to 26:49 for its opponents. Here is a game-by-game breakdown:

Game Notre Dame Opponent
at Pitt 32:46 27:14
at Mich 30:56 29:04
MSU 35:49 24:11
Wash 36:56 23:04
Purdue 36:03 23:57
USC 38:40 21:20
BYU 26:21 33:39
Tennessee 32:12 27:48
Navy 28:25 31:35
Syracuse 32:13 27:47
Stanford 34:35 25:25

Notre Dame in the Bowl Championship Series
Notre Dame moved up to sixth in the Dec. 4 release of the final BCS Standings (available on page 26 of this notes package). That marks the highest-ever BCS ranking for the team since the team was rated sixth on Nov. 17, 2002. The Irish eventually appeared in the Gator Bowl that season.

Notre Dame automatically qualified for an at-large berth in the BCS this season by finishing with nine wins and in the top six of the final BCS rankings.

Notre Dame’s Highest BCS Rankings –
Third – Oct. 20 and Oct. 27, 2002
Sixth – Nov. 17, 2002 and Dec. 4, 2005
Seventh – Nov. 3 and Nov. 10, 2002
Eighth – Nov. 21, 2005
Ninth – Dec. 8, 2002 and Nov. 14, 2005
10th – Dec. 1, 2002

The Drive
Trailing by a single point 31-30 late in the game at Stanford on Saturday, Nov. 26, Notre Dame put together a textbook, last-minute drive to rally back and take the lead for good in its 38-31 victory over the Cardinal.

Receiving the ball with 1:46 remaining and two timeouts left, Notre Dame raced down the field to secure its eligibility for a BCS bowl game and deny Stanford its own bowl eligibility and a victory in the last game at Stanford Stadium.

The final drive play-by-play –
1st and 10 at the ND 20 – Brady Quinn 30-yard pass to Jeff Samardzija
1st and 10 at the ND 50 – Quinn 17-yard pass to Samardzija
1st and 10 at the Stanford 33 – Quinn rush for three yards
2nd and 7 at the Stanford 30 – Quinn 21-yard pass to Maurice Stovall, pass interference declined
1st and G at the Stanford 9 – Darius Walker rush for three yards
2nd and G at the Stanford 6 – Walker six-yard rush up the middle for the touchdown
Two-point conversion – Walker takes the direct snap up the middle for two points
Drive Stats: six plays, 80 yards, 0:51 elapsed, four first downs (three passing, one rushing)

Stovall Making the Most of His Senior Season
Senior WR Maurice Stovall is enjoying a career year in his last season with the Fighting Irish. The Philadelphia, Pa., native is second on the team with 60 catches for 1,023 yards and 11 touchdowns. He became the fourth Notre Dame player to reach 1,000 yards receiving in a season at Stanford – the same game in which teammate Jeff Samardzija became the third player to acccomplish that feat. With a total of 11 touchdown catches, Stovall is tied with Derrick Mayes (11, 1994) and trails teammate Jeff Samardzija (15, 2005) on the single-season record list at Notre Dame.

Here is a look at Stovall’s production game by game in 2005 –

Stovall Game by Game in 2005:
Opponent Rec. Yards TD
at Pittsburgh 2 27 0
at Michigan 2 17 0
vs. Michigan State 8 176 1
at Washington 3 34 0
at Purdue 8 134 0
USC 3 30 0
BYU 14 207 4
Tennessee 2 41 1
Navy 8 130 3
Syracuse 3 91 1
Stanford 7 136 1

Stovall Moving Up the Career Charts
Senior WR Maurice Stovall currently sits in the top six for career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns at Notre Dame. His offensive explosion (605 yards, 10 touchdowns) in the last five games has hastened his climb up the Irish all-time career charts.

Career Receptions

1. Tom Gatewood 157 1969-71
2. Jim Seymour 138 1966-68
3. Tim Brown 137 1984-87
4. Derrick Mayes 129 1992-95
5. Ken MacAfee 128 1974-77
6. Maurice Stovall 121 2002-present
7. Tony Hunter 120 1979-82

Career Receiving Yards

1. Derrick Mayes 2,512 1992-95
2. Tim Brown 2,493 1984-97
3. Tom Gatewood 2,283 1969-71
4. Jim Seymour 2,113 1966-68
5. Maurice Stovall 2,069 2002-present
6. Tony Hunter 1,897 1979-82

Career Touchdown Receptions

1. Derrick Mayes 22 1992-95
2. Tom Gatewood 19 1969-71
3. Maurice Stovall 18 2002-present
4. Jim Seymour 16 1966-68

Mo (Stovall) and Shark (Samardzjia) – A Dynamic Duo
Senior WR Maurice Stovall and junior WR Jeff Samardzija currently are the only two teammates in the country with double-digit touchdown catches and join Miami of Ohio’s Ryne Robinson (1,119) and Martin Nance (1,107) as the only teammates in the country with 1,000 receiving yards. Samardzija has a school-record 15 scoring grabs, while Stovall has caught 10 in the last five games and 11 total. They are the first duo in Notre Dame history to post 10 or more touchdown receptions in the same season.

Defensive Rushing Performance At Stanford Best In 37 Years
With two dramatic sacks by Victor Abiamiri to snuff out Stanford’s final drive on Nov. 26, the Irish defense ended up holding the Cardinal to -11 yards rushing. The performance marks the best for the Irish since the 1968 team held Georgia Tech to -42 in a 34-6 victory.

Here are some other notable defensive rushing performances, including the school-record –
-51 by Wisconsin – 1964
-42 by Georgia Tech – 1968
-12 by USC – 1966
-7 by SMU – 1989
-7 by Navy – 1986
-6 by Rutgers – 1996
-6 by Miami (Fla.) – 1976
-4 by Illinois – 1967

Quinn and the Notre Dame Record Book
Junior QB Brady Quinn, in his third full year as the Irish starter, already has made a lasting mark on the Irish football record book. Here is a quick overview of some of his accomplishments and rankings all-time at Notre Dame (additional records broken are listed on page 28 of this notes package):

Touchdown Passes, Single Game – 6 – vs. BYU, the school record, breaking his previous mark of five posted earlier this season against Michigan State.

Touchdown Passes, Career – 58 – first on the all-time list ahead of Ron Powlus (52).

Touchdown Passes, Season – 32 – the Notre Dame single-season record, breaking Powlus’ mark of 19 from 1994.

Completions, Single Game – 33 – vs. Michigan State, matched Joe Theismann’s school record from the 1970 game at USC. Quinn completed 32 passes against BYU on Oct. 22.

Consecutive Completions – 12 – vs. BYU, second on the all-time list (matching Jarious Jackson) behind Ron Powlus’ 14 straight against Michigan State in 1997. Quinn has posted three consecutive completion streaks over 10 this season (11 at Pittsburgh and at Purdue, 12 vs. BYU).

Consecutive Passes Without an Interception – 130 – compiled vs. USC, BYU, Tennessee and Navy this season, breaking the old record of 127 by Carlyle Holiday during the 2002 season.

Passing Yards, Single Game – 487 – vs. Michigan State, second all-time behind Theismann’s 526 at USC in ’70.

Passing Yards, First Half – 287 – vs. BYU, breaking his own record of 283 against Purdue earlier this season.

Passing Yards, Single Season – 3,633 – besting Jarious Jackson’s school record 2,753 from 1999.

Passing Yards, Career – 8,050 – breaking Powlus’ mark of 7,602 from 1994-97.

Passing Attempts, Single Season – 405 – breaking his own mark of 332 from 2003.

Passing Attempts, Career – 1,090 – passing Powlus (969).

Pass Completions, Single Season – 263 – breaking his own mark of 195 from 2004.

Pass Completions, Career – 611 – passing Powlus (558).

Games with Four or More Touchdown Passes – 4 – surpassing Powlus’ mark of three. Quinn has thrown at least four touchdown passes against Washington (2004), Michigan State (2005), BYU (2005) and Navy (2005).

Games with 250+ Passing Yards – 15 – beaking Jackson’s record of nine.

Passes Without An Interception, Game – 41 vs. BYU, breaking Steve Beuerlein’s record of 39 against Penn State in 1986.

And here are the records he is currently on pace to break –

Passing Attempts Per Game, Season – 36.8 currently, would break his own record of 29.4 from 2004.

Passing Attempts Per Game, Career – 31.1 currently, would break Powlus’ record of 22.0.

Pass Completions Per Game, Season – 23.9 currently, would break Terry Hanratty’s 16.6 from 1968.

Pass Completions Per Game, Career – 17.5 currently, would break Powlus’ record of 12.6.

Consecutive Games Completing A Pass – 35 – tied for second all-time, behind Powlus’ 43 games.

Completion Percentage, Season – 64.9 currently, would break Kevin McDougal’s record of 61.6 from 1993.

Completion Percentage, Career – 56.1 currently, behind McDougal’s 62.2 from 1990-93.

Pass Efficiency Rating, Season – 162.91 currently, ahead of John Huarte’s 155.1 from 1964.

Avg. Passing Yards Per Game, Season – 330.3 – far ahead of Joe Theismann’s 242.9 from 1970.

Avg. Passing Yards Per Game, Career – 230.0 – currently first on the all-time list ahead of Powlus (172.7).

Quinn – Notre Dame Yardage King
Junior QB Brady Quinn already has surpassed the school records for single-season yardage gained (3,755) and career yardage gained (8,193), surpassing both records against Syracuse on Nov. 19.

Quinn broke Jarious Jackson’s total yardage mark from 1999 (3,217) and Ron Powlus’ career yardage mark (7,479) from 1994-97.

Quinn 300
Since 1950, a Notre Dame quarterback has thrown for 300 yards or more 16 times. Junior QB Brady Quinn is responsible for seven of those performances – the most for any single Notre Dame quarterback. Quinn has thrown for 350 (vs. Boston College, 2003), 432 (vs. Purdue, 2004), 487 (vs. Michigan State, 2005), 327 (at Washington, 2005), 440 (at Purdue, 2005), 467 (vs. BYU, 2005) and 432 (at Stanford, 2005).

Quinn is the only Notre Dame quarterback to throw for over 400 yards five times in a career (in fact, he is the only one to do it twice) – and in Notre Dame’s road game at Purdue in 2005 he became the first Irish signalcaller to throw for more than 300 yards in three consecutive games. He also is the first Irish quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards four times in a season.

Quinn Game by Game This Season:

Opponent Att. Comp. % Int. Yds. TD Long
at Pittsburgh 27 18 .667 1 227 2 51
at Michigan 30 19 .633 0 140 2 26
vs. Michigan State 60 33 .550 1 487 5 50
at Washingon 37 25 .675 0 327 1 52
at Purdue 36 29 .805 1 440 3 55
vs. USC 35 19 .542 1 264 1 36
vs. BYU 41 32 .780 0 467 6* 44
vs. Tennessee 33 20 .606 0 295 3 73
vs. Navy 31 22 .710 1 284 4 31
vs. Syracuse 37 21 .567 0 270 2 41
at Stanford 38 25 .658 2 432 3 80
TOTAL 405* 263* .649 7 3633* 32* 80
Per Game 36.8 23.9 .64 330.3 2.9
Other Pass Efficiency: 162.91
* – Notre Dame record

Quinn On A Streak
Junior QB Brady Quinn has thrown at least one touchdown pass in his last 16 games played (and started) for the Irish, breaking John Huarte’s record of 10 set in 1964. The Dublin, Ohio, native has totaled 40 scoring tosses during the run (2.5 per game).

Quinn’s touchdown passes over the last 16 games:
2005 – 3 at Stanford, 2 vs. Syracuse, 4 vs. Navy 3 vs. Tennessee, 6 vs. BYU, 1 vs. USC, 3 at Purdue, 1 at Washington, 5 vs. Michigan State, 2 at Michigan, 2 at Pittsburgh

2004 – 2 vs. Oregon State (Insight Bowl), 1 at USC, 3 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 at Tennessee, 1 vs. Boston College

Quinn Throws Six
Junior QB Brady Quinn became the first Notre Dame quarterback to throw six touchdown passes in a single game against BYU on Oct. 22. Quinn finished the game 32 of 41 for 467 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. It ranks as possibly the greatest single-game performance by a Notre Dame quarterback and earned Quinn the ABC Sports/Cingular All-American Player of the Week award for the second time in 2005 (he also earned the award after his stellar performance at Purdue).

Quinn broke his own school record of five touchdown passes set earlier this season against Michigan State.

Quinn’s touchdown passes vs. BYU:
10 yards to Maurice Stovall, first quarter, 7:12
14 yards to Jeff Samardzija, second quarter, 10:33
15 yards to Stovall, second quarter, 4:18
21 yards to Samardzija, third quarter, 12:50
36 yards to Stovall, third quarter, 4:47
24 yards to Stovall, third quarter, 2:16

Quinn Throws 21 in Notre Dame Stadium
Junior QB Brady Quinn shattered the Notre Dame record for touchdown passes at Notre Dame Stadium this season, exploding for 21 scoring tosses this season – 5 vs. Michigan State, 1 vs. USC, 6 vs. BYU, 3 vs. Tennessee, 4 vs. Navy, 2 vs. Syracuse.

The previous record for touchdown passes in Notre Dame Stadium in a single-season was 11 by Ron Powlus (1994) and Jarious Jackson (1999). Quinn’s performance at home this season has been so dominating that his total home field touchdown passes would have broken the previous single-season record, regardless of venue, of 19 held by Ron Powlus from 1994. Quinn has thrown 11 combined touchdown passes in five road games this season (32 total).

Quinn Now the Best Third-Year Starting Quarteback
In 2005, junior Brady Quinn has become just the 13th quarterback in Notre Dame history to start under center for three years. The following is a list of Quinn’s predecessors, along with their stats (when available) from their third starting season. In the 12 seasons played by three-year starting Irish quarterbacks, prior to Quinn’s ’05 season, the group amassed a 90-30-4 combined record.

Quinn has already compiled the greatest season by any third-year starting quarterback in Notre Dame history. He has surpassed his predecessors in every key statistical category this season.

Player Year Att.-Comp. Yards TD-Int. Record
Nate Silver 1905 5-4
Gus Dorais 1912 7-0
Jim Phelan 1917 6-1-1
Ralph Guglielmi 1954 127-68 1160 6-7 9-1
Daryl Lamonica 1962 128-64 821 6-7 5-5
Terry Hanratty 1968 197-116 1466 10-9 7-2-1
Tom Clements 1974 215-122 1549 8-11 10-2
Blair Kiel 1982 219-118 1273 3-10 6-4-1
Steve Beuerlein 1985 214-107 1335 3-13 5-6
Tony Rice 1989 138-70 1176 8-7 12-1
Rick Mirer 1992 234-120 1876 15-6 10-1-1
Ron Powlus 1996 232-133 1942 12-4 8-3
Brady Quinn 2005 405-263 3633 32-7 9-2

Quinn a Touchdown Machine
Junior QB Brady Quinn has accounted for two or more touchdowns in 10 of Notre Dame’s 11 games this season (a single touchdown pass at Washington was the lone exception) and currently rides an eight-game streak of multiple touchdown performances – three (passing) at Purdue, two (one run, one pass) vs. USC, six (passing) vs. BYU, three (passing) vs. Tennessee, four (passing) vs. Navy, two (passing) vs. Syracuse and three (passing) at Stanford.

Samardzija the Record Setter
Junior WR Jeff Samardzija is enjoying a career season in 2005, leading the team with 71 catches for 1,190 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is ranked fourth in the country in receiving yards per game (108.2) and became Notre Dame’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 1970 on an 80-yard touchdown pass against Stanford on Nov. 26. Samardzija eventually broke Tom Gatewood’s single-season receiving yardage record against Stanford, pushing his season total to 1,190 yards.

He has already surpassed the single-season touchdown total. His 15 scoring receptions led the nation and have bested Derrick Mayes’ previous record of 11 from 1994

Touchdown Receptions in a Season –

Rank Name Total Season
1. Jeff Samardzija 15 2005
2. Maurice Stovall 11 2005
Derrick Mayes 11 1994
4. Jack Snow 9 1964
5. Jim Seymour 8 1966

Receiving Yards in a a Season –

Rank Name Total Season
1. Jeff Samardzija 1,190 2005
2. Tom Gatewood 1,123 1970
3. Jack Snow 1,114 1964
4. Maurice Stovall 1,023 2005
5. Tim Brown 910 1985

Samardzija Finishes Eight for First Eight in 2005
Junior WR Jeff Samardzija entered the 2005 campaign without a touchdown catch, but exploded this season to catch a touchdown pass in each of Notre Dame’s first eight games. The two-sport athlete (who was a top-line starting pitcher for the Irish baseball team last season) became the first Irish receiver to begin the season with eight consecutive games with a touchdown catch – which made him the Notre Dame recordholder for consecutive games with a touchdown reception. He surpassed Malcolm Johnson’s six-game run from 1998 against BYU. Johnson caught a scoring toss in six straight midseason contests (Arizona State, Army, Baylor, Boston College, Navy and LSU) from Oct. 10 through Nov. 11, during the ’98 season.

Samardzija, who also serves as the team’s holder on field-goal attempts, tied a Notre Dame record with three touchdown receptions versus Michigan State (since broken by teammate Maurice Stovall, who posted four touchdown receptions against BYU). Samardzija was the seventh player to catch three touchdown passes in a game and the first since Tom Gatewood versus Purdue in 1970.

Zbikowski Returns
Junior Tom Zbikowski, who has seen action in just 22 games for the Irish, has already made a name for himself in the Notre Dame record books. At one point this season in a three-game stretch against USC, BYU and Tennessee, he returned a punt or interception for a touchdown four times – the first Irish defensive player to accomplish such a feat.

Here is a look at Zbikowski’s scoring returns this season –
* vs. USC – punt return 60 yards
* vs. BYU – interception return 83 yards
* vs. Tennessee – punt return 78 yards, interception return 33 yards

In addition, Zbikowski returned a fumble 75 yards for a TD against Michigan State in 2004.

With his interception and punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee on Nov. 5, Zbikowski became the first Irish player to accomplish that feat since Nick Rassas against Northwestern in 1965. Rassas returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown and a punt 72 yards for a score in Notre Dame’s 38-7 victory.

With his five career TD returns (two interceptions, two punts, one fumble), Zbikowski already has established himself among the best big-play return specialists in Notre Dame history.

Walker Reaches 1,000 Yards In Dramatic Fashion
Sophomore running back Darius Walker became the ninth Irish player to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season against Stanford on Nov. 26. Walker surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier during a career-best 35-carry, 186-yard day during which he scored the winning touchdown and added a two-point conversion for the final scoring outcome. The nine players who previously rushed for 1,000 yards in a season combined to accomplish the feat 14 times.

Walker’s outstanding day against Stanford pushed him into the top-10 all-time on the single-season rushing yardage list as well –
Notre Dame Single-Season Rushing Yardage Top 10

1. Vagas Ferguson, 1979 1,437
2. Allen Pinkett, 1983 1,394
3. Reggie Brooks, 1992 1,343
4. Julius Jones, 2003 1,268
Autry Denson, 1997 1,268
6. Vagas Ferguson, 1978 1,192
7. Autry Denson, 1998 1,176
8. Darius Walker, 2005 1,106
9. Allen Pinkett, 1984 1,105
10. Ryan Grant, 2002 1,085

Walker’s 100-Yard Games
Sophomore RB Darius Walker has rushed for 100 yards seven times this season, marking the first time since 1993 that an Irish player has posted seven or more 100-yard rushing performances in a season. Lee Becton ended the ’93 campaign with seven consecutive 100-yard performances.

100-Yard Rushing Games in a Single Season Since 1950

1. Allen Pinkett 10 1983
2. Phil Carter 9 1980
3. Autry Denson 8 1997
4. Darius Walker 7 2005
Lee Becton 7 1993

Denson (1998), Denson (1996), Reggie Brooks (1992), Pinkett (1985), Vegas Ferguson (1979), Jerome Heavens (1977) all posted six 100-yard rushing performances.

Jinx?, What Jinx?
Sophomore running back Darius Walker set a Notre Dame freshman rushing record in 2004 with 786 yards, eclipsing the mark of 756 Jerome Heavens set in 1975, en route to earning third-team Freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News. Walker has turned in one of the finest statistical seasons ever by an Irish sophomore. Here’s a look at how the top 10 rushers in Notre Dame history, plus a few other notables, fared in their sophomore year.

Player Year Carries-Yards Avg. TD
Allen Pinkett 1983 252-1394 5.5 16
Autry Denson 1996 202-1179 5.8 8
Darius Walker 2005 237–1106 4.7 6
Ryan Grant 2002 261-1085 4.2 9
Jerome Bettis 1991 168-972 5.8 16
Phil Carter 1980 186-882 4.4 6
Randy Kinder 1994 119-702 5.9 4
Tony Brooks 1988 117-667 5.7 2
Julius Jones 2000 162-657 4.1 7
George Gipp 1918 98-541 5.5 1
Vagas Ferguson 1977 80-493 6.2 6
Emil Sitko 1947 60-426 7.1 5
Jerome Heavens 1976 54-204 3.8 0
Walker’s Freshman Totals:
2004 185-786 4.3 7

Walker’s Great Start
Sophomore RB Darius Walker started the 2005 season with four consecutive 100-yard performances. He ran for an even 100 yards at #23/25 Pittsburgh (42-21 Irish victory), posted 104 yards in a 17-10 victory at #3/3 Michigan, rushed for 116 yards against Michigan State (44-41 OT loss) and had a then-career-high 128 yards at Washington on Sept. 24. Purdue ended Walker’s streak of 100-yard games at four by holding him to 80 yards on 23 carries.

The effort against Washington made Walker the first Irish running back to start the season with four consecutive 100-yard rushing performances. The last Notre Dame running back to rush for over 100 yards in four straight games was Randy Kinder, who rushed for 100 yards against Purdue (142), Vanderbilt (110), Texas (129) and Ohio State (143) in 1995.

Walker Game by Game in 2005:

Opponent Carries Yards Lng TD Receptions Yards Lng TD
at Pittsburgh 20 100 11 1 3 52 51 1
at Michigan 26 104 17 0 5 22 9 0
vs. Michigan St. 26 116 16 0 5 24 7 1
at Washington 21 128 18 1 3 20 10 0
at Purdue 23 80 19 1 1 -2 0 0
vs. USC 19 74 20 0 4 43 26 0
vs. BYU 7 17 9 0 1 37 37 0
vs. Tennessee 15 62 12 0 4 34 15 0
vs. Navy 19 124 15 1 2 15 11 0
vs. Syracuse 26 128 37 1 3 14 7 0
at Stanford 35 194 38 1 5 55 18 0
TOTALS 237 1106 38 6 36 314 51 2

Walker Expanding His Game
While sophomore Darius Walker set the Notre Dame freshman rushing record last season (786 yards in ’04), he was limited in his role in the Irish passing game (10 catches, 74 yards). He has already eclipsed those numbers in 2005, posting 36 catches (fourth on the team) for 314 yards and two touchdowns.

He is currently second on the all-time single-season receptions-by-a-back list at Notre Dame. He trails record holder Bob Gladieux (37 in 1968) by one reception entering the bowl season.

Receptions by a Running Back – Season

Rank, Name Number Season
1. Bob Gladieux 37 1968
2. Darius Walker 36 2005
3. Autry Denson 30 1997
4. Joe Heap 29 1952
Allen Pinkett 28 1983
6. Marc Edwards 25 1995
Mark Green 25 1986

Travis Thomas Steps Up
Looking for a change-of-pace back against No. 1 USC on Oct. 15, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis turned to junior RB Travis Thomas. Thomas, who has shined in reserve duty this season, stepped up to rush for 52 yards, including a 16-yard run to record Notre Dame’s first touchdown of the day against the Trojans. Thomas also posted a career-best 58 yards rushing against Navy.

Thomas’ production this season already surpasses his totals from 2004, his first season of action for the Irish:

Year Games Att. Yards Avg. TD Long
2004 11 25 25 1.0 0 12
2005 11 63 248 3.9 5 16

Fitzpatrick Puts His Name in the Irish Record Book
Senior PK/P D.J. Fitzpatrick is 50 of 51 on his PAT attempts this season, surpassing Craig Hentrich’s school-record for PATs in a season (48 in 1991). Fitzpatrick missed his first PAT of the season at Stanford on Nov. 26.

Older and Wiser
The 2005 Notre Dame offensive line is one of the most experienced units in school history. With the entire starting group from a year ago still in the fold, the Irish offense boasts almost 100 combined career starts on the line. Entering the ’05 campaign, senior tackle Mark LeVoir started the last 24 Notre Dame games and led the veteran group in starting assignments. Seniors Bob Morton and Dan Stevenson were a close second with 22 starts each, while junior Ryan Harris had 19 starts to his credit and junior John Sullivan was the junior man of the group with 12. Here is a look at the 10 most experienced offensive line units to wear the blue and gold since ’85, with the ’05 group added in for comparison.

Year Starts Heading Into Season
2005 99
1997 84
2002 76
1985 56
1996 56
1998 52
1987 50
1995 49
1993 46
1989 45
1990 43

On the ‘Fas’ Track to Success
Senior tight end Anthony Fasano turned in a breakout 2004 season for the Irish, catching 27 balls for 367 yards and four touchdowns. Against Purdue in ’04, the 6-4, 257-pound Fasano hauled in a career-high eight passes for a Notre Dame tight end-record 155 yards and was named John Mackey National Tight End of the Week. His 27 catches in ’04 tied him with former Irish standout Pete Chryplewicz for the fifth-highest single-season total by a tight end and he has far surpassed that total this season with 45 catches.

Barring injury Fasano has moved onto Notre Dame’s top five all-time tight end receiving list. Here’s a look at where he stands heading into the weekend:

Player Receptions Years
Ken MacAfee 128 1974-77
Anthony Fasano 90 2003-present
Derek Brown 62 1988-91
Dean Masztak 62 1978-81
Tony Hunter 55 1979-82
Mark Bavaro 55 1981-84

Fasano’s signature game – the eight-reception, 155-yard outburst versus Purdue in ’04 – placed him at the top of the record books in terms of yards for a single game. The following is a list of how he stacks up against Notre Dame’s top five tight end in terms of career yards.

Player Yards Years
Ken MacAfee 1759 1974-77
Anthony Fasano 1100 2003-present
Dean Masztak 924 1978-81
Derek Brown 899 1988-91
Mike Creaney 890 1970-72
Mark Bavaro 771 1981-84

What makes Fasano’s totals even more impressive is the fact that he has tallied them in a little more than two years of action, after not playing his freshman year in 2002. Here’s a breakdown of what Notre Dame’s other prolific pass-catching tight ends did in their third seasons in the blue and gold.

Player Receptions-Yards Touchdowns
Anthony Fasano 45-564 2
Ken MacAfee 34-483 3
Mike Creaney 17-321 2
Derek Brown 15-220 1
Mark Bavaro 23-376 3

Fasano also is in teach of the single-season mark for catches by a tight end, needing just nine more this season to reach Ken MacAfee’s record of 54 from 1977.

Player Receptions Year
Ken MacAfee 54 1977
Anthony Fasano 45 2005
Tony Hunter 42 1982
Ken MacAfee 34 1976
Mark Bavaro 32 1984

Don’t Forget the Anniversary
The 2005 football season marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of fabled Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have played 386 games in the facility to date and own a 291–90-5 (.760) record in the “House that Rockne Built.”

The Irish were 3-3 in Notre Dame Stadium in ’04, but rebounded to finish 4-2 at home this season and push the team’s record at home to 95-32 (.748) over the last 21 years.

The most wins in a season by the Irish at home is seven by the ’88 national championship team and the longest home winning streak in Notre Dame football history is 28 games (from 11/21/42 through 9/30/50).

In ’55, the Stadium’s 25th anniversary, Notre Dame went 8-2 on the season for coach Terry Brennan, including a 4-0 home record; the Irish turned in a 9-2-1 overall record and a 5-0 home mark to commemorate Notre Dame Stadium’s 50th anniversary in ’80.