Oct. 2, 2003
by Bridget Veihmeyer
Though some Notre Dame fans have already deemed the 2003 football season a washout after the 1-3 start, sophomore wideout Maurice Stovall refuses to give up so soon.
“We didn’t start off as well as we wanted to, but we’re going to keep fighting,” Stovall says.
“We have a couple of losses under our belt, but we’re going to get some more wins this year.”
Rather than let these losses get him down, Stovall prefers to use them as motivation and look at the good along with the bad.
“I think our passing game improved a lot against Purdue, and there were more positives than negatives. We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot and making little mistakes that cost us the game.”
Stovall’s performance last weekend is evidence of this improvement, as he hauled in a career-high nine catches for 171 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown pass. His 171 yards were the most for a Notre Dame receiver since Bobby Brown had 12 receptions for 208 yards at Pittsburgh on Nov. 13, 1999 and his 85-yard touchdown reception was the third-longest pass play for a score in Irish history and the longest since Nov. 7, 1981, when Blair Kiel hit Joe Howard with a 96-yard touchdown strike against Georgia Tech.
Perhaps such execution has become expected of Stovall after a stellar freshman year, in which he had 18 catches for 312 yards and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated after the Michigan State game to boot.
For Stovall, however, last year is over, and so far this season, he is not pleased with himself.
“I haven’t reached any of my goals this year. Myself, along with the other wide receivers, know that we have to step up and fill the position that [Arnaz] Battle left. We need to make big plays and execute.”
To get ready for the Oct. 11 game versus Pittsburgh, the offense intends to focus on improving individual techniques and switching formations around to prepare for their defense.
In the meantime, Stovall is looking forward to the break this weekend.
“It allows guys to get healthy, you have more time to develop your offense and focus on your opponent. We’re going to take advantage of this off week.”