Sept. 6, 2003

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#19/16 Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” vs. Washington State “Cougars”
Sept. 6, 2003 * Notre Dame Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.

  • For the second consecutive season, and just the third time in the 115-year history of Notre Dame football, the Irish are selecting captains on a game-by-game basis. Today’s Irish captains were: LCB Vontez Duff, FS Glenn Earl, WR Omar Jenkins and LT Jim Molinaro. Duff was selected as a game captain for the third time in his career, while Earl and Jenkins were game captains for the second time in their career. Molinaro was chosen as a game captain for the first time in his career.
  • Notre Dame won the toss and deferred its choice to the second half. Washington State elected to receive, while the Irish chose to defend the South goal.
  • Today’s game marks the 168th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 at the old 59,075 capacity). The Washington State game also represents the 216th home sellout in the last 217 games (dating back to 1964), and the 151st sellout in the last 174 games involving Notre Dame. That stretch includes the first 10 games of 1998, the first 11 in ’99, the first five in ’00, the first nine in ’01, all 13 in ’02 and the first one in ’03.
  • Counting postseason play, Notre Dame has now had its last 125 games televised on one of four networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN), a stretch going back more than 10 full seasons. The last time the Irish didn’t appear on one of those four networks was Oct. 31, 1992, when they defeated Navy, 38-7, at Giants Stadium. That game was only shown locally in South Bend on WNDU-TV.
  • Notre Dame and Washington State played one another for the first time ever, making the Cougars the 134th different opponent in the 115-year history of Irish football. It also represented the second consecutive season that Notre Dame opened with a first-time opponent (defeated Maryland, 22-0, last year at Kickoff Classic XX).
  • Today’s game was the fifth overtime contest in Notre Dame history and the first since Oct. 28, 2000, when the Irish defeated Air Force, 34-31. In five overtime games, Notre Dame has won the overtime toss twice and has won both times. The Irish now are 2-3 all-time in extra sessions, with four of the five OT games coming at Notre Dame Stadium (2-2 record).
  • Notre Dame trailed 19-0 before rallying for today’s overtime victory. It marked the largest comeback for the Irish since Oct. 16, 1999, when they trailed USC 24-3 early in the third quarter before storming back for a 25-24 win at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Washington State led 12-0 after one quarter today, marking the first time Notre Dame had trailed at the end of the first period since Nov. 9, 2002 at Navy (ND was losing 7-2, rallied to win 30-23).
  • Washington State’s 12 first-quarter points were the most by an Irish opponent in the opening period since Texas A&M tallied 14 points on Sept. 29, 2001. It also was the most first-quarter points by a visiting team at Notre Dame Stadium since Sept. 26, 1998, when Purdue led 14-0 after one quarter, only to see the Irish rally for a 31-30 win.
  • Notre Dame trailed by 16 points (19-3) at halftime, its largest halftime deficit since Sept. 8, 2001, when the Irish trailed by 24 points (27-3) at Nebraska.
  • Junior running back Ryan Grant rushed 17 times for 98 yards, marking the eighth time in his career he has carried for at least 90 yards in a game.
  • Senior running back Julius Jones totaled 72 yards on 11 carries and scored his first touchdown since Nov. 17, 2001, when he rambled 44 yards for a score against Navy.
  • Senior punter Nicholas Setta booted a career-long 54-yard punt on his first kick of the season. Setta is beginning his first season as Notre Dame’s full-time punter and had just four career punts for 160 yards prior to today’s game. He punted three times averaging 39.7 yards per kick in today’s game.
  • Setta matched his career-high with five field goals in today’s game. He also kicked five field goals against Maryland on Aug. 31, 2002 in Kickoff Classic XX.
  • In addition, Setta converted two PATs this afternoon, extending his streak of consecutive extra points made to 89. That streak is the second-longest in school history, topped only by Craig Hentrich’s string of 136 consecutive PAT from Sept. 30, 1989 to Sept. 26, 1992. Setta last missed an extra point on Oct. 7, 2000 vs. Stanford.
  • Junior walk-on fullback Josh Schmidt logged his first career reception (a seven-yard catch) in the second quarter. Schmidt was playing in just his third career game today.
  • Senior tight end Jared Clark matched his career high with four receptions today (for 28 yards). Clark also had four catches against North Carolina State in the 2003 Toyota Gator Bowl.
  • Sophomore wide receiver Rhema McKnight caught a career-high five passes for 33 yards and his first career touchdown today. His previous high was two receptions, which he achieved four times (last: at USC, Nov. 30, 2002).
  • Sophomore wide receiver Maurice Stovall tied his career high with three receptions for 24 yards today. He had three catches in two other games, both last season (Boston College, North Carolina State).
  • Senior quarterback Carlyle Holiday completed a career-high 21passes on a personal-best 34 attempts for 149 yards with one touchdown and one interception this afternoon. His previous career best was 17 completions against Maryland on Aug. 31, 2002 in Kickoff Classic XX.
  • With today’s game, Notre Dame now has played every Pac-10 team, posting a winning record against nine of them (lost to Oregon State, 41-9 in only series meeting at 2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl).
  • Notre Dame registered its 15th season-opening victory in the last 17 seasons. The Irish also win their home opener for the seventh time in eight years and the 13th time in the past 17 seasons.
  • Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham earns his fourth consecutive season-opening win (second with the Irish) and improves to 6-3 (.667) all-time in season openers as a head coach. Willingham also raises his career mark against Washington State to 6-2 (.750).
  • Notre Dame continues to work its close-game magic in the Willingham era. The Irish now are 7-1 (.875) in games decided by eight points or less since Willingham took over as head coach prior to the 2002 season.
  • Notre Dame lifts its all-time record against the Pac-10 Conference to 69-35-6 (.655) and moves to 5-0 all-time against the Pac-10 in season openers. In addition, the Irish pick up their seventh consecutive home victory against a Pac-10 opponent, extending a streak that began vs. Stanford in 1998.
  • The Irish earned their 29th win in their last 35 games at Notre Dame Stadium, dating back to a 20-17 loss to USC on Oct. 8, 1997.