Sept. 26, 2005
Notre Dame (3-1) at Purdue (2-1)
Notre Dame – 13th AP, 14th USA Today, 13th Harris
Purdue – 22nd AP, 20th, USA Today, 22nd Harris
The Date and Time:Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005, 6:45 p.m. EST
The Site:Ross-Ade Stadium (62,500), Prescription Athletic Turf.
The Tickets: The game is a sellout.
The TV Plans: ESPN national telecast with Ron Franklin (play by play), Bob Davie (analysis) and Holly Rowe (sideline).
The Radio Plans: For the 38th consecutive season all Notre Dame football games are broadcast on approximately 300 stations in 50 states by Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play by play) and former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (analysis). This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 127 for the Purdue game) as well.
A live broadcast from the Notre Dame student station, WVFI, also is available via the Notre Dame official athletics website at www.und.com (subscription service). All Notre Dame home games may be heard in South Bend on U93-FM (92.9) with pre-game analysis featuring Sean Stires, Brian Noe, Vince DeDario and Colin Burns. The post-game show is hosted by Jack Nolan and features former Notre Dame players Reggie Brooks and Mirko Jurkovic. See page 17 of this notes package for more information on Irish football radio and television shows.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics will be provided through College Sports Online’s Gametracker at www.und.com or www.purduesports.com.
Two-Minute Drill (what you need to know about this weekend’s Notre Dame – Purdue matchup) –
â€¢ Notre Dame continues its rough early-season schedule with another road game Saturday, its fourth in five games. The Irish will enjoy their first idle weekend on Oct. 8.
â€¢ Notre Dame and Purdue will be meeting for the 77th time, with the Irish leading the all-time series by a 49-25-2 count. Purdue has won the last two meetings (41-16 in Notre Dame Stadium in 2004, 23-10 at Ross-Ade Stadium in 2003).
â€¢ Notre Dame is 3-1 in 2005 and ranked 13th in the Associated Press poll, 14th USA Today coaches’ poll and 22nd in the Harris Interactive poll. Purdue enters Saturday’s game with a 2-1 record and ranked #22/20/22.
â€¢Saturday’s game will mark the last of three contests for Notre Dame against the Big Ten Conference. Notre Dame previously defeated Michigan and lost to Michigan State in overtime.
â€¢ Notre Dame is looking to improve to 4-1 and become just the second Irish team since 1996 to start the season with at least four wins in its first five games (4-1 in 1998, 5-0 in 2002).
â€¢ Both passing offenses, if their respective 2005 patterns hold true, should shine this weekend. Notre Dame and Purdue both struggle defending the pass (294.5 yards per game given up by ND, 305.3 for PU) and the Irish are currently ranked 17th in the country in passing offense (295.25), while the Boilermakers average a respectable 217.67 passing yards per game.
â€¢ Junior QB Brady Quinn is ranked 13th in the country for total offense per game, averaging 308.75 yards per contest. He is coming off back-to-back 300+-yard passing performance (the first ND quarterback to accomplish that feat and first to do it three times in a single season) and is on pace to become Notre Dame’s top single-season passer.
â€¢ Sophomore Darius Walker is the first Notre Dame running back to post four consecutive 100-yard rushing performances in a season’s first four games. Those 100-yard performances already surpass the team’s total for a single player from last season (Walker twice, `05 graduate Ryan Grant once). The `03 team had four such performances, the `02 team had five and the `01 squad had seven.
â€¢ Notre Dame has scored 136 points through four games this season. That is the best point total for the Irish in the team’s first four games since 1995, when the team scored 146 points. It is the best four-game point total for a non-interim head coach’s first four games since Jesse Harper’s 1913 team piled up 204 points in four games. Other first four game point totals for a coach’s first season – Knute Rockne, 107; Hunk Anderson, 113; Elmer Layden, 56; Frank Leahy, 93; Terry Brennan, 88; Joe Kuharich, 63; Ara Parseghian, 123; Dan Devine, 68; Gerry Faust, 68; Lou Holtz, 89; Bob Davie, 55 and Tyrone Willingham, 92.
â€¢ The Irish have totaled 500 yards in offense at Pittsburgh (502), against Michigan State (594) and at Washington (560) this season. The last time the Irish put up 500 yards of offense three times in a single season was 1996, when the Irish accomplished that feat four times (650 vs. Washington, 544 vs. Boston College, 565 vs. Pittsburgh and 648 vs. Rutgers). From 1997-2004, Notre Dame reached 500 total yards of offense in a game just five times (two in 1999, one in 2003, one in 2004).
â€¢ Senior LB Brandon Hoyte is currently ranked fourth in the nation for tackles-for-loss, averaging 2.63 per game.
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 has started his career with two road victories over #23/25 Pittsburgh (42-21) and #3/3 Michigan (17-10), an overtime loss to Michigan State 44-41 and a 36-17 victory at Washington last weekend.
Weis is looking to become the eighth non-interim Notre Dame head football coach since 1913 to begin his career with at least four wins in his first five games (Tyrone Willingham, 5-0; Dan Devine, 4-1; Ara Parseghian, 5-0; Terry Brennan, 4-1; Frank Leahy, 5-0; Hunk Anderson, 4-0-1; Jesse Harper, 5-0) this weekend at Purdue.
Weis was named the 28th head football coach in Notre Dame history on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2004. A 1978 Notre Dame graduate, Weis takes 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).
A veteran of 26 seasons 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.
Notre Dame – Purdue Series Notes
â€¢ Notre Dame and Purdue will be meeting for the 77th time, with the Irish leading the all-time series by a 49-25-2 count.
â€¢ Including this weekend’s game, at least one team has been ranked nationally in 18 of the past 19 meetings, dating back to 1987 — the 2001 game was the only time in that stretch that neither team was ranked.
â€¢ The teams are even at 4-4 in the last eight meetings of the series. Notre Dame won in 1998 and from 2000-02. Purdue claimed victories in 1997, 1999 and 2003-04.
â€¢ Of Notre Dame’s 11 opponents this season, Purdue is one of three that own a two-game-or-better winning streak against the Irish. Purdue has won the last two series meetings, while USC has won the last three against Notre Dame (2002-04) and Syracuse has also won the last two meetings (1963, 2003).
â€¢ The series has been an offensive show for the winning team more often than not. Since 1982, the winning team has scored 22 points in every meeting save one, a 17-0 victory by the Irish in 1993. In that span of 23 games, the winning team has averaged 34.8 points per contest.
â€¢ If the series history holds true, the Irish will need to score a lot of points to earn a victory this weekend. When the Irish have failed to score 23 points in a game against Purdue, Notre Dame is 11-17-2 (.400). Since 1981 (24 meetings), Notre Dame has lost five out of the six games to Purdue in which it failed to score over 20 points.
Notre Dame – Purdue Series History
â€¢ The series started in 1896, with Purdue collecting a 28-22 victory in South Bend. The only current NCAA Division I-A schools that played Notre Dame earlier than Purdue are Michigan (1887 – first game in program history) and Northwestern (1889).
â€¢ The teams played seven times from 1899-1907 before a 11-year break (the longest hiatus in the history of the series). The teams resumed play in 1918 and met every year until 1923 before a 10-year break in the series. The teams then met in 1933, ’34 and ’39 and the series has been continuous since 1946, tying with the USC rivalry for Notre Dame’s second-longest continuous series (Notre Dame and Navy have played every year since 1927).
â€¢ Notre Dame’s 49 series wins against Purdue are the second-most against any opponent — 67 against Navy is the highest.
â€¢ Entering the 2005 game, Purdue has beaten Notre Dame more times (25) than any other school besides USC (29). Michigan State earned its 25th victory over the Irish 44-41 in overtime on Sept. 17.
â€¢ The Irish have not been shut out by the Boilermakers since 1933 (a 19-0 loss in South Bend).
â€¢ The winner of the game is presented the Shillelagh Trophy, a tradition started in 1957. The trophy was donated by the late Joe McLaughlin (a merchant seaman and Notre Dame fan who brought the club from Ireland). Notre Dame has taken home the Shillelagh Trophy 30 times in the 47-year history of the award.
Notre Dame Versus the Big Ten Conference
â€¢Notre Dame has played almost three times as many games against Big Ten Conference opponents (332) as any other league. The Pacific-10 (112) is the only other conference against whom the Irish have played at least 100 games.
â€¢ 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 213-104-15 (.664) in 332 games against Big Ten schools, with more than 52 percent of those games (170) coming versus Michigan (14-18-1), Michigan State (43-25-1) and Purdue (49-25-2), all of whom are on Notre Dame’s 2005 schedule.
â€¢ For the third consecutive season, Notre Dame is playing three Big Ten schools (Michigan, W, 17-10; Michigan State, L, 41-44 in OT and Purdue). Last year, the Irish ended up 2-1 against those same three Big Ten opponents (victories over Michigan and Michigan State, loss to Purdue).
Last Time At Ross-Ade Stadium
Purdue converted four interceptions by quarterback Brady Quinn into 10 crucial points as Purdue held on for a 23-10 win over the Irish on Sept. 27, 2003. It was the third time in the previous 18 series meetings that the Boilers had come away victorious, despite the fact the hosts were outgained by more than 100 yards in the contest.
Making his first career start, Quinn was the seventh freshman quarterback since 1951 to start for the Irish and he completed 29 of 59 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and those four interceptions. His 29 completions were the most by a Notre Dame signal-caller since 1997 and his 297 yards were the most a Notre Dame freshman QB had thrown for in his debut start since ’51.
Purdue wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, driving 56 yards in four plays on its initial possession before Kyle Orton found Ray Williams on a 36-yard scoring strike. Less than four minutes into the game, the Boilermakers had a 7-0 lead and the Irish were once again forced to play from behind. The lead ballooned to 10 points later in the first quarter when Ben Jones kicked the first of his three field goals, a 46-yarder, after an Irish turnover.
Notre Dame came back in the second period, as Quinn directed his charges on a nine-play, 61-yard drive that lasted nearly four minutes. However, the drive stalled at the Purdue two-yard line and Nicholas Setta trotted in to boot a 19-yard field goal, his ninth consecutive converted trey.
After Jones added a 31-yard field goal with just over two minutes to go before halftime, it appeared Notre Dame was going to be burdened with a double-digit halftime deficit for the third time in 2003. That’s when Quinn and wideout Maurice Stovall hooked up to quickly shift the momentum in favor of the Irish. The tandem combined for an 85-yard scoring play, the third-longest touchdown pass in school history, and it brought Notre Dame to within 13-10 at the intermission.
The game then developed into a field position battle, with Purdue getting the better of the struggle throughout the third quarter, tacking on Jones’ third field goal for a six-point edge. On the second play of the final period, Quinn added to the Boiler advantage when his pass was intercepted at the Irish 12-yard line. Four plays later, Orton tossed a two-yard TD pass to Shaun Phillips for the clinching score.
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 13 for a recap of each coaching debut season in ND history).
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Weis is the first coach to begin his Irish career by beating two ranked opponents. The only other attempt was by Terry Brennan in 1954 (won 21-0 vs. #4 Texas, lost 27-14 vs. #19 Purdue).
â€¢ Weis is the first coach to begin his Notre Dame tenure with two victories on the road and on the 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).
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ The longest winning streak for a Notre Dame head coach to begin his career with the Irish is nine games, by Harper (1913-14) and Parseghian (`64).
â€¢ Since 1913, four Notre Dame coaches – Layden, Parseghian, Holtz and Willingham – have taken over the program the year after their predecessors were either .500 or below. All but Holtz, who went 5-6 in `86, posted winning records in their first seasons and the quartet had a combined 30-13 record in such seasons. The `04 Irish went 6-6 under Willingham.
Quinn Throws Five
Junior QB Brady Quinn became the first Notre Dame quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a single game against Michigan State on Sept. 17. Quinn finished the game 33 of 60 for 487 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. It ranks as the second-best individual statistical performance by a Notre Dame quarterback – just behind Joe Theismann’s 33-for-58, 526-yard peformance at USC in 1970. Unfortunately, both games ended up in the loss column for the Irish.
Quinn’s touchdown passes vs. Michigan State
18 yards to Jeff Samardzija, first quarter, 5:14
31 yards to Samardzija, second quarter, 8:43
6 yards to Darius Walker, third quarter, 1:23
7 yards to Maurice Stovall, fourth quarter, 12:29
4 yards to Smardzija, fourth quarter, 2:31
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 at some of his accomplishments and rankings all-time at Notre Dame (see pages 9, 11 and 13 for several career ranking breakdowns for Quinn):
Touchdowns, Single Game – 5 – vs. Michigan State, the school record, breaking the previous mark of four which was held by seven different individuals in nine different games.
Completions, Single Game – 33 – vs. Michigan State, matched Joe Theismann’s school record from the 1970 game at USC.
Yards, Single Game – 487 – vs. Michigan State, second all-time behind Theismann’s 526 at USC in `70.
Yards, Career – 5,598 – becoming just the fourth Irish quarterback to throw for better than 5,000 yards, Quinn stands 399 yards behind Rick Mirer for third on the all-time list. Ron Powlus is the career yardage leader with 7,602.
Touchdown Passes, Career – 36 – already third on the all-time list behind Rick Mirer (41) and Ron Powlus (52).
Avg. Passing Yards Per Game, Career – 199.9 – currently first on the all-time list ahead of Powlus (172.7).
Quinn also is well ahead of the pace to set the single-season passing yardage record for the Irish. At his current pace (295.2 yards per game), he would total 3,247 yards. The single-season record is held by Jarious Jackson, who threw for 2,753 yards in 1999. Averaging 250 yards per game for the rest of the season he would end up with 2,931 yards. The Dublin, Ohio, native has the possibility of becoming Notre Dame’s first 3,000-yard single-season passer.
Junior Brady Quinn has become the first Notre Dame quarterback to throw for over 300 yards twice in the same season.
Since 1950, a Notre Dame quarterback has thrown for 300 yards or more 13 times. Junior QB Brady Quinn is responsible for four of those performances – the most for any single Notre Dame quarterback. Quinn has thrown for 487 (vs. Michigan State, 2005), 432 (vs. Purdue, 2004), 350 (vs. Boston College, 2003) and 327 (at Washington, 2005).
Quinn is the only Notre Dame quarterback to throw for over 400 yards twice in his career – and last weekend at Washington he became the first Irish signalcaller to throw for more than 300 yards in two consecutive games and the only Irish QB to throw for over 300 yards twice in one season.
(see PDF for a statistical breakdown of Quinn game-by-game in 2005)
Walker Off To A Great Start
Sophomore RB Darius Walker has started the 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 posted a career-high 128 yards at Washington last weekend.
The effort against the Spartans makes 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.
(see PDF for a statistical breakdown of Walker, game-by-game, in 2005)
In terms of overall consecutive games running for over 100 yards, Walker moves into a three-way tie for third place. Lee Becton (1993) owns the Notre Dame record with seven (which includes that season’s bowl game), followed by Allen Pinkett (1983) with five, then Walker, Autry Denson (1997) and Randy Kinder (twice in his career) with four.
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 16 catches (third on the team) for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Hoyte Impressive in First Four Games
Senior defensive captain LB Brandon Hoyte has been a force for the Notre Dame football team over the course of the first four games this year. Embracing his new role as a playmaker in defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s scheme, Hoyte leads the team with 37 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. He also has broken up a pass and forced a fumble. A preseason selection for the 2005 Butkus Award Watch List, Hoyte posted eight tackles (six solo) and and three tackles for a loss at Washington last weekend.
Hoyte is currently ranked fourth in the country for tackles-for-loss, averaging 2.63 per game –
National Leaders, Tackles-for-loss per game:
1. Elvis Dumervil, Louisville, 3.33
2. Stephen Tulloch, North Carolina State, 2.83
3. Ryan Neill, Rutgers, 2.67
4. Brandon Hoyte, Notre Dame, 2.63
5. Chris Mineo, UTEP, 2.50
Samardzija Four Play
Junior WR Jeff Samardzija entered the 2005 campaign without a touchdown catch, but has since caught a scoring toss in each of this season’s first four games. The two-sport athlete (who was a top-line starting pitcher for the Irish baseball team last season) becomes the first Irish receiver to begin the season with four consecutive games with touchdown catches.
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. He is the seventh player to do it and the first since Tom Gatewood versus Purdue in 1970. Samardzija’s 52-yard touchdown catch at Washington made him the first Irish receiver to catch touchdowns in four consecutive games since Malcolm Johnson had TD catches in six straight midseason games (Arizona State, Army, Baylor, Boston College, Navy and LSU) from Oct. 10 through Nov. 11, during the 1998 season.
Two Over 150
In the last two games, vs. Michigan State and at Washington, a Notre Dame player has compiled over 150 yards receiving in each contest. Senior Maurice Stovall caught eight passes for 176 yards against MSU, while junior Jeff Samardzija nabbed eigth passes for 164 yards at Washington. Stovall and Samardzija’s efforts mark the first time a Notre Dame team has seen multiple 150-yard plus receiving performance since Rocket Ismail accomplished the feat twice in 1990. Ismail had six catches for 172 against Air Force and six catches for 173 versus Navy.
The 150-plus receiving-yard feat has been accomplished in back-to-back games only once previously. Tom Gatewood caught 10 passes for 155 yards against Michigan State on Oct. 4, 1969 and followed up with a nine-catch, 164-yard day against Army in Yankee Stadium on Oct. 11, 1969.
There has never been a season in which any combination of Notre Dame players has posted over 150 yards receiving in three games.
Zbikowski Becoming a Playmaker
Junior S Tom Zbikowski, just three games into his second full season as a starter, has quickly emerged as a playmaker for the Irish – both on defense and special teams. Zbikowski leads the team with two interceptions (including a key pick in the red zone at #3/3 Michigan), is third on the team with 27 tackles and has returned six punts for 95 yards (15.8 avg) this season – after not returning a single punt during the 2004 campaign.
Zbikowski’s special teams performance at Michigan earned the junior the title as the team’s special team’s captain for Notre Dame’s home opener against Michigan State on Sept. 17.
First-Year Players Seeing Significant Time
Through the first four games of the 2005 season, Notre Dame has seen 19 players make their Irish playing debut. Included in the 19 players are 10 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*, Maurice Crum, Jr., Casey Cullen, Paul Duncan*, Leo Ferrine, David Grimes*, LaBrose Hedgemon II, Ray Herring*, Joey Hiben*, Pat Kuntz*, Terrail Lambert, Steve Quinn*, Asaph Schwapp*, Scott Smith*, Dwight Stephenson, Jr., Ronald Talley and Michael Turkovich*.
* – indicates true freshman
Maurice Crum, Jr., is one of 19 Irish players who have made their collegiate playing debut this season.
Offense Piling Up Yardage
The offense has been the highlight of the 2005 Notre Dame football season thus far. The Irish are currently 13th in the country in overall offense (475.00) 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 295.25 passing yards per game, on pace to break 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 three times this season (502 at Pittsburgh, 594 vs. Michigan State and 560 at Washington) – marking the first time the Irish have posted three or more 500-yard performance since the 1996 season.
Here is a breakdown of Notre Dame’s 500-plus games, season by season, since 1990 –
1990: 502 vs. Purdue, 542 vs. Air Force
1991: 650 vs. Michigan State
1992: 561 vs. Northwestern, 509 vs. Michigan State, 580 vs. Purdue, 521 vs. Pittsburgh, 576 vs. Boston College
1993: 539 vs. Pittsburgh, 535 vs. BYU, 604 vs. Navy
1994: 547 vs. Purdue
1995: 503 vs. Purdue, 511 vs. Texas, 514 vs. Air Force
1996: 650 vs. Washington, 544 vs. Boston College, 565 vs. Pittsburgh, 648 vs. Rutgers
1997: 520 vs. Boston College
1999: 566 vs. Oklahoma, 524 vs. Navy
2000: None 2001: None 2002: None
2003: 512 vs. Stanford
2004: 536 vs. Purdue
Keep an Eye on Third Down
Notre Dame is averaging a solid 43 percent on third down this season (26 of 61), while holding its opponents to a 25.9 percentage (14 of 54), which is ranked 12th in the nation.
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 380 games in that facility to date and own a 287-88-5 (.762) record in the “House that Rockne Built.”
The Irish were 3-3 in Notre Dame Stadium in `04, running their home record to 91-29 (.758) over the last 20 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.
Irish Face Another Loaded Schedule
With the updates of the AP and USA Today/Coaches Poll, Notre Dame will continue to face one of the toughest schedules in the nation (rankings are AP/USA Today and Harris Interactive):
â€¢ Notre Dame is the only team that will play three games against top-four teams from the preseason polls – #1/1 USC (Oct. 15), #5/4 Tennessee (Nov. 5) and #3/3 Michigan (W, 17-10).
â€¢ Notre Dame is the only school that will face three teams that were in the top 10 of both preseason polls this season.
â€¢ Notre Dame will play games against six teams ranked in the top 25 this season at least once this season. The Irish have already defeated #23/25 Pittsburgh 42-21 and #3/3 Michigan 17-10. Notre Dame also will face #22/20/22 Purdue, #1/1/1 USC and #10/9/12 Tennessee. Michigan State, unranked before its victory over the Irish, has moved into #11/12/10 in the current national rankings.
In Front of the Nation
In 2004, the Notre Dame football team once again received more network television exposure and played in more highly-rated games than any other program in college football.
The Irish played in the highest-rated network game of the `04 regular season (and the highest-rated regular-season game overall in two seasons) in its `04 regular-season finale at USC. That game, televised by ABC Sports, received a 6.3 Nielsen rating and was seen in 6.898 million households.
Overall, Notre Dame played in six games that ranked among the top 25 highest-rated network telecasts and no other school played in more than five (Tennessee and Georgia each played in five).
Including last weekend’s game at Washington, Notre Dame now has a remarkable streak of 152 consecutive games (more than 12 full seasons) that have been carried by either NBC (81), ABC (44), CBS (14) or ESPN (12). You have to go all the way back to the `92 season to find a Notre Dame game that wasn’t on one of those four networks.
The streak will continue throughout the 2005 season as well. All eight remaining games this season are scheduled to be broadcast on NBC, ABC and ESPN (which will feature this weekend’s Irish-Boilermaker matchup).
In Front of a Full House
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 175 of its previous 201 games, including 43 of its last 47 games dating back to the end of the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2000 season (the `01 and `03 games at Stanford, last year’s game vs. Navy at the Meadowlands and last weekend’s game at Washington were not sellouts). At Michigan in `03, the Irish and Wolverines attracted the largest crowd in NCAA history (111,726), marking the third time in the history of the series that an NCAA attendance record has been set. It also represented the seventh time in the last four seasons that Notre Dame has been part of establishing a new stadium attendance record (at Nebraska and Texas A&M in `01; at Air Force and Florida State, home vs. Boston College in `02, vs. Oregon State in the Insight Bowl in `04 – the game set a Bank One Ballpark record for football configuration). Notre Dame and Michigan played before an over-capacity 111,386 at Michigan Stadium two weeks ago. Last Saturday’s game at Washington was played before less than a capacity crowd as 71,473 witnessed the Irish defeat the Huskies, 36-17, at Husky Stadium (capacity: 72,500) in Seattle.
In 2005, junior quarterback Brady Quinn has become just the 13th signal-caller 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 is poised to become the most prolific passer of the three-year starter group. He needs just 761 yards to surpass Ron Powlus for single season yards (1942) and six touchdown passes to move past Rick Mirer (15).
(see PDF for a statistical breakdown of Quinn’s statistics in 2005 vs. other top ND quarterbacks in their third season)
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. If Walker stays on the pace he set in his first season with the Irish, he will be primed to turn in one of the finest statistical seasons ever by an Irish sophomore.
(see PDF for a statistical breakdown of Walker’s 2005 statistics vs. other top ND RBs in their second season)
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 2005 season, 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
The record for most receptions by a pair of classmates at Notre Dame is 210, achieved by the 1966-68 combination of Jim Seymour (138) and Bob Gladieux (72). A prolific 2005 season by seniors Rhema McKnight and Maurice Stovall could eclipse that standard. Entering this weekend’s contest, McKnight has 103 career catches and Stovall 76 for 179 total – needing 31 catches combined to reach the record. It should be pointed out, however, that both McKnight and Stovall played as freshmen – Seymour and Gladieux piled up 210 catches in just three years of varsity action.
Maurice Stovall (pictured) and classmate Rhema McKnight have combined for 179 catches during their careers with the Irish.
National Award Watch Lists
Maxwell award –
In June, Irish junior quarterback Brady Quinn was one of 53 players named to the 2005 Maxwell Award Watch List. The award, presented by the Maxwell Football Club, is given annually to the college football player of the year.
Quinn has thrown for over 1000 yards (1,181) in Notre Dame’s first four games. He has added 10 touchdowns (including a Notre Dame single-game record five against Michigan State), completed over 60 percent of his passes (61.7) and is averaging 295.2 passing yards per game.
Quinn threw for 2,586 yards in `04, his second as the starting quarterback for Notre Dame. His sophomore season ended up as the best second-year campaign ever for an Irish quarterback, finishing second in ND history on the single-season passing list behind Jarious Jackson’s 2,753 yards in `99. Quinn’s attempts (353) and completions (191) last season stand atop the single-season lists at Notre Dame. He accounted for 20 touchdowns (17 passing, three rushing) in `04.
Starting the last 25 consecutive games at quarterback for Notre Dame, Quinn already has posted the top freshman and sophomore statistical seasons in school history. He currently ranks fourth all-time on the Notre Dame passing yardage list, just 399 yards behind Rick Mirer for third place.
The Maxwell Award is named after Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, a Philadelphia native and former All-American guard at Swarthmore and Chicago who went on to a career that included professional football, coaching and sportswriting.
Notre Dame has seen four different players earn the Maxwell Award a total of five times in the football program’s history. Tight end Leon Hart was the initial recipient in 1949, followed by HB John Lattner (1952 and `53), LB Jim Lynch (1966) and DE Ross Browner (1977).
MACKEY AWARD –
On Aug. 1, Anthony Fasano was named to the 2005 John Mackey Award Watch List which is given annually to the nation’s best collegiate tight end.
Fasano is tied for the team lead in `05 with 21 catches for 219 yards (10.4 avg.). He is averaging 54.8 receiving yards per game.
Fasano is coming off his most productive season in 2004. As a junior, he finished second on the team with 27 catches for 367 yards and four touchdowns. Proficient in pass catching, route running and blocking, Fasano is poised for a breakout year in Notre Dame’s new offense under the direction of head coach Charlie Weis and offensive coordinator Michael Haywood.
Fasano caught four passes for 60 yards in the ’04 season opener against BYU and continued to be a reliable force in the Irish offense throughout the campaign. He exploded for career highs in catches and yards against Purdue, nabbing eight receptions for a Notre Dame tight end-record 155 receiving yards.
He was named the John Mackey National Tight End of the Week for his performance against Purdue.
The Verona, N.J., native, one of 20 players on the watch list, also caught two touchdown passes against Washington and added scoring receptions at Tennessee and against Oregon State in the Insight Bowl.
Fasano also was a key contributor in 2003. As a sophomore, he caught 18 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He did not play during his freshman season in 2002.
NFL Hall of Famer John Mackey is considered to be the best to have played the tight end position. The award honors his leadership and career of excellence.
The John Mackey Award has been presented since 2000, with four NFL players as alumni: Dallas Clark of Iowa (’01), Daniel Graham of Colorado (’02), Kellen Winslow, Jr. of Miami (FL) (’03) and Heath Miller of Virginia (’04).
The Nassau County Sports Commmission, a non-profit organization to enhance quality of life by “Improving Life through Sports” and promote “Healthy Sports for Healthy Kids,” presents this national football award as a tribute to Nassau County sports legend and native John Mackey.
GROZA AWARD –
D.J. Fitzpatrick has been named to the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List as one of 30 preliminary candidates for the annual award recognizing college football’s finest placekicker.
Fitzpatrick is a perfect 16 for 16 in PATs this season. He has missed one of seven field goal attempts (from 48 yards against Michigan State) and has posted a punting average of 41.2 – pinning four kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and launching a 60-yard punt at Michigan.
Fitzpatrick is entering his third season as the primary placekicker and punter for the Fighting Irish and is coming off an excellent season in 2004 in which he connected on 11 of 15 field goal attempts (73.3 percent), including a long of 47 yards. He scored 64 points on the season while making 34 of 35 conversion attempts. A proven performer in pressure situations, Fitzpatrick has made 25 of 32 attempts inside 50 yards for his career. He already ranks eighth in Notre Dame history for career field goals made with 25.
Kickers on the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List were chosen based on statistics from the 2004 season and 2005 preseason expectations. However, all Division I-A kickers are eligible for consideration for the award. A panel of more than 300 experts votes on the award, including Division I-A head coaches, sportswriters and sportscasters, conference representatives, professional kickers and all previous Groza Award finalists.
The 20 semi-finalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced on Monday, Oct. 31, 2005, with the naming of the three finalists two weeks later on Monday, Nov. 14, 2005. The three finalists are recognized during the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Banquet and Silent Auction on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2005, at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott and the winner is announced on Thursday, December 8, 2005, during the ESPN Home Depot College Football Award Show in Orlando, Fla.
The award, now in its 14th year, is named for National Football League (NFL) Hall-of-Fame kicker Lou Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Nicknamed “The Toe,” Groza helped usher in the idea that a player could be used exclusively for kicking.
BUTKUS AWARD –
Senior linebacker and defensive team captain Brandon Hoyte has been named one of 65 candidates on the 2005 Butkus Award watch list. The award honors the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.
Hoyte has been a terror to opposing offenses this season. He leads the team with 37 tackles (including a team high 12 with 10 solos at Michigan), 10.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. He also has broken up a pass and forced a fumble in 2005.
A fifth-year senior in 2005, Hoyte is a two-time academic all-district honoree with 205 career tackles, six career sacks and four forced fumbles (including three in 2004). A native of Parlin, N.J., Hoyte is a leader both on and off the field for the Irish.
Hoyte finished second on the team in tackles last season, making 74 stops (38 solo) along with eight tackles for loss and three sacks. Projected as a starter on the outside for the Irish this season, Hoyte is poised to end his Irish career with an outstanding senior campaign.
Named a freshman All-American by The Sporting News in 2002, Hoyte has collected more than 50 tackles in each season (57 in ’02, 74 in ’03, 74 in ’04).
Making the Grade
The last four seasons of Notre Dame football have produced some impressive semesters in the classroom for the Notre Dame football team. In fact, the Irish had a 2004 spring semester in which the team’s 104 players combined for a 2.96 grade-point average that ranks as the program’s best semester GPA on record (dating back to 1992). The Notre Dame football program’s top six semester GPAs since `92 were all posted in the seven semesters prior to the fall of `04, including the three semesters from fall of `02 to fall of `03 (2.84 in fall of `02, 2.79 in spring of `03 and 2.82 in fall of `03). The football program’s second-best semester GPA of the past 12 years came in the spring of `02 (2.90), followed by a 2.80 in the spring of `01 and a 2.69 in the fall of `01. Upon closer examination, the 2004 spring semester saw 11 Irish football players post a Dean’s List GPA (sliding scale, based on major), while 21 turned in a semester GPA of 3.4-plus and more than half (53) had a GPA of 3.0 or better. In addition, two players – former DE Kyle Businscak and senior LB Brandon Hoyte – received Academic All-District V honors in `03, marking Budinscak’s third selection and Hoyte’s second to the prestigious squad. Budinscak followed up with another All-District V honor in `04.
Taking Care of Business Off the Field, Too
The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) annually honors the school with the highest graduation rate based on a particular entering freshman football class, and Notre Dame has won the award six times, most recently in 2001 with its 100-percent graduation rate (22 of 22 entering freshmen from `96 earned their degrees within five years). The `01 award followed Notre Dame’s previous honors in `82, `83, `84, `88 and `91. Notre Dame also holds the distinction of producing the first 100-percent rate in a single year when 24 of 24 student-athletes from the entering class of `82 earned their degrees within a five-year period (and 16 of those 24 did so within four years). Only eight other times has a school registered a 100-percent graduation rate. The `88 award had special meaning, as it was the first time a school won the national championship on the football field – as Notre Dame did, finishing 12-0 after a Fiesta Bowl win over unbeaten West Virginia – and in the classroom. Including the special mention category, the Irish have received some sort of recognition in 23 of the 24 years the award has been presented, with Duke next at 21.
All 2005 pep rallies will be held in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome) on Fridays before Saturday home games, beginning at 6:00 p.m. (EST). The football team enters the arena at 6:30 p.m. Beginning this season, all of Notre Dame’s pep rallies will be broadcast live (video and audio) on www.und.com for subscribers to “Fighting Irish All-Access.”
“Notre Dame Experience” Returns for 2005 Season
For years, the Joyce Center has been the “pregame meeting place” for several thousand Notre Dame alumni. In an effort to add to this tradition, the Notre Dame athletics department is providing an interactive fan experience for each of the 2005 home football games in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome). For the fourth consecutive season, the “Notre Dame Experience” will combine with the Notre Dame Alumni Association Hospitality Center with interactive inflatables, photo booths, autograph sessions, football trivia and stage activities. Gates open three hours prior to kickoff and admission is free.
Tickets Available for 2005 Football Kickoff Luncheons
Tickets are now on sale for all the 2005 Notre Dame Kickoff Luncheons, held in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome) on the Friday prior to home football games. The luncheons feature head coach Charlie Weis and Irish players and assistant coaches, plus special guests and other attractions.
Tickets are $18 each, with a handling fee of $3 – there are 10 seats per table – and if you wish to sit as a group at the same table with other guests, please return all reservations in one envelope. Checks should be made payable to “University of Notre Dame” and mailed to: Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN, 46556. Telephone and credit card reservations are not accepted. A printed reservation form is available on Notre Dame’s athletics web site – www.und.com. The October 14 USC luncheon is sold out.
Notre Dame Athletics Continues Relationship with SIRIUS Satellite Radio
After a successful debut season in 2004, SIRIUS Satellite Radio will continue to offer Notre Dame football, and selected men’s/women’s basketball, games on its nationwide service.
Go to www.sirius.com for more information on the service. Notre Dame’s September football games can be heard on the following SIRIUS channels –
Oct. 1 at Purdue 127
Inside the Irish Huddle DVD
Legendary Notre Dame Quarterbacks, a project dedicated to the lore and history of University of Notre Dame football and its rich quarterbacking tradition, is beginning its existence with the release of a DVD, Inside the Irish Huddle, Stories from the Legendary Notre Dame Quarterbacks.
The DVD is now available and can ordered on NDQB1.com, the official website of the Legendary Notre Dame Quarterbacks.
Inside the Irish Huddle, made in association with Indianapolis and Chicago based Pathway Productions, includes interviews with and collegiate highlights of some of the most high-profile players and coaches in Notre Dame and college football history. Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Paul Hornung, Johnny Lujack, Tom Clements and Terry Hanratty are just a few of former players featured on Inside the Irish Huddle.
The project is spearheaded by former Irish quarterback Blair Kiel (1980-83).
Notre Dame Stadium Update
Thanks to funding by the Notre Dame Monogram Club, Notre Dame Stadium features a new look for its 75th anniversary this season.
â€¢ Positioned in the 195 portals of the original Stadium walls (now visible in the lower bowl concourse), there now are individual, four-by-10-foot, mesh banners with old-school, black-and-white photos highlighting Notre Dame’s 11 consensus national-championship seasons, its 139 first-team football All-Americans, its seven Heisman Trophy winners, its five national-championship coaches and its eight representatives in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
â€¢ Hanging from the ceiling around the lower concourse are 15 full-color, 12-by-15-foot banners – 10 of them featuring action shots of members of the 2005 Irish squad, and five featuring the 75th anniversary logo for Notre Dame Stadium. In addition, there will be four other five-by-eight-foot representations of the logo within the Stadium.
â€¢ One addition visible from inside the Stadium is a sign on the facing of the wall just above the tunnel – it reads “Irish” and includes the Monogram Club logo.
â€¢ Attached to light polls on Moose Krause Circle surrounding the Stadium and in the Stadium and Joyce North and South parking lots are 100 two-by-four foot pole banners, all of them featuring various Notre Dame marks and phrases – including combinations of Irish, We Are ND, a shamrock, the leprechaun, University of Notre Dame, Here Come the Irish, Fighting Irish, a gold helmet and the 75th anniversary Stadium logo.
â€¢ In addition, there are plans over the next few years to theme the entry gates at the Stadium – with the intention of creating specific recognition of Notre Dame’s national championships, its All-Americans, its Heisman Trophy winners and its national championship coaches. The first gate to be completed will be Gate B. It will recognize the Irish Heisman winners and will be completed later this fall.
Most of the signage and design work is being handled by Sport Graphics, Inc., in Indianapolis, Ind. Additional work for the gate designs is by the Rockwell Group in New York, N.Y.
Irish Football on the Printed Page
This fall, three new books about Fighting Irish football have debuted. The Spirit of Notre Dame, by Jim Langford and Jeremy Langford, officially went on sale during the last week of August. Detailing both athletic and student/alumni stories from the University, the book is said to be “the absolute essential title for the millions of people who have a place in their heart for the Fighting Irish.” The book is a production of The Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group and can be bought on www.randomhouse.com.
South Bend Tribune and Notre Dame football beat writer Eric Hansen has seen the release of his new book, Notre Dame, Where Have You Gone?. Hansen catches up with former Fighting Irish football players, from the All-Americans to the walk-ons to the one-play wonders to the once-tragic figures. The book is available for order at www.sportspublishinginc.com.
The third offering comes from Senior Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations at Notre Dame – John Heisler. Echoes of Notre Dame Football, The Greatest Stories Ever Told, was edited by the former long-time sports information director. A member of the CoSIDA Hall of Fame, Heisler’s book stitches together the best columns from the best columnists. It not only recounts the greatest moments in Notre Dame lore, it also tracks the chronological progression sportswriting styles from the esoteric to the ultra-modern. The book is available by calling 800-335-5323 or by sending an e-mail to WebOrders@triumphbooks.com. The book also features a foreword by Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis.
Kevin White Radio Show
Look for the Kevin White Show for the next 30 weeks on ESPN 1000 AM radio in Chicago.
The hour-long program debuted Sept. 4 in its sixth season – with first-night guests including former Irish football-walk-on Dan “Rudy” Ruettiger (subject of the 1993 movie “Rudy”), former Irish placekicker Harry Oliver (he kicked a 51-yard field goal 25 years ago this week to help Notre Dame beat Michigan 29-27 in 1980), and current Irish hockey coach Jeff Jackson.
Guests regularly will include familiar names from all facets of college athletics.
The show features White, Notre Dame’s director of athletics, and ESPN 1000’s Dave Juday. It can be heard regularly at 11:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday.
Sponsors of the show include Gatorade, Xerox, adidas, Comcast, McDonald’s, Chase, Coca-Cola, Sirius Satellite Radio, Jordan Industries and Sayers Computer Source.
The show can be heard in more than 30 states around the country on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
Notre Dame will utilize the Big Ten Conference instant replay system during home games this season. The opposing team is given the option of agreeing to use the system as well, and it will only be implemented if both teams decide to utilize the system.
â€¢ The Big Ten instant replay model and the NFL instant replay system are different. In the Big Ten model, only the Big Ten Technical Advisor, working in the press box, can stop a game to review a play. Unlike the NFL model, in the Big Ten neither the coaches nor the game officials on the field may ask for a review.
â€¢ In order for a play to be changed the Technical Advisor must have indisputable video evidence that an error occurred. Television broadcast of the game will be the sole source of whether there is indisputable video evidence.
â€¢ The replay system will not guarantee that all officiating mistakes are identified and corrected.
â€¢The types of plays that are reviewable include plays that are governed by the sideline, goal line, end zone and end line, passing plays, and other detectable infractions, such as forward progress with respect to first down.