Jan. 1, 2003
#11/12 Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” vs. #17/17 North Carolina State “Wolfpack”
58th annual Toyota Gator Bowl
Jan. 1, 2003 – Alltel Stadium ? Jacksonville, Fla.
- Today’s game marked the 150th sellout in the last 173 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 and all 13 in ’02.
- Counting postseason play, Notre Dame has now had its last 124 games televised on one of four networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN), a stretch going back more than nine 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 is now 13-12 (.520) all-time in bowl games, including a 1-2 mark in the Toyota Gator Bowl. The Irish also now are 8-8 all-time when playing on New Year’s Day.
- The Irish finish with 10 wins this season, their best victory total since an 11-1 mark in 1993.
- Notre Dame suffers its first loss to an ACC opponent since a 35-28 setback to Georgia Tech in the 1999 Toyota Gator Bowl. The Irish now are 48-12-1 (.795) all-time against ACC teams, having played every school in that league except Wake Forest.
- Notre Dame held North Carolina State to just 62 yards rushing, marking the eighth time in 13 games this year that the Irish have held the opposition to less than half their season rushing average. N.C. State was averaging 150.38 yards rushing per game coming into today’s contest.
- The Irish tied their season high with 22 first downs, matching the total previously achieved against both Air Force and Boston College.
- North Carolina State scored 21 second-quarter points today, the most allowed by Notre Dame in one period since the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, when Oregon State tallied 29 points in the third quarter.
- The 21 points scored by N.C. State in the first half were the most allowed by the Irish in the first 30 minutes of a game since they yielded 27 points in the first half at Nebraska on Sept. 8, 2001. Notre Dame trailed by 24 points (27-3) at halftime in that game, which also represented the last time the Irish were behind by at least 18 points at the intermission.
- Today’s game marked just the fourth time this season Notre Dame trailed at halftime. The Irish came back to defeat Stanford after losing at the half, but fell to Boston College, USC and N.C. State when they were behind at the break.
- Notre Dame scored six points today, matching the fewest points scored by the Irish in a bowl game (six vs. Nebraska in 1973 Orange Bowl).
- Senior WR Arnaz Battle caught 10 passes this afternoon, making him only the fifth player in school history to register 50 catches in a single season, and the first since Ken MacAfee (54) in 1977. Battle finished his final year at Notre Dame with 58 receptions, the third-highest total in school history and the most since Tom Gatewood caught a school-record 77 passes in 1970.
- Battle’s 10 receptions today tied his career high and set a Notre Dame bowl record, breaking the old mark of seven catches by Tony Smith vs. Florida in the 1992 Sugar Bowl. It also represented the second time this season Battle caught 10 passes in one game (10 vs. Pittsburgh).
- Sophomore TB Ryan Grant rushed 21 times for 68 yards this afternoon, giving him a season total of 1,085 yards on the ground. That’s good for 10th place on the Notre Dame single-season list, passing Lee Becton (1,044 in 1993) and Al Hunter (1,058 in 1976).
- Sophomore QB Pat Dillingham completed a career-high 19 passes today, breaking the Notre Dame bowl record of 18 set by Ron Powlus vs. Colorado in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl. Dillingham’s 19 completions also were the most by an Irish quarterback since Jarious Jackson also completed 19 passes vs. Boston College on Nov. 20, 1999. Dillingham’s 159 yards passing also were a career high.
- Dillingham attempted 38 passes today, setting a new Notre Dame bowl record. The old mark was 34 pass attempts, held jointly by Joe Montana (vs. Houston, 1979 Cotton Bowl) and Ron Powlus (vs. Colorado, 1995 Fiesta Bowl).
- As a team, Notre Dame set a new school bowl record with 23 pass completions and 46 attempts. The old marks were 18 completions (vs. Colorado, 1995 Fiesta Bowl) and 37 attempts (vs. Houston, 1979 Cotton Bowl). The Irish also ran 84 plays on offense, just one short of the school bowl record (85 vs. Texas, 1978 Cotton Bowl).
- Junior TE Jared Clark set new career highs with four catches for 43 yards this afternoon. Coming into today’s game, Clark had three receptions for 63 yards in his career (all coming this season).
- Senior PK Nicholas Setta put Notre Dame on the scoreboard first with a 23-yard field goal in the first quarter. He later added a 42-yarder in the third quarter and finished his career with 37 career field goals, good for fourth in school history. Today’s game also marked the fourth time this season Setta kicked at least two field goals in a contest < all=”” four=”” came=”” away=”” from=”” home=”” (maryland,=”” florida=”” state,=”” usc=”” and=”” n.c.=””>
- With four punts today, senior P Joey Hildbold finished this year with 78 punts, breaking the Notre Dame single-season record of 77 set by Blair Kiel in 1982. Hildbold wound up his Irish career with 256 punts for 10,311 yards, narrowly missing Kiel’s school records for career punts and punting yardage (259 punts for 10,534 yards).
- N.C. State WR Jerricho Cotchery set a Notre Dame opponent bowl record with 10 receptions, topping the previous mark of eight by Florida’s Willie Jackson in the 1992 Sugar Bowl.
- N.C. State DB Rod Johnson set a Notre Dame opponent bowl record with three interceptions today. That betters the old standard of two thefts, shared by Georgia’s Scott Woerner (1981 Sugar Bowl) and Colorado’s Greg Thomas (1991 Orange Bowl). Johnson’s 35 yards on interception returns also broke the Irish opponent bowl record (31 by Oregon State’s Keith Heyward-Johnson in 2001 Fiesta Bowl).