Previewing The Washington Game….
The Key Note: This marks Washington’s first visit to Notre Dame Stadium in 48 years.
The Date: Saturday, October 11, 1996
The Time: 1:30 p.m. EST (11:30 a.m. PDT)
The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (59,075/grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The Television Plans: NBC Sports national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Bob Trumpy (analysis) and John Dockery (sideline reporter).
The Radio Plans: For the 29th consecutive season Notre Dame football games are broadcast nationally on radio by the Mutual/Westwood One Radio Network with Tony Roberts (play-by-play) and Tom Pagna (analysis), while sports director Larry Michaels serves as pregame and halftime host. The Mutual Network includes nearly 300 stations and many of the games receive worldwide exposure on the Armed Forces Radio Network.
Back-to-Back-to-Back vs. Top 25: This marks the eighth time during the Lou Holtz era that the Irish have played three or more consecutive games against ranked opponents. Here are the previous seven series:
11-15-86 Penn State (#3) L 19-2411-22-86 at LSU (#8) L 19-2111-29-86 at USC (#17) W 38-3710-14-89 at Air Force (#17) W 41-2710-21-89 USC (#9) W 28-2410-28-89 Pittsburgh (#7) W 45-711-18-89 at Penn St. (#17) W 34-2311-25-89 at Miami (#7) L 10-271-1-90 Colorado (#1) W 21-611-10-90 at Tennessee (#9) W 34-2911-17-90 Penn State (#18) L 21-2411-24-90 at USC (#18) W 10-61-1-91 Colorado (#1) L 9-1011-7-92 Boston Col. (#9) W 54-711-14-92 Penn State (#22) W 17-1611-28-92 at USC (#19) W 31-231-1-93 Texas A&M (#4) W 28-311-13-93 Florida St. (#1) W 31-2411-20-93 Boston Col. (#16) L 39-411-1-94 Texas A&M (#7) W 24-219-23-95 Texas (#13) W 55-279-30-95 at Ohio State (#7) L 26-4510-7-95 at Wash.(#15) W 29-21
The Injury Report:PROBABLE: TB Autry Denson (broken left index finger vs. Ohio State; had surgery Sept. 29 to insert three permanent screws); QUESTIONABLE: TE Pete Chryplewicz (ankle sprain vs. Texas, played on limited basis vs. Ohio State); DT Melvin Dansby (sprained knee vs. Texas, sprained ankle vs. Ohio State); OUT: SS A’Jani Sanders (medial collateral knee ligament injury vs. Texas, out six weeks). The Series: Notre Dame vs. Washington:Notre Dame leads it 3-0, with the only meetings prior to the ’95 game coming in 1948 and 1949. The second-rated Irish produced a 46-0 win in Notre Dame Stadium in ’48. Then Notre Dame posted a 27-7 triumph in ’49 in Seattle. The Last Meeting:Twenty-third-rated Notre Dame overcame a 21-14 deficit with two touchdowns in the final 90 seconds to defeat 15th-ranked Washington 29-21 before 74,023 fans, the third-largest crowd in Husky Stadium history. Leading 21-14, the Huskies first botched a punt attempt at the 2:46 mark, with Notre Dame taking over at the Washington 18. Three plays later rookie Autry Denson ran seven yards for a TD, followed by a Ron Powlus-to-Derrick Mayes two-point conversion completion that put the Irish ahead 22-21. After the Huskies drove to a first down at the Irish 33, Allen Rossum ran in interception back 76 yards for a touchdown with 28 seconds remaining to make it 29-21. Mayes earlier caught TD passes of 10 and 30 yards from Powlus to break Tom Gatewood’s career TD reception record. The Irish defense gave up only 304 total yards, its second-best effort to that point of the season. Irish vs. Pac-10:Notre Dame stands 59-26-6 vs. the Pacific-10 Conference, including 2-1 vs. Arizona, 4-0 vs. California, 1-0-1 vs. Oregon, 8-3 vs. Stanford, 2-0 vs. UCLA, 39-23-5 vs. USC, 3-0 vs. Washington. Lou Holtz in his career stands 16-2-2 vs. the Pac-10 — 1-0 vs. Arizona State, 5-2 vs. Stanford, 0-0-1 vs. UCLA, 9-0-1 vs. USC and 1-0 vs. Washington. The Coaches: Lou Holtz is in his 11th season with the Irish with an overall 211-93-7 (.689) record. His 27-year collegiate record includes three years at William & Mary (13-20, .394, 1969-71), four at North Carolina State (33-12-3, .719, 1972-75), seven at Arkansas (60-21-2, .394, 1977-83), two at Minnesota (10-12, .455, 1984-85) and 11 at Notre Dame (95-28-2, .768, 1986-96). Jim Lambright is in his fourth season at Washington with a record of 23-13-1 (.635). The Ohio State Review:Fourth-rated Ohio State rolled up a 22-7 halftime edge thanks to a 283-93 edge in total yards in the first 30 minutes, then ended up with a 29-16 triumph over fifth-ranked Notre Dame in Notre Dame Stadium. Pepe Pearson rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns, and Stanley Jackson threw for 154 yards and two TDs for the Buckeyes. The Irish managed only 126 rushing yards, but they still had a chance to get back in the game until a 90-yard punt return for a TD by Autry Denson with three minutes left was called back by penalty. Marc Edwards scored both Irish TDs on a two-yard pass from Ron Powlus (after a Kinnon Tatum interception) and a nine-yard fourth-period run. Vs. the Top 25:Notre Dame stands 14-8-1 in Notre Dame Stadium in games played against Associated Press top 25 opponents during the Lou Holtz era (compared to 18-12-1 away – including 5-4 in bowls – for 32-20-2 overall in Holtz era):
1986 Michigan (#3) L 23-24 Penn State (#3) L 19-24 1987 Michigan St. (#17) W 31-8 Alabama (#10) W 37-6 1988 Michigan (#9) W 19-17 Miami (#1) W 31-30 1989 Pittsburgh (#7) W 45-7 USC (#9) W 28-24 1990 Michigan (#4) W 28-24 Miami (#2) W 29-20 Penn State (#18) L 21-24 1991 Pittsburgh (#12) W 42-7 Tennessee (#13) L 34-35 1992 Michigan (#6) T 17-17 Stanford (#18) L 16-33 Boston College (#9) W 54-7 Penn State (#22) W 17-16 1993 Florida State (#1) W 31-24 Boston College (#16) L 39-41 1994 Michigan (#6) L 24-26 1995 Texas (#13) W 55-27 USC (#5) W 38-10 1996 Ohio State (#4) L 16-29
Stats and Rankings Through Four Games:Notre Dame’s 10 TD drives in ’96 have averaged 63.6 yards and 8.3 plays each, with two of the drives vs. Purdue covering 90 and 92 yards. Against Texas, the Irish ran seven or more plays on eight of their 11 possessions. Here are a few measures of how effective Notre Dame’s defense has been so far in ’96:
— Against Vanderbilt, the Irish limited Vandy to one drive of more than five plays (that was eight), 10 of the Commodore 14 possessions produced six yards or less and three produced negative yardage.
— Against Purdue, the Irish held the Boilers to seven straight drives producing nine yards or less at one stretch, limited Purdue to only one drive of more than six plays and produced two with negative yardage.
— Against Texas, the Irish held the Longhorns to eight of 11 possessions with seven or fewer pplays, three drives with negative yardage and six possessions producing 16 yards or less (including only 111 net yards in the second half).
— Against Ohio State, the Irish held the Buckeyes to eight drives of 21 yards or less (including only 108 net yards, five first downs and two pass completions in the second half). Irish Items:
* Notre Dame has played in front of capacity crowds in 82 of its last 93 games, including 22 of the last 23 prior to a less-than-capacity crowd in the ’96 Orange Bowl vs. Florida State. Both the crowds at Vanderbilt and Texas in ’96 were record figures for those stadia.
* The 1998 Notre Dame-Navy football game is headed for the Washington Redskins’ new 78,600-seat stadium to open in 1997 in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
* During the Lou Holtz era, Notre Dame has returned 12 kickoffs, 11 punts (one blocked), 14 interceptions and three fumbles for touchdowns — compared to only one punt (in ’86) and three interceptions for opponents.
* The Irish have scored right before the end of the first half in three of their four games to date:
Vanderbilt – Notre Dame took over at its own three with 4:19 left and drove 82 yards in 14 plays to a 33-yard Jim Sanson field goal with :05 left in the first half.
Purdue – Notre Dame took over at its own 44 with :43 left and drove 56 yards in five plays, with Autry Denson catching a 10-yard TD pass from Ron Powlus with :02 left in the first half.
Texas – Notre Dame took over at its own 37 with 2:37 left and drove 63 yards in seven plays, with Powlus throwing to Marc Edwards for a three-yard score with :27 left in the first half.
* Notre Dame has held 22 of its last 45 opponents to 100 or less rushing yards, including Vanderbilt (two yards) and Purdue (44 yards) in 1996.
* Notre Dame’s rushing attack has ranked 20th or better nationally nine years running under Holtz:
Year Rushing Avg. NCAA Rank Rushing TDs1986 189.4 33rd 181987 252.1 14th 331988 258.0 11th 301989 287.7 8th 421990 250.3 12th 331991 268.0 5th 311992 280.9 3rd 341993 260.7 6th 361994 215.6 20th 181995 233.5 6th 29*1996 212.8 21st 7*through 4 games
Scouting the Irish Offense:
BACKS — The Irish boast a blue-chip parade of backs, led by QB Ron Powlus (“He’s the best quarterback I’ve been around,” says Lou Holtz of Powlus, who needs eight TD passes to break Rick Mirer’s Irish career record of 41; he’s 64 of 118 for 735, 3 TDs, 3 ints. in ’96), TB Randy Kinder (Notre Dame’s eighth-best career rusher at 2,119 yards; he missed Vanderbilt and Purdue games with pulled right quadricep, then returned to help with 51 yards on eight carries vs. Texas) and Robert Farmer (20 for 109, 1 TD, including 10 for 41 vs. Vanderbilt in first career start, and an 18-yard TD run on his only first-half carry vs. Texas) and unselfish FB Marc Edwards (1,410 career rushing yards; top returning receiver from ’95 with 25 for 361, 3 TDs; 52 for 200, 3 TDs rushing in ’96; 9 catches for 79, 2 TDs in ’96). The Irish started sophomore Autry Denson at flanker vs. Vanderbilt, but the loss of Kinder and seven fumbles overall vs. Vanderbilt (four lost) prompted the Irish to move him to TB to start beginning vs. Purdue. He remains the leading Irish rusher (77 for 338, 3 TDs; 6 catches for 81, 1 TD) after carrying for a career-high 158 yards vs. Texas, including a six-yard scoring run on fourth down to tie the game at 24 in the fourth period.
RECEIVERS — If Notre Dame had a question mark on offense coming into ’96, it was at the wide receiver slots, especially following the loss of big-play artist Derrick Mayes from the split end spot. Senior split end starter Emmett Mosley is the most experienced of the wide receivers, with 36 career catches to his credit (12 for 134 in ’96, including 6 for 55 vs. Vanderbilt; 17 for 268 in ’95). Also in the wide receiver mix are junior Malcolm Johnson (14 for 208 after making his first career starts at SE vs. Purdue, Texas and Ohio State), and freshman Raki Nelson (5 for 48). Tight end is a strong point, with potential all-star Pete Chryplewicz (12 for 104, including a career-high 5 vs. Purdue for 52; 17 for 204, 1 TD in ’95) returning.
Scouting the Irish Defense:
LINE — Fifth-year veteran end Renaldo Wynn (32 career starts), probably Notre Dame’s most consistent defensive player in ’95 (20 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, including 7 tackles, 2 sacks vs. Vanderbilt), is joined by two players who did not play at all in ’95. Senior DE Melvin Dansby (made first career start vs. Vanderbilt and had 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, a shared sack — then had 7 tackles and a stop for loss vs. Purdue) missed all of ’95 after May ’95 neck surgery but possesses all-star potential. Noseguard Alton Maiden (4 tackles vs. Purdue, 8 vs, Ohio State) missed the ’95 campaign while improving his academic standing and made his first career start vs. Vanderbilt.
LINEBACKERS — Notre Dame appears in great shape here, with seniors Lyron Cobbins (18 career starts; Notre Dame’s leading tackler, interceptor and fumble recoverer in ’95; made key interception in final minutes vs. Texas to set up tying TD; 31 tackles overall in ’96 including team-high 12 vs. Ohio State) and Kinnon Tatum (team-leading 8 tackles vs. Purdue and team-high 11 vs. Texas; leads Irish with 34 tackles in ’96; 77 tackles in ’95) inside, to go with senior Bert Berry (7 tackles, 2 sacks vs. Vanderbilt; 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss vs. Purdue; 6 tackles, a PBU and TFL vs. Texas; 27 career starts) and sophomore Kory Minor (started 11 games as freshman in ’95) outside. All four are returning standouts and should have major impacts in ’96. Among others slated to make solid contributions are sophomores Bobbie Howard inside and Lamont Bryant outside.
BACKS — Like the wide receiving corps on offense, Notre Dame’s question on defense is in the secondary. Small but sticky junior CB regulars Allen Rossum (11 tackles vs. Texas; two int. returns for TDs in ’95) and Ivory Covington (10 tackles vs. Texas; made game-saving tackle on late two-point attempt by Army in ’95) anchor the group. Neither FS starter Jarvis Edison (7 tackles vs. Purdue; 1 int. vs. Vanderbilt; he scored a TD vs. Vanderbilt in ?95 after picking up a fumble on a kickoff) nor sophomore SS A’Jani Sanders (caused a fumble vs. Vanderbilt; 4 tackles, 2 PBU vs. Purdue) had started a game before the ’96 opener — and the Vanderbilt game marked Sanders’ first-ever game appearance. However, the Irish now look to Benny Guilbeaux at strong safety after Sanders suffered a knee ligament injury early vs. Texas and is out six weeks. Guilbeaux made his first career start vs. Ohio State and responded with seven solo tackles. With Shannon Stephens moving to wide receiver and Deke Cooper switching to free safety, the Irish now have only seven healthy defensive backs on scholarship.
Scouting the Irish Kicking Game: Punter Hunter Smith had an average rookie season in ’95 (36.4 average) but has improved those numbers to 42.5 so far in ’96. Placekicker Scott Cengia (10 of 14 in career FGs) held a slight edge in that category over freshman Jim Sanson coming into the season, but it was Cengia who missed an early FG attempt vs. Vanderbilt and Sanson who came on to connect from 32 and 33 yards. Then Sanson took center stage with his game-winning 39-yarder vs. Texas as time ran out. He added a 26-yarder vs. Ohio State, leaving him at five of six for ’96. Kickoff returner Allen Rossum (his 99-yard return vs. Purdue marked the fourth-longest in Irish history) is the fastest man on the Irish roster (’95 NCAA indoor track All-American in the 55 meters), while Autry Denson augments his all-purpose role by returning punts. Look for Emmett Mosley to help at both spots. The Spread Offense: Irish coach Lou Holtz unveiled a spread offense against Florida State in the ’96 Orange Bowl and has delivered on his promise to offer it again in ’96. Drawbacks to its developments were the absence of QB Ron Powlus during spring drills and the lack of a proven receiving corps. Even now, Holtz says one key to its potential use is the productivity at receiver. Holtz’s interest in the offense is based on utilization of Powlus’ talents — as well as the ability to make use of the formations without requiring substitutions. The Irish used the attack extensively vs. Purdue, with 10 different receivers catching balls. The Kinder Chart:Here’s where Notre Dame veteran TB Randy Kinder stands on the Irish career rushing chart:
Notre Dame All-Time Rushing Leaders Rank Name Years Att. Yards Avg. TD 1. Allen Pinkett 1982-85 889 4131 4.6 49 2. Vagas Ferguson 1976-79 673 3472 5.2 32 3. Jerome Heavens 1975-78 590 2682 4.5 15 4. Phil Carter 1979-82 557 2409 4.3 4 5. George Gipp 1917-20 369 2341 6.3 21 6. Tony Brooks 1987-91 423 2274 5.4 12 7. Emil Sitko 1946-49 362 2226 6.1 25 8. Randy Kinder 1993- 366 2119 5.8 15 9. Neil Worden 1951-53 476 2039 4.3 29 10. Lee Becton 1991-94 347 2029 5.8 12 11. Mark Green 1985-88 382 1977 5.2 15 12. Marchy Schwartz 1929-31 335 1945 5.8 17
1,003 Games and Counting: As Notre Dame played its 1,000th game in history in the Vanderbilt opener, here’s a quick review of just some of the numbers the Irish have posted since an 8-0 setback to Michigan on November 23, 1887. * Notre Dame leads the nation in winning percentage at .760 through 107 seasons. In fact the gap between the Irish and second place Michigan (.743) is the widest difference between any consecutive schools in the top 10. If Notre Dame, which hasn’t lost three consecutive regular season games in Lou Holtz’s 10 seasons, lost 17 consecutive games and Michigan won 17 consecutive games, the Irish still would lead the all-time NCAA standings. * Notre Dame is tied with Oklahoma and Alabama for the most national championships won with 11. No other school has more than eight national titles. * In 107 previous seasons, Notre Dame has had 12 perfect seasons, 22 undefeated seasons and 28 seasons where the Irish suffered just one loss. In 50 of 107 seasons Notre Dame has not lost more than one game. * Notre Dame leads the nation in consensus All-Americans with 77 (24 more than any other school) and Heisman Trophy winners with seven. * Since 1981, Notre Dame has led the nation in football graduation percentage five times and is the only school to have been awarded special recognition by the College Football Association every season since 1982.
Fifth-Year Players: Notre Dame has seven fifth-year players on its team this year. They are: OG Jeremy Akers, ILB Joe Babey, TE Kevin Carretta, TE Pete Chryplewicz, NG David Quist, OLB Bill Wagasy and DE Renaldo Wynn. All seven players have earned their undergraduate degrees and are currently enrolled in graduate work. Chryplewicz is in the unique position to earn five monograms during his career. The tight end played in just two games during ’94 because of a wrist injury, but did earn a monogram for the season. Other players to earn five monograms in Irish history include current Notre Dame graduate assistant Justin Hall (1988-92) and defensive back Randy Harrison (1974-78). 43 Former Irish Appear on ’96 NFL Rosters:Notre Dame has nine more of its former football players participating in the National Football League in 1996 than any other college or university. Forty-three former Notre Dame football players appeared on ’96 opening day active rosters of NFL teams, according to figures released by the league. Notre Dame placed more players on opening-day rosters than any other school — with Miami second with 34, followed by Tennessee (33), and Florida State and Penn State (32 each). Here are the former Fighting Irish now active in the pros (R indicates rookie):ARIZONA CARDINALS — TE Oscar McBride, LB Devon McDonald; BUFFALO BILLS — CB Jeff Burris, OL Dusty Zeigler (R); CAROLINA PANTHERS — QB Steve Beuerlein, S Pat Terrell, FL Raghib Ismail, RB Anthony Johnson; CHICAGO BEARS — DT Jim Flanigan, DT Paul Grasmanis (R), T Andy Heck; DETROIT LIONS — LB Scott Kowalkowski; GREEN BAY PACKERS — P Craig Hentrich, G-T Lindsay Knapp, SE Derrick Mayes (R), G Aaron Taylor. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS — S Travis Davis, TE Derek Brown; KANSAS CITY CHIEFS — WR Lake Dawson, C Tim Grunhard; MIAMI DOLPHINS — C Tim Ruddy, CB Shawn Wooden (R); MINNESOTA VIKINGS — LB Pete Bercich, S Rod Smith; NEW ORLEANS SAINTS — TE Irv Smith, RB Ray Zellars; OAKLAND RAIDERS — WR Tim Brown; PHILADELPHIA EAGLES — RB Ricky Watters, CB Bobby Taylor; PITTSBURGH STEELERS — DT Oliver Gibson, RB Jerome Bettis. ST. LOUIS RAMS — LB Cedric Figaro, CB Todd Lyght; SAN DIEGO CHARGERS — K John Carney, CB Willie Clark; SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS — LB Anthony Peterson, DE Junior Bryant, DT Bryant Young; SEATTLE SEAHAWKS — QB Rick Mirer; TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS — LB Demetrius DuBose, RB Reggie Brooks; WASHINGTON REDSKINS — CB Tom Carter, OL Bob Dahl. Fighting Irish Captains: Notre Dame has three senior captains for the ’96 season: quarterback Ron Powlus, linebacker Lyron Cobbins and fullback Marc Edwards. New Faces/Three New Coaches: There are three new faces on the Notre Dame coaching staff for ’96:
Receiver coach Urban Meyer — an ’86 Cincinnati graduate, Meyer was previously at Colorado State for the past six seasons.
Graduate assistant Justin Hall — a former Notre Dame offensive lineman who graduated in 1993. He spent the ’95 season as offensive line coach at Hiram (Ohio) College.
Graduate assistant Jay Sawvel — a ’93 graduate of Mount Union (Ohio) College, he spent the previous two years as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky. Stadium Expansion:Notre Dame Stadium is currently undergoing an expansion and renovation which will put the capacity of the facility at 80,990 — an addition of nearly 22,000 seats from the current capacity of 59,075. The expansion, which will be completed for the 1997 home opener against Georgia Tech, is a 21-month project which cost a total of $50 million — all raised through bond sales. Casteel Construction, Inc. of South Bend is the general contractor, while Ellerbe Beckett, Inc., of Kansas City is the architect. The expansion will include a new three-story press box, a new natural grass field, expanded locker rooms for Notre Dame and visiting teams. The Notre Dame football team will permanently be housed in the stadium and dress there for all practices and games. A new, expanded training room also will be added to the Stadium. The ’96 campaign features use of the same 59,075 seats, though the concrete structures supporting the new sections already are in place and in full view. Construction has eliminated 750 parking spaces in the areas surrounding the Stadium, and access to seating sections during the ’96 season will come through newly-created entrances at the four corners of the Stadium. The StadiumCam: The Notre Dame Office of Information Technologies has a web site at http://www.nd.edu/~jeremy/stadium/ that is better known as “Stadiumcam.” Under the direction of Jeremy McCarty and Tom Monaghan, two consultants and analysts in the Office of University Computing, this site features an up-to-date image of the expansion of Notre Dame Stadium. The site is updated every five minutes during the day and every half hour at night. The departments of computer science and electrical engineering have a site at http://lisa.ee.nd.edu/DomeCam/, which gives you a look at the Gold Dome of the Main Building, which is viewable 24 hours a day. For information on all facets of Notre Dame, the home page is at http://www.nd.edu/. Holtz Passes Career Games Coached Record: Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz passed a significant milestone in the Irish win Sept. 14 against Purdue. When the Irish took the field against the Boilers, it marked Holtz’s 123rd game as head coach at Notre Dame. The previous record for games coached at Notre Dame was 122 by Knute Rockne between 1918-30. The Irish players presented Holtz with a framed game program cover, ticket and press credential in the locker room after the game. Holtz is currently tied for second for career wins at Notre Dame with 95 (95-28-2 overall), while Rockne had 105 and Ara Parseghian (1964-74) also had 95. Holtz is in his 11th year in charge of the Irish program and has a 211-93-7 career record in 26 seasons. He led the Irish to the ’88 national championship and has brought Notre Dame to traditional New Year’s Day bowl games in each of the last nine years (five wins). His collegiate mark also includes stints at William & Mary (13-20 from 1969-71), North Carolina State (33-12-3 from 1972-75), Arkansas (60-21-2 from 1977-83) and Minnesota (10-12 from 1984-85). The Schedule: Notre Dame’s 1996 slate brings up a few trends and notes of interest: * After taking on the most difficult schedule in the country in ’95 according to the NCAA — and recording wins over ranked opponents Texas, Washington and USC — Notre Dame’s ’96 agenda includes assignments against five teams that played in bowl games following the ’95 season. The ’96 Irish agenda ranked 31st in difficulty in the NCAA’s ’96 preseason charts. USC (9-2-1 and Rose Bowl champion), Texas (10-2-1 and a Sugar Bowl appearance), Ohio State (11-2 and a Citrus Bowl appearance), Washington (7-4-1 and a Sun Bowl appearance) and Air Force (8-5 and a Copper Bowl appearance) all qualified for ’95 postseason action. 1996 Irish opponents who finished in the final Associated Press top 25 for ’95 are Ohio State (sixth), USC (12th) and Texas (14th). * There are only two new names on the ’96 schedule — with Pittsburgh (2-9 in ’95) and Rutgers (4-7 in ’95) replacing Northwestern (10-2 in ’95) and Army (5-5-1 in ’95). Pitt returns to the schedule after a two-year absence, but the Panthers have played Notre Dame 55 previous times. The only other time Notre Dame and Rutgers met came in 1921. Irish Finish 11th in Sears Directors’ Cup: A national championship in women’s soccer and a runnerup finish at the men’s and women’s NCAA combined fencing team championship helped Notre Dame place 11th in the 1995-96 Sears Directors’ Cup competition. Irish athletic teams also earned an 11th-place finish in the inaugural 1993-94 competition and were 30th in 1994-95. The Sears Directors’ Cup, sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and promoted by USA Today, annually recognizes the top Division I schools in 22 sports — nine for men, nine for woman plus two wild card sports for both men and women. Stanford won the 1995-96 competition followed by UCLA, Florida and Texas. Notre Dame’s finish was the highest of any school in the BIG EAST Conference. In 1995-96, Notre Dame enjoyed more success as an all-around athletic program. The fall season saw the women’s soccer team win the NCAA championship and the football team advance to its ninth straight appearance in a New Year’s Day bowl game. In addition, the women’s volleyball and men’s cross country teams participated in NCAA postseason play. The women’s basketball team played in the NCAA tournament and the men’s and women’s fencing team finished second at the NCAA tournament during the winter months. The spring season was highlighted by a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals by the women’s tennis team and NCAA appearances by the softball, lacrosse and baseball teams. In addition, representatives from men’s and women’s track, women’s swimming and men’s tennis took part in NCAA play. Notre Dame offers 25 different sports at the varsity level. Women’s lacrosse is making its debut this year, while women’s crew will be added to the list of Notre Dame sports for the ’97-’98 academic year. More Washington Notes:This game marks the 127th straight sellout at Notre Dame Stadium and the 175th in the last 176 games dating back to the middle of the ’64 season.
Honors and Awards:Here are honors and awards won by members of the ’96 Irish squad:
OLB Bert Berry
* One of 65 preliminary candidates for the 1996 Butkus Award presented to the top college linebacker in the country
ILB Lyron Cobbins
* One of 65 preliminary candidates for the 1996 Butkus Award presented to the top college linebacker in the country
TB Autry Denson
* NBC Sports/Chevrolet Notre Dame MVP vs. Purdue (15 rushes for 66 yards 2 TDs; 3 catches for 61 yards, 1 TD)
* ABC Sports/Chevrolet Notre Dame MVP vs. Texas (24 rushes for career-high 158 yards, 1 TD)
FB Marc Edwards
* NBC Sports/Chevrolet Notre Dame MVP vs. Ohio State (scored both Irish TDs on 9-yard run and 2-yard pass form Ron Powlus)
* Nominee for Doak Walker Award presented to the top college running back in the nation
OLB Kory Minor
* One of 65 preliminary candidates for the 1996 Butkus Award presented to the top college linebacker in the country
QB Ron Powlus
* One of 11 candidates for Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award presented to top college quarterback in the nation