Top Plays of the Charlie Weis Era

Over the past four seasons, the Charlie Weis Era has seen its share of up-and-down moments, but there is no shortage of great plays posted by the Irish on Fall Saturdays. In an effort to get Irish fans ramped up for the 2009 football season (and’s exclusive coverage of the football team kicking off on Aug. 7, 2009) – we have decided to name the Top Plays of the Charlie Weis Era.

But the video crew can’t do it alone – with cooperation from the Notre Dame Sports Information Department and selected Irish football experts, we compiled a list of 30 top plays from the last four seasons and it was up to the Irish football fans to decide the top 10.

As launches its new home page for all of our Fighting Irish fans – we are also unveiling a new Flash Video player. With easier navigation and less need to load the entire All-Access library of videos, the new player allows recent videos to be viewed on the same page. All 30 plays are listed on the right hand side of this page – just click on them and they will start playing.

In the 10 working days before football starts fall camp, July 27 – July 31 and August 3 – August 7, we will unveil the top 10 plays, counting down to number one. Check back every day to see which plays are in the top 10! We also might get a chance to talk to Coach Weis about the play the fans select as the best of his term so far as head coach of the Fighting Irish.

Top 10 Plays of the Charlie Weis Era

  1. Quinn to Samardzija – UCLA 2006
  2. Zbikowski Punt Return – USC 2005
  3. Quinn Puts Notre Dame Ahead – USC 2005
  4. Lambert Caps Comeback – Michigan State 2006
  5. Samardzija Over the Shoulder – Purdue 2005
  6. Pass Right – Washington 2005
  7. Clausen and Tate Beat the Clock – Hawaii 2008
  8. Grimes Makes Catch for the Ages – Stanford 2007
  9. The Lateral Play – Stanford 2007
  10. Allen Ends Kick Return Drought – Hawaii 2008


  • 01 – First Touchdown of the Weis Era – Pittsburgh 2005
    The Irish score the first touchdown of 2005 on one of Coach Weis’ favorite plays – the screen pass.
  • 02 – Samardzija’s First Touchdown – Pittsburgh 2005
    ‘The Shark’s’ first career touchdown catch was a memorable one.
  • 03 – Samardzija Over the Shoulder – Purdue 2005
    Jeff Samardzija was just beginning to emerge as an All-American when he made this spectacular grab in West Lafayette.
  • 04 – Ndukwe Finds the Ball – Michigan 2005
    A huge play in this game, and as replay was first being used in 2005, the first big replay decision to go Notre Dame’s way in the program’s history.
  • 05 – Pass Right – Washington 2005
    On game day, viewers thought it was a great call. The next day, Irish fans found out just how special it was.
  • 06 – Zbikowski Punt Return – USC 2005
    ‘Tommy Z’ makes perhaps his most signature play in a Notre Dame uniform.
  • 07 – Quinn Puts Notre Dame Ahead – USC 2005
    The Irish march down the field behind Brady Quinn on a memorable, clutch scoring drive.
  • 08 – Stovall Dominates the Cougars – BYU 2005
    Mo Stovall nabs a school-record four touchdown passes.
  • 09 – Zbikowski Punt Return – Tennessee 2005
    The boxer does it again against the Volunteers.
  • 10 – Samardzija Sets Up Go Ahead Score – Tennessee 2005
    Tennessee rallied back in the game until ‘The Shark’ turned a five yard gain into a momentum-shifting play.
  • 11 – Samardzija Goes 80 Yards – Stanford 2005
    The longest touchdown reception of Samardzija’s career started the ’05 Stanford game off in style.
  • 12 – Walker Carries Irish to the BCS – Stanford 2005
    In another clutch drive during the ’05 season, Darius Walker makes three straight runs to push Notre Dame to the Fiesta Bowl.
  • 13 – Samardzija Kick Starts Comeback – Michigan State 2006
    The rain stopped and the Irish offense started to rally.
  • 14 – Lambert Caps Comeback – Michigan State 2006
    Perhaps the signature defensive play of the Weis Era put an exclamation point on the Irish comeback.
  • 15 – Quinn To Samardzija – UCLA 2006
    Sure to be toward the top of everyone’s list, one of the most memorable comebacks in ND history.
  • 16 – Samardzija Record Breaker – North Carolina 2006
    Jeff Samardzija grabs his record-breaking 23rd touchdown pass from Brady Quinn.
  • 17 – Laws Blocks It, Lambert Returns It – Air Force 2006
    A defensive play that turned this game around, it was one of several blocked kicks performed by Trevor Laws during his career.
  • 18 – Ndukwe the Headhunter – 2006 Season
    Two of the most memorable hits of the Weis Era were delivered by Chinedum Ndukwe.
  • 19 – Walls Takes It to the House – Penn State 2007
    While the game eventually got out of hand, the Irish threw the first punch against Penn State as Darrin Walls (welcome back in 2009!) makes a big play.
  • 20 – Tate Steps Up – Purdue 2007
    The coming out party for Golden Tate as he helps the Irish rally to within one touchdown of Purdue.
  • 21 – Crum Secures Much Needed Win – UCLA 2007
    One of the greatest performances ever by a Notre Dame defensive player secures ND’s first win in ’07.
  • 22 – The Lateral Play – Stanford 2007
    Though the play did not count, it is still worth a look – and remembering.
  • 23 – Grimes Makes Catch for the Ages – Stanford 2007
    An example of how a bad call by a replay judge cannot take away from one of the best touchdown catches in Notre Dame history.
  • 24 – Bruton and McCarthy Deny the Aztecs – San Diego State 2008
    There was no bigger play in 2008 than this huge defensive stop on the goal line.
  • 25 – Tate Goes Deep – Michigan 2008
    Golden Tate, the only receiver running a pattern on this play, dashes through the Wolverine defense.
  • 26 – Floyd Flashes His Potential – Michigan State 2008
    Much like Golden Tate as a freshman at Purdue in 2007, Michael Floyd steps up to make a huge TD grab to get Notre Dame within one score at Michigan State.
  • 27 – Blanton Pick Six – Purdue 2008
    Notre Dame’s outstanding freshman quarterback makes a great play.
  • 28 – Tate = Spectacular – Pittsburgh 2008
    A catch that should not be forgotten due to the outcome of the game.
  • 29 – Clausen and Tate Beat the Clock – Hawaii 2008
    A record-setting day for both Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate.
  • 30 – Allen Ends Kick Return Drought – Hawaii 2008
    Armando Allen returns the first kickoff for a touchdown for Notre Dame since 2002.