Sept. 2, 2000
Final score: Notre Dame 24, Texas A&M 10 (Sept. 2, 2000)
A capacity crowd of 80,232 marks the 150th consecutive sellout in Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). Today's game marks the 198th home sellout in the last 199 games (back to 1964) and the 119th sellout in the last 138 games involving Notre Dame, including the first 10 games of 1998 and the first 11 in '99.
The crowd of 80,323 is the largest crowd in the 70-year history of Notre Dame Stadium (2000 marks the 71st season in the Stadium). The increase of 220 seats from the 1998 and 1999 capacity of 80,012 represents field seats in the southwest section of the Stadium being made available to Notre Dame alumni clubs to assist in their scholarship development efforts.
Notre Dame now leads the series with Texas A&M 3-1 after winning the first regular-season game between the teams. The Aggies beat the Irish in the 1988 Cotton Bowl, while Notre Dame defeated Texas A&M in the 1993 and 1994 Cotton Bowls.
With Arnaz Battle's leading the Irish to victory, Notre Dame has won 10 consecutive season openers with a quarterback making his first career start dating back to 1965 and in 10 of the last 11 overall games started by a new quarterback.
The Irish victory ended a four-game losing streak dating back to the final four games of 1999 (Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Stanford). Notre Dame's last win had come on Oct. 30, against Navy.
Notre Dame has beaten nine consecutive opponents making their first trip to Notre Dame Stadium: Colorado ('84), Mississippi ('85), Boston College ('87), BUY ('92), Vanderbilt ('95), Rutgers ('96), West Virginia ('97), Arizona State ('99) and Texas A&M ('00). Florida State in 1981 is the last first-time visitor to Notre Dame Stadium to leave with a win. The Irish stand 52-8-1 against such opponents.
Notre Dame has won its season opener for the fifth consecutive year and for the 13th time in the last 14 years. The Irish have won their fifth-straight home opener and the 11th in the last 14 years.
The Irish have won five straight openers against ranked teams and nine of their last 10.
Notre Dame improves to 5-0 vs. Big 12 teams since the origin of the conference, recording wins against Texas A&M ('00), Oklahoma ('99), Kansas ('99), Baylor ('98) and Texas ('96 and '95).
The season-opening loss is just the third for Texas A&M in the last 12 years.
Arnaz Battle's nine-yard second-quarter touchdown pass to Joey Getherall marked Battle's first career TD pass and set up sophomore placekicker Nick Setta's first career PAT.
Arnaz Battle's third-quarter 46-yard touchdown pass to Javin Hunter marked Battle's longest career completion and Hunter's first career touchdown.
Joey Hildbold's 59-yard first-quarter punt marked a career high for the Irish sophomore before he topped that with a 69-yard punt in the third quarter. Hildbold's 59-yard punt was the longest for Notre Dame since Hunter Smith connected on a 79-yard punt against Arizona State in '98.
Notre Dame's kicking game produced punts of 69 and 59 yards, three touchbacks, 3-3 on PATs and a 32-yard field goal.
The second-quarter touchdown by Richard Whitaker marked the first in the career of the Aggie redshirt freshman.
Notre Dame last held an opponent to 10 points or fewer in a 10-0 loss to USC in 1998. The last time Notre Dame held an opponent to 10 points or fewer and won was a 30-0 decision over Navy in '98. The last time the Irish held a ranked opponents to fewer than 10 points came against fourth-ranked Texas A&M in a 28-3 win in the 1994 Cotton Bowl.
Notre Dame last was held scoreless in the first quarter against Tennessee in 1999, while the last time the Irish played in a 0-0 game after the first quarter came against Arizona State in '99. Texas A&M last was held scoreless in the first quarter against Penn State in the 2000 Alamo Bowl, while the last time the Aggies played in a 0-0 game after the first quarter came against Nebraska in '99.