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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Sept. 6, 2008

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    Notre Dame won the coin toss and elected to defer. It marked just the second time (previous was last season against USC) in head coach Charlie Weis' four-year tenure that he has chosen to defer the opening kickoff.

    NOTRE DAME'S WIN TODAY...

    • Makes the Irish 1-0 on the season.
    • Gives the Irish a victory in their season opener for the third time in four years.
    • Gives the Irish a 4-0 all-time record when playing on September 6.
    • Is its sixth victory in the last seven seasons when opening the year at Notre Dame Stadium.
    • Improves the Irish to 1-0 in the all-time series with San Diego State.
    • Improves the Irish to 28-8 all-time against the Mountain West Conference.
    • Improves head coach Charlie Weis' record to 23-15 overall and 3-1 against the Mountain West Conference.
    • Improves Weis' home record to 12-9.
    • Improves Weis' record to 8-7 in September games.
    • Improves Weis' record to 16-12 in afternoon games.
    • Improves the all-time record for the Irish to 825-278-42 (.739) in 120 years of football.
    • Improves Notre Dame's all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 299-96-5 (.754).

    MAKE IT 200
    The game was officially sold out making it the 200th consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium. Since 1966, every Notre Dame home football game has been a sellout except one - a 1973 Thanksgiving Day game vs. Air Force. The Irish have now played in front of sellouts in 248 of their last 249 home games.

    NOTRE DAME IN SEASON OPENERS

    • The Irish are now 100-15-5 (.854) in season openers and have taken 19 of the last 23.
    • Notre Dame is now 95-19-5 (.819) in home openers and has won nine of its last 12.
    • There were no home games in 1929 due to construction of Notre Dame Stadium.
    • When playing their season opener in Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish are now 70-8-3 (.883).
    • When Notre Dame's season and home openers are one in the same, the Irish are now 71-10-3 (.863).
    • Notre Dame has now captured six of its last seven such openers (five-game winning streak was snapped last season against Georgia Tech).
    OPENERS AN INDICATOR?
    Notre Dame is now 100-15-5 in season openers, but have they been foretelling of the season ahead? Take a look:
    • The previous 99 seasons Notre Dame has won its opener, the Irish went on to post winning records 91 times (91.9%), with four losing seasons and four .500 records.
    • The 15 seasons Notre Dame has lost its opener, the Irish posted winning records six times and a losing mark eight times (with one .500 season).
    • The five seasons Notre Dame registered a tie in its opener, the Irish had four winning records and one losing record.
    MORE ON OPENERS
    • Notre Dame has failed to score first in its last six season openers, but has posted a 4-2 mark along the way. The Irish last scored first in a season-opener on Aug. 31, 2002 in a 22-0 victory over Maryland. In fact, that 2002 game is the only time this decade that Notre Dame scored first in a season opener.
    • Since 1958 (when play-by-play became available), the Irish are 30-3 when scoring first and 13-5 when the opponent takes the game's first lead.
    EVEN MORE ON OPENERS
    At Home 71-10-3 *Neither team is ranked 20-2-1
    On Television 30-7 On NBC 8-2
    Afternoon Games 89-12-5 Scoring First (circa 1958) 30-3
    Opp. Scores First (circa 1958) 13-5 Scoring 40+ Points 32-0
    Scoring 30+ Points 50-0 Scoring 20-29 Points 27-2
    Scoring 0-19 Points 23-13-5 Allowing 40+ Points 0-0
    Allowing 30+ Points 0-2 Allowing 20-29 Points 8-6
    Allowing 0-19 Points 92-7-5  
    * post-1936 when the AP instituted national rankings
    FIRST-TIME STARTERS
    In the 2007 season opener, Notre Dame had nine different players make their first career start. In today's game against San Diego State, just three players were making their first career start Offense: Kyle Rudolph (TE), Chris Stewart (RG).
    Defense: Sergio Brown (S).

    TRUE FRESHMEN IN ACTION
    These Notre Dame freshmen saw action today: TE Kyle Rudolph, WR Michael Floyd, DE Ethan Johnson, OLB Darius Fleming, OC/LS Braxston Cave

    FIRST ACTION
    These Notre Dame players took the field for the first time as collegians: Kyle Rudolph (TE), Harrison Smith (S), Michael Floyd (WR), Ethan Johnson (DE), Steve Paskorz (FB), Darius Fleming (LB), Braxston Cave (OC/LS), Taylor Dever (OT)

    MISCELLANEOUS NOTES

    • The Irish are now 9-4 in season openers following a losing season, including victories against five ranked opponents. In fact, when opening a season following a non-winning season the year prior Notre Dame is 5-1 against ranked foes.
    • Notre Dame played its 400th all-time game in Notre Dame Stadium Saturday. The Irish are 7-2 in other landmark games in the House That Rockne Built.

      1st Oct. 4, 1930 SMU W, 20-14
      50th Oct. 25, 1941 Illinois W, 49-14
      100th Sept. 25, 1954 #4 Texas W, 21-0
      150th Oct. 17, 1964 UCLA W, 24-0
      200th Nov. 22, 1973 Air Force W, 48-15
      250th Sept. 17, 1983 Michigan State L, 23-28
      300th Nov. 2, 1991 Navy W, 38-0
      350th Nov. 20, 1999 #25 Boston College L, 29-31
      400th Sept. 6, 2008 San Diego State W, 21-13
    • San Diego State was the 63rd different team to visit Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame is now 54-8-1 mark (.863) in games when the opponent was making its first visit to the Stadium. Thirteen of those teams previously had played at Notre Dame (prior to 1930), with the Irish owning a mark of 40-6-1 (.862) since 1930 versus teams making their first overall visit to Notre Dame.
    • The six teams that have travelled to South Bend for the first time and came away with a victory at Notre Dame Stadium include (AP poll began in 1936): USC (1931), Texas (1934), Iowa (1940), Missouri (1972), 14th-ranked Clemson (1979) and 20th-ranked Florida State (1981). Michigan (1942) and Penn State (1982) also won their first games at Notre Dame Stadium but previously had played the Irish at Cartier Field.
    • Since the 1981 loss to Florida State, 11 consecutive opponents have lost in their first trip to South Bend: Colorado (1984), Mississippi (1985), Boston College (1987), BYU (1992), Vanderbilt (1995), Rutgers (1996), West Virginia (1997), Arizona State (1999), Texas A&M (2000), Washington State (2003) and San Diego State (2008).
    • Notre Dame owns a 68-38-5 all-time record against schools from the Golden state. Other Irish series records vs. teams from California include a 4-0 mark vs. Cal, 1-0 vs. San Diego State, 1-0 vs. Pacific, 16-6 vs. Stanford, 4-0 vs. UCLA and 42-32-5 vs. USC.

    STOPPING THE RUN
    Notre Dame surrendered an average of 195.4 yards per game on the ground in 2007, but limited San Diego State to 71 yards on 15 carries Saturday.

    TUROVERS, TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS
    Notre Dame was victimized by four turnovers on Saturday, including a pair inside the San Diego State red-zone. Sophomore HB Robert Hughes fumbled at the Aztec four-yard line early in the second quarter, while sophomore Jimmy Clausen was intercepted in the end zone early in the third quarter (the ensuing play following sophomore Kerry Neal's first career interception).

    IT'S NOT ALWAYS A MATTER OF TURNOVERS, BUT WHAT YOU DO WITH THEM
    Not only did San Diego State benefit from two Irish turnovers deep in Aztecs territory, but San Diego State also scored two touchdowns following an Irish turnover. T.J. McKay's interception return to the Notre Dame 44-yard line setup a one of the scores.

    IRISH MISS OPPORTUNITIES IN RED ZONE
    Notre Dame has been outstanding in the red zone during the four-year tenure of Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis. The Irish have converted 115-of-139 (.827) inside their opponents 20-yard line. However, Notre Dame failed to score a single point in its first three opportunities Saturday afternoon (did breakthrough with a red-zone score late in the fourth on Grimes' TD reception). The Irish fumbled, threw an interception and mishandled the snap on a field goal attempt in those first three chances. The Irish finally scored from the red zone on their final touchdown drive when Jimmy Clausen hit David Grimes for a six yard TD reception with 2:08 left in the contest.

    NOTRE DAME PROTECTS THE QUARTERBACK
    Notre Dame surrendered a school record (and NCAA FBS record) 58 sacks last season. The Irish ran 68 plays, including 34 pass attempts) on offense Saturday and did not allow San Diego State register a single sack.

    Kyle Rudolph, Fr., TE
    ... Made his first career start
    ... Became the first freshman to ever start a season opener at tight end for Notre Dame
    ... Picked up his first career reception (a five yard grab) late in the first quarter

    Sergio Brown, Jr., S
    ... Made his first career start
    ... Registered his first career punt block (the first for Notre Dame since David Bruton against USC on Oct. 20, 2007) that setup the Irish second quarter tying scoring drive (7-7)

    Michael Floyd, Fr., WR
    ... Registered his first career reception and touchdown on the same play (a 22-yard reception late in the first half to tie the score 7-7)
    ... Floyd is the first freshman to ever record a touchdown reception in a season opener
    ... Floyd is also the first freshman to ever score Notre Dame's first touchdown to open a season
    ... Floyd is the third freshman ever at Notre Dame (since first year players became eligible in 1972) to score the first points of a season for the Irish
    ... Freshman Jim Sanson kicked a first quarter, 33-yard field goal in a 14-7 victory over Vanderbilt on Sept. 5, 1996 and freshman Ross Browner blocked a punt for a safety in the first quarter of a 44-0 victory over Northwestern on Sept. 22, 1973

    Sam Young, Jr., OT
    ... Started his 26th consecutive game for Notre Dame, second longest active steak
    ... Has started all 26 games the Irish have over the past three seasons

    Maurice Crum Jr., Sr., LB
    ... Started for the 38th time in his career
    ... His 38 consecutive starts leads all Notre Dame players
    ... He has started every game for the Irish over the past four years
    ... Picked up his first sack of the season and sixth of his career to set up a third and long late in the second quarter

    Terrail Lambert, Sr., CB
    ... Started for the 23rd time in his career
    ... His 23 consecutive starts rank as the third best on the Irish

    David Grimes, Sr., WR
    ... Started for the 17th time in his career
    ... His 17 consecutive starts rank as the fourth best on the Irish

    Armando Allen, So., HB
    ... Registered a career-long 22 yard punt return late in the second quarter to give the Irish great field position (Notre Dame started the drive on the San Diego State 13-yard line).

    Golden Tate, So., WR
    ... Recorded a career-high six catches for 93 yards
    ... Registered just six catches his entire freshman year (2007)
    ... The 38-yard touchdown reception was the second longest catch of Tate's career (had a 43-yard grab at Purdue in 2007)
    ... The 38-yard reception also was the longest touchdown pass reception for Notre Dame since Jeff Samardzija hauled in a 51-yard scoring grab on Nov. 11, 2006.

    Jimmy Clausen, So., QB
    ... With the Irish trailing 13-7 and 11:55 to go in the fourth quarter, Clausen proceeded to complete 8-of-9 passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns (led Notre Dame on scoring drives of 80 and 55 yards)
    ... Recoded at least three touchdown passes in the same game for the third time in his career (and third time over Notre Dame's last four games dating back to the Air Force game of 2007)
    ... Eclipsed 200 yards passing for the second time in his career
    ... Over the final three games of 2007 and today's contest with San Diego State, Clausen has tossed nine touchdown passes and three interceptions. He completed 78-for-138 (.565) and 873 yards over those four games.

    Kyle McCarthy, Sr., SS
    ... In second career start, registered 14 total tackles (game high and career high), including 10 solo stops David Bruton, Sr., FS
    ... Registered his 12th career start
    ... Recorded his second career forced fumble and second career fumble recovery

     

     

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