Notre Dame now leads the series 43-18-1 (19-9-0 at Notre Dame Stadium). The Panthers ended a six-game losing streak vs. the Irish and had won just one of the previous 12 in the series (dating back to 1987), a 37-27 home game for the Panthers in 1999.
The 41 points are the most ever scored by Pittsburgh vs. Notre Dame, besting the 37-27 win in '99.
NOTRE DAME TEAM NOTES
The 49 combined points scored in the first half were the most in a Notre Dame game since Oct. 14, 1989, when the Irish led at Air Force, 35-14, going into the locker room. Notre Dame went on to win that game, 41-27.
Capitalizing on senior LB Mike Goolsby's first-quarter fumble recovery, the Irish drove 74 yards in 10 plays before freshman RB Darius Walker scored on a one-yard plunge. Notre Dame now has forced 21 turnovers this season and parlayed them into 76 of their 255 points (30 percent).
The Irish also continued their efficiency in the red zone this season. Notre Dame scored touchdowns on each of its four visits inside the 20-yard line today and has now scored touchdowns on 21 of 31 trips (.677) to the red zone this year.
NOTRE DAME INDIVIDUAL NOTES
Freshman RB Darius Walker rushed for a pair of touchdowns this afternoon, his second two-TD game of the year (Michigan on Sept. 11). Walker finished with 112 yards on 16 carries for his second 100-yard rushing game of the season (115 vs. Michigan).
Walker also had a 40-yard run in the second quarter, the longest rush by a Notre Dame player this season (previous season-best was 33 yards by Marcus Wilson vs. Navy on Oct. 16).
Walker's 679 rushing yards this season remain third-most ever by a Notre Dame freshman, just 16 behind Autry Denson's 1995 total (695) while Jerome Heavens holds that record with 756 in 1975.
Senior WR Matt Shelton had three receptions for a career-high 128 yards and one touchdown (previous yardage high: 123 at Michigan State earlier this year). All three of Shelton's catches this afternoon went for 25 yards or more, giving him 11 such long receptions this season.
Junior WR Maurice Stovall registered his first touchdown reception of the season, catching a 17-yard scoring pass from sophomore QB Brady Quinn in the second quarter. Stovall is the fifth different Notre Dame player with a touchdown catch this season.
Senior PR Carlyle Holiday had a career-long 68-yard punt return early in the third quarter. It was the longest punt runback for a Notre Dame player since Vontez Duff had a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown against Maryland on Aug. 31, 2002 in the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium.
Holiday ended the day with four punt returns for 103 yards, making him the first Notre Dame player with 100 punt return yards in a game since Joey Getherall had 122 yards at West Virginia on Oct. 21, 2000.
Sophomore Brady Quinn's 259 passing yards gives him 2,267 for the season, moving past four players into third on the Irish single-season passing yardage list behind Jarious Jackson's 1999 total (2,753) and Joe Theismann's 2,429 passing yards in 1970. The players Quinn passed today include Joe Montana (2,010 in '78), Ron Powlus (2,078 in '97), Rick Mirer (2,117 in '91) and Steve Beuerlein (2,211 in '86)
NOTRE DAME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
Notre Dame had won the previous four Senior Day games (final home games) and nine of the previous 10 (lost in '99 to Boston College, 31-29). The Irish now are 57-17-1 all-time in Senior Day games at Notre Dame Stadium (since 1930).
With today's Pittsburgh game televised nationally by NBC, the Irish extended their streak of appearances on one of four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN) to 146 consecutive games, a stretch that more than 11 full seasons (1993-2004). The last time the Irish didn't appear on one of those four networks was more than 12 years ago (Oct. 31, 1992), when Notre Dame downed Navy, 38-7, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. That game was shown locally in the South Bend area on WNDU-TV.