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    FIGHTING IRISH
    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 22, 2008

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    Syracuse won the coin toss and elected to defer. The Irish will receive and the Orange will defend the North end zone.

    Three generations of the Rockne family served as honorary captains in today's coin toss. Grandson Knute, great-grandson Michael and great-great grandson Austin represented the family.

    • Notre Dame, which entered today's game leading all NCAA FBS schools in kickoff returned defense (16.43 per return), allowed its longest kick return of the season following their field goal early in the first quarter. Syracuse returned the kickoff 29 yards. The previous high for a kick return by an Irish foe was 28 yards by Navy last week.

    IRISH DEFENSE GETTING OFF TO A FAST START

    • Notre Dame surrendered just a field goal in today's opening quarter. The Irish have not allowed a first quarter touchdown since Sept. 27 against Purdue.
    • In fact, Notre Dame has allowed just nine points in the first quarter over its last six games.
    • Syracuse took a 10-3 lead with 6:48 to go in the opening half on a one-yard touchdown run from Curtis Brinkley. The touchdown for the Orange was the third offensive score allowed by the Notre Dame defense in the opening half over its last seven games. The Irish defense has surrendered just 23 total first half points over the past five games.

    SENIORS STELLAR ON SENIOR DAY

    • Notre Dame got a number of great performances from seniors who made their final appearances at Notre Dame Stadium.
    • DT Pat Kuntz had a season-high seven tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
    • DB Ray Herring had a season-high six tackles, including his first career sack.
    • LB Scott Smith picked up his first career forced fumble that helped set up an Irish field goal.
    • DB Mike Anello not only forced a fumble on a punt helping the Irish grab a 3-0 lead and also deflected a punt.
    • WR David Grimes had a season-high tying seven receptions and a career-high 83 yards receiving, including a season-best 31-yard catch.

    MISSED OPPORTUNITIES TO BLOW GAME WIDE OPEN

    • With the Irish leading 13-10, Notre Dame had three drives in the third quarter alone start inside the Syracuse 25-yard line, including one that began at the Orange five-yard line. The Irish failed to score any points on the first two drives and was limited to a field goal on the third attempt.
    • Notre Dame appeared in golden position to extend its 13-10 lead following Syracuse's opening drive of the second half. The Irish had 1st and 10 at the Orange 23-yard line following Rob Long's 25-yard punt (and a 15-yard tripping penalty on Syracuse) Sophomore HB Armando Allen then busted a run inside Syracuse's 10-yard line that would have given the Irish first and goal, but Notre Dame was whistled for holding. Sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen was sacked on the ensuing play for a loss of 17 yards and another holding call on the Irish set up a 2nd down and 47 from the Notre Dame 40-yard line. The Irish would eventually punt and the drive accumulated minus-30 yards.
    • Notre Dame failed to take advantage of another opportunity on its next drive. Once again, following a 12-yard punt by Long (deflected by junior DB Sergio Brown), the Irish started a drive at Syracuse's 21-yard line. Allen gained nine yards on first down before picking up a first down the following play.
    • Allen rushed for just one yard on 1st and goal from the nine-yard line and Clausen then missed on second and third down setting up a 26-yard field goal for sophomore PK Brandon Walker. Irish junior punter/holder Eric Maust mishandled the snap and Walker's kick never had a chance.
    • Notre Dame had its third drive of the third quarter open inside the Syracuse 25-yard line following a fumble return from junior LB Toryan Smith and sophomore DB Gary Gray. The Irish had first and goal from the Orange five-yard, but Notre Dame was unable to score a touchdown settling for a field goal.

    JUST FOR STARTERS

    FULL HOUSE

    • Today's game was officially sold out making it the 205th 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 253 of their last 254 home games.
    • Notre Dame has now played in front of sellout crowds in 212 of its previous 243 games, including 87 of its last 95 contests dating back to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2000 season (the 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 games at Stanford, the 2004 game vs. Navy at the Meadowlands, the 2005 game at Washington and the 2007 game at UCLA were not sellouts).

    THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS

    • Since the bye week (the last four games), Notre Dame had limited its opponent to just 14-of-58 on third down (24.1%), but Syracuse managed to convert 6-of-13 (46.2%) on third down this afternoon.
    • Notre Dame's defense had limited Navy to just 1-of-13 (7.7%). The Midshipmen did not convert a third down until its last drive of the game, which came with less than a minute remaining.
    • Notre Dame ranked 15th in the NCAA FBS in third down conversion percentage defense at 31.4% entering this afternoon's contest.

    YOUNG PUPS

    • The Irish have scored 32 touchdowns this season and 26 have come from either freshmen or sophomores, including all three scores in today's game. The only touchdowns scored this season by upper classmen were junior RB James Aldridge (3), senior WR David Grimes (2), and junior Toryan Smith.
    • The 26 of 32 touchdowns by underclassmen does not include sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen, who has tossed 20 touchdown passes this season.

    MORE, MORE BIG PLAYS

    • Sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen failed to complete a pass of over 20 yards for the first time in a game last week against Navy, but rebounded with four this afternoon against Syracuse.
    • Clausen now has 36 completions of over 20 yards on the season. He connected on just 13 in 10 games as a freshman a year ago.
    • The Irish had six passing plays of at least 30 yards in the entire 2007 season. Not only does sophomore WR Golden Tate have more by himself (13), but also Notre Dame has 22 as team though 11 games.

    NOTRE DAME'S RECORD WHEN...

      2008 Weis Era   2008 Weis Era
    At Home 4-2 15-11 Coming off a win 2-4 17-6
    Neither team is ranked 6-4 8-9 In November 1-3 11-6
    On Television 6-5 28-20 On NBC 4-2 15-11
    Afternoon Games 5-4 22-16 Decided By 7 or Less 2-3 8-6
    Scoring First 4-3 19-7 Leading At Halftime 4-3 20-5
    Leading After 3 Qtrs. 5-3 22-4 Scoring 20-29 Points 3-2 16-8
    Allowing 20-29 Points 3-3 11-7 Getting Outrushed 2-5 14-20
    Passing For More Yds 3-5 21-12 Outgaining Opponent 4-4 19-7
    Winning Time of Poss. 5-2 21-6 Winning Turnover Battle 3-2 19-7
    Individual 100-yard receiver 4-3 16-7 Individual 200-yard passer4-4 23-10
    Opponent 100-yard rusher 2-4 5-15   

    TODAY'S LOSS...

    • Drop Notre Dame to 6-5 (.545) on the season.
    • Drop the Irish to 4-2 (.667) inside Notre Dame Stadium this season.
    • Drop Notre Dame's all-time record on Senior Day (final home game of season) to 91-23-4 (.788).
    • Drop the Irish to 2-4 (.333) this season and 17-6 (.739) under Weis coming off a victory.
    • Drop Notre Dame to 3-3 (.500) in the all-time series with Syracuse.
    • Drop the Irish to 2-1 (.667) in the all-time series with the Orange in Notre Dame Stadium.
    • Drop an unranked Notre Dame squad (post 1932) to 1-3 (.250) all-time against Syracuse.
    • Drop an unranked Irish squad to 1-1 (.500) all-time against the Orange in Notre Dame Stadium.
    • Drop Notre Dame to 0-3 (.000) all-time against Syracuse when both teams are unranked.
    • Drop the Irish to 0-1 (.000) all-time against the Orange in Notre Dame Stadium when both teams are unranked.
    • Drop Notre Dame to 56-22-1 (.715) all-time against the current makeup of the BIG EAST Conference.
    • Drop the Irish to 63-29-1 (.683) all-time against BIG EAST Conference opponents at the time of the game (includes Boston College before its move to the ACC).
    • Drop Notre Dame to 30-15 (.667) all-time at home against BIG EAST Conference opponents at the time of the game (includes Boston College before its move to the ACC).
    • Drop Weis' record to 28-20 overall (.583), 1-1 (.000) against Syracuse and 2-3 (.400) against the BIG EAST Conference.
    • Drop Weis' overall home record to 15-11 (.577) and his home record against the BIG EAST Conference to 1-3 (.250).
    • Drop Weis' record to 11-6 (.647) in November games.
    • Drop Weis' record to 22-16 (.579) in afternoon games.
    • Drop Notre Dame's all-time record to 830-281-42 (.737).
    • Drop Notre Dame's all-time record at Notre Dame Stadium to 301-98-5 (.751).

    IRISH ITEMS

    Armando Allen, So., RB

    • With his second reception this afternoon, Allen moved past Darius Walker (2005) into second place on the Notre Dame single-season receptions list for running backs with 44.

    Mike Anello, Sr., DB

    • The special teams stalwart forced his second fumble of the season and career early in the first quarter to set up Notre Dame's first score of the afternoon (a 34-yard field goal from sophomore PK Brandon Walker).
    • He had already forced a fumble and recovered a fumble (both against Michigan) earlier this season.
    • The kick/punt return was 64th by an Irish opponent this season (20 punts, 44 kickoffs). Anello has registered a tackle on 20 of those 64 opportunities.
    • Anello also got a piece of Rob Long's 25-yard punt early in the third quarter (he blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown last week against Navy).

    David Bruton, Sr., FS

    • With his first tackle this afternoon, Bruton became the sixth Notre Dame defensive back to ever record 200 career tackles.
    • With his third tackle this afternoon, Bruton moved into a tie for fifth place (David Bruton, 2007) on the Notre Dame single-season tackle list for defensive backs with 85.
    • With his fourth tackle this afternoon, Bruton moved into a tie for fifth place (Deke Cooper, 1997-99) on the Notre Dame career tackles list for defensive backs with 203.

    Jimmy Clausen, So., QB

    • Hooked up with sophomore WR Golden Tate on a 35-yard touchdown pass to give the Irish a 13-10 lead with two seconds remaining in the first half.
    • Clausen was 4-of-5 for 76 yards on the drive (he had just 61 passing yards prior to the drive).
    • The touchdown pass was Clausen's first in nine quarters dating back to the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh game on Nov. 1.
    • Clausen completed 13-of-18 for 137 yards and one touchdown in the first half. He has completed 77.8% (28-of-36) of his passes over the last six quarters of football (entire Navy game and first half against Syracuse).
    • The Irish had six passing plays of at least 30 yards in the entire 2007 season. Not only does sophomore WR Golden Tate have more by himself (13), but also Notre Dame has 22 as team though 11 games.
    • With his 12th pass attempt this afternoon, Clausen moved past Blair Kiel (1980-83) into fifth place on the Irish career pass attempts list with 610.
    • With his 91st passing yard this afternoon, Clausen moved past Joe Theismann (1970) into fifth place on the Irish single-season passing yards list with 2,530.
    • With his 148th passing yard this afternoon, Clausen moved past Brady Quinn (2004) into fourth place on the Irish single-season passing yards list with 2,587.
    • With his first touchdown pass this afternoon, Clausen moved into a tie with Ron Powlus (1994) for third place on the Irish single-season touchdown pass list with 19. He also moved into a tie for ninth place (Bob Williams, 1948-50) on the Irish career list in the same category with 26
    • With his second touchdown passes this afternoon, Clausen moved past Ron Powlus (1994) into third place on the Irish single-season touchdown pass list with 20. He also moved into a tie for seventh place (Terry Hanratty, 1966-68; Steve Beuerlein, 1983-86) on the Irish career list in the same category with 27.

    Maurice Crum, Jr., Sr., LB

    • His 46 career starts are tied with QB Brady Quinn (2003-06) for the second most on record in Notre Dame history. Former SS Tom Zbikowski (2004-07) heads the list with 48 career starts.
    • With his third tackle this afternoon, Crum, Jr. became the ninth player in Notre Dame history to reach 300 career tackles. He also moved into a tie with Tom Zbikowski (2004-07) for eighth on the Irish career tackles list.
    • With his fourth tackle this afternoon, Crum Jr. moved past Tom Zbikowski (2004-07) for eighth on the Irish career tackles list.

    David Grimes, Sr., WR

    • Hauled in a season-high tying seven receptions for a career-high 83 yards, including a season-best 31 yard catch.
    • His previous career-high for receiving yards was 79 against UCLA on Oct. 21, 2006

    Kyle McCarthy, Sr., LB

    • With his second tackle this afternoon, McCarthy moved into a tie for third place (A'Jani Sanders, 1999) on the Notre Dame single-season tackle list for defensive backs with 91.
    • With his third tackle this afternoon, McCarthy moved into a tie for second place (Steve Lawrence, 1985) on the Notre Dame single-season tackle list for defensive backs with 92.

    Kyle Rudolph, Fr., TE

    • With his 12-yard reception midway through the second quarter, Rudolph eclipsed Dean Masztak's school record for most receiving yards by a freshman tight end. Masztak had 236 yards receiving on 13 receptions in 1978.
    • Rudolph now owns the school record for rookie tight ends in both receptions (24) and receiving yards (258).

    Scott Smith, Sr., LB

    • Recorded his first career forced fumble early in the fourth quarter to set up an Irish field goal

    Toryan Smith, Jr., LB

    • Recorded his first career fumble recovery early in the fourth quarter to set up an Irish field goal

    Golden Tate, So., WR

    • Registered his sixth touchdown reception on a 35-yard pass play from sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen with two seconds remaining in the first half to give Notre Dame a 13-10 halftime lead.
    • Added his second touchdown reception of the game and seventh of the season on a 36-yard pass from Clausen with 2:49 left in the third quarter (gave the Irish a 20-10 advantage).
    • Tate now leads the Irish with eight total touchdowns.
    • With seven receiving touchdowns this season, Tate is now tied two others for ninth on the Irish single-season receiving TD list.
    • The Irish had six passing plays of at least 30 yards in the entire 2007 season. Not only does sophomore WR Golden Tate have more by himself (13), but also Notre Dame has 22 as team though 11 games.
    • With his 106th receiving yard this afternoon, Tate moved past Derrick Mayes (1994) into 10th place on the Notre Dame single-season receiving yards list with 848.
    • With his 121st receiving yard this afternoon, Tate moved past Jim Seymour (1966) into ninth place on the Notre Dame single-season receiving yards list with 863.
    • With his 140th receiving yard this afternoon, Tate moved past Derrick Mayes (1995) into eighth place on the Notre Dame single-season receiving yards list with 882.
    • With another 100-yard receiving game this afternoon, Tate became the seventh Irish wide receiver to ever record four 100-yard receiving games in a single-season.
    • With another 100-yard receiving game this afternoon, Tate became the eighth Irish wide receiver to ever record five 100-yard receiving games in a career.

    Brandon Walker, So., PK

    • Walker gave the Irish a 3-0 first quarter lead on a 34-yard field goal.
    • Walker then drilled a 45-yard field goal late in the second quarter to bring Notre Dame within 10-6.
    • Walker missed a 26-yard field goal (hold was dropped), but rebounded with a 23-yard field goal to give the Irish a 23-10 lead at 1:34 of the third quarter
    • Walker also missed a then career-long tying 49-yarder with 4:58 to go in the fourth quarter.
    • Walker's final attempt of the afternoon was a career-long 53 yarder that fell short.
    • Walker has now connected on 12 of his last 15 field goal attempts after opening the season just 1-of-7 on field goals.
    • Walker's 13 field goals made are the most for a Notre Dame kicker since Nick Setta had 14 in 2002 (the 13 field goals made ranks sixth-best in Irish single-season history).

    Ian Williams, So., DT

    • Recorded a season-high eight tackles this afternoon (previous high was six set twice earlier this season).

     

     

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