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    2009 Notre Dame Football Media Day Notes

    FIGHTING IRISH Head coach Charlie Weis begins his fifth season at Notre Dame this fall, welcoming back 18 starters and 46 monogram winners from last year's Hawai'i Bowl champions.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Head coach Charlie Weis begins his fifth season at Notre Dame this fall, welcoming back 18 starters and 46 monogram winners from last year's Hawai'i Bowl champions.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Aug. 7, 2009

    2009 Notre Dame Football Media Day Notes Package (recommended for easy reading and enhanced statistical data) Get Acrobat Reader

    2009 Notre Dame Football Media Days
    Friday-Saturday, August 7-8
    Notre Dame, Ind.

    IRISH RETURN 46 MONOGRAM WINNERS

  • Notre Dame opens fall practice with 46 returning monogram winners from 2008 - 22 on offense, 21 on defense and three on special teams.
  • It is the most returning monogram winners under head coach Charlie Weis.
  • Number (Breakdown)                                      Year
    46 (22 on offense, 21 on defense, three specialists)    2009
    37 (20 on offense, 17 on defense)                       2008
    36 (15 on offense, 20 on defense, two specialists)      2006
    36 (20 on offense, 14 on defense, two specialists)      2005
    30 (10 on offense, 18 on defense, two specialists)      2007
    

    18 RETURNING STARTERS HIGHLIGHT 2009 ROSTER

  • Eighteen starters return from the 2008 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl champions including 10 offensive starters, six defensive starters and two specialists.
  • The 18 returning starters are the most at Notre Dame since 2001 (also 18 returning starters) and according to Phil Steele, only nine out of the 120 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision return more starters.
  • Teams With 20 Returning Starters: Indiana, Minnesota and Toledo
    Teams with 19 Returning Starters: UAB, Arkansas, Baylor, Central Michigan, Florida and ULM
    Teams with 18 Returning Starters: East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Notre Dame, Temple, Utah State, Vanderbilt and Wyoming
  • It is the most returning starters under head coach Charlie Weis and the most at Notre Dame since the 2001 squad also returned 18 starters.
  • Number (Breakdown)                                      Year
    18 (10 offensive, six defensive, two specialists)       2009
    17 (nine offensive, seven defensive, one specialist)    2008
    17 (seven offensive, nine defensive, one specialist)    2006
    15 (10 offensive, three defensive, two specialists)     2005
    10 (three offensive, five defensive, two specialists)   2007
    

    THREE NEW COACHES ADD TO EXPERIENCED STAFF

  • Head coach Charlie Weis added three experienced assistant coaches to the Irish coaching staff this offseason giving Notre Dame a coaching staff with 189 years of coaching experience.
  • Running backs coach Tony Alford (14 years), defensive line coach Randy Hart (39 years) and offensive line/running game coordinator Frank Verducci (27 years) combined to add 80 years of coaching experience to Notre Dame's coaching roster.
  • Head coach Charlie Weis adds the second-most years coaching to the staff (30 years), followed by Jon Tenuta (28 years), Rob Ianello (22 years), Brian Polian (12 years), Corwin Brown (eight years), Bernie Parmalee (seven years) and Ron Powlus (two years).
  • YOUNG PUPS NOW GROWING UP

  • Of the 24 players that started the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl (including punter and placekicker), 18 players return in 2009 and 11 of those players have at least two seasons of eligibility remaining.
  • Freshman DB Robert Blanton picked up his first career start against Navy in 2008. Blanton was the sixth different Irish rookie to start a game last season. Blanton joined WR Michael Floyd, TE Kyle Rudolph, OG Trevor Robinson, DE Ethan Johnson and LB Darius Fleming.
  • Notre Dame's duo of WR Michael Floyd and TE Kyle Rudolph each established school records for receptions and receiving yards by first year players at their respective positions. Floyd's total was also a freshman record for any position.
  • The Irish scored 40 touchdowns in 2008 and 33 came from either freshmen or sophomores, including six of the seven touchdowns against Hawai'i in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. The only touchdowns scored last season by upper classmen were RB James Aldridge (3), WR David Grimes (3) and LB Toryan Smith.
  • The 33 of 40 touchdowns by underclassmen does not include QB Jimmy Clausen, who tossed 25 touchdown passes last season.
  • IRISH DON'T GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE

  • Since Charlie Weis became head coach at Notre Dame, the top priority of every game has been to win the turnover battle. In games the Irish have won the turnover battle, Notre Dame is 20-8.
  • Last season, the Irish did not commit a turnover in five games. In fact, Notre Dame has not turned the ball over in 15 games since 2005. Here's how that ranks nationally (thanks STATS LLC):
  • Most Games with 0 Giveaways in 2008
    No.     School
    6       Ball State
    6       Baylor
    6       Florida
    6       Oklahoma
    5       Notre Dame
    5       Four other teams
    

    Most Games with 0 Giveaways since 2005 No. School 19 West Virginia 17 Ball State 17 Florida 16 Memphis 15 Notre Dame 15 Buffalo 15 LSU

    IRISH OFFENSE RETURNS 10 STARTERS

  • Notre Dame's offense will be one of most experienced units in college football in 2009 as 10 starters are slated to return this fall. The Irish only opened two games in 2008 with a fullback on the field, choosing to open most contests with at least three wide receivers on the field. The only offensive starter replaced in '09 will be left tackle following Mike Turkovich's graduation.
  • The 10 returning starters on offense are the most at Notre Dame since 2005 when the Irish returned 10 starters that year. According to research conducted by Phil Steele, only one school returns more starters on offense than the Irish and just three schools return as many offensive starters as Notre Dame.
  • Most Returning Offensive Starters in NCAA FBS
    No.      School
    11      UAB
    10      Notre Dame
    10      Indiana
    10      Middle Tennessee State
    10      Minnesota
    

    HIGH RETURNS ROLLING IN FOR IRISH OFFENSE

  • The Irish offense returns an unprecedented high percentage of its 2008 offense. All 3,190 passing yards (including senior Evan Sharpley's 18 yards) return this fall as quarterback Jimmy Clausen guides the Irish attack again.
  • Almost 99 percent of the rushing yards from 2008 return and over 89 percent of the receiving yards are available this year. In fact, Notre Dame totaled 4,616 total yards of offense in 2008 and only 17 yards of total offense will not suit up for the Irish this fall.
  • The only skill-position players lost from the '08 squad are wide receiver David Grimes and fullback Asaph Schwapp.
  • Returning Irish Offense in 2009
    Category        Returning Yards/Points    Pct.
    Rushing         1,409 of 1,426 yards      98.8
    Passing         3,190 of 3,190 yards      100.0
    Receiving       2,850 of 3,190 yards      89.3
    Scoring         303 of 321 points         94.4
    Total Offense   4,599 of 4,616 yards      99.6
    All-Purpose     5,730 of 6,205 yards      92.3
    

    IRISH O-LINE HITS CENTURY MARK FOR CAREER STARTS

  • First-year offensive line coach Frank Verducci is charged with improving the Irish rushing attack in 2009 and will attempt to do so with one of the most experienced offensive line units in Notre Dame's recent history.
  • Six players having starting experience for the Irish, led by right tackle Sam Young's 38 starts. Eric Olsen (19 starts), Dan Wenger (18 starts), Paul Duncan (12 starts), Chris Stewart (10 starts) and Trevor Robinson (three starts) help bring the Irish total to 100 combined career starts. That total is the second most in the past decade at Notre Dame.
  • Starts (No. of Players with Starting Experience)          Year
    102 (Six)                                                 2005
    100 (Six)                                                 2009
    91 (Four)                                                 2006
    79 (Six)                                                  2002
    60 (Five)                                                 2008
    60 (Six)                                                  2001
    49 (Seven)                                                2000
    46 (Two)                                                  2007
    46 (Six)                                                  2004
    21 (Three)                                                2003
    

    IRISH `08 UNDERCLASSMEN AMONG NATION'S ELITE

  • Notre Dame's freshmen and sophomores in 2008 proved to be not just the most productive classes in school history but also one of the best in the country. Led by sophomore Golden Tate and freshman Michael Floyd, Irish underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) combined to record 2,793 receiving yards, third most in the nation.
  • Most Receiving Yards by Underclassmen in 2008 (according to STATS, LLC)
    Yards    School
    3,582 	 Texas Tech
    3,524    Houston
    2,793    Notre Dame
    2,244    USC
    2,214    Kansas
    

    CLAUSEN CLIMBING CAREER CHARTS

  • Despite being just halfway through his college career, Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen has moved into the top-10 in almost all Notre Dame passing lists.
  • He already ranks in the top-five in eight categories including passing yards per game (second - 192.3 yards) completion percentage (second - 59.3 percent), completions (fourth - 406), attempts (fifth - 685) and passing touchdowns (32 TDs). Clausen ranks sixth in school history in career passing yards (4,426 yards) and lowest interception percentage (3.35 percent).
  • Here is a quick comparison of Clausen's sophomore stats against the previous top sophomore final passing seasons by Notre Dame quarterbacks in school history:
  •                            Jimmy Clausen     Brady Quinn       Ron Powlus
    Completions                     268	         191               124
    Attempts                        440              353               217
    Completion Percentage          60.9%            54.1%             57.1%
    Passing Yards                  3,172            2,586             1,853
    Touchdowns                      25               17                12
    Interceptions                   17               10                 7
    Passing Yards Per Game         244.0            215.5             185.3
    Efficiency Rating              132.5            125.9             140.7
    

  • Clausen has now made 22 career starts for Notre Dame. Here is an interesting look at his noticeable improvement:
  •                          First 11 Starts        Last 11 Starts
    Completions                    165                    226
    Attempts                       294                    363
    Completion Percentage         56.1%                  62.3%
    Passing Yards                 1,604                  2,747
    Touchdowns                     12                     20
    Interceptions                  10                     13
    Passing Yards Per Game        145.8                  249.7
    Efficiency Rating             108.6                  136.8
    

    NOTRE DAME'S OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT THE BEST IN THE NATION

  • No offense improved more in 2008 when compared to the production in 2007 as Notre Dame's offensive attack. The Irish 112.83 yards-per-game improvement in 2008 was best in the nation, ahead of a list that included Oklahoma, Georgia and Penn State. Here is a look at last year's top 10 most improved offenses:
  • Rank    School           2007     2008     Improvement
    1.      Notre Dame       242.25   355.08   112.83
    2.      Oklahoma         448.42   547.86   99.44
    3.      Akron            311.67   369.67   85.00
    4.      Eastern Michigan 337.50   417.50   80.00
    5.      Rice             404.00   470.92   66.92
    6.	Mississippi      345.25   407.62   62.37
    7.      Houston          501.92   562.77   60.85
    8.      Iowa State       326.92   386.83   59.91
    9.      Georgia          375.62   426.00   50.38
    10.     Penn State       400.08   448.92   48.84
    

    NOTRE DAME'S DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT ALSO ONE OF THE BEST IN THE NATION

  • The vast improvements were not exclusive to the offensive side of the ball. The Notre Dame defense also made major leaps from a season ago. Here is a look at last year's top 25 most improved scoring defenses:
  • Rank    School                 2007     2008     Improvement
    1.      Navy                   36.4     22.0     14.4
    2.      Northern Illinois      30.8     18.0     12.8
    3.      Florida                25.5     12.9     12.6
    4.      Minnesota              36.7     24.8     11.9
    5.      Northwestern           31.0     20.2     10.8
    6.      Florida International  39.1     28.3     10.8
    7.      Tennessee              27.3     16.8     10.5
    8.      Duke                   33.2     23.4     9.8
    9.      Rice                   42.9     33.3     9.6
    10.     Mississippi            28.5     19.0     9.5
    11.     Nebraska               37.9     28.5     9.4
    12.     Boise State            21.6     12.6     9.0
    13.     Bowling Green          32.1     23.2     8.9
    14.     Kentucky               29.6     21.5     8.1
    15.     Ball State             28.3     20.5     7.8
    16.     Alabama                22.0     14.3     7.7
    17.     Baylor                 37.0     29.3     7.7
    18.     San Jose State         29.3     21.6     7.7
    19.     TCU                    18.7     11.3     7.4
    20.     USC                    16.0     9.0      7.0
    21.     California             26.8     19.9     6.9
    22.     Central Michigan       36.9     30.2     6.7
    23.     Notre Dame             28.8     22.2     6.6
    24.     Marshall               34.3     27.7     6.6
    25.     Army                   30.3     23.7     6.6
    

  • Notre Dame was one of two schools (Mississippi the other) that ranked in the top 10 in most improved offense and top 25 in most improved scoring defense.
  • McNEIL BREAKS INTO PASSES BROKEN UP LIST

  • Cornerback Raeshon McNeil established himself as a solid defensive player in 2008 as he recorded the most pass breakups by an Irish defender in 30 years. His 11 pass breakups were the most since Dave Waymer registered 12 PBUs in 1978 and are tied for the third most in a single season in school history.
  • McNeil's top game came at Boston College as he recorded three PBUs in the loss. The three PBUs were the most in a game for the Irish in the Weis era. In fact, it is the most by an Irish player since Shane Walton and Gerome Sapp each had three against Florida State on Oct. 26, 2002.
  • Passes Broken Up - Season
    1.        Clarence Ellis        13 (1969)
    2.        Dave Waymer           12 (1978)
    3.        Raeshon McNeil        11 (2008)
              Tom Schoen            11 (1967)
              Luther Bradley        11 (1973)
    6.        Dennis Phillips       10 (1963)
              Tony Carey            10 (1964)
              Tom Longo             10 (1964)
              David Martin          10 (1966)
              Thomas O'Leary        10 (1966)
              Ralph Stepaniak       10 (1969)
    

    KYLE USHERS IN McCARTHYISM ERA IN SECONDARY

  • Strong safety Kyle McCarthy proved to be more than adequate replacement for Tom Zbikowski in 2008. The senior from Youngstown, Ohio recorded more tackles in a season than any other Irish defensive back becoming the first Notre Dame DB to reach the 100-tackle plateau. McCarthy finished the season with 110 tackles and tied for 54th in the nation in tackles per game.
  • Tackles - Season - Defensive Backs
    1.      Kyle McCarthy (2008)      110
    2.      Chinedum Ndukwe (2006)    98
    3.      David Bruton (2008)       97
    4.      Steve Lawrence (1985)     92
    5.      A'Jani Sanders (1999)     91
    6.      David Bruton (2007)       85
    7.      Brian Magee (1994)        81
            Glenn Earl (2002)         81
    9.      Jim Browner (1976)        80
            Tom Zbikowski (2007)      80
    

    IRISH DEFENSE STINGY OUT OF THE GATE IN `08

  • USC's first quarter touchdown on Nov. 29 was the first allowed by the Notre Dame defense in the opening quarter since Sept. 27 against Purdue -- a span of eight games.
  • In fact, Notre Dame allowed just 16 points in the first quarter over its last eight games.
  • Hawai'i's second quarter touchdown was the sixth offensive score allowed by the Notre Dame defense in the opening half over its final nine contests. The Irish defense surrendered just 61 total first half points over the last seven games.
  • KICKOFF RETURN DEFENSE UNIT SHOWED MAJOR IMPROVEMENT IN `08

  • Notre Dame led the NCAA FBS in kickoff return defense last season allowing only 16.5 yards per return and became the first Irish special teams unit to lead the nation in this category. It was also the first time Notre Dame led the NCAA in a statistical category since 1988. What made the feat even more impressive was the fact that the Irish registered just one touchback during the season. The 16.5 yards allowed on kickoffs was the best by a Notre Dame squad since 1975 when that team permitted only 14.9 yards per kick return.
  •                            2007           2008          Improvement
    Kickoff Return Defense   22.75 (89th)   16.38 (1st)     6.37 yards (28.5%)
    

    IRISH SPECIAL TEAMS HAVE SHINED OVER PAST FOUR SEASONS

  • Notre Dame's special teams have been solid over the past four seasons and have made critical plays to help turn games several times since 2005.
  • Irish special teams have scored seven touchdowns, forced seven turnovers and deflected or blocked 22 kicks in the past four years.
  • Notre Dame has scored three TDs on punt returns, one on a kickoff return, one on a blocked punt return, one on a blocked field goal return and one on a fake field goal.
  • The Irish have tallied 10 blocked punts, nine blocked field goals and three blocked PATs since 2005.
  • Over the past four years, Notre Dame has averaged 10.0 yards per punt return, allowed 7.6 yards on punt returns and permitted 19.9 yards on kickoff returns.
  • ANELLO NAMED TO LOTT AWARD WATCH LIST
    University of Notre Dame senior Mike Anello has been named to the 2009 Lott Trophy Watch List, it was announced April 7 by Ronnie Lott at a luncheon in Newport Beach, Calif.

    The Watch List is made up of 42 of the nation's top defensive players who have had the biggest IMPACT on their teams on and off the field. IMPACT stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

    Anello, a 5-10, 170-pound cornerback, has been a standout special teams player for the Irish and graduated with a finance degree in three and a half years. The former walk-on player from Orland Park, Ill. was rewarded with a scholarship prior to the start of the 2008 season. Anello has totaled 29 tackles, including 19 solo stops, with two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a member of the punt and kickoff coverage units.

    In 2008, Anello was named to the ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America second team and was recipient of the Nick Pietrosante Award and the Rockne Student-Athlete Award at the 2008 football banquet.

    Named after Hall of Famer Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its sixth year, The Lott Trophy is the only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.

    Sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, the award is given to a player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

    Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, The IMPACT Foundation Board of Advisers comprised of many retired NFL players and Master Coaches, a distinguished group of former head college coaches.

    The winner will be announced at a gala black-tie banquet at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Calif. on December 13th, 2009.

    Jimmy Clausen NAMED TO O'BRIEN AWARD WATCH LIST
    University of Notre Dame junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen has been named to the 2009 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® Watch List by the Davey O'Brien Foundation. The O'Brien Selection Committee is asked to evaluate each candidate on the criteria of quarterback skills and athletic ability, academics, reputation as a team player, character, leadership and sportsmanship.

    Clausen has started 22 of the 23 games he has played over his Irish career. He already ranks among the top 10 all-time in the following career passing categories: second in passing yards per game (192.4), second in completion percentage (59.3), fourth in completions (406), fifth in attempts (685), fifth in TD passes (32) and sixth in passing yards (4,426).

    As a sophomore in 2008, Clausen started all 13 games at quarterback and recorded the third-most prolific passing season in Irish history. He completed 268 of his 440 pass attempts (60.9 pct) for 3,172 passing yards (244.0 yards per game). Clausen tossed 25 touchdowns and established records in every major passing category by a Notre Dame sophomore quarterback. The only better statistical seasons by an Irish signal caller were Brady Quinn in 2005 and 2006. Clausen ranked 43rd in passing efficiency nationally at 132.49 and ranked 40th in total offense at 238.38 yards per game.

    Clausen closed last season with his best performance in a Notre Dame uniform. He completed 22 of 26 passes for 401 yards and five TDs without an interception against Hawai'i in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. Clausen set individual career bests in completion percentage (84.6 percent), passing yards (401) and TD passes (five). His statistics also helped set Notre Dame team bowl records in points (49), passing yards (413), passing touchdowns (five) and total yards (478). Clausen's passing yards, passing touchdowns and completion percentage were also Notre Dame individual bowl records. In fact, his completion percentage was the second best by any quarterback at any school in bowl game history.

    The 2009 O'Brien Award Watch List highlights 33 quarterbacks who will compete for the award honoring the nation's best quarterback; however, all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) starting quarterbacks are equal candidates at this time. Watch List candidates were selected by a subset of The O'Brien Selection Committee. The list focuses on a select group of quarterbacks who have demonstrated what members of the Selection Committee have recognized as tremendous preseason talent. The award focuses on accomplishments both on and off the field.

    Kyle Rudolph NAMED TO MACKEY AWARD WATCH LIST
    University of Notre Dame sophomore tight end Kyle Rudolph has been named to the 2009 John Mackey Award watch list by the Nassau County Sports Commission. Given annually to the best collegiate tight end, Rudolph is one of 30 players - and the only sophomore - placed on the watch list.

    Rudolph burst onto the scene in 2008 becoming the first Notre Dame tight end in school history to start every game in his freshman season. He set school records for a freshman by tallying 29 receptions for 340 yards and also scored two touchdowns.

    The 6-6, 260-pounder recorded a career-high five receptions versus Purdue for 70 yards and a TD. His season-long reception of 29 yards came in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Hawaii and helped Rudolph establish a season-best 78 receiving yards on four catches.

    The Mackey Award is named after NFL Hall of Fame member John Mackey and has been presented since 2000. The award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and the 2009 award winner will be announced on Dec. 10, 2009.

    Dan Wenger NAMED TO 2009 RIMINGTON TROPHY SPRING WATCH LIST
    University of Notre Dame senior center Dan Wenger was named to the 2009 Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List, the Rimington Trophy committee announced. Wenger was one of 44 players selected to the watch list for the trophy awarded to the nation's top center.

    An intelligent and gritty center that has started the last 15 games, Wenger is one of four returning starters on Notre Dame's offensive line. He has started 18 of the 21 games he has appeared in his career and anchored the offensive line unit in 2008 that cut the number of sacks allowed from 58 to 22.

    The Rimington Trophy is awarded to the center with the most first team All-America votes. The winner will be honored at a banquet at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, Neb., on Jan. 16, 2010. The 10-year old trophy is presented by the Boomer Esiason Foundation and since its inception has helped raise over $1.3 million for the award's benefactor.

    Evan Sharpley TEARS UP ARIZONA ROOKIE LEAGUE
    University of Notre Dame senior quarterback Evan Sharpley returns to campus for his fifth year of eligibility following an outstanding summer with the Seattle Mariners' Arizona League rookie ball club.

    Sharpley led the team in games played (37), runs scored (31), hits (44), doubles (12), home runs (seven), RBI (29), total bases (81), walks (21), slugging percentage (.614) and batting average (.333). He also ranked among the top 10 in the entire league in games played (t-1st), home runs (t-3rd), total bases (t-3rd), hits (4th), walks (t-3rd), slugging percentage (4th), OPS (4th), doubles (t-4th), on-base percentage (t-4th), runs (6th), RBI (7th) and batting (10th).

    Sharpley was selected in the 50th round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player draft by the Mariners.

    Armando Allen NAMED DOAK WALKER AWARD CANDIDATE
    The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum announced that University of Notre Dame junior halfback Armando Allen has been named a candidate for the 2009 Doak Walker Award. The award is presented annually to the nation's top college running back.

    Allen has been used in a variety of ways during his first two seasons with the Irish, including as a rusher, receiver and punt/kickoff returner. He has recorded a team-high 2,725 combined all-purpose yards (109.0 yards per game) over his first two years. Allen has registered career totals of 933 rushing yards on 220 carries and has three rushing touchdowns. He already ranks second all-time among Notre Dame running backs with 74 career receptions (25 catches behind Darius Walker's record). Allen has tallied career totals of 479 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He also ranks third at Notre Dame with 54 career kickoff returns and is fourth in kickoff return yards with 1,247.

    In 2008, Allen led the Irish in rushing with 585 yards on 134 carries (4.4 avg.) and added three touchdowns. He ranked second on the team with 50 receptions and tallied 355 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Allen's 50 receptions were the second most by an Irish running back in single-season school history. He also recorded 1,549 all-purpose yards, averaging 119.2 yards per game, second on the squad.

    Allen capped off his sophomore campaign in style with a stellar effort in the 49-21 rout of Hawai'i in the 2008 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. The running back totaled 184 all-purpose yards, including a 18-yard touchdown reception and a 96-yard touchdown kickoff return. Allen was the first Irish player to return a kickoff for a score since 2002.

    The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select the semifinalists on November 11, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on November 23. The committee will cast a second vote beginning on November 30 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.

    The recipient of the 2009 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on ESPN on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards on Thursday, December 10. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, February 19, 2010.

    The award, in its 20th year, is named for SMU's three-time All-America running back Doak Walker. It is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification.

    IRISH FOOTBALL FAN DAY SET FOR SATURDAY, AUGUST 15
    Fans looking to get a sneak peek of the 2009 Notre Dame football team are invited to attend Fighting Irish Football Fan Day on Saturday, Aug. 15 inside Notre Dame Stadium. The practice starts at 9:00 a.m. and lasts until 11:30 a.m. and is free to everyone in attendance.

    Led by head coach Charlie Weis, the Irish coaching staff will run the football team through its only public practice for two and a half hours, weather permitting. The '09 Irish are the most experienced team to play for Weis and feature 18 returning starters and 46 returning monogram winners.

    All fans must enter through Gate D at Notre Dame Stadium. Gate D will open at 8:30 a.m. and seating is on a first come, first served basis in the lower bowl on the west side of the Stadium.

    Stadium concession stands will not be open but fans will be allowed to enter with non-alcoholic beverages in plastic containers. Notre Dame ushers will be present at the gates and throughout the Stadium and will remove any patrons who bring in alcoholic beverages or glass containers. Restrooms will be open in the lower bowl of Notre Dame Stadium.

    Autographs and/or photos with the players or coaches will not be available prior to, during or following practice. Fans are encouraged to park in the lots located just south of the Stadium and Joyce Center or in the Library parking lots. Tailgating prior to and following practice will not be permitted. If weather forces the team to practice inside, the event will not be rescheduled.

    NOTRE DAME-ARMY RIVALRY RENEWS IN 2010 AT YANKEE STADIUM
    Notre Dame and Army - two staples of the national sports scene when they met 21 times between 1925 and 1946 at the original Yankee Stadium, the home of the New York Yankees - will renew that historic collegiate rivalry for the 50th time on Nov. 20, 2010, when the Fighting Irish and Cadets meet in the first football game to be played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y.

    The game will be the second of a series of "off-site" home football games for Notre Dame in which the Irish are taking games that could be played at Notre Dame Stadium and moving them to venues around the country. The first of those will take place Oct. 31, 2009, when Notre Dame and Washington State meet at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Notre Dame and Arizona State are slated to meet in 2013 at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

    "As a longtime Yankee fan, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity for Notre Dame to be a part of this event. I think this will be the kind of game that our players will remember long after it's over." Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis.

    NBC Sports is expected to televise the Notre Dame-Army game on a national basis in prime time.

    "Any student of Notre Dame football history knows the meaning of the Notre Dame-Army rivalry and, in particular, the history of that rivalry at Yankee Stadium," said Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick.

    "It's fitting that a Notre Dame-Army game will be the first football event in this fabulous facility - and it's also fitting that the 50th meeting in this great rivalry will take place in a venue with such great tradition for both programs."

    "As a longtime Yankee fan, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity for Notre Dame to be a part of this event. I think this will be the kind of game that our players will remember long after it's over," said Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis.

    "We are very excited about the prospect of airing the 50th all-time game of one of the great rivalries in college football history," NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said. "The fact that next year's game will be played in one of the greatest venues only adds to what should be an unforgettable evening."

    Notre Dame expects to make tickets available to its contributing alumni and fans through its alumni lottery as it does with all other football games. Army will receive an allotment of tickets as the visiting team. Approximately 47,000 seats are expected to be available for football at Yankee Stadium.

    While Notre Dame and Army have met on 49 previous occasions, the heyday of the rivalry came in the mid-1940s. Over four straight seasons from 1943 through 1946, both Notre Dame and Army came into their Yankee Stadium match up ranked fifth or higher in that week's Associated Press poll. The Irish came into the '43 game ranked number one, then Army brought the top ranking into the contest in '44, '45 and '46. Top-ranked Notre Dame defeated #3 Army 26-0 in '43. Top-rated Army vanquished #5 Notre Dame 59-0 in '44 and #2 Notre Dame 48-0 in '45. Then, in '46, came the famous 0-0 tie between #1 Army and #2 Notre Dame - made legendary by John Lujack's well-chronicled saving tackle of Cadet star running back Doc Blanchard late in the game.

    In the 1940s alone, Notre Dame claimed consensus national titles in '43, '46, '47 and '49 - while Army won national titles in '44 and '45. In that same decade of the `40s, Notre Dame produced three Heisman Trophy winners in Angelo Bertelli ('43), Lujack ('47) and Leon Hart ('49), while Army produced two in Blanchard ('45) and Glenn Davis ('46). The Notre Dame-Army match ups at New York's Yankee Stadium had much to do with creating the term "subway alumni" for Notre Dame alumni and fans that utilized that mode of transportation to attend the games.

    Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Army 37-8-4 - including a 14-5-3 record at the original Yankee Stadium. Previous Yankee Stadium games between the Irish and Cadets came in 1925-29, 1931-46, and 1969 (the 100th anniversary of college football). The teams first met in a historic 35-13 Irish victory in 1913 at West Point. Notre Dame holds an 8-1 edge in meetings at Notre Dame Stadium, the most recent in 2006. The rivalry also has featured one game each at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn (1923), the Polo Grounds (a 13-7 Irish victory in '24 at which Grantland Rice coined the Four Horsemen nickname), Soldier Field in Chicago ('30), in Philadelphia ('57), Shea Stadium in New York ('65) -- and three at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands ('77, '83 and '95).

    Notre Dame also played at the original Yankee Stadium in 1949 against North Carolina (a 42-6 Irish victory) and in 1963 versus Syracuse (a 14-7 Orange win). Those contests, combined with the match ups against Army, give the Irish an overall 15-6-3 mark in previous Yankee Stadium games.

    Other New York-area Notre Dame football appearances came at the Polo Grounds in 1921 (versus Rutgers) -- and at Giants Stadium in 1980, '82, '84, '90, '92 and 2004 (all against Navy), in '89 against Virginia and in 2002 against Maryland (both in the Kickoff Classic). The Irish also played at Rutgers in 2000.

    IRISH LEGENDS FOOTBALL TEAM RUNS OVER JAPANESE NATIONAL TEAM, 19-3
    Notre Dame won a football game July 25 halfway across the world in typical Lou Holtz fashion. The Irish dominated the line of scrimmage, ran for nearly 300 yards, needed only one pass completion -- and got all kinds of help from an opportunistic defense.

    All that translated into a 19-3 Irish Legends victory over the Japan National team in front of 21,080 at the Tokyo Dome.

    Japan claimed an early 3-0 lead, but it was all Irish from there.

    Jay Vickers earned the Notre Dame MVP award after running for 139 yards, 77 of them on one run to the Japan two that set up the first Irish touchdown and gave Notre Dame a lead it never gave up.

    Meanwhile, Ambrose Wooden earned some sort of iron man award, playing the second half at quarterback and most of the final two periods on defense as well. He ran for 22 yards, completed the only pass of the night for Notre Dame and made a solo tackle.

    Linebacker-turned-fullback Brandon Hoyte added another 46 yards on the ground, while Tony Rice ran for 34, all in the opening half. Japan had more first downs (17-13), but Notre Dame held the home team to 236 total yards, 57 net rushing yards and 179 through the air on 20-of 45 passing with two interceptions (Ron Israel, Mike Goolsby). The Irish knocked down another four passes at the line of scrimmage.

    Ivory Covington led the defense with six tackles, while Goolsby had three and five other players had a pair. Anthony Brannan, Greg Pauly, Melvin Dansby had tackles for losses, and Matt Hasbrook recorded a safety by tackling the Japanese quarterback in the end zone after a Geoff Price punt had been downed at the Japan one.

    Japan took the opening kickoff deep into Irish territory, but on fourth and one on the Notre Dame 19 at 9:34, Brian Magee made the stop to give the Irish the football.

    The Irish couldn't move the ball behind quarterback starter Ambrose Wooden, and Japan started over from its 48 with 7:10 on the clock. After the home team missed a potential completion on third down, Japan's Daisuke Aoki converted on a 30-yard field goal for a 3-0 Japan lead at the 3:56 mark.

    An interception by Israel on the first play of the second period set up the Irish on the Japan 41. Rice gained 16 yards on first down - and after Hoyte was stopped at the Japan 20 on third down, Scott Cengia knocked through a 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 with 12:32 left in the second.

    Notre Dame's defense came up with two consecutive stops that forced punts -- and the Irish took over at their own 21 with 6:53 remaining in the second period. On first down Vickers headed hard around the right side and 77 yards later was pushed out of bounds. On second down, Rice ran it in to make it 10-3 at the 5:49 mark. And that's how the half ended.

    The Irish gained only 24 yards on their opening second-half possession to the Japan 44. But Geoff Price's punt was downed at the one and on second down Matt Hasbrook nailed the Japan quarterback in the end zone for a safety.

    Notre Dame's Cengia missed a 44-yard field goal and Japan's Aoki did the same from 44. Then on Japan's first down, Goolsby grabbed off Shun Suguwara's pass at the Japan 40 and returned it to the eight. An offside penalty advanced the Irish cause, and Vickers took it in from the two on second and goal on a pitch from Wooden to complete the scoring.

    Notre Dame simply ran out the clock in the final period. One possession featured 13 straight rushing plays -- as the Irish went from their own 12 to the Japan 19 before surrendering the football after a fourth-down miss - but not before holding the ball for 8:19.

    Notre Dame finished with a possession time edge of 36:18 to 23:42, including holding the ball for more than 21 minutes of the second half (11:46 in the third period alone).

    Once the game ended, both coaches were interviewed live and shown on the video board at the Tokyo Dome.

    Said Holtz, "Our team played great defense, great pass defense. Our quarterbacks could not throw. So we feel grateful to win. We got some continuity in the second half. I can't say enough good things about Jay Vickers and all our backs. We were bigger, they were quicker. But our offensive line did a great job. (Ambrose)Wooden hadn't played quarterback since high school and took about half the snaps on Thursday.

    "It was great to be back out here. We won this game like we won a lot of games when I was at Notre Dame - we just beat the heck out of them."

    Holtz talked to the entire Japan squad after the game, with dozens of cameras recording the action. There were formal presentations of trophies to the winning teams and the MVPs.

    Gary Godsey was not in uniform after an early-week leg injury sidelined him. Tony Rice, despite leg and calf issues, looked good in warm-ups after not being able to practice on Thursday. Fullback Ray Zellars struggled during warm-ups, also with leg problems. Then, on the first play from scrimmage, defensive end Chris Frome came off with a left leg injury and never returned (by halftime he wore a brace). Jason Beckstrom tore an Achilles tendon on the first series and will require surgery and Marcus Thorne suffered an apparent concussion.

    The weather outside was hot, sunny and steamy. The neighboring amusement park did a big business, and the Notre Dame tailgating party just outside the dome was more than a little warm.

    About 35 Japanese team cheerleaders in white go-go boots led the home fans, with GO JAPAN on the scoreboard.

    One scoreboard shot showed five Japanese businessmen holding a sign that said "Ambrose #22." Five signs in Japanese hung over the right-field wall behind the Japan bench.

    -- ND --
     

     

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