Sept. 1, 2008
DATE: Saturday, September 6, 2008
TIME:3:43 p.m. ET
SITE (CAPACITY): Notre Dame Stadium (80,795); Notre Dame, Ind.
TICKETS: The game is 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.
TV: NBC national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play) and Pat Haden (analysis), Alex Flanagan (sideline), David Gibson (producer) and John Gonzalez (director). NBC will stream a live 30 min. pre-game show (3-3:30 p.m.) and post-game show on NBCSports.com.
RADIO: ISP Sports is the exclusive national rights-holder for Irish football radio broadcasts. The Notre Dame-ISP relationship will begin with the 2008 season and extend through the 2017 season -- with ISP managing, producing and syndicating the Irish national football radio network. Notre Dame games to be broadcast with Don Criqui (play-by-play), former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (analysis) and Jeff Jeffers providing pre-game, sideline and post-game reports. This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 159).
All Notre Dame home games may be heard in South Bend on Sunny 101.5 FM and NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM. See page 11 of this notes package (PDF version) for more information on Irish football radio and television shows.
WEB SITES: Notre Dame (und.com), San Diego State (goaztecs.com).
REAL-TIME STATS: Live in-game statistics will be provided through CBS College Sports Gametracker via each school's respective official athletic websites.
POLLS: Notre Dame is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls, while San Diego State failed to receive any votes in either poll.
SERIES INFO: Notre Dame and San Diego State will meet on the gridiron for the first time in the 120-year history of Irish football. The Aztecs are the 135th different opponent in Notre Dame football history. San Diego State is the first inaugural foe for the Irish since 2003 when Notre Dame knocked off Washington State, 29-26 in overtime, to open the season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Notre Dame opens the 2008 season with Mountain West Conference foe San Diego State. The Irish, which dropped their season opener in 2007 to Georgia Tech, will look to avoid losses in consecutive season openers for the first time since 1985-86. Michigan knocked off Notre Dame to open each campaign. The Irish are also looking to avoid losses in consecutive home openers for the first time since 1994-95 (when Michigan, 1994, and Northwestern, 1995, upended Notre Dame).
SAN DIEGO STATE HEAD COACH CHUCK LONG: Chuck Long's road to San Diego State has been paved by success. In 25 years as both a player and coach on the collegiate and professional levels, he has built a resume that most can only dream of.
As a collegian at Iowa, he was the runner-up for the 1985 Heisman Trophy, throwing for over 10,000 career yards, winning the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Awards and leading his team to a Big Ten title and an appearance in the Rose Bowl. As a professional in the NFL, he was a first-round draft pick and spent eight seasons with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams.
As a coach, he won a national championship, logged five top-six finishes and made nine appearances in bowl games in 11 seasons as a collegiate assistant.
Long added to that already impressive list in December 2005 when he was named the 16th head coach in San Diego State football history and charged with returning the program to the national spotlight.
SAN DIEGO STATE SCOUTING REPORT: The San Diego State football team was picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West Conference preseason poll of MWC media members.
The Aztecs, who return 12 starters, including eight on the defensive side of the ball, received 92 points. Brigham Young, which captured its second straight MWC title in 2008, was selected to win the conference title after receiving 29 first-place votes and 299 overall. Utah earned 274 points and five first-place votes to come in second, while TCU was third with 293 points.
San Diego State has finished the same or better than predicted in the preseason poll in each of the last three seasons. Last season, SDSU was predicted to finish eighth in MWC play but managed to place sixth.
In addition, senior Russell Allen (Oceanside, Calif.) was named to the 2008 preseason all-conference team. A linebacker, Allen became the first Aztec to earn preseason all-conference honors since Antwan Applewhite's selection in 2006.
The only quarterback on the San Diego State roster to ever start a collegiate game at the position is senior wideout Darren Mougey, but redshirt freshman Ryan Lindley won the job to replace departed four-year starter Kevin O'Connell (third round pick of New England). O'Connell, who threw for 3,063 yards and 15 TDs, also led the Aztecs in rushing with 408 yards and 11 more scores. Sophomore Brandon Sullivan returns after limited action in 2007. He rushed for 220 yards on 58 carries, the most among the returnees, while adding 18 catches for 119 yards. Right behind Sullivan is junior Atiyyah Henderson, who led SDSU in rushing in 2006 with 764 yards. He enters his junior campaign just 53 yards short of 1,000 for his career. San Diego State lost two wideouts to the NFL draft, but return both Mougey and sophomore Vincent Brown. Mougey, a 6-6, 230-pound converted QB, hauled in 32 passes for 368 yards in 10 games a year ago (his first at WR since his junior year of high school). Brown caught 31 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Aztecs return nine starters and 21 letterwinners on defense. San Diego State returns three starters from the defensive line, all three linebackers from possibly the best unit in the Mountain West Conference and three of the four in the secondary. Senior linebacker Russell Allen totalled 119 tackles last season to lead the team. Senior Vonnie Holmes and junior Aaron Moore, who each picked off four passes in `07, will lead an experienced secondary.
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Charlie Weis: A record combined win total for the first two seasons of any University of Notre Dame head football coach, consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances for the first time in Irish history, and the two most accomplished passing seasons in Notre Dame football annals - those are the most notable by-products of the first three seasons of the Charlie Weis era in South Bend.
Weis, a 1978 Notre Dame graduate and owner of four Super Bowl-champion rings as products of a stellar 15-season career as a National Football League assistant coach, wasted no time putting his signature stamp on his alma mater's program in his first two years as Irish head coach in 2005 and 2006.
Weis and his Irish followed up a 9-3 record in '05 and BCS appearance in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with a 10-3 overall mark in '06 and a second consecutive BCS invitation, this time to the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Those 19 combined wins (including eight straight in the middle of the '06 regular season) qualified as most in a two-year period by the Irish since they collected 21 in 1992-93. It was also the first time Notre Dame played in BCS games in successive years and the most prominent two-season bowl qualification since the Irish played in the Fiesta and Orange Bowls after the 1994 and '95 campaigns. The only schools to play in BCS games after both the '05 and '06 seasons were Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC.
Notre Dame's 10 regular-season wins in '06 marked the ninth time that figure had been achieved in Irish history. Weis' 19 combined wins in his first two seasons were the most by a Notre Dame head football coach in his first two years (the previous high was 17 by both Terry Brennan in 1954-55 and Dan Devine in 1975-76). For the second straight season in '06 Weis was one of three finalists for the George Munger Award presented by the Maxwell Football Club (of Philadelphia) to the college coach of the year.
A WIN THIS WEEK WOULD...
A LOSS THIS WEEK WOULD...
NOTRE DAME-SAN DIEGO STATE SERIES NOTES
Notre Dame and San Diego State will meet on the gridiron for the first time in the 120-year history of Irish football. The Aztecs are the 135th different opponent in Notre Dame football history. San Diego State is the first inaugural foe for the Irish since 2003 when Notre Dame knocked off Washington State, 29-26 in overtime, to open the season.
NOTRE DAME VS. THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
ON THIS DATE
Notre Dame has played three previous games in its history on Sept. 6. The Irish are 3-0 all-time on this date. All three previous meetings on this date have occurred inside Notre Dame Stadium:
OPENERS AN INDICATOR?
As stated previously, Notre Dame is 99-15-5 in season openers, but have they been foretelling of the season ahead? Take a look:
MORE ON OPENERS
COACHING IN THE CLUTCH
Knute Rockne owns the best career winning percentage among Notre Dame coaches in games decided by seven or fewer points, at 21-1-5 (.870). Among Irish coaches with 14-plus "close games," the other top winning percentages in tight games belong to Elmer Layden (22-7-3, .734), Frank Leahy (17-5-8, .700), Tyrone Willingham (10-5, .667), Ara Parseghian (13-6-4, .652), Dan Devine (15-9-1, .620), Bob Davie (14-12, .611) and Lou Holtz (20-18-2, .525). Current head coach Charlie Weis owns a .667 winning percentage in such games (6-3).
NOTRE DAME AND THE GOLDEN STATE
NOTRE DAME - SAN DIEGO STATE CONNECTIONS
FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Notre Dame has historically recruited from all across the country and 2008 is no different. A total of 29 different states are represented on the Irish roster. Among Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division IA), only Army has more states represented on its 2008 roster.
CRUMBLING THE COMPETITION
WHO SAYS KUNTZ IS UNDERSIZED?
SOMETHING BRUTON IN THE NOTRE DAME SECONDARY
CLAUSEN FOUND HIS WAY
CHECK OUT THAT SHINY KAMARA
Sophomore WR Duval Kamara finished 2007 with 32 receptions for 357 yards and four touchdowns. He set a pair of Notre Dame rookie receiving single-season records in 2007. Kamara's 32 receptions are the most ever by an Irish receiver, breaking the previous mark of 28 held by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown in 1984. His four receiving touchdowns are also the most ever by a Notre Dame freshman.
THOSE AREN'T BOOS, THEY'RE HUGHES
Sophomore HB Robert Hughes finished 2007 with 294 yards rushing on 53 carries and four touchdowns. He totaled 246 of those yards on 35 carries over the season's final two games. Hughes became the first Notre Dame freshman tailback to eclipse 100 yards rushing in consecutive weeks since Allen Pinkett during the 1982 season. Pinkett rushed for 129 yards against Navy (Oct. 30) and 112 yards against Pittsburgh (Nov. 6).
AR(MAN)DO TO BE RECKONED WITH
IRISH MADE LIFE OF OPPOSING QUARTERBACK DIFFICULT
Former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan (32-of-49 for 291 yards) was the only opposing quarterback to complete 60% of his passes (minimum of 20 attempts) against the Irish in 2007. He also was the only opposing signalcaller to surpass 255 yards in the air. Excluding Ryan, the Irish passing defense limited opposing quarterbacks to a combined completion percentage of 50.9% (149-of-293).
IRISH SECONDARY ONE OF THE MOST IMPROVED IN THE COUNTRY
NEXT WEEK: MICHIGAN
Notre Dame is back at home next weekend for its annual matchup with the Michigan Wolverines. Kickoff on NBC is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. The Wolverines dropped their season-opener and the debut of first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez last weekend, 25-23, to Utah. Michigan hosts Miami (Ohio) this weekend. Last year, the Wolverines routed the Irish, 38-0, at Michigan Stadium. The Irish lost their last meeting with Michigan at Notre Dame Stadium, 47-21, in 2006.
TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR 2008 FOOTBALL KICKOFF LUNCHEONS/b>
Tickets are now on sale for the 2008 Notre Dame Kickoff Luncheons held the Friday prior to each Irish home football game. The luncheons feature Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, Irish players and assistant coaches, plus special guests and other attractions.
Tickets are $18 each, with a handling fee of $3 (payment may be made with one check for more than one luncheon). There are 10 seats per table -- and if you wish to sit as a group at the same table with other guests, please return all reservations in one envelope.
Checks should be made payable to "University of Notre Dame" and mailed to: Athletics Business Office, 112 Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Telephone and credit card reservations are not accepted.
A printed reservation form also is available on Notre Dame's athletics web site at www.und.com.
The luncheons are held in the Joyce Center fieldhouse (north dome) on the Notre Dame campus, with a noon (ET) start. Be aware that advance reservations are required for tickets, and tickets are not routinely available at the door.
All 2008 pep rallies will be held in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome), unless moved inside Notre Dame Stadium, on Fridays before Saturday home games, beginning at 6 p.m. (ET). The Irish squad enters the arena at 6:30 p.m.
NOTRE DAME IN SEPTEMBER
Notre Dame has 29 players with at least one career start to their credit. The Irish had just 15 such players heading into last season's opener. Notre Dame has 10 players with double digit starts. Leading the way is senior LB Maurice Crum, Jr. with 37 career starts.
LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE '08
Every spring after spring drills, the Irish coaching staff votes on the Leadership Committee, which head coach Charlie Weis brought to Notre Dame in 2004. The Leadership Committee consists of players who serve in an advisory role.
NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL TEAM ECLIPSES 3.0 GPA FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT SEMESTER
Members of the 2007-08 Notre Dame football team combined to post a semester grade-point average above 3.0 during the '08 spring semester, marking the sixth straight semester (and the first six times in recorded history) that the Irish football team has topped the 3.0 GPA level as a group.
Fifty-four of the 104 players registered at least a 3.0 mark for the '08 spring semester and 53 members of the team currently have a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0.
Fourteen members of the team earned a place on the Dean's List and the team's current cumulative GPA is over 3.0.
Statistics for the semester cumulative GPAs of the football team were not kept prior to 1992, but before Weis' arrival in 2005, the previous best semester cumulative GPA was 2.911. Beginning with the '05 fall semester, the Irish football team has recorded over a 3.0 combined GPA in each semester.
Weis' first team in 2005 surpassed the 3.0 mark for the first time ever with a 3.044 combined GPA in the fall semester of '05. At that time, that marked the highest figure ever attained by the football team. Then, the Notre Dame players followed that up with a combined and unprecedented 3.072 mark in the spring semester of '06.
The fall semester of '06 saw the Irish football team post a 3.041 cumulative GPA and 61 of the 104 players achieved at least a 3.0 during that semester. In the spring of `07, Irish players improved on that and recorded a 3.043 combined GPA.
BRUTON NAMED TO JIM THORPE AWARD WATCH LIST
Senior FS David Bruton was one of 40 players named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. The Thorpe Award is given annually to college football's top defensive back.
Bruton is Notre Dame's top returning tackler in 2008 after ranking third on the squad last year with 85 tackles. In 2007, Bruton added one sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, two passes broken up, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while starting 11 of the 12 contests he played. He was a key member of an Irish secondary that ranked second in the nation in passing yards allowed per game, permitting just 161.6 yards per game.
Bruton is one of 11 free safeties to make the watch list. He enters 2008 with the second-most career tackles on the team and has been a special teams stalwart for the Irish.
CRUM JR. PLACED ON CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD WATCH LIST
Senior LB Maurice Crum Jr. was named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award. Crum was one of 75 players selected to the preseason list for the award presented to college football's outstanding defensive player.
Crum was one of 26 linebackers to make the list and one of 20 seniors at his position mentioned. The 6-0, 230-pounder enters 2008 with 241 career tackles, needing 54 stops to enter Notre Dame's top-10 list for career tackles. Crum has started every game over the past three seasons and holds Notre Dame's longest active streak for most consecutive games played and started (37). A 2008 graduate of Notre Dame with a degree in sociology, Crum was voted captain for the 2008 season becoming just the 17th two-time football team captain in school history.
CLAUSEN NAMED TO MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST
Sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen was one of 75 players named to the 2008 Maxwell Award Watch List. The preseason list was based on individual performances during the 2007 season.
Clausen was one of 26 quarterbacks to make the list and one of only three sophomore signal-callers honored (a total of 12 sophomores made the list). The 6-3, 212-pounder started nine of the 10 games he appeared in last year and made his mark on Notre Dame's freshman passing records. Clausen started the second game of the 2007 season, the earliest any Notre Dame quarterback had started at that position since freshmen regained eligibility in 1972. He completed 138 of 245 passes for 1,254 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions in his rookie season. Clausen ranks second on Notre Dame's freshman quarterback single-season lists for completions, attempts, yards and completion percentage.
BRUTON AND CRUM JR. NAMED TO NAGURSKI TROPHY WATCH LIST
Senior FS David Bruton and senior linebacker Maurice Crum Jr. have both been named to the watch list for the 2008 Bronko Nagurski Trophy. They are two of 88 players selected to the watch list of the Nagurski Trophy that is awarded annually to the best defensive player in college football.
CRUM JR. NAMED TO LOTT TROPHY WATCH LIST AGAIN
Senior LB Maurice Crum Jr. is among 42 of the top defensive players in the nation to be named to the 2008 Lott Trophy Watch List.
Crum, who was named to the 2007 watch list, is one of seven repeat nominees. The other players nominated for a second straight year are Jonathan Casillas of Wisconsin, Brian Cushing of USC, Zack Follett of Cal, Nic Harris of Oklahoma and Darryl Richard of Georgia Tech.
NOTRE DAME, NBC SPORTS EXTEND FOOTBALL CONTRACT THROUGH 2015
The University of Notre Dame and NBC Sports have reached agreement on a new five-year contract giving NBC the rights to televise Irish home football games from 2011 to 2015, extending the partnership between the University and network to 25 years.
A joint announcement of the extension was made on June 19 by NBC Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer and Notre Dame's president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
Each season from 2011 to 2015, NBC will televise seven games at Notre Dame Stadium and an additional eighth off-site game airing in prime time.
Revenues from the NBC contract have played a key role in Notre Dame's financial aid endowment since the start of the relationship in 1991. University officers decided then to use a portion of the football television contract revenue for undergraduate scholarship endowment (not athletic scholarships). To date, some 2,400 Notre Dame undergraduate students have received nearly $26 million in aid.
The University also has committed NBC revenues to endow doctoral fellowships in its Graduate School and MBA scholarships in its Mendoza College of Business.
The revenue generated through the NBC contract is a primary reason why Forbes magazine has recognized the substantial financial contributions made by Irish athletics to the University's academic enterprise. In a 2007 survey, Forbes reported that the Notre Dame football program returns $21.1 million to academic initiatives, a total that is more than the survey's next five programs combined.
NBC has been televising Irish home games since 1991, and this marks the fifth of a series of five-year agreements with Notre Dame. The original agreement covered the seasons from 1991 through 1995. The first five-year extension (announced in 1994) covered 1996 to 2000, the second extension (announced in May '97) covered 2001 to 2005, and the third extension (announced in December '03) covered 2006 to 2010.
NOTRE DAME AND ISP JOIN TO PRODUCE FOOTBALL RADIO NETWORK
The University of Notre Dame and ISP Sports, have approved a new, 10-year business partnership in which ISP will become the new exclusive national rights-holder for Notre Dame football radio broadcasts.
The Notre Dame-ISP relationship will begin with the 2008 season and extend through the 2017 season -- with ISP managing, producing and syndicating Notre Dame's national football radio network.
ISP, the largest collegiate-only sports marketing firm in the country, represents athletics marketing and multi-media rights for more than 40 Division I-A universities, five major conferences (including two Bowl Championship Series conferences, the BIG EAST Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference) and two postseason football bowl games.
ISP takes over for Westwood One, which had held Irish football radio rights since 1968, originally as the Mutual Broadcasting Company.
ISP has named Ron Murphy the general manager for the Notre Dame ISP Sports Network. Murphy brings over 30 years of advertising sales and management experience, having worked for several notable companies such as CBS, Yankee Entertainment and Sports (Y.E.S.) and FOX Sports Net.
Murphy joins ISP's team of more than 250 professional sales people dedicated to the collegiate market, with relationships with more than 800 radio stations (and more than 100 television stations) around the country.
Headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C., ISP has nearly 50 sales offices around the country. Sutton founded the company in 1992. Among ISP clients are seven ACC athletic programs (Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest), five from the BIG EAST (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse, Villanova), five from the Southeastern Conference (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt) and three from the Pacific-10 Conference (California, UCLA, Washington). In 2007, the BIG EAST Conference and ISP announced a six-year agreement involving virtually all conference marketing and sales.
Notre Dame remains the only college football program to have its games broadcast on a truly national radio network of linear stations. Joe Boland, former sports director at WSBT in South Bend, originated the Irish Football Network in 1948. In 1956, the Mutual Broadcasting System first carried Notre Dame games on approximately 560 stations. From 1958-67, the ABC Radio Network carried Irish games on a similar-sized network. Mutual began carrying Notre Dame games again in 1968 (that year with 253 affiliates). Mutual eventually became Westwood One (now a publicly held company managed and partly owned by CBS Radio).
IRISH ATHLETICS TO TEAM WITH WSBT RADIO GROUP
The University of Notre Dame athletics department has partnered with the WSBT Radio Group for the next six years (2008-09 through 2013-14), making WSBT the radio home of Notre Dame football, men's basketball, and hockey in the South Bend market.
WSBT Radio Group will be the designated exclusive local radio partner for Notre Dame football network broadcasts, with those games carried on NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM as well as on Sunny 101.5 FM. Irish football games are originated by the ISP Notre Dame Radio Network, a national listings of stations around the country.
In addition, WSBT Radio Group will carry the Notre Dame Football Friday Live Show on Cat country 99.9 FM, the Notre Dame Football Postgame Show home and away on Sunny 101.5 FM - and the Notre Dame Football Coaches Shows on NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM (on weeknights during the season). All three of those shows are produced by NDSP.
NewsTalk 960 WSBT-AM also will originate the annual Blue-Gold spring football game.
YOUNG TO RECEIVE HARVEY G. FOSTER AWARD
Bryant Young, a 1994 Notre Dame graduate and former Irish and professional football player, will receive the Harvey G. Foster Award during a halftime ceremony at the Notre Dame-San Diego State game Sept. 6. The Foster Award is given annually to a Notre Dame graduate distinguished for athletic endeavors and community service.
An All-American defensive tackle for the Irish, Young played for 13 years with the San Francisco 49ers before retiring last year with 89 career sacks. His NFL accolades include Defensive Rookie of the Year, four Pro-Bowl and All-Pro honors, selection to the 1990s All Decade Team and Comeback Player of the Year after suffering a potentially career-ending leg injury in 1999. Last year, Young's teammates voted him the winner of the Len Eshmont Award, the team's most prestigious honor for inspirational and courageous play, for a record eighth time. No other player in 49ers history has won the award more than twice.
Young and his wife, Kristin (also a 1994 Notre Dame graduate), established the Young Dreams Foundation, which benefits youth organizations in San Francisco and Chicago. The supports summer youth football camps and college tuition for San Francisco Bay Area students. In addition, the Youngs have established several scholarships at Notre Dame for San Francisco and Chicago students.
For his philanthropic efforts, Young was named USA Today's Most Caring Athlete in 2000 and was nominated as one of the 10 Most Influential African-Americans in the Bay Area.
ROCKNE AND YONTO
They represent two of the most storied names in Fighting Irish annals when it comes to coaching football at Notre Dame.
That Irish football family lost two individuals with major connections to the University's coaching tree late this past summer with the deaths of Jack Rockne and Joe Yonto.
Rockne was the last remaining child of legendary Irish coach Knute Rockne. A long-time South Bend resident, Jack had been closely involved with Notre Dame athletics in recent years through the athletic department's Rockne Heritage Fund. Though never associated with football the way his famous father was, he had been a frequent fan at Irish home games of late. In 2006 he received an honorary monogram from the Notre Dame Monogram Club in recognition of his contributions and dedication to the University.
Yonto made his name as the long-time Notre Dame defensive line coach, beginning in 1964 when Ara Parseghian came to town and continuing on Dan Devine's staff and several years under Lou Holtz. When he wasn't coaching on the field, he worked under athletics directors Gene Corrigan and Dick Rosenthal as a special assistant to the athletics director while helping administer the football program. Yonto coached a glossy list of All-Americans and first-round NFL draft picks, including the likes of Alan Page, Mike McCoy, Walt Patulski and Ross Browner.
Rockne and Yonto.
They were loyal sons of Notre Dame. They will be missed.
-- John Heisler
Following a long tradition of Notre Dame two-sport athletes, the trio of junior P Eric Maust, senior QB Evan Sharpley and sophomore WR Golden Tate -- all of whom made major contributions for the Irish baseball squad this past spring -- will again suit up for the Notre Dame football team in 2008.
Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) filled in at punter during the 2007 season and averaged a team-high 42.1 yards on 21 punts, landing nine inside the 20 with only one touchback. He enters the 2008 season as the starting punter for the Irish. On the diamond, Maust served as the Irish Sunday starter, went 6-3 with a 4.52 earned-run average. He was named to the BIG EAST honor roll on two separate occasions during the season and was awarded all-BIG EAST second team.
Sharpley (Marshall, Mich.) had a breakout spring season in baseball. After spending most of the previous two springs with the Irish football squad, Sharpley turned his attention to baseball almost exclusively and the development was evident. He led the Irish in home runs (13) and slugging percentage (.691). Sharpley is the first Notre Dame player to ever throw multiple touchdown passes and hit a home run in the same academic year. He was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on March 24 after carrying Notre Dame to a sweep over Georgetown.
Tate (Hendersonville, Tenn.) saw action in 18 games (started nine) for the Irish baseball squad. He batted .262 with three doubles and four RBI. Tate also swiped three bases in five attempts. While Tate's participating in spring football somewhat hindered his playing time, his incredible athletic ability did not go unnoticed. None more evident than when he scored from first base, standing and without a throw, on a single to right field against Lehigh.
Former Notre Dame walk-on and current senior OC Thomas Bemenderfer was elevated to scholarship status prior to the start of the 2008 season, as was junior P Eric Maust and senior CB Mike Anello.
Anello (Orland Park, Ill.) earned the scholarship following a sensational 2007 season. Anello was a starting gunner on the punt coverage team and tallied six tackles. He is currently involved in many of the special teams units for the 2008 season. Anello owns a 3.93 cumulative grade-point average (GPA), qualifying him for the dean's list, and is a finance major in Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.
Bemenderfer (Mishawaka, Ind.) earned a scholarship for the second straight season. He began his college career as a scholarship athlete at Northwestern University before transferring to Notre Dame for the 2006-07 school year. He is currently listed as the backup center. A member of the dean's list, Bemenderfer is enrolled in pre-professional studies in the College of Science and has a 3.762 GPA.
Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) filled in at punter during the 2007 season and averaged a team-high 42.1 yards on 21 punts, landing nine inside the 20 with only one touchback. A junior from Atlanta, Ga., Maust enters the 2008 season as the starting punter for the Irish. He is also one of the top pitchers for Notre Dame's baseball team and recorded a 6-3 record last season. Maust is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business, majoring in finance, and owns a 3.153 GPA.
Notre Dame's freshman class includes 23 scholarship players and four walk-ons: quarterback Nate Montana (who will be sharing No. 16), OL Carl Brophy (who will be wearing No. 69), Mike Hernandez (who will be wearing No. 65) and Dennis Mahoney (who will be wearing No. 71). Montana is the son of former Notre Dame quarterback and four-time NFL Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana. Brophy attended Gonzaga Preparatory School as did his sister Annie, a junior member of the Irish women's golf team. She became first outright BIG EAST medalist in Notre Dame program history.
RANK AND FILE
Notre Dame's penchant for playing the best teams in the country is well known. In fact, over the last 21 seasons (1987-2007), the Irish have played 98 games against ranked opponents, an average of nearly five games per season. Notre Dame has posted a record of 49-47-2 (.510) in these games, including a 24-17-1 (.595) mark against ranked teams at home.
IN FRONT OF A FULL HOUSE
Notre Dame has played in front of sellout crowds in 201 of its previous 230 games, including 76 of its last 84 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). At Michigan in 2003, the Irish and Wolverines attracted the largest crowd in NCAA history (111,726), marking the third time in the history of the series that an NCAA attendance record was set. Including the 2006 game at Georgia Tech, the Irish have been part of establishing a new stadium attendance record seven times since 2001. The list also includes: at Nebraska and Texas A&M in 2001, at Air Force and Florida State in 2002, home vs. Boston College in 2002, vs. Oregon State in the Insight Bowl in 2004 (the game set a Bank One Ballpark record for football configuration). Notre Dame and Michigan played before an over-capacity 111,386 at Michigan Stadium in September of 2005. At Purdue in `05, the Irish and Boilermakers played before 65,491 football fans, a Ross-Ade Stadium record (since the renovation of the facility in 2003). Penn State drew the second largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history for the meeting with the Irish last season.
SIRIUS TO BE EXCLUSIVE INTERNET RADIO BROADCASTER
SIRIUS XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI), the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the University of Notre Dame, announced Sept. 2 that, starting this season, SIRIUS will offer Fighting Irish football and basketball games on SIRIUS Internet Radio (SIR), the Internet version of the SIRIUS radio service. SIRIUS Internet Radio will be the exclusive online home of every Notre Dame regular season football game and will also carry every Fighting Irish regular season basketball game live.
It marks the first time that radio broadcasts of live sporting events are available on the SIRIUS Internet Radio platform.
SIRIUS Internet Radio is the Internet version of the SIRIUS radio service, available without the use of a radio to current SIRIUS subscribers, or for the monthly subscription fee of $12.95. SIRIUS Internet Radio delivers more than 80 channels of talk, entertainment, sports, and 100% commercial free music in CD-quality sound.
SIRIUS, which has aired Notre Dame sports since 2004, will also continue to broadcast the university's football and basketball games nationwide on the SIRIUS radio service. All Notre Dame games air on The Catholic Channel, SIRIUS channel 159.
The Notre Dame football broadcasts are produced by ISP on the Notre Dame Radio Network.
ONLY THE BIG BOYS
Notre Dame is one of just five NCAA Division I-A programs that has never faced a non-Division I-A opponent since the current division setup was established in 1978 (the division's names have undergone a change this year, but the setup is still the same). The four remaining schools that have yet to play a non-Division I-A opponent since the advent of the current format are Michigan State, USC, UCLA and Washington.
NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL FRIDAY LIVE
Every Friday night before a home game Notre Dame Football Friday Live is broadcast from Waterford Estates Lodge on SR 933 North of the Notre Dame campus from 8-9 pm on Cat Country 99.9 FM. Jack Nolan will host the show with former consensus Irish All-American Mirko Jurkovic. The show features live interviews with big names from Notre Dame football lore. The show can also be heard live on www.und.com.
Nearly 30 members of the University of Notre Dame's 1953 football team will be returning for their 55th reunion this weekend when Notre Dame opens its 2008 season against San Diego State.
Members of the squad will be honored throughout the weekend, including at the game on Saturday.
Team members tentatively expected to return are Bob Arrix, Pat Bisceglia, Joe Bush, Leo Callaghan, Wayne Edmonds, Dick Fitzgerald, Dick Frasor, Dick Hendricks, Bob Joseph, John Kegaly, John Lattner, Jack Lee, Fred Mann, Paul Matz, Coach Bob McBride, Tom McHugh, Jim Mense, Jim Milota, Rockne Morrissey, Sam Palumbo, Tony Pasquesi, Bob Ready, Bob Rigali, Paul Robst, Bob Salvino, Robert Taylor, Frank Varrichione and Neil Worden.
On its way to a 9-0-1 record, the 1953 Irish defeated five ranked opponents, including wins over fifth-rated Oklahoma, 15th-ranked Pittsburgh, fourth-ranked Georgia Tech (ending a 31-game Yellow Jacket win streak), 20th-rated Navy and 20th-ranked USC.
Led by Heisman Trophy winner Lattner, the Irish ranked second nationally in total offense, and fourth in both scoring and rushing.
Notre Dame that season produced the only backfield in the history of college football to have all four starters drafted by the NFL in the first round - Lattner, running backs Joe Heap and Worden and quarterback Ralph Guglielmi.
Lattner won both the Heisman and Maxwell awards and was a unanimous first-team All-American. Tackle Art Hunter was a United Press International first-team pick, and end Don Penza was a second-team selection. Heap also was an Academic All-American that year.
The Irish finished second in the final AP and UPI polls to end the regular season behind unbeaten Maryland. But, after the Terps lost in the Orange Bowl, 10 other selectors chose Notre Dame the national champion.