ready for Michigan.
Notre Dame Football Pregame Release
Irish host Michigan in gridiron opener.
September 1, 1998
#5 (AP and Coaches) Michigan Wolverines (0-0) at
#22/#24 (AP/Coaches) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0)
The Date: Saturday, September 5, 1998
The Time: 2:30 p.m. EST
The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,012/natural grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The Tickets: They're all sold -- with this game marking the 137th consecutive sellout in Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity and the six 1997 games at the 80,225 capacity). Today marks Notre Dame's 185th home sellout in the last 186 games, dating back to 1964.
The Television Plans: NBC Sports national telecast with Dick Enberg (play by play), Pat Haden (analysis), Jim Gray (sideline) and Tommy Roy (producer). International telecasts also are available via CNBC.
The Radio Plans: For the 31st consecutive season, all Notre Dame football games are broadcast nationally on radio by Mutual/Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play by play) and Tom Pagna (analysis). The Mutual Network includes nearly 300 stations and many of the games receive worldwide exposure on the Armed Forces Radio Network. Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available during every Notre Dame home game, via the Notre Dame athletic website (www.und.com).
The Head Coach
Bob Davie finished 7-6 (.538) in his first season as a collegiate head coach in 1997. His squad's victories over #11 LSU and #22 West Virginia marked the first time a Notre Dame team had beaten ranked foes on two straight Saturdays since November '92 (54-7 over #9 Boston College, then 17-16 over #22 Penn State).
It marked Davie's fourth year at Notre Dame overall after serving as the Irish defensive coordinator and inside linebacker coach from 1994-96. Davie previously coached nine seasons at Texas A&M (1985-93), two at Tulane (1983-84), four overall at Pittsburgh (1977, 1980-82) and two at Arizona (1978-79). He spent both seasons at Tulane as defensive coordinator and the last five seasons at Texas A&M in that role before coming to Notre Dame.
Davie, hired as Irish head coach on Nov. 24, 1996, did gain particular insight into that position in '95 when he filled in briefly for Lou Holtz after Holtz underwent neck surgery.
The Injury Update (as of Aug. 30)
Sophomore defensive end Kurt Vollers Broken right wrist
Senior defensive end Lamont Bryant Surgical knee inflamed
Freshman split end David Givens Hip flexor
Junior offensive guard Jim Jones Right ankle sprain
Senior outside linebacker Kory Minor Left ankle sprain
Junior center Rob Mowl Lower back strain
Junior placekicker Jim Sanson Quad muscle strain
THE KEY NOTES
Ready to Rally: The weekend festivities include a Notre Dame Stadium open house, a pep rally in the stadium and a reunion for Notre Dame's 1988 national championship team.
For Openers: Notre Dame is 11-3-1 when opening versus an AP-ranked team, including a win in its only previous opener versus a defending NCAA champion, Pittsburgh in 1977.
Memorable Series: Notre Dame holds an 8-7-1 series edge on Michigan since '78, with four of the last 14 games decided in the final 2:00 and only two decided by more than 10 points.
Wake up the Echoes: Since 1987, the Irish are 9-2-1 at Notre Dame Stadium versus top-10 ranked teams and 5-1 against teams that are ranked first through fifth.
Milestones: TB Autry Denson could cap a record-setting career in 1998 while fellow senior Jarious Jackson is hoping to become the eighth straight Irish QB to win his first start.
One More Look Back: The Irish can take encouragement from several aspects of the 1997 season, including a second-half surge that ranked among the best in the nation.
ESPN Gameday: Host Chris Fowler will join analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Hirbstreet and reporter Tony Barnhart in South Bend on Sept. 5, to kick off the 20th season of college football on ESPN.
Here's where Notre Dame has stood in the polls during the '98 season:
Date Associated Press USA Today/ESPN
Preseason 22nd 24th
The Irish stood 15th in the preseason Sagarin ratings published in USA Today.
NOTRE DAME STADIUM OPEN HOUSE
Fans arriving a day early for the Notre Dame-Michigan game can take advantage of an open house from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST on Friday, Sept. 4, at Notre Dame Stadium. Interested fans should enter through the stadium's east gate (across from the Joyce Center), where they will be directed to the starting point of a self-guided tour.
FRIDAY FOOTBALL LUNCHEONS
As of Aug. 30, some tickets remained available for the first 1998 Notre Dame football luncheon, scheduled for noon on Sept. 4 in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome). The luncheons will be held at the same day and time before every Irish home game this season. The 1998 football luncheons are sponsored by the Notre Dame Athletic Department and the speaking program each week includes remarks from head coach Bob Davie, several of his assistant coaches and several members of the Irish squad, in addition to video features. Tickets are $16 each (plus $3 handling charge per order) and are available by calling (219) 272-2870.
EXPANDED PEP RALLY SLATED FOR STADIUM
Notre Dame's traditional Friday night pep rally will return to Notre Dame Stadium on Sept. 4, with a special start time of 6:30 p.m. Two football pep rallies were held in the stadium during the 1997 season, prior to the games versus Georgia Tech and Michigan State. The final five 1998 pep rallies will return to the Joyce Center Arena (south dome), with planned start times of 7:00 p.m. The 1997 Georgia Tech pep rally drew a crowd of more than 30,000 to Notre Dame Stadium. Stadium pep rally seating will be on the west (pressbox) side, with entrance at Gates D and E. Sections again will be specifically reserved for students. Gates will open to the public at 5:45, with the band and cheerleaders set to perform at 6:30. Introductions of a guest speaker, the '98 team and 1988 national championship reunion participants will begin at approximately 7:00, with closing songs at 7:15.
DORMS AGAIN TO PLAY ROLE IN RALLIES
One of the first things Bob Davie did as head football coach at Notre Dame is work with a student committee to create greater student involvement in the pep rallies and the games themselves. For the second consecutive year, Notre Dame's six home games will have five or six residence halls assigned to them, and the students from those halls will receive shirts and will be particularly involved in organizing the rallies and gameday student spirit involvement. The female dorms involved with the Michigan-week activities include Breen-Phillips, Cavanaugh and Farley, while the men's dorms are Keenan, Stanford and Zahm. Dormitory life provides the foundation for many social activities on the Notre Dame campus and most students remain in the same dorm for all four years. Nearly 85 percent of all Notre Dame undergraduates reside in the school's 27 dormitories.
HUNDREDS OF FORMER PLAYERS SET TO RETURN, FORM PREGAME "TUNNEL"
Another Bob Davie-inspired tradition will continue with the 1998 opener versus Michigan, as prior to the game the 1998 team will run through a tunnel comprised of former Irish football players. Davie wrote a letter to every former Notre Dame football player during the summer of 1997, with the University providing them with the opportunity to buy two tickets to the season opener and inviting them to be part of the tunnel ceremony. Nearly 250 Irish football alumni formed the tunnel prior to the 1997 opener versus Georgia Tech and approximately 300 former players are expected to form the tunnel prior to this season's opener versus Michigan.
The official 1998 Notre Dame-Michigan football game programs will first go on sale the morning of Friday, Sept. 4, at several locations around the exterior of Notre Dame Stadium. This year's first-game program features a certificate that may be redeemed for a free 26''-by-22'' poster depicting Irish head coach Bob Davie and senior captains Bobbie Howard, Kory Minor and Mike Rosenthal, with a backdrop of the interior of Notre Dame Stadium. The poster certificates can be redeemed at Joyce Center locations on Sept. 4 in addition to the traditional program-selling areas on both Sept. 4 and 5. The cost for the Notre Dame vs. Michigan game program will be $7.00.
1988 NATIONAL CHAMPS SET TO REUNITE
The Notre Dame-Michigan weekend will provide an extra dose of nostalgia for Irish football fans, as Notre Dame's 1988 national championship team will be holding its 10-year reunion. Members of the reunion group will attend the Friday night pep rally at Notre Dame Stadium, while the squad is scheduled to be introduced prior to the kickoff of Saturday's game.
The 1988 team went 12-0 en route to the national title, with noteworthy wins over #1 Miami (31-10), at #2 USC (27-10) and over #3 West Virginia (34-21) in the Fiesta Bowl.
The starting offense and defense from that squad both produced 10 players who eventually were drafted by National Football League teams while a total of 12 members of the 1988 team were still active on NFL rosters as of Aug. 30, and thus will not be able to attend the reunion: Derek Brown (Oakland), Bob Dahl (Washington), Tim Brown (Oakland), Tim Grunhard (Kansas City), Andy Heck (Chicago), Raghib Ismail (Carolina), Anthony Johnson (Carolina), Scott Kowalkowski (Detroit), Todd Lyght (St. Louis), Rod Smith (Carolina), Pat Terrell (Green Bay) and Ricky Watters (Seattle).
LET THE GAMES BEGIN
Notre Dame is 91-12-5 (.866) in season openers, including a 65-9-3 (.864) mark in season-opening games played at home. The last time the Irish lost a season-opening game in Notre Dame Stadium was in 1995, when Northwestern defeated Notre Dame 17-15. Prior to that defeat, the Irish had won eight straight season openers (four of those at Notre Dame Stadium), dating back to Michigan's 24-23 victory at Notre Dame Stadium in '86 in the first game of the Lou Holtz era.
OPENERS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS
The Irish are 11-3-1 when opening the season versus a team ranked in the AP poll, since that poll began in 1936. That mark includes an unbeaten performance on the road (4-0-1), highlighted by a 28-21 win at #6 Oklahoma in 1953, a 19-9 win at #7 Pittsburgh in 1977, a 12-10 win at #6 Michigan in 1979 and a 26-7 win at #9 Michigan in 1987. The Irish are 7-3 when opening the season at home versus AP-ranked teams, including: 21-0 over #4 Texas in 1954, 45-21 over #5 Oklahoma in 1968, 19-17 over #9 Michigan in 1988 and 28-24 over #4 Michigan in 1990.
VERSUS HIGHER-RANKED TEAMS
Notre Dame has faced a season opener versus a higher-ranked opponent in the AP poll just seven times previously, going 4-3 in those games. The wins include: 12-10 at #6 Michigan in 1979 (the Irish were #9), 31-10 versus #9 Purdue in 1980 (#11), 26-7 at #9 Michigan in 1987 (#16) and 19-17 versus #9 Michigan in 1988 (#13). The losses include two when the Irish were unranked-14-9 at #6 Wisconsin in 1963 and 24-23 versus #3 Michigan in 1986-plus a 31-10 home loss to #9 Pittsburgh in 1976 (the Irish were #11).
In season openers, Notre Dame has never defeated a team ranked more than seven spots higher than the Irish in the AP poll. Notre Dame's "biggest" season-opening upset came in 1987, when the #16-ranked Irish won at #9 Michigan (26-7).
VERSUS THE DEFENDING CHAMPS
Notre Dame has faced the defending AP national champion just once previously in a season opener (since 1937), coming away with a 19-9 win at #7-ranked and defending champ Pittsburgh in 1977 (the Irish were ranked #3 prior to that game). Overall, Notre Dame is 8-7-3 when playing a defending AP or UPI national champion at some point during the following season (7-5-1 versus consensus AP and UPI defending champs, since 1950). Three of those wins over defending champs helped spur the Irish on to the national title: 23-14 over #6 USC in 1973, the 19-9 win at #7 Pittsburgh in '77 and 31-30 over #1 Miami in 1988 (Notre Dame was #8, #3 and #4 respectively in those games). The Irish also went on to capture the 1966 title after tying defending UPI champion and #2-ranked Michigan State, 10-10 (the Irish were #1 at the time). The other four wins over defending AP and UPI champions include: 7-0 at #2 Oklahoma (1957), 17-14 vs. #7 USC (1963), 7-0 over #5 Alabama, in Birmingham (1980) and 29-20 over #2 Miami in 1990. The Irish were ranked #6 at the time of the above wins over Alabama and Miami.
OPENING VERSUS THE BIG TEN
The 1998 Michigan game will mark Notre Dame's 41st season opener versus a Big Ten Conference school, versus seven different teams: Michigan (10), Northwestern (10), Purdue (7), Indiana (6), Illinois (3), Wisconsin (3) and Michigan State (2). The Irish are 33-6-1 when opening the season versus a Big Ten team, with the losses coming to Michigan (4), Northwestern and Wisconsin (which also owns the opening tie versus Notre Dame). Notre Dame is 5-4 when opening the season versus Michigan (3-3 at home). Over the past 20 seasons (1979-98), Notre Dame has opened versus a Big Ten team 16 times, with an 11-4 mark in those games heading into the Sept. 5 game versus Michigan. Half of those 16 recent openers versus Big Ten teams have come versus Michigan (8), with the others versus Northwestern (4), Purdue (3) and Indiana (1).
MEMORABLE NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN OPENERS
9/15/79 #9 ND 12 at #6 Michigan 10
Bob Crable blocks Michigan FG try with one second to play; Chuck Male: four FGs (40, 44, 22, 39).
9/18/82 at #20 ND 23 #10 Michigan 17
Blair Kiel: 15-of-22 for 141 yards; Dave Duerson's late INT preserves win; first home night game.
9/13/86 #3 Michigan 24 at ND 23
John Carney misses 45-yard FG with 0:15 left; Irish enter AP poll next week, despite loss.
9/12/87 #16 ND 26 at #9 Michigan 7
Irish force seven turnovers, hold Michigan to 315 total yards.
9/10/88 at #13 ND 19 #9 Michigan 17
Reggie Ho collects fourth FG with 1:13 to play, UM's Mike Gillette misses from 48 as time expires.
9/15/90 at #1 ND 28 #4 Michigan 24
Irish win on 18-yard pass from Rick Mirer to Adrian Jarrell with 1:40 to play.
Michigan leads 16-10, with one tie in '92 at Notre Dame Stadium. But Notre Dame has won eight of the last 15 meetings (5-2-1 in the last eight) since the series was renewed in 1978 (no games in '83 or '84, or '95 or '96).
The series dates back to 1887, when Notre Dame played its first varsity football game against Michigan in South Bend. In six straight games from '89 through '94, each of the teams was ranked 11th or higher in the AP poll. The teams did not play in '95 or '96 so the Irish could play Ohio State. Michigan holds a 7-4-1 edge in all games at Notre Dame but the series is even at Notre Dame Stadium (4-4-1).
The last 11 games of the series (including 1998) have featured at least one team ranked in the national top 10. But lower-ranked teams have won two of the last three games in the series and, since 1942, the lower-ranked teams hold a 9-8-1 edge in the series.
Second-year Irish defensive coordinator Greg Mattison was the Michigan defensive coordinator during the 1995 and 1996 seasons and served as defensive line coach from 1992-96.
Irish coordinator of football operations Bob Chmiel served in the Michigan athletic department as an assistant to the athletic director (1994), recruiting coordinator (1988-93) and defensive assistant coach (1981-84). His wife Anne is the sister of former Wolverine players Don and Billy Dufek and daughter of former Wolverine Don Dufek Sr.
Freshman flanker Javin Hunter (Orchard Lake/Detroit County Day HS) is the only scholarship player from the state of Michigan on the 1998 Irish roster.
Notre Dame sophomore linebacker Grant Irons is the brother of former Michigan All-American Jarrett Irons (1993-96).
IRISH, WOLVERINES RANK AT TOP OF MOST LISTS
Notre Dame has won 11 national titles-most by any school-while Michigan has won nine.
Coming into the 1998 campaign, Notre Dame ranks first all-time in NCAA Division I winning percentage at .759, with Michigan second at .745.
Notre Dame currently has 753 all-time victories, while Michigan leads with 776 thanks to eight more seasons of play than the Irish.
Notre Dame also ranks first in NCAA history for: times ranked in the AP poll (609), consensus All-Americans (77), NFL draft picks (416) and first-round NFL draft picks (56). Michigan is second in each of those categories, with 599 appearances in the AP poll, 55 consensus All-Americans, 322 NFL draft picks and 41 first-round NFL draft picks.
Michigan holds the record for consecutive appearances in the AP poll (160, from 1962-80) followed closely by Notre Dame's run from 1964-75 (159).
Six of the last eight Notre-Dame-Michigan games have been decided by five points or less while only two of the last 15 games have been decided by more than 10 points: Michigan's 25-7 home win in 1981 and Notre Dame's 26-7 win at Michigan in '87.
Since the Notre Dame-Michigan series resumed in 1978, the average margin has been just 6.5 points over the span of 16 games, with the Irish holding an 8-7-1 edge since '78.
The combined scores of the series' last four games are Notre Dame 82, Michigan 87, thanks to a tie, a four-point Irish win, a two-point Michigan win and last year's seven-point Michigan win. The combined scores for the last eight games are Notre Dame 167 and Michigan 171, with the average margin in those games being just 4.25 points.
Four of the last 14 games in the series have seen the winning points come in the final two minutes (1980, '88, '90 and '94), including two that were decided in the final seconds ('80 and '94).
WELCOME TO THE NEW MILLENNIUM
Notre Dame and Michigan are scheduled to meet again in 1999 (at Michigan Stadium). The series then will take a two-year break but the teams are slated to meet every season from 2002-2010.
VERSUS THE BIG TEN
Notre Dame is 28-8-1 in its last 37 games vs. Big Ten opponents, including a 14-game win streak from '86-'91. The Irish are just 5-7 versus Big Ten teams since 1994 - with Michigan (twice), Northwestern, Michigan State, Purdue and Ohio State (twice) all recording wins over the Irish in that span.
The following performances are tied for first in the Notre Dame record book and came in games versus Michigan: 2 kickoff returns for TD (Raghib Ismail, 1989); and 26 tackles by a linebacker (Bob Golic, 1978).
The following performances rank second in the Irish record book and came in games versus Michigan (all on 4 att.): 4 FGs, by Chuck Male ('79), John Carney ('85) and Reggie Ho ('88); and 192 kickoff return yards by Raghib Ismail ('89, 3 returns).
Harry Oliver's 51-yard FG versus Michigan in 1980 is tied for second-longest in Irish history while Ricky Watters' 81-yard punt return versus the Wolverines in '88 ranks 10th all-time at Notre Dame.
A win by the #22-ranked Irish over the #5-ranked Wolverines would rank among the top upsets-based on rankings-in the program's history. In fact, there have been just three previous games in which an Irish team that was not ranked among the AP top 20 defeated a team that was in the top five (since the AP poll began in 1936): 7-6 at #4 Minnesota in 1937, 7-0 at #2 Oklahoma in 1957, and 31-16 at #1 Pittsburgh in 1982. There have been three additional Notre Dame victories in which a ranked Irish team has defeated a team ranked more than 10 spots higher in the AP poll: the #19-ranked 1952 team that won 14-3 at #5 Texas, the #18-ranked 1991 team that shocked #3 Florida in the Sugar Bowl (39-28) and the #17-ranked 1995 squad that upset #5 USC, 38-10.
VERSUS THE TOP 25
Notre Dame is 16-9-1 in Notre Dame Stadium versus AP top 25 opponents during the past 11 years (19-15-1 away-including 5-5 in bowls-for 35-24-2 overall from '86-'97). The '97 season marked the third straight year the Irish played a streak of three consecutive ranked opponents - with Notre Dame going 2-1 in both '95 and '96 against the run of Texas, Ohio State and Washington. In '97, it was consecutive dates against #17 Michigan State, #6 Michigan and #19 Stanford.
The Irish have posted 12 home wins over AP top-25 teams during the 1990s, with five of those games coming by large margins (35, 47, 28, 28 and 34 points). Those 1990s home wins have come versus: #22 West Virginia (1997, 21-14), #16 Washington (1996, 54-20), #5 USC (1995, 38-10), #13 Texas (1995, 55-27), #1 Florida State (1993, 31-24), #3 Michigan (1993, 27-23), #22 Penn State (1992, 17-16), #9 Boston College (1992, 54-7), #12 Pittsburgh (1991, 42-7), #9 Tennessee (1990, 34-29), #2 Miami (1990, 29-20) and #4 Michigan (1990, 28-24).
VERSUS THE TOP-10 AND TOP-5
Since 1987, Notre Dame is 9-2-1 in Notre Dame Stadium versus teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll, including a 5-1 record versus top-five ranked teams.
That 9-2-1 mark includes six straight wins from '87-'90, vs. #10 Alabama (37-6), #9 Michigan (19-17), #1 Miami (31-30), #7 Pittsburgh (45-7), #4 Michigan (28-24) and #2 Miami (29-20). The other wins: vs. #9 Boston College ('92, 54-7), #1 Florida State ('93, 31-24) and #5 USC ('95, 38-10).
The recent home losses to top-10 teams came vs. #6 Michigan ('94, 26-24) and #4 Ohio State ('96, 29-16). Notre Dame and then-#6 Michigan played to a 17-17 tie at Notre Dame Stadium in '92.
The New Bowl Alignment
While Notre Dame remains an independent, the '98 season brings a noteworthy tie between the Irish and the BIG EAST Conference: plus the inauguration of the Bowl Championship Series, a four-game package including the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Rose Bowls-for the first time including the Big Ten and Pacific-10 Conferences in the attempt to create the ultimate national title game.
Also beginning in '98, in years in which Notre Dame is not selected for one of those top four bowl games, the Irish can be selected as part of the BIG EAST rotation of bowl options, specifically involving the Gator Bowl and the insight. com Bowl. The Gator Bowl may select Notre Dame twice in a four-year period. The Insight.com Bowl may select the Irish once over that four-year period. Both bowls will adhere to the BIG EAST one-win rule, in which a team selected for a particular game must be within one win of all other bowl eligible teams. In other words, a team with a 7-4 record cannot be selected over a team that is 9-2.
The 1998 Schedule
Notre Dame in '98 begins its schedule in daunting fashion by playing host to defending national champion Michigan in the season opener, followed by Michigan State, Purdue and Stanford, all of whom defeated the Irish in '97. The fifth game comes on the road against an Arizona State team ranked ninth in the USA Today/ESPN preseason poll (Michigan was fifth, Michigan State 23rd).
Five of Notre Dame's '98 opponents played in '97 bowl games: Michigan (Rose winner), Michigan State (Aloha), Purdue (Alamo winner), Arizona State (Sun winner) and LSU (Independence winner).
Notre Dame played six ranked opponents during the '97 season, the first time that happened since 1992. In '97, the Irish lost their first three games versus ranked teams but bounced back with a 24-6 win at #11 LSU and a 21-14 home victory over #22 West Virginia.
The Irish played eight games vs. teams that ended up in '97 bowl games, the most Irish opponents to end up in bowls since eight of Notre Dame's 1989 foes qualified for postseason play.
The Numbers Game
Notre Dame hopes to build off the productivity it displayed on both sides of the ball in the second half of 1997, as the offense and defense proved quite productive in the last eight games of 1997:
First 5 Games (1-4) Last 8 Games (6-2) Change
Rushing Offense 129.8 197.2 67.4 yds/gm improvement
Scoring Offense 14.0 26.5 12.5 pts/gm improvement
Rushing Defense 204.4 182.4 22.0 yds/gm improvement
Passing Defense 194.0 156.8 37.2 yds/gm improvement
Total Defense 398.4 339.2 59.2 yds/gm improvement
Scoring Defense 23.6 18.3 5.3 pts/gm improvement
Jarious Jackson faces possibly the toughest opening task of any recent Notre Dame quarterback, as he is just the fourth Irish signalcaller in the last 24 seasons to face a ranked opponent in his first start, and the first to face an opponent ranked higher than the Irish. Tim Koegel made his starting debut as a sophomore, early in the second game of '79, but the #5-ranked Irish lost at #17 Purdue (28-22). The next season (1980), freshman Blair Kiel started the fourth game of his rookie campaign, a 32-14 win for the #7 Irish over #13 Miami. Most recently, sophomore Rick Mirer opened the 1990 season by helping the top-ranked Irish down #4 Michigan, 28-24.
AN ADDED CHALLENGE
Jarious Jackson is slated to become the first Notre Dame quarterback to make his debut start vs. a defending national champion. In fact, the Irish have opened the season versus a defending AP poll champ just once previously-a 19-9 win for the #3-ranked 1977 squad over #7 Pittsburgh. In that win, the Irish held the Panthers to 92 total yards and just one second-half first down. Veteran quarterback Rusty Lisch completed 10 of 18 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown to tight end Ken Macafee, while Jerome Heavens ran for 84 yards on 21 carries. Defensive end Ross Browner caused and recovered a late fumble that led to the clinching second-half field goal. The Irish went on to an 11-1 season and captured the 1977 national championship.
Much of the success enjoyed by recent Irish first-time starting QBs can be attributed to strong teams around them. Of the last 11 to win their debut start, nine played on Irish squads that was ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll (three were on a team ranked among the top three).
Jarious Jackson follows Rick Mirer (1990) as the second Notre Dame quarterback since 1975 to make his starting debut versus Michigan. In fact, 12 of the last 16 starting QBs have debuted against one of five teams: Air Force (4), Boston College (2), Miami (2), Michigan (2) and Northwestern (2). Other recent first starts have come against Mississippi, Colorado, Purdue and Michigan State. Each of the last four Irish signalcallers who debuted versus Air Force-Tom Krug, Tony Rice, Scott Grooms and Ken Karcher-have done so because of an injury to the regular starter.
JACKSON LOOKS TO EXTEND FIRST-START STREAK
Notre Dame senior QB Jarious Jackson is slated to make his first career start for the Irish this week versus Michigan. Should Jackson engineer the Irish to victory, he would become the eighth straight Irish quarterback to win his first start, a group which includes Tom Krug ('95), Ron Powlus ('94), Kevin McDougal ('93), Rick Mirer ('90), Kent Graham ('87), Tony Rice ('87) and Terry Andrysiak ('85). A list of the debut games for the last 15 starting Notre Dame quarterbacks-dating back to 1975-is included below, with accompanying notes below and in the column to the left.
FIRST STARTS FOR NOTRE DAME QUARTERBACKS
Tom Krug, junior (#8 Notre Dame at Air Force, 11/18/95; 11th game of season)
W, 44-14 ... 8-of-13, 0 TD, 1 INT ... 3 rushes for 13 yards
Started due to Ron Powlus' collarbone injury, in previous week versus Navy
Ron Powlus, sophomore (#3 Notre Dame at Northwestern, 9/3/94; 1st game of season)
W, 42-15 ... 18-of-24, 291 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT ... 2 rushes for 6 yards
Kevin McDougal, senior (#7 Notre Dame vs. Northwestern, 9/4/93; 1st game of season)
W, 27-12 ... 6-of-8, 135 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT ... 5 rushes for -16 yards
Rick Mirer, sophomore (#1 Notre Dame vs. #4 Michigan, 9/15/90; 1st game of season)
W, 28-24 ... 14-of-23, 165 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT ... 10 rushes for 12 yards, 1 TD
Kent Graham, freshman (#9 Notre Dame vs. Boston College, 11/7/87; 8th game of season)
W, 32-25 ... 6-of-8, 11 yards, 1 INT ... 3 rushes for 7 yards
Tony Rice, sophomore (#11 Notre Dame at Air Force, 10/17/87; 5th game of season)
W, 35-14 ... 1-of-5, 10 yards, 1 INT ... 9 rushes for 70 yards, 2 TD
Played due to Terry Andrysiak's broken collarbone injury, in previous game at Pittsburgh
Terry Andrysiak, sophomore (vs. Mississippi, 11/9/85; 8th game of season)
W, 37-14 ... 11-of-15, 137 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT ... 2 rushes for -7 yards
Scott Grooms, senior (vs, Air Force, 10/13/84; 6th game of season)
L, 21-7 ... 12-of-35, 117 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT ... 12 rushes for -9 yards
Played in place of Steve Beuerlein, who was nursing a bruised shoulder
Steve Beurelein, freshman (vs. Colorado, 10/1/83; 4th game of season)
W, 27-3 ... 8-of-12, 133 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT ... no rushing attempts
Ken Karcher, sophomore ... 2-of-4, 21 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT ... 1 rush for -10 yards
"Started in place of Blair Kiel (shoulder injury, 11/6) but replaced by senior Jim O'Hara in second quarter."
Blair Kiel, freshman (#7 ND vs. #13 Miami, 10/11/80; 4th game of season)
W, 32-14 ... 4-of-17, 35 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT ... 11 rushes for 28 yards, 1 TD
Tim Koegel, sophomore (#5 Notre Dame at #17 Purdue, 9/22/79; 2nd game of season)
L, 22-28 ... 6-of-18, 81 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT ... 4 rushes for 0 yards
Rusty Lisch, sophomore (#3 Notre Dame vs. Miami, 11/20/76; 10th game of season)
W, 40-27 ... 5-of-11, 102 yards, 1 TD ... 15 rushes for 9 yards, 3 TD
Started in place of Rick Slager, who suffered shoulder injury the week before vs. Alabama
Joe Montana, sophomore (#8 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State, 10/4/75; 4th game of season)
L, 10-3 ... 2-of-5, 19 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Rick Slager, sr. (#9 Notre Dame vs. Boston Coll., @Foxboro, 9/15/75; 1st game of season)
W, 17-3 ... 7-of-12, 72 yards, O TDs, 0 INT
* Jarious Jackson is the fourth Notre Dame quarterback since 1975 to start his first career game with the Irish as a senior, with the previous three combining for two wins and one loss. Rick Slager led the #9-ranked Irish to a 1975 season-opening win over Boston College in Foxboro, Mass. (17-3). Senior Scott Grooms drew a start due to injury in 1984 but lost to Air Force (21-7), while Steve Beuerlein was nursing a bruised shoulder. Most recently, Kevin McDougal kicked off his successful 1993 season with a 27-12 win over Northwestern. * The above four QBs had a combined total of just 86:10 of playing time (over 26 games) prior to their first start: Slager (18:04, four games), Grooms (17:43, seven games) and McDougal (50:23, 15 games). Despite his inexperience as a starter, McDougal led the Irish to a memorable win over then-#1 Florida State, an 11-1 record and final #2 national ranking while posting a 154.4 career passing efficiency rating that ranks first among Notre Dame's all-time quarterbacks with 100-plus completions (he was 112-of-180 for 1,726 yds, with 10 TDs and 6 INTs). Jarious Jackson heads into the '98 opener with 15 games and 82:47 of playing time to his credit.
The '98 Butkus Award Candidates
Notre Dame boasts three preliminary candidates among 68 overall for the '98 Butkus Award (presented to the nation's outstanding collegiate linebacker by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando) in OLB Kory Minor, ILB Bobbie Howard and ILB Jimmy Friday, all seniors. Minor, Notre Dame's top returning sacker from 1997, also was a preliminary candidate in 1996 and 1997. Minor in '97 finished with 85 total tackles, eight tackles for losses and led the Irish with three and a half sacks. Howard averaged 13 tackles per game in '97 despite missing much of the first half of the season due to injury while Friday finished as the overall team leader in tackles with 109. The three Irish candidates for '98 mark the most ever for Notre Dame in a season (the record is four by North Carolina in '97). Kansas State, Florida and Michigan also have three nominees in '98.
Brown Anchors '98 Receiving Corps:
Senior Bobby Brown, impressive at flanker as the starter throughout '97, caught seven passes in each of his first three games in 1997 and led the Irish with 45 receptions overall. Brown became the first Irish player to catch seven-plus passes in three consecutive games since Tom Gatewood opened the '70 season by catching seven or more in his first five games (7 vs. Northwestern, 12 vs. Purdue, 9 vs. Michigan State, 8 vs. Army, 8 vs. Missouri). Brown joined SE Malcolm Johnson to give the Irish two 40-catch receivers in '97 for the first time in Notre Dame history -- and the return of those two for '98 promises both talent and experience for the Irish passing game this fall.
Smith Moving Up
Here's where senior punter Hunter Smith stands on the Irish career punting chart heading into the '98 season:
Rank Name, Year(s) No. Yards Avg.
1. Craig Hentrich, 1989-92 118 5204 44.10
2. Hunter Smith, 1995-97 132 5420 41.00
3. Vince Phelan, 1987 50 2044 40.90
4. Bill Shakespeare, 1933-35 91 3705 40.71
5. Blair Kiel, 1980-83 259 10534 40.67
6. Joe Restic, 1975-78 209 8409 40.20
Smith's 43.3 yard punting average in 1996 and 32.6 mark in 1997 rank fifth and eighth, respectively, on the Irish single-season list (Craig Hentrich holds down the top three spots while Joe Restic averaged 43.5 in 1975). Smith also enters the 1998 season just eight punts behind Brian Doherty (140, 1971-73) for third on the Irish career list, behind Kiel (259) and Restic (209).
HOLD THAT LINE
Notre Dame has held 25 of its last 65 opponents to 100 or less rushing yards, including Boston College (83 yards) in '97 and Vanderbilt (2), Purdue (44), Rutgers (minus-6) and USC (92) in 1996.
THE RETURN GAME
Since 1986, Notre Dame has returned 15 kickoffs, 16 punts (two blocked), 15 interceptions and five fumbles for touchdowns (total of 51) -- compared to only one punt (in '86), one fumble and three interceptions for opponents.
The 1997 NCAA Stats
Here were the final 1997 NCAA statistical rankings for Notre Dame and Michigan:
Team Rankings Notre Dame Michigan
Rushing Offense 36th at 174.92 28th at 187.3
Passing Offense 75th at 185.33 63rd at 201.2
Total Offense 63rd at 360.25 44th at 388.45
Scoring Offense 67th at 22.75 t44th at 27.4
Rushing Defense 83rd at 184.75 7th at 91.0
Pass Efficiency Defense 24th at 107.77 1st at 75.79
Total Defense 60th at 365.0 1st at 206.9 Scoring Defense 31st at 19.83 1st at 8.9
Punt Returns 75th at 7.95 71st at 8.2 Kickoff Returns 24th at 22.23 50th at 20.3
Net Punting 53rd at 36.27 78th at 35.00
Turnover Margin 40th at Plus-5 t15th at Plus-9
Irish Sell Out for 33rd Consecutive YeaR IN 1997
The University of Notre Dame finished eighth nationally in attendance among all NCAA Division I-A football-playing institutions in 1997. The Irish averaged 80,225 fans - the full capacity of the expanded Notre Dame Stadium - for its six 1997 home games. The 97 season marked the 33rd consecutive season that every seat has been sold for every Irish home game. Notre Dames average increase of 21,150 fans per game in 97 compared to 1996 marked the second highest increase nationally, behind only Stanfords increase of 21,154 that was helped by the crowd of 75,651 (compared to the average of 56,937) when the Irish in October played the Cardinal in Palo Alto.
Heres the top 10 in attendance in 1997:
School Games Attendance Average Change
1. Tennessee 6 639,227 106,538 up 1,120
2. Michigan 7 745,139 106,448 up 516
3. Penn State 6 582,517 97,086 up 919
4. Ohio State 8 731,884 91,486 down 2,542
5. Florida 6 512,775 85,463 up 59
6. Auburn 6 501,267 83,545 up 1,077
7. Georgia 6 494,375 82,396 up 3,124
8. Notre Dame 6 481,350 80,225 up 21,150
9. LSU 7 561,016 80,145 up 626
10. So. Carolina 6 480,041 80,007 up 472
College football set an all-time attendance record in 1997, with 36.9 million fans viewing games, including a record 27.5 million in Division I-A.
The New Attendance Figure (80,112)
Recognize the familiar 59,075 capacity for football at Notre Dame in the old version of Notre Dame Stadium? The new figure to remember beginning in 1998 is 80,012. That's down slightly from the '97 capacity of 80,225, a figure that represented a computerized projection of seating prior to completion of construction of the nearly 21,000-seat addition to the Stadium. The adjusted 80,012 number represents a refined seating manifest that includes changes that weren't apparent until construction was finished and the '97 season actually began.
AN ADDED TOUCH
The Notre Dame National Monogram Club has presented the gift of 12 stylish Monogram Club circular logos to Notre Dame Stadium. The logos currently adorn each of the stadium's field-level gates.
BIG CROWDS EVERYWHERE
Notre Dame has played in front of capacity crowds in 97 of its last 113 games. The crowd at Independence Stadium in '97 for the Independence Bowl between Notre Dame and LSU marked a record for that facility. Those figures are bound to improve in '98, with a minimum of six sellouts assured based on Notre Dame's half-dozen home games.
The 1997 Comeback Wins:
1997 marked the first season in Notre Dame history that the Irish had four game-winning drives in a single campaign, enabling the Irish to post home wins vs. Georgia Tech, Navy, West Virginia and Hawaii. Here are details:
Georgia Tech - Trailing 13-10, the Irish took over on their own 30 with 7:42 left after a 47-yard missed field goal by Tech. Ron Powlus led them 70 yards in 11 plays, with Autry Denson scoring the gamewinner on a one-yard run with 2:37 remaining.
Navy - Trailing 17-14, the Irish took over on their own seven at the 13:29 mark after a Benny Guilbeaux interception. Powlus led them 93 yards in 11 plays, with Denson scoring from the five at the 5:48 mark.
West Virginia - With the score tied at 14, the Irish took over at their own 22 at the 7:32 mark after an Ivory Covington interception. Powlus led them 78 yards in six plays, throwing an 11-yard TD pass to Bobby Brown at the 4:56 mark for the winning points.
Hawaii - Trailing 22-14 with 13:34 left in the game, the Irish pulled within 22-20 on a four-yard Autry Denson TD run at the 11:36 mark. Then, the Irish took over at the Hawaii 49 at the 1:50 mark after a Rainbow punt. Powlus led Notre Dame 40 yards in seven plays (including a 47-yard completion to Raki Nelson on third and 17), with Scott Cengia kicking the game-winning 20-yard field goal at the :05 mark.
The Big Comeback
The 1997 season qualified as the biggest in-season turnaround in the history of Notre Dame football. Never before had a Notre Dame team been 1-4 and finished with a winning season. Here's a look at what happened to other Irish teams that opened at 1-4:
1933 -- started 1-4-1, finished 3-5-1
1956 -- started 1-4, finished 2-8
1960 -- started 1-4, finished 2-8
1962 -- started 1-4, finished 5-5
1986 -- started 1-4, finished 5-6
There were 43 Division I-A teams that started the '97 season either 0-4, 1-4 or 2-4, only two of those finished above the .500 mark and only two (Notre Dame and Utah State in Humanitarian Bowl) played in bowl games:
Notre Dame (7-6 after a 1-4 start; won five straight to finish regular season)
SMU (6-5 after a 1-4 start; won five straight before a 21-18 loss to TCU in its finale)
Utah State (6-6 after a 2-4 start; won five straight to finish regular season; lost 35-19 to Cincin- nati in Humanitarian Bowl)
The season most similar to '97 in Notre Dame annals probably was the 1962 campaign in which the Irish won their opener against Oklahoma, then dropped four straight (exactly as in '97). Then, the '62 Irish won four straight games before falling to USC in the finale to end up 5-5.
The LSU Win
Notre Dame's '97 victory in Baton Rouge vs. 11th-rated LSU proved significant for several reasons. It marked the first time in Notre Dame history that the Irish played a game without either a penalty or a turnover. It also marked only the fourth time in history the Irish were not penalized in a game (others were vs. Ohio State in '35 and vs. USC and Miami in '81). After meeting the Irish twice in '97 (also in the Independence Bowl), LSU in '98 plays in Notre Dame Stadium on November 21.
RECENT IRISH RUSHING HISTORY
Notre Dames rushing attack has ranked 20th or better nationally 10 of the last 11 years:
Year Rushing Average NCAA Rank Rushing TDs
1987 252.1 14th 33
1988 258.0 11th 30
1989 287.7 8th 42
1990 250.3 12th 33
1991 268.0 5th 31
1992 280.9 3rd 34
1993 260.7 6th 36
1994 215.6 20th 18
1995 233.5 6th 29
1996 269.5 8th 34
1997 174.9 36th 22