Fighting Irish Prepare For Battle Versus Cornhuskers

Sept. 2, 2001

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Game No. 1
(#18 AP/#17 ESPN/USA Today) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0)
vs. (#4 AP/#4 ESPN/USA Today) Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0)

Fifth-year Irish head coach Bob Davie owns a 30-19 (.612) career record at Notre Dame. The University announced on Dec. 5, 2000, that Davie signed a five-year contract to continue coaching the Irish through the 2005 season. Davie was one of three finalists for the Football News 2000 coach-of-the-year award and was one of 10 finalists for the 1998 Walter Camp Foundation/ Street and Smith's Coach of the Year Award. Davie coached the Irish to a second season-opening ranked win in 2000 against No. 23 Texas A&M, and the win over 13th-ranked Purdue marked the earliest the Irish had beaten two ranked opponents since 1990. The 2001 season marks Davie's eighth year at Notre Dame overall, after serving as defensive coordinator and inside linebacker coach from 1994-96. He coached nine seasons at Texas A&M ('85-'93), two at Tulane ('83-'84), four at Pittsburgh ('77, '80-'82) and two at Arizona ('78-'79), spending both years at Tulane as defensive coordinator and the last five at Texas A&M in that role.

THE INJURY UPDATE (as of Sept. 2)
Senior C JW Jordan -- Sprained left knee (Aug. 26), out 4-6 weeks Junior TB Chris Yura -- Dislocated elbow, out 4-6 weeks


  • Saturday's game marks the 16th meeting between the Irish and Huskers. Before Nebraska's 27-24 overtime victory over the Irish last season, the two teams had not met since 1972 ('73 Orange Bowl) and not in the regular season since 1948. The overall series is tied at 7-7-1, while Nebraska holds a 5-4-1 record in all games at Nebraska and a 2-1 record at Memorial Stadium.
  • Notre Dame and Nebraska rank first (.753) and fourth (.708) in all-time winning percentage.
  • Notre Dame (776) and Nebraska (753) stand second and third on college football's all-time wins list.
  • The Irish are 6-1 against Big 12 schools since the formation of the league in 1996 and 37-16-2 all-time against current members of the Big 12.

    The Date and Time:
    Saturday, Sept. 8, 2001, at 7:00 p.m. CDT.

    The Site:
    Memorial Stadium (73,918/FieldTurf) in Lincoln, Neb.

    The Tickets:
    They're all sold -- with this game marking the 242nd consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium (an NCAA record) and the 128th sellout in the last 150 games involving Notre Dame. Notre Dame received an allotment of 4,000 tickets.

    The TV Plans:
    ABC Sports national telecast with Brent Musberger (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analysis), Jack Arute (sideline) and Bob Goodrich (producer).

    The Radio Plans:
    For the 34th consecutive season, all Notre Dame football games are broadcast nationally on radio by Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play-by-play), former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (game analysis) and Paul Hornung (pregame/halftime analysis). The Westwood One Network includes more than 200 stations. A live broadcast from the Notre Dame student radio station, WVFI, is available through the Notre Dame athletic department web site at All Notre Dame football games are heard on WNDV-AM and -FM in South Bend and (except for the Nebraska game which will be on AM 1300 WRDZ) will also be carried live in the Chicago market on ESPN Radio 1000 with on-site pre and post-game from Notre Dame Stadium featuring Dave Wills and Ed Farmer and former Irish great Dave Duerson.

    Real-Time Stats:
    Live in-game statistics are available for the Nebraska game, via the Huskers athletic website (

    Notre Dame (, Nebraska (

    The Nebraska game, scheduled for Sept. 8, is the latest season opener for the Irish since playing Michigan on Sept. 15, to begin the 1990 season.

    Notre Dame has compiled a record of 95-12-5 historically in its season-opening games, including winning 13 of their last 14 games (only loss coming to Northwestern in 1995). The Irish are 13-1 in season openers since 1987 and 4-0 under head coach Bob Davie. Saturday's game marks the first time Notre Dame has opened on the road since the Irish defeated Vanderbilt 14-7 on Sept. 5, 1996, the 1,000th game in Notre Dame history. The last time Notre Dame lost in a road opener was in 1985, when Michigan defeated the 13th-ranked Irish 20-12 (Sept. 14).

    Notre Dame special assistant to athletic director Kevin White and longtime assistant coach (1969-85) George Kelly joined Ara Parseghian's coaching staff after serving as an assistant coach at Nebraska from 1961-68. He spent eight seasons at Nebraska as an assistant under Husker head coaches Bill Jennings and Bob Devaney. The '53 Notre Dame graduate is credited with the "Blackshirts" worn by the Nebraska defense in practice.


  • Saturday's game will mark the 16th meeting between two of the winningest teams in college football history.
  • There have been seven shutouts in the series with an average margin of victory of 14.8 points by the winning team in the 14 games that were won and lost. In the first eight contests of the series, the average margin of victory was eight points, while the next five games were decided by an average of 28.2 points with Notre Dame winning three of the five games. Last year's three-point Nebraska victory was decided in overtime (27-24 as Husker QB Eric Crouch scurried seven yards for the winning score).
  • The teams first met in 1915 and played the closest game in the series, a 20-19 Nebraska win in the first of 11 consecutive meetings from 1915-25.
  • Notre Dame's first win in the series came the following year in '16 by a 20-0 margin. Nebraska first traveled to Notre Dame in 1921, and the Irish won 7-0 for their third consecutive win over the Cornhuskers.
  • From '22-24, head coach Knute Rockne and the Four Horsemen compiled a 27-2-1 record, with the losses coming at Nebraska in '22 (14-6) and '23 (14-7) before a 34-6 win at home in '24.
  • Twenty-two years passed between the Cornhuskers' 17-0 win in '25 and the next meetings between the teams in '47 and '48.
  • The Irish entered both games of the home-and-home series ranked second and won 31-0 in Nebraska's first game in Notre Dame Stadium in '47 and 44-13 in '48 at Nebraska.
  • Twenty-four more years passed before the teams met once again in 1972 in the Orange Bowl. The ninth-ranked Cornhuskers handed the 12th-ranked Irish a 40-6 loss, the worst defeat for head coach Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame.
  • Twenty-eight years passed before No. 1 Nebraska came to Notre Dame Stadium in 2000, and defeated the Irish 27-24 in overtime.
  • It has been 53 years since the Irish have visited Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, marking the fourth- longest break between visits for Notre Dame to an opposing team's stadium. It had been 60 years (1935-1995) between visits to Ohio State, marking the longest absence, followed by Rice (58 years, 1915-1973) and Penn State (56 years, 1925-1981). Others of note include Washington (46 years, 1949-1995) and Texas (44 years, 1952-1996).


  • Notre Dame does not have anyone on its roster from the state of Nebraska.
  • Irish senior DE Grant Irons is the brother of former Nebraska offensive lineman Gerald Irons, who lettered at Nebraska in 1991.
  • Notre Dame junior CB Jason Beckstrom, senior OG Sean Mahan and senior NG Andy Wisne all hail from the same hometown (Tulsa, Okla.) and attended the same high school (Jenks) as Cornhusker senior NT Jason Lohr.
  • Notre Dame senior ILB Carlos Pierre-Antoine attended the same high school (Bishop O'Dea in Seattle, Wash.) as Nebraska sophomore ILB Tim Reese.
  • Irish sophomore CB Vontez Duff and Nebraska sophomore MLB T.J. Hollowell played on the same defense at Copperas Cove High School in Copperas Cove, Texas.
  • Will the real Justin Smith please stand up? Both Notre Dame and Nebraska have players on their rosters named Justin Smith. Notre Dame's Justin Smith is a fifth-year safety from St. Petersburg, Fla., while the Cornhuskers' Smith is a junior defensive end from Sherman, Texas.
  • Irish head softball coach Deanna Gumpf (formerly Deanna Mays) is a 1992 graduate of Nebraska and starred for the Cornhusker softball team from 1989-92 where she pitched and played first base. She earned second-team all-Big Eight honors in 1991. Gumpf came to Notre Dame in 1998 and was named head coach this past summer.


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