Sept. 3, 2000
(#23 AP/#25 ESPN/USA Today) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0) vs. (#1 AP/#1 ESPN/USA Today) Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0)
The Date and Time: Saturday, Sept. 9, 2000, at 1:30 p.m. EST.
The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,232/natural grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The Tickets: They're all sold -- with this game marking the 151st consecutive sellout in Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The Nebraska game marks the 199th home sellout in the last 200 games (back to 1964) and the 120th sellout in the last 139 games involving Notre Dame, including the first 10 games of 1998 and the first 11 in '99.
The TV Plans: NBC Sports national telecast with Craig Minervini (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Bob Wischusen (sideline) and John Fratzis (producer).
The Radio Plans: For the 33rd 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 (game analysis) and Paul Hornung (pregame/halftime analysis). The Mutual 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 www.und.com.
Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available during every Notre Dame home game, via the Notre Dame athletic website (www.und.com).
Websites: Notre Dame (www.und.com), Nebraska (www.huskerwebcast.com).
The Head Coach
Fourth-year Irish head coach Bob Davie owns a 22-16 (.579) career record at Notre Dame. Davie was one of 10 finalists for the 1998 Walter Camp Foundation/Street and Smith's Coach of the Year Award. His 1997 squad beat No. 11 LSU and No. 22 West Virginia to mark the first time a Notre Dame team beat ranked foes on consecutive weeks since November '92, while the '98 opening win over No. 5 and defending national champion Michigan gave him a 3-4 record vs. ranked opponents (now 5-5 after a '00 season-opening win over 23rd-ranked Texas A&M). The 2000 season marks Davie's seventh 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. 3)
NOTRE DAME-NEBRASKA SERIES NOTES
Notre Dame's Probable Starting OFFENSE
Notre Dame's Probable Starting DEFENSE
Notre Dame's Probable SPECIALISTS
IF NOTRE DAME WINS ...
IF NEBRASKA WINS ...
IRISH VS. #1 TEAMS
Saturday's game marks the 23rd time Notre Dame has faced the #1 team in the Associated Press poll and the seventh time at home. The Irish are 8-13-1 overall in those contests and 3-3 at home (see page 438 of 2000 Notre Dame football media guide for complete list), but Notre Dame has won seven of its last 11 attempts. Here's a listing of previous Irish battles with #1 teams played in Notre Dame Stadium:
Here are details of the last 10 times Notre Dame has done battle with top-ranked teams (only the Miami and Florida State games were played in Notre Dame Stadium:
IRISH LEAD IN NO. 1 WINS
Notre Dame's eight victories over top-ranked teams in the AP polls are the most of any team, one better than seven by USC and Purdue. The Irish also own the most wins over a top-ranked team in men's basketball with nine for a combined total of 17 wins in football and men's basketball over No. 1 ranked teams.
Notre Dame assistant athletic 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.
NOTRE DAME-NEBRASKA SERIES HISTORY
NOTRE DAME-NEBRASKA CONNECTIONS
THE TEXAS A&M REVIEW
Notre Dame trailed 7-0 late in the first half against 25th-ranked Texas A&M before junior quarterback Arnaz Battle -- making his first career start -- led the Irish on a 2:09, 70-yard drive in seven plays to tie the score 7-7 at halftime. Battle completed a nine-yard touchdown pass to senior Joey Getherall for Notre Dame's first points of the season. The Aggies took the second-half kickoff 75-yards in a drive that lasted 7:35 but were forced to settle for a field goal after the Irish defense kept Texas A&M out of the end zone after first and goal from the two-yard line. After the teams exchanged punts -- with Irish sophomore Joey Hildbold booming a 69-yard punt that was downed at the Aggie three-yard line -- Battle connected with junior Javin Hunter for a 46-yard touchdown strike to give Notre Dame its first lead at 14-10 and the decisive score in the game. Texas A&M went three and out on its next possession and the Irish pulled away with 69-yard drive that ate up 4:44 and ended with sophomore Julius Jones finding the end zone after a 17-yard run. Another drive of 3:10 ended with sophomore Nick Setta -- 3-3 on PATs in his collegiate debut -- nailing his first career field goal from 32 yards for the final points of the 24-10 game. Texas A&M went 60 yards on nine plays on its final drive, but its comeback hopes ended after an interception from senior Tony Driver. Notre Dame ran out the final 4:09 with a 40-yard drive. Battle finished 10-16 for 133 yards and two touchdown passes and a team-high 50 yards rushing on 12 carries. The Irish defense held the Aggies scoreless for the final 22:25 of the game and allowed just 90 net rushing yards.
SCOUTING THE IRISH OFFENSE
Line -- The Irish return four starters to a veteran offensive line in '00 with the only untested position being at center. Senior guards Jim Jones (left guard) and Mike Gandy (right guard) combined to start 21 games at their respective positions last year. Junior Jordan Black is back at the left tackle position where he started the first nine games in '99, while senior Kurt Vollers moved into the starting role at right tackle following backup action at left tackle in '99. Sophomore Jeff Faine is at center after seeing no game action as a freshman. Senior John Teasdale started 10 games in '99 at mostly right tackle and provides experience as a backup to Vollers. The other reserves are sophomore Brennan Curtin at tackle, juniors Sean Mahan and Ryan Scarola at guard and at center senior JW Jordan.
Backs -- Junior Arnaz Battle (10-16-133, 2TDs, 50 yards rushing) assumed the Irish starting quarterback spot after playing in seven games in '99 and four in '98 behind Jarious Jackson. As a sophomore he was seven for 15 for 84 yards with a 30-yard completion to Jay Johnson in the first quarter against Stanford. Also a threat carrying the ball, Battle rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries last year, most of which came on a 74-yard touchdown run against Kansas on the Notre Dame's longest play from scrimmage in '99. Standing 6-7, sophomore Gary Godsey brings a physical presence as backup quarterback. Godsey did not see varsity action as a freshman but a solid spring effort earned him the backup role heading into '00.
A trio of tailbacks -- juniors Tony Fisher (10-30) and Terrance Howard (7-29) and sophomore Julius Jones (14-60, TD) -- give the Irish a talented and diversified running attack. Fisher started all 12 games last year and returns as the team's top rusher from '99. Howard adds a combination of quickness and power, while the elusive Jones showed more and more of his potential as the weeks went by in '99.
Junior Tom Lopienski (2-9 rushing, 2-34 receiving) moved into the starting fullback spot after carrying the ball 25 times for 76 yards in all 12 games last year. Junior Mike McNair also helps out at fullback after recovering from an injury-plagued '99 in which he played only in the opener against Kansas. Senior Jason Murray (back in '00 after missing all of '99 with injury) and sophomore Chris Yura could see time at fullback.
Receivers -- One of the most competitive spots on the Irish depth chart comes from the receiving corps. Senior Joey Getherall's (1-9, TD) 35 catches in '99 make him the top returning receiver, while junior David Givens (1-21) will share time with Getherall at flanker. Junior Javin Hunter (2-50, TD) moved into the starting position at split end after playing in every game last year (13 for 224 yards). Senior Jay Johnson played in the final 11 games of '99 and will see time behind Hunter. Freshmen receivers Jerome Collins, Lorenzo Crawford, Omar Jenkins, Ronnie Rodamer and Jovan Witherspoon also could contribute. Another strength for the Irish will be at tight end where senior All-America candidate Jabari Holloway (2-15) and fifth-year and '99 honorable mention All-American Dan O'Leary (1-5) return.
SCOUTING THE IRISH DEFENSE
Line -- The Irish make a slight adjustment on the defensive line in '00 ? going from a two end-two tackle alignment to one featuring two ends, a tackle and a nose guard. Senior Grant Irons (3 tackles, 1 for loss) moved to right end after starting the first 10 games of '99 at left end and should once again be one of the leaders. Junior and two-year starter Anthony Weaver (6 tackles, 1 for loss) takes on a starting role at left end. Senior Andy Wisne and sophomore Darrell Campbell head up the defensive tackle position. Senior Lance Legree (3 tackles, 2 for loss) entered '00 the starter at nose guard after starting the final seven games of '99 there. The reserves are sophomore Ryan Roberts (1 tackel, 1 sack) at left end, senior B.J. Scott at nose guard and junior John Owens at right end.
Linebackers -- Two of three starters return among the Irish linebackers, senior Anthony Denman (8 tackles) and junior Rocky Boiman (9 tackles, 1 sack). Denman starts at inside linebacker for the second straight year, while Boiman anchors the outside spot. Junior Tyreo Harrison (5 tackles) moved into a starting spot at inside linebacker after playing all 12 games in '99 with two starts. Junior Carlos Pierre-Antoine fills in at inside linebacker. Fifth-year Anthony Brannan backs up Boiman on the outside, while sophomore Courtney Watson (1 tackle) will play behind Denman.
Backs -- Old faces and new faces make up the Irish secondary starters. Seniors Tony Driver (10 tackles, 1 INT) and Brock Williams (3 tackles) returned to starting roles, while senior Ron Israel (4 tackles) and junior Shane Walton (5 tackles, 1 for loss) moved into starting spots. Driver plays at free safety for the first time since '98 after playing seven games in '99 at tailback. Williams is back at left cornerback where he started eight of the last 10 games in '98. Israel moved from top reserve in '99 to starter at strong safety in '00. Walton won the starting spot at right cornerback after playing in nine games in '99 following a freshman season in which he starred on the Irish men's soccer team. The reserves are sophomore Jason Beckstrom at left cornerback, junior Clifford Jefferson (3 tackles) at right cornerback, sophomores Gerome Sapp (2 tackles) and Glenn Earl at strong safety and junior Donald Dykes (1 tackles) at free safety.
SCOUTING THE IRISH KICKING GAME
The Irish kicking derby went done to the wire with fifth-year newcomer Matt McNew (kickoffs, 3 touchbacks), sophomore Nick Setta (placekicks, 3-3 PATs, 1-1 FG) and sophomore Joey Hildbold (punts, 6-266-44.3) earning the starting spots. McNew joined the team in the spring after four years with the Irish men's soccer team, while Setta saw his first collegiate action against Texas A&M. Hildbold averaged 39.0 yards/punt in '99. Junior David Givens (2-40) and senior Tony Driver share duties returning kickoffs. Joey Getherall (5-37) returns punts, while Julius Jones (1-19 KO) is in the mix for both punt kickoff returns. Dan O'Leary (punts) and John Crowther (PAT and FG) share the snapping. Adam Tibble does the snapping,
THE 1999 NCAA STATS (bold = 2000 returning player)
Final 1999 NCAA stat rankings (first official statistical rankings for 2000 will be released Sept. 10) for Notre Dame and Nebraska (top 50 for team ranks):
DENMAN, DRIVER, FISHER EARN TROPHY CONSIDERATION
Three Irish players have been selected for considerations for the annual position-specific trophies. Senior linebacker Anthony Denman joins the preliminary list of 70 candidates for the Butkus Award -- presented annually to the best linebacker in college football by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando. The list will be trimmed to 10 semifinalists on Oct. 19, and three finalists will be announced on Nov. 9. Senior free safety Tony Driver has been picked one of 40 players on the "watch list" for the Jim Thorpe Award -- presented annually to the best defensive back in college football by the Jim Thorpe Association in Oklahoma City, Okla. Junior tailback Tony Fisher has been selected one of 35 candidates for the Doak Walker Award presented by Vectrix -- given annually to the nation's top college running back by the Southwestern Bell-SMU Athletic Forum in Dallas. The Southwestern Bell Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select eight semifinalists on Nov. 8, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will vote on the winner in late November. The National Selection Committee consists of former All-Pro and All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.
JULIUS JONES TAPPED FUTURE STAR
Athlon Sports recently projected a National Football League ?All-Decade? team for 2000-2009 and current Irish sophomore Julius Jones was one of two running backs named to the squad, joining current Indianapolis Colts star Edgerrin James. The 26-player team included just four other current college players: tackle Michael Munoz (Tennessee), linebacker D.J. Williams (University of Miami), linebacker Saleem Rasheed (Alabama) and punt returner David Allen (Kansas State).
IRISH CONTINUE QB'S FIRST-START MAGIC
Last 11 starting debut games by Notre Dame quarterbacks
TWO-SPORT STANDOUTS Junior cornerback Shane Walton -- less than two years removed from earning all-BIG EAST honors as a freshman forward on the '98 Irish men's soccer team -- entered the 2000 season as Notre Dame's starter at right cornerback (five tackles, one for a loss versus Texas A&M). Walton joined the Irish football squad in the spring of '99 and saw action in three games in the secondary during the '99 season. He played in nine games overall with 61 appearances on special teams, earning his second monogram at Notre Dame in as many years and in as many sports.
While Walton underwent a less traditional soccer-to-football transition, fifth-year Matt McNew made the more natural switch from soccer player to placekicker. After exhausting his four years of eligibility with the Irish men's soccer team, McNew tried out in the '00 spring season and was invited to join the team in the fall.
McNEW MAKES KICKOFF DEBUTS
Fifth-year kicker Matt McNew -- playing in his first collegiate football game -- boomed five kickoffs for the Irish against the Aggies. Texas A&M's best field position after the kicks came at the 26-yard line following McNew's first kick after Notre Dame's touchdown just before halftime. In the second half, McNew's first three kickoffs were touchbacks, and the hangtime on his final kickoff allowed the Aggies to return the ball only to the 18-yard line.
IRISH DEFENSE STOPS AGGIES
Notre Dame's defense held Texas A&M to 10 points on 90 net yards rushing. The last time the Irish defense allowed fewer than 10 points to a ranked team came in the 1993 Cotton Bowl when Notre Dame held third-ranked Texas A&M to just a field goal in the 28-3 victory. Notre Dame also held fifth-ranked USC to 10 points in 1995. The 90 net yards rushing by the Aggies are the fewest by a ranked Irish opponent since Notre Dame held 17th-ranked USC to 87 net yards rushing in 1994 in a 17-17 tie.
FRIDAY FOOTBALL KICKOFF LUNCHEONS
Tickets are available for the 2000 Notre Dame Football Kickoff Luncheons, held in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome). The luncheons are held at the same day and time before every Irish home game this season. The 2000 football luncheons are sponsored by the Notre Dame Athletic Department and the speaking program each week includes a combination of special guests, head coach Bob Davie, members of his coaching staff and 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.
All 2000 pep rallies will be held in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome). Planned start times are 6:30 p.m., with the football team arriving at the usual 7:00 p.m.
Former Notre Dame walk-on and current senior QB/TE Joe Recendez was elevated to scholarship status prior to the start of the 2000 season, as was junior CB Dwayne Francis. Current senior outside linebacker Anthony Brannan was elevated to scholarship status prior to the 1999 season.
The Irish have made five number changes from the original media guide roster: senior FS Justin Smith will wear No. 4 (instead of 39), junior HLD Adam Tibble is wearing No. 80 (instead of 73), freshman TE Billy Palmer is wearing No. 85 (instead of 96), junior walk-on center John Crowther is wearing 56 (not 64) and junior walk-on TE/DE Jeffrey Campbell is wearing 64 (not 85).
Notre Dame's freshman class includes 18 scholarship players and two walk-ons: quarterback Matt Krueger (who will be sharing No. 8 with wide receiver Lorenzo Crawford) and tight end Brendan Hart (who is sharing No. 83 with walk-on kicker Josh Gentile). Hart is the grandson of former Notre Dame end and 1949 Heisman Trophy winner Leon Hart and the son of former Irish tight end Kevin Hart. Krueger prepped at South Bend's Marian High School as did his brother Ryan, a junior walk-on QB with the Irish.
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), Ara Parseghian (13-6-4, .652), Dan Devine (15-9-1, .620), Bob Davie (11-7, .611) and Lou Holtz (20-18-2, .525).
NOTRE DAME STADIUM EXPANDS AGAIN ... BY 220 SEATS
The capacity of Notre Dame Stadium has increased slightly to 80,232 for the 2000 football season. The increase of 220 represents field seats in the southwest section of the Stadium being made available to Notre Dame alumni clubs to assist in their scholarship development efforts. Notre Dame Stadium's capacity for the 1998 and '99 seasons was 80,012 -- making the facility the 15th largest in the country. The 1997 first-season capacity of 80,225 was based on computerized projections made prior to the construction of the new seating areas. Prior to the 1997 expansion, the Stadium's official capacity was 59,075.
Texas A&M became the 61st team to visit Notre Dame Stadium in the 2000 season opener, with the Irish owning a 52-8-1 mark (.861) in games when the opponent was making its first visit to the Stadium. Thirteen of those teams previously had played at Notre Dame (prior to 1930), with the Irish owning a mark of 40-6-1 since 1930 versus teams making their first overall visit to Notre Dame (.862). Texas A&M became the ninth consecutive opponents to lose in its first trip to Notre Dame Stadium. The first eight are: Colorado ('84), Mississippi ('85), Boston College ('87), BYU ('92), Vanderbilt ('95), Rutgers ('96), West Virginia ('97) and ASU ('99).
Notre Dame has won nearly 90 percent of its season openers (95-12-5, .871), including 68-9-3 (.869) mark in season openers played at home. The last time the Irish lost a season opener in Notre Dame Stadium was in '95 (Northwestern, 17-15), with Notre Dame opening the '97, '98, '99 and '00 seasons with victories at home. Prior to the Northwestern defeat, the Irish won eight straight openers (four at Notre Dame Stadium), dating back to Michigan's 24-23 win at Notre Dame in '86. Notre Dame's all-time record in season-opening games includes a 10-2-1 (8-2-1 at home) mark versus teams that currently comprise the Big 12 Conference.
DUTILE NAMED FACULTY BOARD CHAIR
Notre Dame's faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is professor Fernand "Tex" Dutile, associate dean of the Law School. Dutile assumed his duties as the chair of the Faculty Board on Athletics in September 2000.
2000 Notre Dame Opponent UPDATE
Below is a look at Notre Dame opponents' upcoming games. Since 1977, when the NCAA started rating strength of schedule, Notre Dame's schedule has been rated the most difficult five times in the last 22 years (1978, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1995).
Notre Dame 2000 Opponents' Combined Record in 2000: 7-3 (.700)
Notre Dame 2000 Opponents' Combined Record in 1999: 73-56 (.566)
AUSTIN CARR CHARITY GOLF CLASSIC PLANNED
The first Austin Carr Charity Golf Classic will be held Sunday, Sept. 17, 2000, at the new Warren Golf Course at the University of Notre Dame. The event is sponsored by the Austin Carr Foundation, with proceeds to benefit a University of Notre Dame minority scholarship fund in Carr's name, the March of Dimes and the Center for the Homeless. The weekend will begin with a celebrity reception at 7:00 p.m. EST, on Friday, Sept. 15, at the Warren Golf Course clubhouse. Following the Notre Dame-Purdue football game at Notre Dame Stadium the following day, a charity dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. EST Saturday, also at the Warren Golf Course clubhouse. Golf then will begin on Sunday with a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. EST. Celebrities already committed to participating in the event include former Notre Dame basketball standouts Bruce Flowers, Bob Arnzen, Bill Hanzlik and Gary Brokaw, former Irish football stars Nick Eddy, Ross Browner, Creighton Miller, Tony Rice, Jim Seymour and Willie Townsend, former Irish football offensive coordinator and Westwood One color commentator Tom Pagna and former St. Louis Cardinal quarterback Jim Hart. Corporate foursomes are available for $2,000 each. Anyone interested in playing or in corporate sponsorships can contact Joel Piekarski, Advantage Golf, 1606 East Turkeyfoot Lake Road, Akron, OH 44312, or call (330) 899-9319. Carr, currently the director of business and community development for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association, remains the all-time leading career scorer in Notre Dame basketball history. He finished with 2,560 points between 1968-71 -- - helping him earn national player of the year honors as a senior in 1970-71 from the Associated Press and United Press International. He still ranks as the most prolific scorer in the history of the NCAA basketball tournament, thanks to his 41.3-point average in seven career NCAA games. He holds the NCAA tournament single-game record with 61 points vs. Ohio University in '70, posted three of the top five scoring performances in tournament history and still holds six NCAA tournament records. Carr is a native of Washington, D.C., where he attended Mackin High School. Currently active with the Cleveland's literacy program as a spokesman for ?Stay-in-School,? Carr also hosts the pregame show on the Cavs' radio broadcasts and participates with the Cavs' Legends Team. A '71 Notre Dame graduate in economics, Carr, his wife Sharon and children Jason and Ashley reside in suburban Cleveland.
GERMANY GAME GETS RAVE REVIEWS
MONTANA ENTERS PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Irish Sell Out for 36th Consecutive YeaR IN 1999
The University of Notre Dame finished 15th nationally in attendance among all NCAA Division I-A football-playing institutions in 1999. The Irish averaged 80,012 fans (the full capacity of the expanded Notre Dame Stadium) for the seven '99 home games. The '99 season marked the 35th consecutive season that every seat has been sold for every home game. Notre Dame also ranked eight nationally for 1997 season home attendance and 11th in '98, with the average increase of 21,150 fans per game in '97 compared to '96 representing the second-highest increase nationally, behind Stanford's 21,154 that was helped by the Oct. 4 crowd of 75,651 (compared to the average of 56,937) when the Irish played the Cardinal in Palo Alto. 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.
BIG CROWDS EVERYWHERE
With the first three games of the Irish 2000 season sold out at home, after the Purdue game the Irish will have played in front of capacity crowds in 121 of 140 games. Each of the first 10 regular-season games involving Notre Dame during the '98 season -- and the first 11 in '99 -- was played in front of a sellout crowd.
NOTRE DAME VS. BIG 12 TEAMS
Including the 2000 lottery figures, here are the 10-highest demanded games (based on total tickets requested by contributing alumni) in Notre Dame Stadium history:
RECENT IRISH RUSHING HISTORY
Notre Dame's rushing attack has ranked 20th or better nationally in 11 of the last 13 years: