Oct. 9, 2000
The Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 14, 2000, at Noon EDT (11:00 a.m. EST in South Bend).
Websites: Notre Dame (www.und.com), Navy (www.navysports.com).
The Head Coach Fourth-year Irish head coach Bob Davie owns a 24-18 (.571) 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 three wins over a ranked teams. He led the Irish to another season-opening ranked win this year against No. 23 Texas A&M, and the win over 13th-ranked Purdue marked the earliest the Irish have beaten two ranked opponents since 1990. 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 Oct. 8)
NOTRE DAME-NAVY GAME NOTES
Saturday's game marks the 74th meeting between the Irish and Midshipmen -- the longest intersectional rivalry in the country. Notre Dame leads the series 63-9-1 with a 40-6-1 edge in neutral site games.
Notre Dame enters the game ranked for the 48th time in the series, which now has featured at least one ranked team in 51 of the 74 games between the Irish and Midshipmen.
The Florida Citrus Bowl marks the ninth different neutral site Notre Dame and Navy have played.
For more Notre Dame-Navy series notes, see pages 2-3.
THE IRISH TRAVEL PLANS Notre Dame will be headquartered at the Coronado Springs Resort at Disney World, 1000 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, (407) 939-1000. The Irish are scheduled to depart by charter flight on Friday at 9:00 a.m. EST with a 12:00 p.m. EDT arrival at Orlando International Airport. A brief walk-through at the Florida Citrus Bowl will be held at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
IF NOTRE DAME WINS ... The Irish will defeat Navy for the 37th straight time, dating back to a 1963 loss. Notre Dame will win its 11th straight game in October, dating back to a '97 loss to USC.
The Irish will improve to 25-1-0 in its last 26 games versus the service academies.
IF NAVY WINS ... The Midshipmen will end an NCAA record 36-game losing streak vs. the Irish (first win since 1963). Navy will snap a 10-game Irish winning streak in October, dating back to a '97 loss to USC. The Midshipmen will end a five-game losing streak.
SERIES NOTES Navy and Notre Dame will meet for the 74th time, the longest series in Notre Dame football history. This season's Notre Dame-Purdue game was the 72st in that series (tied for second-longest in Notre Dame history) while the Irish and USC also will for the 72nd time later this season. Notre Dame leads the Navy series 63-9-1, in the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country. The Irish and Middies have met every year since 1927. In the five games played in the '90s at neutral sites, Notre Dame defeated Navy by an average score of 46-18 (232-92). In the five games in the '90s at Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish defeated the Midshipmen by an average score of 36-16 (180-79). Notre Dame has won 36 straight in the series. Navy's last win came in '63, when Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach helped Navy win 35-14 at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame's 36 straight wins rank as the longest winning streak by one team over another in NCAA history (previous record: Oklahoma's 32 straight wins over Kansas State from 1937-68).
SITE SURVEY The Florida Citrus Bowl becomes the ninth neutral site in the history of the series and the fifth different site in the last five neutral games. Notre Dame has played once previously at the Florida Citrus Bowl, a 23-16 loss to eighth-ranked Florida State during the 1994 season. Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in 1998 became the eighth neutral site in the history of the series. The first 34 games of the series included 17 in Baltimore, Md. (in the facility referred to as Municipal/Babe Ruth/Memorial Stadium), one game at Soldier Field ('28), seven games at Notre Dame Stadium (including the inaugural game in '30) and nine games in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. The games from 1960-71 alternated between Philadelphia's Municipal/JFK Stadium and Notre Dame Stadium. Navy's home sites from 1976-96 included Philadelphia's Veteran Stadium ('72, '74, '93), Cleveland's Municipal Stadium ('76, '78), Giants Stadium ('80, '82, '84, '90, '92), Baltimore's Memorial Stadium ('86, '88) and Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland ('96).
ND-NAVY CONNECTIONS Second-year Irish offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers spent eight seasons on the football staff at Navy (1983-90), where he coached a variety of positions: tight ends and offensive tackles in 1983, tight ends and receivers in '84 and '85, defensive backs in '86, running backs in '87 and '88 and quarterbacks in '89 and '90 (when he tutored Alton Grizzard, Navy's all-time total offense leader). Fourth-year defensive coordinator Greg Mattison coached opposite Rogers during two of those seasons, as the defensive line coach at Army from 1987-88. Navy assistant AD/compliance coordinator Tom Bates is a 1960 Notre Dame graduate and a former student assistant in the Notre Dame sports information office. Third-year Navy director of strength and conditioning Kirk Woolfolk was Notre Dame's strength and conditioning coordinator for three years (1995-98). Two current Notre Dame Olympic sports head coaches have past experience as head coaches at Navy. Men's tennis head coach Bob Bayliss -- now in his 14th year at Notre Dame -- spent the first 15 years of his head coaching career at Navy (1970-84). Third-year Notre Dame women's rowing coach Martin Stone held the same position at Navy for six years prior to joining the Irish staff in Oct. of '97.
FRIEND OR FOE Several Notre Dame and Navy players hail from the same hometown or attended the same high school: Notre Dame senior DE Grant Irons (The Woodlands HS) and Navy junior LB Mike Chiesl (Oak Ridge HS) both hail from The Woodlands, Texas. Irish junior TE Gerald Morgan and Navy senior OG Philip Yeh are natives of Mesquite, Texas, and were teammates at Poteet HS. Irish junior DB Clifford Jefferson (Carter HS) is a native of Dallas, Texas, as are five Navy players: senior LB David Bader (Plano HS), junior S DeJuan Cromer (Skyline HS) and junior FB Marlon Terrell (L.V. Berkner HS).
MEN'S LACROSSE TEAMS TO MEET The Notre Dame and Navy men's lacrosse teams will square off in an exibition game at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 13 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Shuttle buses will run continously from the Corando Springs Resort at Disney World to the field from 4:30 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. Admission to the contest is $5.00.
IRISH IN SUNSHINE STATE Saturday's game will mark the sixth game for the Irish in Florida since 1990 and the second regular-season game in the Sunshine State since '90. The last regular season game in Florida also came in the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1994 -- a 23-16 loss to eighth-ranked Florida State. Other recent games in Florida for Notre Dame are the 1999 Gator Bowl (#12 Georgia Tech 35, #17 Notre Dame 28), the 1996 Orange Bowl (#8 Florida State 31, #6 Notre Dame 26), the 1991 Orange Bowl (#1 Colorado 10, #5 Notre Dame 9) and the 1990 Orange Bowl (#4 Notre Dame 21, #1 Colorado 6).
FAINE AMONG NINE FLORIDA NATIVES ON IRISH ROSTER Irish sophomore and starting center Jeff Faine -- a native of Sanford, Fla., and graduate of Seminole HS -- is one of nine Floridians on the Notre Dame roster. The other eight Florida natives are: freshman QB Jared Clark (Sarasota/Cardinal Mooney), sophomore LT Brennan Curtin (Palm Beach/Benjamin), freshman DB Abram Elam (Riviera Beach/Cardinal Newman), sophomore QB Gary Godsey (Tampa/Jesuit), freshman DB Preston Jackson (Brandon/Hillsborough), freshman TE Billy Palmer (Wyntree Heathrow/Lake Highland Prep), senior DB Justin Smith (St. Petersburg/Lakewood) and sophomore ILB Courtney Watson (Sarasota/Riverview).
IRISH IN OCTOBER Notre Dame enters the Navy game with a 10-game winning streak in October, dating back to a 20-17 loss to USC in 1997. The Irish have an 11-2 mark in October under Bob Davie. Since the 1988 season, Notre Dame is 42-7 in October and was 32-7 in October in the 1990s.
IRISH PICK UP NINTH STRAIGHT WIN FOLLOWING AN OFF WEEK Since 1984, Notre Dame is 18-2 in regular-season games following a bye week, including seven wins over ranked teams: 24-10 over #19 Army in 1985, 24-19 at #1 Michigan in '89, 31-23 at #19 USC in '92, 31-24 over #1 Florida State in '93, 54-20 over #16 Washington in '96, 24-6 at #11 LSU in '97 and 34-30 over #23 Oklahoma in 1999. Notre Dame has a 6-0 record under head coach Bob Davie following a bye week. Here's how the Irish have fared in those games:
Notre Dame has won its last nine games when coming off a regular-season bye week -- since a 23-16 loss to eighth-ranked Florida State in a game played on Nov. 12, 1994, in the Citrus Bowl. Including the six since 1997, the other three off-week wins are:
WEAVER LEADS STRONG DEFENSE Notre Dame's defense -- currently ranked 27th in passing defense with 182.4 passing yards allowed per game, compared to the 241.5 per game in '99 -- has been tough on opposing quarterbacks this season with 17 sacks in five games, in addition to numerous hurries and knockdowns. The play of junior DE Anthony Weaver has been a significant part of the Irish defensive pressure. Weaver has a team-high seven tackles for losses and four sacks -- tops on the team with junior DE Ryan Roberts. The Irish totalled 18 sacks last year and have sacked opposing quarterbacks 17 times through five games this season. Weaver also has an interception (vs. Michigan State to set up go-ahead TD) and a fumble recovery (vs. Stanford with the Cardinal threatening to score on ND's 15-yard line) this season. Junior RE Ryan Roberts and Weaver lead the Irish defense with four sacks -- one in each of the first four games for Roberts. Roberts is the first Irish player since Kory Minor in 1996 (vs. Boston College, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and USC) to have at least one sack in four consecutive games. Notre Dame's six sacks against Michigan State stand as the most under head coach Bob Davie and the most since the Irish had nine sacks against Rutgers in 1996.
THE STANFORD REVIEW Junior FL David Givens caught two TD passes and blocked a punt to help Notre Dame beat Stanford 20-14. Freshman Matt LoVecchio (10-18 for 100 yards, two TDs, 13 carries for 36 yards) became the 12th of the last 13 Irish QBs starting their first game to lead Notre Dame to victory. LoVecchio was 4-4 for 40 yards with three rushes for 17 yards as he guided the Irish on a 91-yard drive on their opening possession and capped it off with a 17-yard TD pass to Givens. With the Irish defense having forced the Cardinal to punt from its own 35-yard line, Given's stormed through untouched to block the punt. Two plays after taking over at the Stanford 10, LoVecchio connected with Givens once again with an eight-yard pass. The Cardinal needed just two plays on their opening possession of the second half to cut the lead to 13-7. After senior CB Brock Williams' second career interception, Julius Jones rushed for three yards, took a shovel pass from LoVecchio 24 yards and then found the end zone from seven yards for a 20-7 Irish advantage. Notre Dame's defense kept the lead intact until the Cardinal scored a late TD with 1:07 remaining. Senior TE Jabari Holloway recovered the ensuing onsides kick, and the Irish ran out the clock for the win.
RED ZONE REPORT The Irish and their five opponents each have 14 scores in trips inside the red zone and each have scored 10 touchdowns. Notre Dame also has come away with three field goals, while its opponents have two field goals in addition to the 10 TDs. The red zone chances include one each for the Irish and their opponents in an overtime situation.
SCOUTING THE IRISH OFFENSE
SCOUTING THE IRISH DEFENSE
SCOUTING THE IRISH SPECIAL TEAMS Fifth-year newcomer Matt McNew -- who joined the team in the spring after four years with the Irish men's soccer team -- handles the kickoffs and has allowed an average opponent starting position of less than 25 yards through 22 kickoffs in '00. Sophomore Nick Setta (13-14 PATs, 5-8 FG) has shined as the Irish placekicker through five games and nailed the game-winning FG from 38 yards against Purdue as time expired. Sophomore Joey Hildbold (33-1382-41.9) ranks 27th in the NCAA in punting average, has nine punts of at least 50 yards and has allowed an average return of 2.6 yards per punt. Sophomore Julius Jones is second the nation in KO return (8-286-35.8, 100-yard TD return against Nebraska), while junior David Givens (5-99) and senior Tony Driver (2-46) also share duties returning kickoffs. Joey Getherall (13-189 with 83-yard TD return against Nebraska) returns punts. Dan O'Leary (punts) and John Crowther (PAT and FG) share the snaps. Adam Tibble does the holding.
IRISH ALONE WITH NO FUMBLE LOST Notre Dame is the only team in NCAA Division I-A football without a fumble lost this season and leads the country with just three turnovers in its five games. The Irish have fumbled the ball just three times in 2000 and have not lost any of those fumbles. The five consecutive games without a lost fumble marks the longest streak for Notre Dame since a seven-game streak during the last six games in '93 (BYU, USC, Navy, Florida State, Boston College, Texas A&M in Cotton Bowl) and the first game of the '94 season vs. Northwestern.
IRISH SPECIAL TEAMS TRULY SPECIAL Along with Notre Dame's success with returns (see below), the Irish special teams have helped set up two key touchdowns following blocked punts. Against Purdue, sophomore Glenn Earl blocked Travis Dorsch's punt as the Irish took over at the Boiler four-yard line -- leading to the first Irish touchdown in the 23-21 win. Against Stanford, junior David Givens blocked Mike Biselli's punt as the Irish took over at the Stanford 10-yard line -- leading to Notre Dame's second touchdown in the 20-14 win. Other special team highlights for the Irish this season include Nick Setta's 38-yard, game-winning field goal against Purdue as time expired, four other field goals and 13-14 in PATs.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS FOR NOTRE DAME The Irish have totalled 774 return yards this season, doubling the yardage of their opponents' 387 yards -- thanks in large part to the stellar performances of punt returner Joey Getherall, punter Joey Hildbold, kickoff returner Julius Jones, placekicker Matt McNew. Notre Dame's kicking game has limited its opponents to 5.5 yards per punt return and 18.0 yards per kickoff return. Based on the rankings of the 114 NCAA I-A teams, these averages would place the Irish opponents 103rd in punt returns and 81st in kickoff returns, while Notre Dame stands second in KO returns (28.73) and 14th in punt returns (14.28). Notre Dame also ranks 11th in net punting at 39.39, while its opponents' net punting of 32.06 would place them 89th, according to the latest NCAA national statistics. Here's a breakdown of the returns:
LoVECCHIO 3RD STARTING QB IN FIVE GAMES, JUST 4TH FROSH QB IN 49 YEARS Freshman Matt LoVecchio became Notre Dame's third starting quarterback in five games this season against Stanford on Saturday, marking the first time since 1987 the Irish have had three starting QBs in one season and have had a starting freshman quarterback. After senior starter Terry Andrysiak broke his left collarbone in the fourth game of the '87 season, sophomore Tony Rice started six of the last seven games of the regular season. Freshman Kent Graham started against Boston College (6-8 for 111 yards, INT in the 32-25 win) in the eighth game of the season. Andrysiak returned as the starting QB in the Cotton Bowl. Steve Beuerlein started his fourth game as a freshman against Colorado (8-12 for 133 yards in 27-3 win) in 1983. Beuerlein took over for senior Blair Kiel -- who, in 1980, became the first Irish freshman to start at quarterback since Ralph Guglielmi in 1951 vs. North Carolina. Kiel made his first start in the fourth game of the season against Miami (4-17 for 35 yards in 32-14 win).
LoVECCHIO FIRST STARTING QB FROM NEW JERSEY SINCE THEISMANN Hailing from Franklin Lakes, N.J., Matt LoVecchio is Notre Dame's first starting quarterback from the Garden State since Joe Theismann (South River, N.J.) in 1968-70. Frank Tripucka (Bloomfield, N.J.) also started for Notre Dame during his career from 1945-48. Theismann, a 1970 All-American, and Tripucka are believed to be the only New Jersey quarterbacks to start for the Irish prior to LoVecchio. The other QBs from the Garden State who played at Notre Dame but did not start are:
Gus Ornstein (Tenafly, 1994) Pete Graham (Rumson, 1986-89) Frank Allocco (New Providence, 1972-75) Bill Bruno (Asbury Park, 1934-36) Hardy Bush (Newark, 1913-14) Charles Daly (Patterson, 1899)
GODSEY STANDS TALL IN IRISH HISTORY Sophomore QB Gary Godsey has taken his place in the Notre Dame recordbook as the tallest quarterback in Irish history. The 6-7 Tampa, Fla., native has a towering two inches over four former 6-5 Irish QBs: Kevin Smith (1983), Tom Byrne (1986), Kent Graham (1987-88) and Thomas Krug (1994-95). Most of Notre Dame's offensive line looks up at Godsey in the huddle, as sophomore Brennan Curtin, at 6-8, is the only Irish player taller than Godsey. Senior LT Casey Robin and senior RG Kurt Vollers also stand 6-7.
IRISH CONTINUE QB'S FIRST-START MAGIC For the third time in five games in '00, an Irish quarterback making his first career start led Notre Dame to victory. Freshman QB Matt LoVecchio began his first start by leading the Irish on a 91-yard drive in 11 plays in the 20-14 win over Stanford. Three weeks earlier, sophomore QB Gary Godsey engineered a game-winning drive that ended with a field goal as time expired in the 23-21 win over 13th-ranked Purdue. Two weeks before that game, junior Arnaz Battle -- out indefinitely with a broken left navicular suffered against Nebraska -- made his first career start in Notre Dame's 24-10 win over 25th-ranked Texas A&M. Battle became the 10th, Godsey became the 11th and LoVecchio became the 12th of the last 13 Irish quarterbacks to be victorious in their first career starts. From 1985-98, Notre Dame was victorious in nine straight games in which an Irish quarterback was making his first career start, including four coming in a season opener. Notre Dame's nine-game, first-start streak ended in the 10-0 loss at USC on Nov. 28, 1998, when Eric Chappell started in place of the injured starter Jackson (then-freshman Arnaz Battle also played a large chunk of that game). Battle also became the 10th consecutive Irish quarterback making his first start to lead the Irish to victory in a season opener, a streak dating back to 1965: Bill Zloch (vs. Cal, '65), Terry Hanratty (vs. Purdue, '66), Pat Steenberge (vs. Northwestern, '71), Tom Clements (vs. Northwestern, '72), Rick Slager (vs. Boston College, '75), Rick Mirer (vs. Michigan, '90), Kevin McDougal (vs. Northwestern, '93), Ron Powlus (vs. Northwestern, '94) and Jarious Jackson (vs. Michigan, '98).
Last 13 starting debut games by Notre Dame quarterbacks
FOUR RANKED OPPONENTS IN A ROW
After games against 23rd-ranked Texas A&M, top-ranked Nebraska and 13th-ranked Purdue to open the season, the Irish played their fourth consecutive ranked opponent at 23rd-ranked Michigan State, marking the first time since the inception of the Associated Press poll in 1936 that Notre Dame has opened a season with four ranked opponents.
The Irish played four consecutive games against ranked opponents during the regular season for the first time since 1957 and for only the third time ever (1943 was the first time).
Here's here how the 1943 Irish fared against their four consecutive ranked opponents:
Oct. 30 #1 Notre Dame def. #3 Navy 33-6
Here's here how the 1957 Irish fared against their four consecutive ranked opponents:
Nov. 2 #16 Navy def. #5 Notre Dame 20-6
SETTA SAILS WINNING KICK
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 (13-9, .591) and Lou Holtz (20-18-2, .525).
THE POLLS Following Notre Dame's overtime loss to top-ranked Nebraska on Sept. 9, the Irish moved up two spots in the Associated Press poll, going from 23rd that week to 21st following the game. That marked only the second time in the history of Notre Dame football and the AP rankings that the Irish have moved up following a defeat. The other time came in 1986 following Lou Holtz's first game as Irish head coach. Notre Dame came into that campaign unranked, but after a 24-23 loss to third-ranked Michigan in the season opener at Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish moved to 20th in the AP poll the following week. In fact, that marked the first time in the history of the AP poll that a team entered the season unranked, lost its first game and moved into the rankings.
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 and has 22 tackles, one tackle for a loss, two interceptions -- including a 60-yard INT return for a touchdown against Purdue -- and three passes deflected this season. 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 ND monogram 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. In his first collegiate football game, McNew boomed five kickoffs for the Irish against the Aggies, including three kickoffs touchbacks. His 22 kickoffs in '00 have resulted in average opponent starting position just short of the Irish 25-yard line. Junior walk-on Chad DeBolt - who has made 19 special teams appearances in '00 and was one of just four walkons on the MSU trip -- also stars for the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team. The Waterloo, N.Y., native played in all 14 games last year as a defensive midfielder and won over 60 percent of the faceoffs he attempted for the men's lacrosse team - which turned in one of its best seasons ever in '00 by reaching the NCAA quarterfinals for the second time in its history.
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).
THEY SHALL RETURN During the past 15 seasons ('86-'00), Notre Dame has produced 52 TDs via kickoff, punt and interception returns ?- including Shane Walton's 60-yard interception return vs. Purdue, Julius Jones' 100-yard kickoff return and Joey Getherall's 83-yard punt return vs. Nebraska in '00. Other recent returns for the Irish are Jones' 67-yard punt return vs. Boston College ('99), A'Jani Sanders' pair of INTs vs. ASU ('98 and '99), Bobbie Howard's INT vs. LSU ('98) and Deveron Harper's INT in the '99 opener vs. Kansas. (Those numbers don't include several fumble returns for TDs, with recent ones coming from Anthony Denman vs. Kansas in '99, Deke Cooper at Michigan State in '98, Malcolm Johnson vs. Army in '98 and Lamont Bryant vs. LSU in '98). Notre Dame's opponents in the past 15 seasons have combined for just 11 total returns for touchdowns (on kicks, punts or interceptions). Since the start of '86, the Irish have produced their most returns vs. Pittsburgh (seven), Purdue (five) and four each vs. Air Force, Michigan and Michigan State. The 52 returns have come from 30 players, including nine by Allen Rossum (an NCAA record), six by Raghib Ismail, five by Tim Brown and three by Ricky Watters -- with current sophomore Julius Jones already having returned two kicks in the first 14 games of his Irish career. The returns also do not include a blocked punt returned for TD in '96 and two by Irish opponents in '97 and '99. Notre Dame recovered a fumble in its opponent's end zone twice in '92. The Irish returned PATs for two points in '89 (Andre Jones vs. SMU) and '95 (Allen Rossum vs. Texas). Rice was the first team to return a PAT following the NCAA's implementation of the rule in a game against the Irish in '88.
JONES, GETHERALL, GIVENS GO LONG DISTANCE AGAINST HUSKERS Julius Jones, Joey Getherall and David Givens combined for 317 return yards (4 punts for 113 yards, 4 kickoffs for 204) against Nebraska -- including an 83-yard punt return by Getherall and a 100-yard kickoff return by Jones for touchdowns. The 317 return yards were the second most kickoff and punt return yards for the Irish since the start of the 1980 season. Notre Dame had 336 return yards (231 punt, 71 kickoff and 34 interception) against Pittsburgh in '96. Notre Dame's 204 kickoff return yards established a modern Irish record for single-game kickoff returns, eclipsing the 192 by Notre Dame (all by Raghib Ismail) against Michigan in 1989. The Irish had 354 kickoff return yards against Kalamazoo in 1922. Jones' 175 return yards were the most for a Notre Dame player since Clint Johnson returned two kickoffs vs. Stanford for 179 yards and one touchdown. Jones' 100-yard TD return marked the first kickoff touchdown return of his career, the longest since Johnson went 100 yards vs. Stanford and the first for the Irish since Jarious Jackson returned an onside kick for a TD against Pitt in '97. Jones has returned 34 kickoffs for 889 yards in his brief 17-game career, already sixth on the Irish all-time kickoff return yards list (senior Tony Driver is fourth with 40 returns for 897 yards). Jones currently averages 26.1 yds./return and 52.3 return yds./game. Getherall's 83-yard punt return tied Allen Rossum's 83-yard punt return against Pittsburgh in 1996 for the eighth-longest in Irish history. The last Irish player to return a punt longer was Ricky Watters who set the record with a 97-yarder vs. SMU in 1989. Givens started the Nebraska game with a 41-yard kickoff return, the longest of his career.
JONES ALREADY AMONG RETURN LEADERS Through just 16 games of his Irish career, sophomore Julius Jones -- already with punt ('99 BC) and kickoff ('00 Nebraska) returns for touchdowns -- has produced some of Notre Dame's top return games in the past decade, dating back to Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown's first season in '84 season:
NUMBER CHANGES 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).
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.
NEW SCHOLARSHIPS 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 2000 NCAA STATS NCAA stat rankings for Notre Dame and Navy (top 50 for team ranks):
THREE FORMER IRISH PLAYERS NAMED TO ABC SPORTS ALL-TIME ALL-AMERICA TEAM Three former Notre Dame football greats have been selected to the ABC Sports College Football All-Time All-America Team, as featured in a recently-published book by Hyperion. Receiver Tim Brown was named to the second team, as was defensive lineman Alan Page, while tight end Dave Casper was chosen to the third team. Brown, from Dallas, Texas, won the 1987 Heisman Trophy and finished his Notre Dame career as the all-time Irish leader in reception yardage (2,493). He keynoted his Heisman bid in '87 by returning two punts for 66 and 71 yards for TDs against Michigan State. Brown continues to star as a receiver for the NFL Oakland Raiders. Page, from Canton, Ohio, earned consensus All-America honors as a senior in 1966 while helping the Irish to the national championship. A three-year starter at defensive end, he made 63 tackles as a senior in '66 and finished with 134 career tackles. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993 ? and was an NCAA Silver Anniversary award winner in 1992. A former NFL MVP during his career with the Minnesota Vikings, Page now serves as a Minnesota Supreme Court judge. Casper, from Chilton, Wis., was a consensus All-America selection as a senior in 1973 on Notre Dame's national championship team. A three-year starter from 1971-73, he opened at offensive tackle for two seasons, then switched to tight end as a senior. His career totals included 21 catches for 335 yards and four TDs. He served as co-captain of Notre Dame's '73 national title squad. After 11 years in the NFL, Casper was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 1993 and was an NCAA Silver Anniversary award winner in 1999.
2000 Notre Dame SCHEDULE AMONG TOUGHEST Notre Dame's schedule -- which had been rated the fourth toughest in the country in the first four weeks of the season -- currently is rated by the NCAA as the 25th toughest in the country and the 11th among teams ranked in the AP top 25. The Irish opponents have posted a 31-20 overall record -- a figure that does not include their games vs. Notre Dame -- so far this season for a .608 winning percentage.
Notre Dame Opponents' Combined Record in '00 (not including games vs. ND): 31-20 (.608)
THEISMANN TO SERVE AS GUEST SPEAKER AT 81ST ANNUAL FOOTBALL BANQUET Former Notre Dame All-America quarterback and current ESPN analyst Joe Theismann will serve as guest speaker for the 81st annual University of Notre Dame Football Banquet. The banquet, sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley, will be held Friday, Dec. 1, 2000, in the north dome of the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus. A reception on the concourse begins at 5:45 p.m. EST and the dinner begins at 7:00 p.m. The program will include video highlights of the 2000 season and a special tribute to senior members of the 2000 Irish squad. Ticket information will be announced within the next few weeks. In addition to the dinner, all senior members of the 2000 Irish team will be available for autographs on the concourse during the reception. There also will be a silent auction of Notre Dame football photographs and memorabilia during the reception.
IRISH LIFE SKILLS PROGRAM HONORED AS ONE OF NATION'S BEST The Notre Dame CHAMPS/Life Skills Program has been identified as one of the best in the nation by the NCAA Division I-A Athletic Directors' Association. Notre Dame received one of four program of excellence awards at the Association's Sept. 25 awards dinner in Dallas. Honored along with Notre Dame were Arizona State University, the University of Iowa and Michigan State University. Notre Dame's Life Skills Program currently is under the direction of Bernard Muir, associate athletic director for student-athlete welfare. In existence since August 1996, Notre Dame's Life Skills Program is committed to the total development of the University's student-athletes. It fosters the cultivation of skills that allow for their maximization on and off the playing field. The program develops and implements events and activities which are designed to facilitate learning in five key areas: academic excellence, athletic success, career preparation, community involvement and personal development. By the time a Notre Dame student-athlete graduates, he or she will have participated in approximately 40 hours of required skill building and development workshops in each key area. All freshmen and their parents participate in orientation sessions designed to assist in the transition into the University and to inform them about the Life Skills Program as well as other support services.
GERMANY GAME GETS RAVE REVIEWS Eight members of Notre Dame's 1988 national championship football team including '88 tri-captain Mark Green and standout inside linebacker Wes Pritchett helped comprise the list of 55 former Irish football players who participated in Charity Bowl 2000. The former Irish players traveled to Hamburg, Germany, for a July 8, 2000, game against the Hamburg Blue Devils football club, at Volkspark Stadium. A memorable six-day trip was capped by a 14-10 victory for the Notre Dame alumni team, with the game ending on Ivory Covington's interception in the end zone after the Blue Devils had marched to the seven-yard line. QB Steve Belles had a hand in both Irish scoring drives, hitting Clint Johnson with a 50-yard bomb to set up his own two-yard option keeper for the first TD before connecting with Johnson for a 23-yard TD pass later in the game. The game benefited Kinder Helfen Kindern (Kids Helping Kids) and the Notre Dame Brennan-Boland Scholarship Fund, which provides need-based assistance to sons and daughters of members of the Notre Dame National Monogram Club. The coaching staff included former Notre Dame assistant coaches Brian Boulac, Skip Holtz, Peter Vaas, Brian White and Tony Yelovich and former Irish player Mike Haywood while current defensive coordinator Greg Mattison served as head coach. Feature stories detailing the alumni team's experiences in Germany including a full recap?are posted on the ND athletic website (www.und.com).
FRESHMAN WALK-ONS Notre Dame's freshman class includes 17 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.
BIG CROWDS EVERYWHERE The Irish will have played in front of capacity crowds in 123 of the last 142 games, including the first five games in 2000. 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.
Four former Notre Dame football players currently are employees of the University: flanker Mike Favorite ('81-'83), defensive back D'Juan Francisco ('86-'89), quarterback Tony Rice ('87-'89) and offensive tackle Larry Williams ('81-'84). Favorite joined Notre Dame in 1993 as assistant director of the auditing department, recently served as associate director for ?Y2K? compliance and currently is a strategic consultant in the office of information technologies. Francisco joined the Notre Dame Alumni Association in 1992 and assumed the role of director of constituency groups, alumni clubs and student programs (he now coordinates 210 domestic and 30 international alumni clubs). Rice was appointed assistant director of regional development for Notre Dame in the Chicago area on Feb. 1, 1999, while Williams was named Notre Dame's director of licensing in November of 1999.