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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Oct. 23, 2000

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    (#19 AP/#19 ESPN/USA Today) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-2) vs. Air Force Falcons (5-2)

    The Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 28, 2000, at 1:30 EST.

    The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,232/natural grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.

    The Tickets: They're all soldd with this game marking the 154th consecutive sellout in Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The Air Force game marks the 202nd home sellout in the last 203 games (back to 1964) and the 125th sellout in the last 145 games involving Notre Dame, including the first 10 games of 1998, the first 11 in '99 and the first five in '00.

    The TV Plans: NBC Sports national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Jim Gray (sideline) and Bill Bonnell (producer).

    The Radio Plans: For the 33rd consecutive season, all Notre Dame football games are broadcast nationally on radio by Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play by play) and Tom Pagna (game analysis) and Paul Hornung (pregame/halftime analysis). The Westwood One network includes nearly 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.

    Websites: Notre Dame (www.und.com), Air Force (www.airforcesports.com).

    The Head Coach Fourth-year Irish head coach Bob Davie owns a 26-18 (.591) 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.

    NOTRE DAME-AIR FORCE GAME NOTES

    • Saturday's game marks the 25th meeting between the Irish and Falcons and the first since 1996. Notre Dame leads the series 19-5.
    • Air Force won the last meeting between the teams, edging Notre Dame 20-17 in the first ever Irish overtime game.
    • The Falcons are the first Mountain West Conference opponent for Notre Dame in the brief history of the league.
    • For more Notre Dame-Air Force series notes, see pages 2-3.

    IF NOTRE DAME WINS ...
    Notre Dame will win its 13th straight game in October, dating back to a '97 loss to USC.
    The Irish will become eligible for a bowl game with their sixth win.
    Notre Dame will improve to 26-1 vs. the service academies since 1986.

    IF AIR FORCE WINS ...
    The Falcons will defeat the Irish in consecutive meetings for the first time since winning four straight from 1982-85.

    Air Force will become the first Mountain West Conference team to be Notre Dame.

    The Falcons will become eligible for a bowl game with their sixth win.

    SERIES HISTORY

    Notre Dame and Air Force first met in 1964, a 34-7 Irish win in Colorado Springs, and next played in '69, a 13-6 Irish win at Notre Dame Stadium. Beginning in '72, the team played every year except 1976 for the next 19 seasons. After no games between the teams in '92 and '93, the Irish and Falcons met in '94-96 before the three-year break. The teams next will square off on Oct. 19, '02, in Colorado Springs. The 24 games have been split with each team playing 12 of the series games at home.

    After losing its first 11 games to Notre Dame, Air Force won four straight from 1982-85. The Irish then won the next eight meetings before the overtime loss to the Falcons in 1996.

    Notre Dame has been ranked in 18 of the previous games of the series (winning 16 of them, losing in 1982 and 1996), while Air Force has been ranked twice. The 17th-ranked Falcons beat the unranked Irish 21-15 in 1985, while the 17th-ranked Falcons lost 41-27 to top-ranked Notre Dame in 1989 -- the only meeting in which both teams have been ranked.

    NOTRE DAME-AIR FORCE CONNECTIONS

    Second-year Irish offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers and sixth-year AFA defensive line coach Jappy Oliver coached together at Navy from 1984-86.

    Fifth-year Irish wide receivers coach Urban Meyer coached against Air Force during his six years as receivers coach at Colorado State from 1990-95, compiling a 5-1 record against the Falcons.

    Irish fifth-year TE Dan O'Leary and Falcon sophomore OLB Larry vanderOord both attended St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Irish junior PK David Miller and Falcon senior FB Scott Becker both are natives of nearby Granger, Ind., and played together at Penn High School.

    Irish senior FS Tony Driver and Falcon sophomore P/PK John Cortney both are natives of Louisville, Ken.

    Irish senior DE Grant Irons and Falcon sophomore DT Eric Thompson both are natives of The Woodlands, Texas.

    Irish junior CB Shane Walton and Falcon junior P John Cortney both are San Diego natives.

    Seventh-year Irish baseball coach Paul Mainieri served as baseball coach at Air Force from 1989-94 before coming to Notre Dame.

    HOWARD'S RUN 15TH LONGEST IN IRISH HISTORY

    Junior TB Terrance Howard -- with 56 yards rushing in the first five games combined -- had an 80-yard touchdown run against West Virginia in the second-quarter to tie the game at 14-14, the first of five consecutive Irish TDs against the Mountaineers.

    His 80-yard run stands as the 15th longest in Notre Dame history and the second longest for the Irish in the last 27 years (Robert Farmer had an 81-yard TD run against Boston College in 1996).

    The run also set a Mountaineer Field record for the longest by a West Virginia opponent, eclipsing a 74-yard run by Maryland's Mike Beasley in 1988.

    He finished with 96 yards rushing against WVU, the second consecutive week he has rushed for career-high yards after 68 against Navy.

    IRISH REMAIN ALONE WITH NO FUMBLES LOST, ON NCAA RECORD PACE

    For the third consecutive week Notre Dame remains the only team in NCAA Division I-A football without a fumble lost this season and leads the country with just four turnovers in its seven games. The Irish have fumbled the ball just four times in 2000 and have not lost any of those fumbles. The school record for fewest fumbles lost in a season is five by the 1993 Irish. The NCAA record is one by Bowling Green (1996) and Miami (Ohio) (1998).

    With four turnovers in seven games, the Irish are on pace for just over six turnovers this season. The NCAA record for fewest season turnovers is eight, held by Clemson in 1940 and Miami (Ohio) in 1966. Notre Dame's record for fewest turnovers is 10 in '93 with the '97 team second best with 13.

    The seven 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.

    DRIVER NAMED TO THE SPORTING NEWS MIDSEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM

    The Sporting News has selected Irish senior Tony Driver to its midseason All-America list at free safety. Driver is second among the Irish with 45 tackles and has broken up three passes. He recorded an interception in the Irish opener against Texas A&M -- in his first game on defense since the '98 season -- and returned a pair of fumbles for TDs against Navy (see below).

    DRIVER 'RETURNS' TO RECORDBOOK

    In the first 12:47 of the Navy game, Tony Driver became just the second player in NCAA Division I-A history to return a pair of fumbles for touchdowns -- since a 1992 NCAA change permitting defensive players to advance fumbles regardless of where on the field they occur. He joined Minnesota's Tyrone Carter who returned a pair of fumbles for TDs against Syracuse on Sept. 21, 1996.

    Driver also became the first Irish player in a season or a career to return a pair of fumbles for TDs, let alone in one game or one quarter.

    The last Irish defensive player to score two touchdowns was Dave Waymer, who ran back two interceptions in a 40-15 win against Miami (Fla.) in the 1979 Mirage Bowl in Toyko.

    WEAVER LEADS STRONG DEFENSE

    Notre Dame's defense -- currently ranked 34th in scoring defense (20.14) -- has been tough on opposing quarterbacks this season with 20 sacks in seven 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 eight tackles for losses and four sacks. Through seven games, the Irish already have surpassed their 18 sacks last year.

    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 had at least one sack in each of the first four games, becoming 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.

    IRISH DEFENSE GETS OFFENSIVE

    Of Notre Dame's 26 touchdowns -- in addition to the three scored from kickoff and punt returns, the two set up by blocked punts and one set up by a botched opponent punt -- the Irish defense has scored or set up short drives on five other TDs. Shane Walton had a 60-yard interception return against Purdue, while Anthony Weaver's interception at the Michigan State two-yard line was followed one play later by a Julius Jones TD run. Brock Williams had an interception against Stanford before it took Jones three plays (three-yard run, 24-yard shovel pass and seven-yard run) to score on a short 34-yard TD drive. Tony Driver's record day with two fumble returns for touchdowns against Navy brought the total to five touchdowns scored or set up by the Irish defense.

    DEFENSIVE BACKS SHARE INTERCEPTIONS

    Irish senior SS Ron Israel helped seal the West Virginia win with a late, fourth-quarter interception, the first of his career. He joined seniors Tony Driver and Brock Williams and junior Shane Walton with INTs in '00 as all four of the starting Irish DBs in the secondary now have at least one INT each: Driver (Texas A&M), Williams (Stanford), Walton (Nebraska and Purdue).

    BOIMAN NAMED TO THE SPORTING NEWS TEAM

    The Sporting News has selected Irish junior OLB Rocky Boiman to its list of Great Unknowns -- "you probably won't recognize their faces, but you should recognize their efforts." Boiman has played a key role in the resurgence of the Notre Dame defense this season. He already has 39 tackles -- third most on the team -- and two-and-a-half sacks, matching his 39 tackles and surpassing his two sacks in '99.

    GIVENS HIS ALL

    Irish junior FL David Givens displayed more of his versatility against West Virginia with a 52-yard halfback pass to Joey Getherall and a five-yard TD run -- both firsts for Givens this season. His pass to Getherall was followed two plays later by an Irish TD for a 35-14 lead. He also provided a key block on Getherall's 73-yard punt return vs. the Mountaineers. Against Stanford, Givens caught a pair of TD passes and blocked a punt with less than a minute remaining in the first half to set up his second TD -- giving the Irish a 14-0 lead just before halftime of the 20-14 win. He recorded season-highs for an Irish receiver against Purdue with six catches for 86 yards. He has 19 carries for 67 in reserve fullback play and has caught a team-high 16 passes this season for 221 yards.

    IRISH IN OCTOBER

    Notre Dame enters the Air Force game with a 12-game winning streak in October, dating back to a 20-17 loss to USC in 1997. The Irish have a 13-2 mark in October under Bob Davie. Since the 1988 season, Notre Dame is 44-7 in October and was 32-7 in October in the 1990s.

    THE WEST VIRGINIA REVIEW

    Notre Dame scored five touchdowns over a 8:28 span in the second and third quarters, and the Irish defense limited West Virginia to 78 yards in its final five possessions of the second half and first three of the second half en route to a 42-28 win at Mountaineer Field Notre Dame's first win on an opponent's home field since a 31-26 win at Boston College on Nov. 7, 1998. Junior Tony Fisher scored three touchdowns two receiving and one rushing for the second time in his career to pace the Irish attack. After West Virginia took a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, Irish junior Terrance Howard went 80 yards for the longest opponent run in the history of Mountaineer Field to held tie the game at 14. Notre Dame then scored two TDs in the final 2:22 of the first half to build a 28-14 lead at halftime. David Givens found Joey Getherall on a 52-yard halfback pass on Notre Dame's second possession of the second half, two plays before freshman QB Matt LoVecchio connected with Fisher for a seven-yard TD pass. Just 2:24 later, Getherall returned a 49-yard punt 73 yards for a touchdown and a 42-14 Irish lead. Notre Dame then withstood an attempted West Virginia rally, as the Mountaineers scored the final two touchdowns of the game for the 42-28 final score.

    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.

    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 29 tackles, one tackle for a loss, two interceptions -- including a 60-yard INT return for a touchdown against Purdue's Drew Brees -- 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 36 kickoffs in '00 have resulted in average opponent starting position just short of the Irish 24-yard line.

    Junior walk-on Chad DeBolt - who has made 38 special teams appearances in '00 and was one of just four walkons on the West Virginia 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.

    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 '93 and was an NCAA Silver Anniversary award winner in '92. 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.

     

     

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