Nov. 14, 2000
Notre Dame, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame has a chance to take another step closer to a trip to the Fiesta or Sugar bowls with a victory over Rutgers on Saturday.
The 11th-ranked Fighting Irish (7-2) ground out a 28-16 victory over Boston College on Saturday. Tony Fisher rushed for a career-high 196 yards and two touchdowns as Notre Dame avenged last season's loss to BC and extended its winning streak to five games. Fisher and the players were still smarting from last season's home loss, which ended with Eagles players taking pieces of the field home with them back to Chestnut Hill, Mass.
"Any time someone comes in your stadium and there's a big chunk of your stadium missing the next day and there's pictures of a guy holding it up, I don't think we had to say much," Notre Dame coach Bob Davie said. "It was an emotional game for us."
While their two losses have knocked the Fighting Irish out of the national title picture, they are still in line for a trip to a major bowl as the top independent team in the country as well as a team that sells seats. Notre Dame likely would lock up one of those BCS spots if it defeats Rutgers (3-6) and USC to close out the season.
Fisher and Julius Jones have formed a solid tandem in the backfield, combining for 987 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Matt LoVecchio has been outstanding as a mid-season replacement, throwing for 677 yards and nine touchdowns against just one interception in 92 attempts.
The Scarlet Knights can salvage their season and give departing coach Terry Shea his most significant victory if they are able to pull off an upset. Rutgers played its first game since Shea announced his resignation Nov. 3 and battled before suffering a 31-24 setback to West Virginia on Saturday.
Mike McMahon threw for 274 yards but was intercepted four times. Rutgers was able to rally from a 17-7 deficit in the final 8:43 of regulation despite committing six turnovers and nine penalties totaling 69 yards.
McMahon has been one of the few bright spots for the Scarlet Knights this season, throwing for 1,793 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Rutgers has not fared well against ranked opponents this season, losing to Virginia Tech and Miami by a combined 113-6 score. One of the losses was a 64-6 defeat to Miami, the worst home loss by the Scarlet Knights in 112 years.
Notre Dame has won both games between the schools, including a 62-0
rout in 1996.