Nov. 28, 2005
Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija's Thanksgiving week got off to a great start by him being named as one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award. Samardzija has even more to be thankful for now, after his team wrapped up a possible Bowl Championship Series berth with a victory over Stanford and he locked up the selection as the Master Coaches Survey national offensive player of the week.
In addition to Samardzija, North Carolina State cornerback Marcus Hudson, Florida special teams player Marcus Thomas, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Michael Haywood and LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini also will receive MCS Game Balls for their respective performances in games last weekend.
Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame
Only 15 seconds had elapsed in Notre Dame's game at Stanford last Saturday when ND wide receiver Jeff Samardzija hauled in a Brady Quinn pass over the middle on the second play from scrimmage and raced 80 yards for the score. Samardzija increased his school-record single-season touchdown receptions mark to 15 with a seven-yard TD later in the first quarter, helping the Irish become BCS eligible for the first time in five years with a 38-31 win. The all-star candidate's career day of 191 yards gives him 1,190 yards in 2005--the best receiving statistical season all-time at Notre Dame.
Michael Haywood, Notre Dame
With a BCS bowl bid on the line (not to mention three Fiesta Bowl representatives in attendance), Notre Dame offensive coordinator Michael Haywood's squad stepped up big-time on the road against Stanford. With his team down 31-30 late in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn calmly led the offense down the field. Running back Darius Walker scored the winning touchdown with 55 seconds left to seal the 38-31 victory for the Irish. Notre Dame gained 663 yards of total offense, including 432 passing yards by Quinn, and averaged 7.5 yards per play with Haywood's game plan.
Other BCS Game Balls -
Marcus Hudson, North Carolina State
Marcus Thomas, Florida
Bo Pelini, LSU
About the Master Coaches Survey
The Master Coaches Survey, an advisory poll comprised of 16 former college football coaches, includes 10 College Football Hall of Fame members and represents five national championships and over 2,900 all-time victories combined. Based on the MCS system, the voters review all relevant game tapes following each week of competition, discuss the teams' performances during a weekly conference call, then establish a ranking of the Top 25 teams. The results are released to the media each Wednesday afternoon and to the public on ESPN Classic's Classic Now later that evening. The MCS Top 25 also can be found on the MCS website (www.mcspoll.com), including a breakdown of how the coaches voted.
As part of their Top 25 selection process, the coaches not only attend games across the nation, but spend countless hours reviewing DVDs of the previous weekend's match-ups. Through this extensive process, the expert panel of coaches also selects the top players and assistant coaches who will be awarded MCS Game Balls each week.