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Fitzpatrick misses first PAT of year

Matt Mooney | Monday, October 25, 2004

Irish kicker D.J. Fitzpatrick had his highs and lows during Saturday’s game.

As a punter, Fitzpatrick had a stellar day, averaging 44.5 yards on six punts, including a career-long 67-yard kick in the third quarter. His punt marked the longest Irish kick since Joey Hildbold booted a 69-yarder in 2000 against Texas A & M. Fitzpatrick also pinned Boston College inside its own 20-yard line on four of his six punts.

“Every time you get out there is a chance to build your confidence,” Fitzpatrick said. “I punted pretty well today with that wind. They had a great returner, so we tried to keep it away from him and it worked out pretty well.

However, he did not have as much success as a place kicker. Fitzpatrick’s missed extra point following running back Darius Walker’s second quarter touchdown breaks his personal string of 25 consecutive point-after-touchdown conversions. It also marks Notre Dame’s first unblocked PAT miss since Jim Sanson missed on a fourth-quarter attempt in 1999 also against Boston College.

“The wind was not an issue on the extra point at all,” Fitzpatrick said. “The field was a little bit soggy, and I sunk in just a little bit too much, and a quarter-of-an-inch mistake on my part could send the ball in any direction so I left it out there right. Great snap, great hold, bad kick.”

Fitzpatrick did make a 43-yard field goal in the game, and his 55-yard miss as time expired would have been a career-long.

Converting on fourth down

Boston College’s two fourth-down conversions in Saturday’s game (a first quarter fourth-and-2 and a fourth quarter fourth-and-13) are the only two times an opponent has converted on fourth down against the Irish this year. The previous seven Notre Dame opponents were 0-for-6 on fourth-down conversion attempts.

Rivalry on hold

The game on Saturday marks the last time Notre Dame and Boston College will play one another until the 2007 season. The Irish loss on Saturday lowers their series record against Boston College to 9-7.

“We would still like to play them, as long as it’s an even deal, not a deal where we play here five times and Boston three,” Eagles coach Tom O’Brien said. “I think the fans like it, I think it generates a lot of enthusiasm here, it’s a tremendous game when it’s in Boston. I think we’ve gotten their attention, and it would be great to keep playing.

Moving up on the lists

Defensive end Justin Tuck’s half sack against Boston College ties him with Kory Minor for the lead on Notre Dame’s career sacks list with 22.5.

With a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter, running back Ryan Grant passed Mark Green (1985-88) to move up to 13th place on the list of all-time leading rushers in school history. Grant finished Saturday’s game with 48 rushing yards on 17 carries to finish with 2009 career yards.

Quarterback Brady Quinn also moved up the school charts to the eighth spot in career passing yardage. His 231 yards on Saturday raised his total to 3,721 yards in two seasons surpassing Blair Kiel, who quarterbacked the Irish from 1980-83.

Gameday captains

The Irish captains for Saturday’s game were running back Ryan Grant, safety Quentin Burrell, defensive tackle Greg Pauly and tight end Billy Palmer.