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Team adjusts to game use of instant replay

Kate Gales | Monday, September 12, 2005

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Two of the most important decisions in the game didn’t even happen on the field. Instant replay was an important factor, overturning two key calls in favor of the Irish.

In the fourth quarter, Chinedum Ndukwe’s goal-line fumble recovery for a touchback was initially ruled as a recovery for the Wolverines. Later that quarter, what was first called a fumble by Brady Quinn was overturned as the officials ruled he was down.

Weis’ experience as an offensive coordinator in the NFL accustomed him to a slightly different set of rules on the replay, which is not used in the pros unless a coach challenges the call. College rules dictate no coach can challenge a call. An official in a booth reviews every play and determines if a replay is necessary.

“The one time I really thought was ridiculous is when they’re told – and I’m talking about the last one when [Quinn] was down – they’re told to err on the side of safety because they have replay,” Weis said.

He pointed out that college referees can rely on replays for backup on any call.

“[The officials] told me right then [after the call] that because they have instant replay they’re told to make that call in that way because they know it can be corrected upstairs,” Weis said. “Whereas that’s not the rule that I’ve been used to dealing with.”

Quinn’s play was evidence that instant replay could play a significant role in the outcome of college football games.

“The tough thing is, there’s still a couple of calls where I feel like there should have been instant replay … there’s still a lot of tough issues regarding that on both sides of the ball, I’m sure,” Quinn said.

Notes

McKnight injured

Rhema McKnight appeared to injure his knee on a passing play from Brady Quinn in the first half. McKnight left the game and was seen in street clothes at the end.

“They said at halftime, they said they were going to go do an MRI on him,” Weis said. “I mean I’ll have to wait and find out. But obviously it was something where he couldn’t come back in the second half, you know – the severity of it.”

Weis said at his noon press conference Sunday he would meet with his staff to discuss injuries at 1:20 P.M. He was, therefore, not able to comment further on McKnight’s status.

Michigan Stadium win streak snapped

Saturday’s loss marked the first home loss for Michigan in 16 games. Their last home loss was on Sept. 12, 1998, in a 38-28 decision to Syracuse. It is only the seventh home loss for Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr in his 11-year career as head coach.

Walker runs past century mark – again

Darius Walker, Notre Dame’s versatile running back, reached the 100-yard milestone for the second consecutive game on Saturday. This is the first time Walker has rushed for over 100 yards in consecutive games, after posting exactly 100 yards (and two touchdowns) against Pittsburgh last week.

Walker rushed for 115 yards in his collegiate debut against Michigan last season in Notre Dame Stadium, also scoring two touchdowns. He added 112 yards against Pittsburgh last season.

“I thought Darius ran hard,” Weis said. “He got a lot of extra yards for us.”

Top-3 drought over

The game was the first time the Irish have defeated a top-3 opponent since defeating No. 3 Michigan in 1993. That was also the last year the Irish won in Michigan Stadium. Current Irish defensive coordinator Rick Minter was also Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator during that win.

Compared to the Rock

Weis entered the record books with the victory as only the second Irish coach to win consecutive opening road games in his first year. The first was Knute Rockne in 1918.

But Weis wasn’t looking for comparisons to the legendary Irish coach.

“I’m really happy for our kids right now,” Weis said. “They’re starting to figure it out. And that’s two weeks in a row now. That’s a really happy locker room, and they deserve it.”

Captains

Saturday’s captains were Brady Quinn on offense, Brandon Hoyte on defense and Casey Cullen on special teams.