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Weis: Nine seniors apply for fifth year

Ken Fowler | Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Nine Notre Dame seniors applied to the faculty board on athletics for a fifth year of eligibility, Irish coach Charlie Weis announced last week.

If the faculty board accepts all nine, the key returners for the Irish will be standout tight end John Carlson, safety Tom Zbikowski and center John Sullivan.

Also applying for a fifth year were starting linebackers Travis Thomas and Joe Brockington, nickleback Ambrose Wooden, punter Geoff Price, defensive tackle Trevor Laws and reserve defensive lineman Dwight Stephenson, Jr.

Carlson was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award in 2006, given annually to the nation’s best tight end. Despite missing the final two games of the regular season, Carlson had 47 catches for 634 yards and four touchdowns. Before the season, he had just 13 receptions for 87 yards playing behind Anthony Fasano, now a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

Though Zbikowski didn’t have an interception, he finished with 79 tackles, a 25-yard fumble recovery for a score and a 52-yard punt return touchdown. He averaged 9 yards per punt return.

Sullivan started all but four games since his sophomore season. He has played in 37 straight games for the Irish.

Though starting in the defensive backfield, Thomas saw action on offense, defense and on special teams. He had 13 carries for 81 yards – including a 43-yard scamper on a fake punt against Penn State – to go along with his 35 tackles.

Price finished the season with 50 punts and an average of 45.4 per boot.

Laws had 62 tackles in the 2006-07 season, including 9.5 for losses and 3.5 sacks. Laws also had an interception against USC.

Landri injured in final game

Irish senior defensive tackle Derek Landri injured a knee in his final collegiate game and left the contest before halftime.

“I don’t know the severity of the knee,” Weis said after the game. “But I know that they told me that they were going to bring him in and put an ice bag on him and that he was going to be returning to the game.”

Weis did not disclose further details and has not been available for comment since his post-game news conference.

Quinn finishes assault on record books

Despite Irish quarterback Brady Quinn’s 15-of-35 performance, the senior eclipsed several milestones in his final collegiate game.

With his two touchdown passes, Quinn finished in a tie foro seventh all-time in Division I-A with 95 scoring throws. What’s more, Quinn finished with 11,762 passing yards to rank 10th all-time and 929 completions for 11th in Division I-A history.

Money to charity

The $10,000 earmarked for the Notre Dame general scholarship program as a result of Jay Specter’s attempted field goal at half time was donated to Catholic Charities of New Orleans, University President Father John Jenkins said.

Specter missed the 25-yard attempt.

Price is right

Price finished the game with four punts of 50 yards or longer and, in doing so, set a new school record for season punting average.

It was the second time this season Price had three or more punts of at least 50 yards.