Football Notebook: Jones did not make trip, enrolls at NIU
Jay Fitzpatrick | Monday, September 17, 2007
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Notre Dame sophomore quarterback Demetrius Jones was not on the bus to Michigan Friday.
Jones enrolled at Northern Illinois but, as of Sunday night, was listed in both the Notre Dame and NIU directories.
In the postgame news conference, Weis said that Jones’ departure should have nothing to do with how Notre Dame’s loss should be viewed.
“It came as a surprise, but I’m not going to cop out and blame him for our performance here today. I don’t want to blame anyone besides myself for our performance today. Yes it was a surprise we lost today 38-0 and I’m not sitting here pointing a finger at him or anyone else,” Weis said.
Irish safety Tom Zbikowski was not as forgiving.
“Obviously it’s disappointing when it’s somebody that’s on your team,” he said. “But if you’re not going to be with us one hundred percent, then it’s not necessary for you to be on this team.”
Our losing ways
This season marks only the second time in Notre Dame history that the team started 0-3. The only other time was under Bob Davie in 2001, when the Irish lost to No. 23 Nebraska, No. 23 Michigan State and Texas A&M. No coach has ever started 0-4.
Notre Dame has also lost five consecutive games dating back to 42-21 loss at USC Nov. 25.
This is the longest losing streak in Notre Dame history since Joe Kuharich lost five games in 1963.
Notre Dame’s longest ever losing streak is eight games in 1960, also under Kuharich.
Despite surrendering 38 points – including three passing touchdowns – Notre Dame’s defense continues to impress. Wolverines quarterback Ryan Mallett only threw for 90 yards against Notre Dame, leading to a season average of 114.0 passing yards against.
If the Irish could hold this average, it would be the best single season pass defense since 1980 when the Irish surrended only 103 passing yards per game.
With a 5-yard run in the third quarter Saturday, Wolverines running back Mike Hart moved into third place in the all-time Michigan rushing ranks with 4,184 yards, passing Tyrone Wheatley. Only Jaime Morris (4,393) and Anthony Thomas (4,472) have more rushing yards in Michigan history.
Notre Dame played in front of a crowd of more than 100,000 people Saturday, with an attendance of 111, 178. Notre Dame is only the second school in NCAA history to play in consecutive road games with 100,000 fans. The only other school was Minnesota in 2005 – also at Penn State and Michigan.
The combined attendance of 221,256 is a new NCAA record for two-game attendance.
A nose for the ball
Irish safety Ray Herring picked up two fumbles in the fourth quarter Saturday. These were the first ever fumble recoveries for the junior, as well as the first time a Notre Dame player had two fumble recoveries in the same game since Gerome Sapp against Navy in 2001.
Notre Dame won the toss and elected to receive.