Irish Insider: Football Notes
Matt Gamber | Monday, September 7, 2009
Eighteen players took the field as Notre Dame football players for the first time Saturday, and that tally includes seven true freshmen.
“That’s a lot of guys to be getting their first snap of football,” Irish coach Charlie Weis said Sunday. “I thought the team as a whole, shown by the number of mental mistakes not being very high and the number of penalties not being very high, I think that the team played with pretty good poise, especially the fact that you’re throwing in so many new guys into the mix.”
Sophomore Kapron Lewis-Moore was among those seeing his first game action, and the defensive end notched his first career fumble recovery.
“It wasn’t hard to keep my head about me, I was more nervous than anything,” Moore said. “Going out on the field for the first time in about two years, since high school, was just a great feeling. I felt like I settled down after the first couple of plays.”
Other notable debuts included freshman linebacker Manti Te’o (2 tackles), freshman kicker Nick Tausch (5-for-5 on extra points), freshman running back Theo Riddick (5 carries, 20 yards), sophomore quarterback Dayne Crist (2-for-2 passing) and sophomore wide receiver Deion Walker (1 reception, 15 yards).
More on openers
The shutout of Nevada was Notre Dame’s first in an opener since Aug. 31, 2002, when the Irish topped Maryland, 22-0, on the road. Notre Dame’s last season-opening shutout at home took place on Sept. 22, 1973, in a 44-0 thrashing of Northwestern.
Notre Dame scored first in its opener for the first time in eight seasons, with the last time coming in that 2002 victory of the Terrapins.
The 28-0 Irish halftime lead was their biggest in a season opener since Notre Dame led 33-0 over Virginia in 1989.
Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen’s quarterback rating of 303.67 set a Notre Dame Weis era record, as the junior surpassed his Hawaii Bowl mark of 277.63. It was his second straight game completing at least 80 percent of his passes, and the contest marked the third such game of Clausen’s Irish career.
Clausen’s third touchdown, on which he connected with sophomore receiver Michael Floyd on a 70-yard screen pass, helped him pass Jarious Jackson (1996-99) for fourth on the all-time touchdown passes list at Notre Dame. That pass was the longest of Clausen’s year – until his 88-yard strike to Floyd in the third quarter.