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Shelton delivers again for the Irish

Heather VanHoegarden | Monday, September 27, 2004

With Maurice Stovall injured, Matt Shelton earned his first career start at Notre Dame, and he made sure Washington knew he was there.The senior caught a career-high four passes, two for touchdowns en route to registering 74 yards. Half of his eight receptions this season have gone for touchdowns.”It’s a really good feeling,” Shelton said. Shelton’s first touchdown came in the first quarter with 8:59 to play, putting the Irish ahead 7-0 after the 24-yard completion from Brady Quinn.The second came with just 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a 27-yard pass from Quinn.”[Quinn] had a heck of a day I think,” Shelton said. “He had a great day. You can’t speak enough about him. He puts it where I can catch it, and I make the most of it.”Distributing the ballAfter Saturday’s game, Brady Quinn has completed passes to 14 different receivers this season. Fullback Josh Schmidt and wide receiver/punt returner Carlyle Holiday both caught passes in the second quarter for the first time this season.Quinn also completed a pass to himself after the ball was batted by a Husky defensive lineman. Quinn’s 266 yards passing was a season high for him in four games.Winless Willingham no moreFor the first time in his career, Irish coach Tyrone Willingham was victorious over Washington.”That feels pretty good,” Willingham said. “But that’s not important. What’s important is that we are 3-1 right now.”Before Saturday, Willingham was 0-5 against the Huskies, with all those losses coming during his tenure at Stanford. Still unbeatenWashington has still never beaten Notre Dame.Saturday’s contest was the fifth matchup of the two teams, with the Irish victorious in all five.With the win, the Irish have won six of their last eight games, dating back to last year’s finish with defeats of Navy, Brigham Young and Stanford, and the season-ending loss to Syracuse.Grant still not readySenior Ryan Grant did not play Saturday, nursing a hamstring injury that has affected him all season.Willingham said after the game that it was too early to determine his status for next week.In Grant’s place, freshman Darius Walker earned his first career start at running back, the first Irish freshman to start at the position since Autry Denson in 1996. Walker has scored a touchdown in each game he has played in.Gameday captainsSafety Quentin Burrell, offensive lineman Mark LeVoir, defensive lineman Greg Pauly and wide receiver Matt Shelton were Saturday’s captains for the Irish.