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Quinn’s performance shatters records

Kate Gales | Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Maurice Stovall easily caught Brady Quinn’s pass late in the third quarter. As he brushed off defenders and reached the end zone, the nearby student section went wild.

Notre Dame had held a tenuous 21-10 halftime lead over Brigham Young, but Quinn went 7-for-10 with three touchdowns in the third quarter, including two to Stovall in less than three minutes, and sealed a 42-23 win for the Irish.

“I definitely felt like we needed one more [touchdown],” Quinn said. “I felt like looking at the situation of the game, it kind of put things away.”

Quinn’s pass to Stovall did more than seal the Cougars’ fate. The junior quarterback, a captain and three-year starter, has spent the season shattering Notre Dame records and working his way to the top of nearly every statistical category for a quarterback.

The pass to Stovall made Quinn the first Irish quarterback to throw six touchdown passes in a game, breaking his own record of five, which he set against Michigan State on Sept. 17. He also broke the record for single-season touchdown passes with 20. Quinn’s 287 first-half passing yards are also a new Irish record.

However, Quinn downplayed his ascent in the record books.

“We just do what we need to do to get the win,” he said.

Quinn moved into second on Notre Dame’s all-time lists for touchdown passes (46, behind Ron Powlus’ 52) and career passing yardage with 6,769. He is within 1,000 yards of Powlus, who holds the current record of 7,602.

He isn’t focusing on career records, however, since he said his career is far from over at Notre Dame.

“I’m going to be here for a while still,” Quinn said, when asked about his place in Notre Dame history. “That’s something for later on.”

Quinn’s ability to make plays for the Irish was demonstrated in his third-quarter performance. After three years as a starter, a cohesive offensive unit has developed good dynamics between Quinn and his receivers.

“I’m definitely confident in Brady,” Stovall said. “Personally, I feel that he’s made big strides since his freshman year, being more accurate, being more of a quarterback and vocal leader on and off the field, and that’s made a big impact this season.”

The confidence goes both ways, as Quinn has faith in his receivers.

“Anytime we can give [the receivers] the ball and let them do what they do best … [they are] tremendous with the ball and getting yards after the catch,” he said.

Quinn wasn’t the only one working his way up the record books on Saturday.

Stovall became the first player in Notre Dame history to catch four touchdown passes in a game. His 14 receptions are also a school record. Both records, along with passing the 200-yard mark in the game, occurred on Quinn’s sixth touchdown pass.

“I don’t think I ever had in my career a play that did that much,” Stovall said. “At the same time, we just wanted to come down and score, put points on the board and allow our third-string players to get some time.”

To Stovall, the victory is more important than the records.

“Having the win makes it feel better,” said Stovall. “If we had lost the game, I really wouldn’t worry about [records] too much – not that I am now – but we had a nice productive game.”

Wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, who caught two touchdown passes, pointed out that the team emphasizes winning over individual statistics.

“It feels great [to set records] but our team has five wins and is rolling heading into the bye week,” he said.