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Irish Insider: Carlson likely out for remainder of regular season

Kate Gales | Monday, November 13, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Tight end John Carlson will be out for 2-4 weeks after sustaining an injury to his right knee, Irish coach Charlie Weis said after Saturday’s 39-17 win over Air Force.Carlson caught just one pass – a touchdown – in the Irish victory and left for the locker room in the second quarter. Initially, Weis was told Carlson would be gone for the remainder of the season.”It’s not as bad as we thought it was,” Weis said. “We might lose him for the next two games, we might lose him against Army and USC but we’ll have him back for the bowl game.”Weis said he was “encouraged” by the revision of the initial reports from medical staff.Carlson returned to the sidelines in street clothes in the second half.

McKnight sets recordWide receiver Rhema McKnight now has 158 catches in his career giving him the Notre Dame record for career receptions. His 55 grabs this season tie him for fifth in the Irish record books. “I left a mark at Notre Dame,” McKnight said. “I feel like I came here, [did] some things and hope that I continue to progress.”McKnight passed Tom Gatewood, who played for the Irish from 1969-71. His teammate wide receiver Jeff Samardzija is right behind, with 156 career receptions.

Ndukwe notches career highFree safety Chinedum Ndukwe was credited for 22 tackles, 15 solo, against Air Force Saturday. It was a career high for Ndukwe, whose previous high was 11 against Michigan Sept. 16.The free safety position, according to Weis, was a major part of defending Air Force’s option attack. Ndukwe’s role against the Falcons is filling the alley where Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney and a trailing pitch man would try to turn upfield. “It’s being in that spot, it’s giving me the opportunity to make plays,” said Ndukwe after the game. “It happened to be my job today.”Strong safety Tom Zbikowski was responsible for the alley against Navy, where he notched a team-high 14 tackles. Zbikowski understood the challenge of the position and complimented his teammate after the game.”[Ndukwe] did a great job reading the plays, making the tackles when he needed to make them,” he said.

Time of possessionThe Irish possessed the ball for 21:25 Saturday, their lowest time of possession under Weis. Notre Dame had just 46 plays in the game. Despite the clock disadvantage, the Irish managed 8.6 yards per play and six touchdowns. Notre Dame’s previous lowest time of possession under Weis was 24:21 in its comeback win over Michigan State Sept. 23.

Winners and losersThe Irish are 9-1 for the first time since 2002, when the team opened the season 8-0. This is the 12th time in program history that a Notre Dame team has started 9-1. The win over Air Force was Notre Dame’s seventh straight victory, the longest winning streak since 2002.This is the first time Notre Dame has had consecutive nine-victory seasons since 1992 and 1993. It is the 35th time in school history.