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Football: Awards show

Bill Brink | Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Michael Floyd and Jimmy Clausen got Nevada’s attention. Now they’ve got the nation’s.

Floyd, a sophomore receiver, was named the National Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards Monday.

Floyd caught four passes, but turned them into 189 yards and three touchdowns Saturday during Notre Dame’s 35-0 win over Nevada. Those totals were tops among receivers in week one. He took a swing pass down the left sideline for one, ripped the ball away from a defender for another and screened a third to catch a bullet pass from Clausen.

“He just makes plays every time the ball’s thrown to him,” Clausen said after the game.

Floyd caught 48 balls for 719 yards last season and had 10 touchdowns. He missed two games due to injury.

Clausen didn’t disappoint either, and was one of four players nominated for the AT&T All-America Player of the Week. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns Saturday.

When asked to compare Clausen to former Irish quarterback Brady Quinn, Irish coach Charlie Weis said the two were close.

“I’d have to say, based off of my off-field work with him in the spring leading into the season that it’s at least comparable, if not heading with the arrow pointing up,” Weis said.

Clausen passed for 3,172 yards last season and threw 25 touchdowns with a 60.9 percent completion rate. He missed Floyd for a few games because of an injury, however, and it hampered the offense.

“You know, Golden (Tate) was pretty much the only one out there with Kyle (Rudolph) and everything,” Clausen said after the game. “They could do a lot of different things, double Kyle and Golden.”

Clausen said learning the timing of the routes with his receivers helped him develop.

“That’s one of the main things why I can throw the ball like I do,” Clausen said. “The timing of routes and just knowing that the receivers know where I’m going to throw the ball, and I know where they’re going to be on certain plays.”

Clausen felt comfortable enough with his play that he told Weis to play redshirt freshman quarterback Dayne Crist in the second half.

“Actually Jimmy and I talked about it first. I said, ‘Hey, I can keep you in for another series, but I think we should go with Crist here,’ and he says, ‘I agree. Let’s put him in there,'” Weis said.

Clausen was nominated along with Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, UCLA safety Rahim Moore and Baylor linebacker Joe Pawelek. Fans can vote for the winner, which will be announced Thursday, by texting VOTE to 345345.

Despite Clausen’s performance, Weis said he wouldn’t get too excited yet because the Irish travel to Michigan Saturday.

“He’s playing pretty well right now,” Weis said. “But he knows that now we’ve got to go on the road to the Big House, and he knows he’s [sic] going to be a formidable challenge, and you’re not going to just throw up 85 percent every time you go out there.”