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Victory under the lights brings bowl game

Laura Myers | Monday, November 22, 2010

Bright LED lights, Big Screen

When freshman receiver Bennett Jackson heard his name called prior to the opening kickoff Saturday, he looked to Yankee Stadium’s jumbotron and nodded his head at the image, smiling.

Throughout the evening, the 6,000 square foot LED screen showed game action as well as video montages and various animations.

Irish coach Brian Kelly said the jumbotron was “really cool.”

“There is a beautiful one here,” he said. “There were some videos that were playing. Our guys saw that.”

Still perfect … still

Senior kicker David Ruffer broke Notre Dame’s record for consecutive kicks in a season with two field goals Saturday, one from 47 yards and one from 39. Ruffer is now 15-for-15 on the season, eclipsing the record of 14 consecutive field goals set by then-freshman Nick Tausch in 2009. Ruffer, who is on the short list for the 2010 Lou Groza award, is 20-for-20 in his kicking career, and holds the longest active streak of made field goals in the Football Bowl Subdivision. He is also the only kicker in the country who remains perfect after nine or more field goal attempts.

Going bowling

With six wins and one game left to play, many predictions have been made about where the Irish will now play in the postseason, in places from Las Vegas to Orlando. But Kelly said the real importance lies in the extra 15 practices a bowl game allows.

“Again, as you continue to develop your program, those 15 practices are very important. Now, if I brought that up in the locker room, my players don’t want to hear about 15 more practices. They want to hear about what’s the bowl destination?” he said. “But as you continue to build and develop your program, those are important, but also getting to a bowl game and continuing to build off of the month of November.”

Winning in green

This was the first game in green jerseys for Notre Dame since a 38-0 loss on Oct. 20, 2007 against Southern California. The last time the Irish won in green jerseys was the previous year in a 41-9 Senior Day victory against none other than Army on Nov. 18, 2006.

Pinpoint control

Freshman quarterback Tommy Rees completed 13 of his 20 passes for the second straight week. His 65 percent completion percentage against both Utah and Army places him fourth among Notre Dame freshman in completion percentage, behind Steve Beuerlein, Jimmy Clausen and Matt LoVecchio.