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Football Prepares for Notre Dame
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 06/21/1999

Sept. 27, 1998

Stanford (1-3) at #23 Notre Dame (2-1)

THE CARDINAL: Stanford returns to non-conference action Saturday when it renews its annual rivalry with Notre Dame in South Bend
The Cardinal, 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference, concludes its non-conference schedule on Saturday
This week's game at Notre Dame is the second in a five-week span that finds the Cardinal playing four games on the road against nationally-ranked opponents
After facing Oregon in Eugene last week and Notre Dame this week on the road, Stanford will return home Oct. 10 to face Oregon State, then head out on the road to play at Arizona State (Oct. 22) and at UCLA (Oct. 31).

THE NOTRE DAME SERIES: Saturday's game will be the 13th meeting between Stanford and Notre Dame with the Irish holding an 8-4 advantage
Notre Dame won five of the first six games with Stanford, but the last six have been split 3-3
The Cardinal has also beaten the Irish twice in the last three games in South Bend, including a 36-31 win in 1990 and a 33-16 victory in 1992
The two teams are scheduled to meet every year through the 2010 season
Beginning next season, the games played at Stanford Stadium every other year will be played on Thanksgiving weekend (following the Big Game with Cal)
Next year's game will be played on November 27 at Stanford
The Thanksgiving weekend games will be played at Stanford in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009
Below are some highlights from previous Stanford-Notre Dame games:

January 1, 1925 - Knute Rockne and Notre Dame's Four Horsemen defeated the Ernie Nevers-led Cardinal 27-10 in the Rose Bowl in one of the classic meetings of college football legends
Nevers, Stanford All-America two-way star, turned in one of the great performances in school history
He played all 60 minutes in the game and rushed for 114 yards despite having his ankles bandaged so tightly that the circulation was almost completely shut off.
Elmer Layden proved to be the star of the Four Horsemen on this day as he scored three touchdowns, two on interception returns.

October 6, 1990 - In one of the greatest upsets in Stanford history, the Cardinal, 1-3 entering the game, beat #1 ranked and undefeated Notre Dame 36-31 in South Bend
Tommy Vardell scored four TDs - all on one-yard runs - and Stanford withstood a last-second rally by the Irish to hold on for the win
Irish TE Derek Brown couldn't handle a Rick Mirer pass in the end zone as time ran out on the clock and on the Irish
QB Jason Palumbis was 26-of-34 for 256 yards.

October 3, 1992 - For the second straight time, Stanford travelled to South Bend and upset nationally-ranked Notre Dame
This time, the 18th ranked Cardinal won decisively over the #6 Irish, 33-16, as Stanford erased a 16-0 Notre Dame while scoring the final 33 points of the game
Glyn Milburn rushed for 119 yards, Steve Stenstrom completed 21-of-31 for 215 yards and the Stanford defense shut down the Irish in the second half as Cardinal coach Bill Walsh celebrated a win over Notre Dame's Lou Holtz.

TYRONE WILLINGHAM: Cardinal head coach Tyrone Willingham, the 1995 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, has compiled a 20-18-1 record in three-plus years on The Farm (1995-98)
He has led the Cardinal to two bowl appearances and is only the third coach in school history to lead Stanford to a bowl game in his first two years on The Farm (the other two are Tiny Thornhill in 1933 and '34 and Bill Walsh in '77 and '78)
Willingham spent 17 years as an assistant coach on the college and professional levels - including three as Stanford's running backs coach under Denny Green from 1989-91 - before being named Stanford's head coach on Dec. 9, 1994.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: To say that the Cardinal is a youthful team lacking in game experience is an understatement
Consider the facts: of the 92 players on Stanford's roster, 54 had never played in a game prior to the start of the '98 season and only five are seniors in their final year of eligibility
Nine players (4 offense, 5 defense) made their starting debuts against San Jose State in the season opener and 18 others played in their first collegiate game
Making their first career starts against the Spartans were WR DeRonnie Pitts, QB Todd Husak, RB Coy Wire, FB Maxwell Stevenson, DE Sam Benner, NT Andrew Currie, DE Riall Johnson, FS Jamien McCullum and CB Ruben Carter
Three of them - Wire, McCullum and Carter - made their college debuts
Six true freshman and 18 sophomores (or redshirt freshman) have also played this season
In Willingham's three previous seasons at Stanford, only two true freshman had played - and neither one played enough to earn a letter
(Todd Husak and Juan-Carlos Lacey in '96)
This season, no less than six true freshman have seen extensive playing time.

THE WALTERS WATCH: Pre-season All-America FL Troy Walters has missed the last two games (North Carolina, Oregon) with a high ankle sprain and is listed as uncertain for this week's game at Notre Dame
Walters suffered his injury in the first quarter of the Arizona game (Sept. 12)
It is the first injury of Walters' career, both college and high school
In less than two games this season, Walters has registered seven receptions for 138 yards (19.7 ypc) and one touchdown
He moved into the top-10 all-time at Stanford with his 67 receiving yards against Arizona
He now has 1,788 career receiving yards, #10 on the all-time list ahead of Gene Washington's (1966-68) 1,785 yards
Now in his second season as Stanford's starting flanker, Walters is also Stanford's return man on punts and kickoffs
He had an 86-reception, 1,206-yard season in '97and began the '98 campaign as a pre-season First-Team All-America receiver and a First-Team All-America return specialist
One publication called him the second most exciting player in college football
He is a candidate for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver and a consensus pre-season First-Team All-Pac-10 selection
In the season opener vs. San Jose State, Walters had six receptions for 71 yards, including a 28-yard TD pass from Husak,and three kickoff returns for 71 yards
Walters will be among the school's all-time top-10 receivers in receptions, receiving yardage and touchdown receptions by the end of the '98 campaign
He is two TDs and 15 receptions shy of the all-time top-10
Walters, the son of Minnesota Vikings assistant coach Trent Walters, has two years of eligibility remaining (1998, 1999) and could contend for every Cardinal receiving record by the time he leaves The Farm.

HUSAK'S NUMBERS: First-year starting quarterback Todd Husak is putting up numbers that will rank him among the all-time top-10 single season leaders in school history in passing yards, completions and attempts
After four games, Husak has completed 86-of-167 for 1,096 yards and eight TDs
He ranks 14th in the nation and third in the Pac-10 in total offense, averaging 271.75 yards per game
He is on pace to become only the third QB in school history to pass for over 3,000 yards in a season
The other two are Steve Stenstrom,who threw for a school and Pac-10 record 3,627 yards in 1993, and John Elway, who in 1982 threw for a school and Pac-10 record 3,242 yards
Husak is on pace to pass for 3,014 yards
Husak is also on pace to challenge the school record for most pass attempts in a season
He is averaging 41 attempts per game - 451 over an 11 game season
Stenstrom holds the school record of 455 set in 1993
Husak's two TD passes per game would give him 22 for the season, which would rank among the top five all-time on The Farm
Husak had his first 300-yard passing game against North Carolina on Sept. 19 when he completed 23-for-38 for 313 yards
In the first half, Husak completed 16-of-24 for 227 yards and one TD
Husak placed his name in the Cardinal record book by throwing 54 passes - the sixth highest single game total in school history - and the most under head coach Tyrone Willingham, in his debut as the starter in the season opener vs. San Joe State
He completed 29-of-54 for 298 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions against the Spartans
Husak was not officially named the Cardinal's starter until September 1, just four days before the season opener
His 298 yards passing in his starting debut was better than the debuts of the top eight passers in Stanford history, including John Elway in 1980 (250 yards) and Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett in 1968 (277 yards)
Husak's father, Dr. Bill Husak, is the athletic director at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Husak's in 1998  (4 games):   PC-86    PA-167   Yds-1,096   TD-8
11-game projection:           PC-236   PA-451   Yds-3,014   TD-22

In The Record Book Season Passing Season Attempts Season TD Passes 1. Steve Stenstrom, '93 3,627 1. Stenstrom, '93 455 1. Elway, '80 27 2. John Elway, '82 3,242 2. Elway, '82 405 Stenstrom, '93 27 3. Steve Dils, '78 2,943 John Paye. '85 405 3. Elway, '82 23 Husak, '98 3,014 Husak, '98 451 4. Dils, '78 22 Husak, '98 22

DAVIS' DESTINY: Sophomore WR Dave Davis, who redshirted as a freshman a year ago, has caught 24 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns in his first four games as a Cardinal - numbers that rank as perhaps the best in school history
Those numbers are better than the first four games of each of the top 10 receivers in the Cardinal record book
Darrin Nelson, the school's all-time leader in receptions, had 21 catches for 295 yards after his first four games in 1977 as a freshman and Glyn Milburn, in his first year with Stanford in 1990 as a sophomore, had 20 receptions for 117 yards
Davis'6.0 receptions per game rank him third in the league and 26th nationally and his 93.75 receiving yards per game place him second in the Pac-10 and 23rd in the NCAA
Those numbers are also the best in the nation for a freshman or redshirt freshman
Last week at Oregon, Davis caught six balls for 80 yards and one TD
He recorded back-to-back 100-yard receiving games (127 vs. Arizona, 108 vs. North Carolina) and in the absence of Troy Walters, Davis has been able to give the Cardinal a big-play threat.

PITTS' PLACE: In the absence of Troy Walters, junior DeRonnie Pitts has emerged as one of Stanford's go-to receivers
Coming off a career day for Pitts last Saturday in Eugene, the Saginaw, Michigan native is now ranked 13th in the country and first in the Pac-10 with a 7.25 receptions per game average
He set career best by catching 10 balls for 158 yards in Saturday's loss at Oregon
He leads the team with 29 receptions
Pitts' 84 receiving yards per game places him sixth in the conference and 39th nationally.

PASSING ATTACK: Stanford's passing attack is on pace to become one of the most prolific in school history
As a team, the Cardinal is averaging 23.5 pass completions per game, 45.5 attempts and 297.75 passing yards
Those numbers over an 11 game season would give Stanford 501 pass attempts and 3,275 yards
The current team record for most pass attempts in a season is 474 set in 1993
Stanford's projected 3,275 passing yards is off record pace (3,709 set in '93), but it would rank among the top four in the record book
Stanford currently ranks second in the Pac-10 and ninth in the NCAA in passing offense.

STRONG SCHEDULE: Stanford's schedule was ranked prior to the season as the ninth toughest in college football
The Cardinal has already played pre-season top-10 North Carolina, #14 Arizona and #17 Oregon and must still face #23 Notre Dame, at #4 UCLA, #21 USC and a road game at Arizona State, a pre-season top-10 team
Seven of Stanford's opponents played in post-season bowl games a year ago.

STANFORD-OREGON STAT COMPARISON (NCAA rank) Stanford Oregon Rushing Offense 97.3 (91) 224.7 (21) Passing Offense 308.0 (9) 278.0 (15) Total Offense 405.3 (31) 502.7 (8) Scoring Offense 24.7 (58) 46.3 (4) Rushing Defense 165.0 (68) 177.0 (80) Pass Eff. Defense 165.4 rating (109) 95.8 rating (21) Total Defense 427.7 (96) 336.7 (60) Scoring Defense 33.3 (94) 14.3 (22)

RIALL IS FOR REAL: Junior DE Riall Johnson is proving to be one of the top young defensive lineman in the Pac-10
A reserve last season behind All-America Kailee Wong, Johnson has stepped into a starting role and been a force on the defensive line in the first two games
He is fourth on the team with 13 tackles and the team-leader in quarterback sacks (3-20) and tackles-for-loss (6-25)
He is also among the conference leaders in sacks and tackles-for-loss
Johnson, from Lynnwood, Washington, had 11 tackles, three tackles-for-loss and one sack all of last year playing behind Wong
A redshirt in 1996, Johnson has two years of eligibility remaining after the '98 campaign
He began the '98 season by registering four tackles-for-loss, two sacks and seven total tackles in the season opener vs. San Jose State
He came back in game two vs. Arizona to record six tackles, two tackles-for-loss and one sack.

HOWARD A FORCE UP FRONT: In just two games, junior defensive tackle Willie Howard has almost equalled his statistical numbers from all of last season ... The two-year starter had two quarterback sacks and two tackles-for-loss in all of '97, but already has five tackles-for-loss (19 yards) and two-and-a-half sacks (13 yards) in '98 ... The lone returning starter on the defensive line also has 11 tackles, seven of them unassisted ... Howard, who has started all 13 games in which he has played after redshirting the '96 season, came to Stanford from nearby Los Altos High School and Mountain View, California. PITTS STEPS UP: Junior wide receiver DeRonnie Pitts already has 12 receptions in the first two weeks of the '98 season, nearly matching his '97 season total of 14 ... The Saginaw, Michigan native had seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown against San Jose State, and added five catches for 33 yards against Arizona ... Pitts played in eight games last season, primarily in three- and four-receiver sets, and had 13 receptions for 195 yards and one touchdown in eight games.

FRESHMAN IMPACT: Prior to this season, only two true freshman had seen playing time in Tyrone Willingham's three seasons at Stanford
Those two included QB Todd Husak in 1996, who was forced to play due to injuries, and RB Juan-Carlos Lacey, who played just one game in '96 and was able to receive a redshirt year
In 1998, however, five freshmen have seen action in the first two games, three in the season opener vs. San Jose State and two more in game two vs. Arizona
WR Ryan Fernandez, OT Eric Heitmann and RB Brian Allen have played in both games
Two true freshmen saw their first game action last week against the Wildcats: S Tank Williams and CB Brian Taylor.

GAME FACTS

TV and Radio Information TV Live, NBC, 1:30 est / 11:30 am pst Dick Enberg (play-by-play) Pat Haden (color) Radio KTCT (1050 AM) Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Bob Murphy (color) 10:30 am pst pre-game KZSU (90.1 FM) - student Stanford (1-3) 9/5 San Jose State L 23-35 9/12 Arizona* L, 14-31 9/19 North Carolina (Fox) W, 37-34 9/26 at Oregon* (FSBA) L, 28-63 10/3 at Notre Dame (NBC) 11:30 am (pst) 10/10 Oregon State* 2:00 pm 10/22 at Arizona State* (Fox) 7:00 pm 10/31 at UCLA* TBA 11/7 USC* 12:30 pm 11/14 Washington State* 12:30 pm 11/21 at California* 12:30 pm

Notre Dame (2-1) 9/5 Michigan W, 36-20 9/12 at Michigan State L, 23-45 9/26 Purdue W, 31-30 10/3 Stanford 11:30 am(pst) 10/10 at Arizona State TBA 10/24 Army 1:30 pm 10/31 Baylor 2:30 pm 11/7 at Boston College 12:00 pm 11/14 at Navy 3:30 pm 11/21 LSU 1:30 pm 11/28 at USC 8:00 pm

Pac-10 Standings Pac-10 Overall Arizona 1-0 4-0 Oregon 1-0 4-0 California 1-0 3-1 USC 1-0 3-1 Washington 1-0 2-1 Arizona State 1-1 2-2 UCLA 0-0 2-0 Washington State 0-1 3-1 Oregon State 0-2 2-2 Stanford 0-2 1-3


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