Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame Stadium (80,975/Natural Grass)
Notre Dame, Ind.
Saturday, September 3 • 3:30 p.m. • NBC
NBC — Tom Hammond, Mike Mayock and Alex Flanagan
WFLA-AM 970 (flagship) Sirius 113
Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between USF and Notre Dame on the gridiron … Despite the lack of a series history, both head coaches are quite familiar with their opponent … USF coach Skip Holtz is a 1986 graduate of Notre Dame, a former Irish player and was an assistant coach at his alma mater from 1990-93 … Holtz’s father, Lou Holtz, was Notre Dame’s head coach for 11 years (1986-96) and won the 1988 national championship … Current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly spent three years in the BIG EAST at Cincinnati (2007-09), during which time the Bearcats won two BIG EAST titles.
Skip Holtz (Notre Dame ’86)
8-5, second season at USF
80-55, 12th season as collegiate head coach
USF has finished 8-5 in each of the last three seasons and is one of just 15 schools that has won at least eight games in five consecutive seasons … USF has played in a bowl game in each year it has been a member of the BIG EAST … Head coach Skip Holtz has taken his teams to five straight bowl games, including four trips as head coach at East Carolina … QB B.J. Daniels returns for his third year as the Bulls’ starting signal-caller … Daniels battled through injuries to throw for 1,685 yards and 11 touchdowns last year … RB Demetris Murray is the top returning rusher, with 542 yards and four touchdowns a year ago, but RB Darrell Scott — a transfer from Colorado — could see significant carries as well … WR A.J. Love returns to the lineup for a sixth year of eligibility after he missed all of last year with a knee injury … LB DeDe Lattimore (69 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and LB Sam Barrington (65 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss) lead a veteran defense … WR Lindsey Lamar was the 2010 BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year after he turned in 1,101 all-purpose yards last year.
16/18 NOTRE DAME (0-0)
Brian Kelly (Assumption ’83)
8-5, second season at Notre Dame
179-62-2, 21st season as collegiate head coach
Notre Dame enters the 2011 season ranked No. 16 in the preseason Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the USA Today coaches’ poll … The Fighting Irish were 8-5 last season in Brian Kelly’s first season in South Bend … Notre Dame was 4-5 through nine games last season, but reeled off four straight wins to close the season … QB Dayne Crist has been named as the Opening Day starter … Crist threw for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns with seven interceptions in an injury-shortened 2010 season … WR Michael Floyd is considered one of the nation’s top receivers, evidenced by a school-record 28 career touchdown receptions … Floyd has 13 career games with at least 100 receiving yards … The Irish defense lists eight returning starters from last year, including LB Manti Te’o, who registered 133 tackles and had 9.5 tackles for loss last year … K David Ruffer (18-19 FG, 37-40 PAT) was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2010.