Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 23, 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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6 OCT. 23, 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FAN FORUM UPON FURTHER REVIEW … Several weeks ago I wrote during the Notre Dame-Georgia game that both the field referees and replay of- ficials were from the SEC. In your next issue you printed my letter and assured me and your subscribers that although this was true, the contracts for Notre Dame games require that when ND is on the road the ACC does the officiating. I was reading your latest issue and particularly the article by Todd D. Burlage entitled "Are NCAA Offi- cials Targeting Notre Dame?" and ran across a curious passage. In writing about the lack of a target- ing call by the officials on Brandon Wimbush it was revealed that Kelly complained about the officiating. Burlage wrote: "Kelly had the video of the play and his complaint turned into the offices of the ACC and the Big Ten for further evaluation, an explanation, and perhaps some retri- bution for the crews from these two leagues that worked the game." Why would Kelly complain to the officials of the Big Ten when, per your information, only ACC officials worked that game? Several paragraphs later Burlage talks about a targeting call last year at Texas. He mentions that the field refer- ees were the same ones who officiated this year's MSU game. He then writes that the Big 12 officials (presum- ably the replay officials) were later reprimanded for lack of action. Why would they be reprimanded when, as you have assured us, only ACC of- ficials officiate ND away games? Michael J. Higgins, ND '67 Via the Internet Mr. Higgins, the on-field officials at Texas in 2016 and Michigan State this season were from the ACC, but the re- play officials were from the Big 12 and Big Ten, respectively. We regret the error and apologize regarding the response. (For whatever it's worth, both the ACC and Big Ten acknowledged the hit on Wimbush at MSU was a missed call.) Regarding the 2019 Georgia game, we asked Notre Dame senior associate athletics director John Heisler about the arrangement, and he said the original agreement has ACC officials on the field and in the replay booth, but the latter could be subject to change. The week before the Miami (Ohio) game, Brian Kelly indicated that no other freshmen likely would play this year than the ones that already have. The week be- fore the North Carolina game, though, running back C.J. Holmes was being actively prepared for action. Fluidity re- mains, but you are correct for pointing out our error. MANY HAPPY RETURNS While watching Julian Love return the first quarter interception against Michigan State, I wondered how often Notre Dame has a pick-six in their history. I remember Pete Bercich against Northwestern, also in the first quar- ter, versus Northwestern, in 1993. I re- member reading about a Knute Rockne team that returned an interception for a touchdown against Army for the game's only score, and I also remember reading about three interceptions in the 1925 Rose Bowl. I think at least one of those went for a touchdown. What about an article that lists the top 10 interception returns for touchdowns in history? Any way to research and know how many times Notre Dame has had a pick-six? Jack Rivetti Dayton, Ohio Mr. Rivetti, we don't have all the infor- mation of every single year at our disposal right now, but we can tell you that Love's interception return for a touchdown against Michigan State was the 66th since the start of the Ara Parseghian regime in 1964. There were 12 in Parseghian's 11 sea- sons (1964); 11 in five years with Dan Devine (1975-80); only one in five cam- paigns with Gerry Faust (1981-85), with none in the last four years; 14 in 11 sea- sons under Lou Holtz (1986-96); eight in five years with Bob Davie (1997-2001); six in three seasons with Ty Willingham (2002-04); seven in five years with Char- lie Weis (2005-09); and now seven in eight seasons under Brian Kelly. The 1966 national champs and 2002 team each had four. There are four play- ers during that time that had three: safety Tom Schoen (1966-67), linebacker Bobby Leopold (1976-77), and cornerbacks Al- len Rossum (1995-97) and Shane Wal- ton (2000-02). Jack Elder's 100-yard interception re- turn in the 7-0 win over Army won the national title in 1929. In the 1925 Rose Bowl, Elmer Layden had 78- and 70-yard interception returns for scores against Stanford to secure Notre Dame's first consensus national title. At least three more you should be aware of: Luther Bradley's 99-yard fourth quarter return at Purdue in 1975 when the Irish led only 3-0, Pat Terrell's 60- yard return versus No. 1 Miami in 1988, and in that same championship year Stan Smagala's 64-yard return at No. 2 USC. A top-10 list of the all-time pick sixes in school history sounds like a future project. RUN DOWN Brian Kelly says Brandon Wim- bush is tough and gritty, and that his passing will improve over time. Maybe so. He certainly has a big arm, and his reads and progressions should improve over time. Now if his accuracy improves as well, we have a monster weapon be- cause he certainly has the wheels — if he doesn't get physically destroyed with all the read option, quarterback keeper plays in the offensive array. Steve Barry Spring Lake, N.J. STRIKING RESEMBLANCE After one of my visits to Notre Dame, I found a fact relating to "The BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: Sophomore cornerback Julian Love's pick-six versus Michigan State Sept. 23 was the seventh for the Irish during head coach Brian Kelly's time in South Bend. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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