Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 19, 2020

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

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Page 37 of 55

38 SEPT. 19, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI EVEN THE SCORE When Notre Dame hosts South Florida Sept. 19, the game provides the Fighting Irish an opportunity to cross off one of five current Foot- ball Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams against whom it has lost to but never defeated. There were a couple of others prior to 1900 such as the University of Chi- cago and Indianapolis Artillery. Then in the lone meeting with Yale in 1914, the Bulldogs won. However, the Ivy League has not been a member of the FBS football since 1981. Remarkably, three of the current five against whom Notre Dame is at least 0-1 occurred in the last 11 years, with all the defeats coming at home infamously in three consecutive sea- sons. Here are those five opponents: South Florida (2011) — 0-1, a 23-20 defeat. Tulsa (2010) — 0-1, a 28-27 loss. Connecticut (2009) — 0-1, a dou- ble-overtime setback (33-30) in Char- lie Weis' final home game as head coach. Oregon State — 0-2, with both blowout defeats occurring in bowl games, the 2001 Fiesta and the 2004 Georgia — 0-3, a defeat in the 1981 Sugar Bowl when the Bulldogs' 17-10 win clinched their lone national title, plus two hard-fought contests in 2017 (20-19) and 2019 (23-17). Exacerbating that 2011 defeat to South Florida in the opener was the Bulls' head coach was Notre Dame alumnus Skip Holtz, son of 1986-96 Fighting Irish head coach icon Lou Holtz. Remarkably, nine years later an- other son of a former Notre Dame head coach will have a major role again for the Bulls in this season's encounter. Charlie Weis Jr., son of 2005-09 Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, is South Florida's new offensive coor- dinator under first-year head coach Jeff Scott. The younger Weis (see pages 17-19) held the same position the past two years at Florida Atlantic. Last year, FAU finished 11-3 with an offense that ranked in the top 25 in scoring (14th, 36.4 points per game) and yards per game (23rd, 448.6). The 27-year-old Weis Jr. is the youngest offensive coordinator in the FBS. His Sept. 19 counterpart, Tommy Rees, is the second youngest. As a high school teenager, the younger Weis was often seen on a head set on the Notre Dame side- lines for games, which led to some derision among some Fighting Irish faithful. In one of the elder Weis' final one- on-one interviews before he was ter- minated at Notre Dame, with Fan- house writer John Walters, the former Irish head coach bitterly lashed out. "The damage to [wife] Maura and Charlie Jr. is irreparable," Weis told Walters. "… I'll never forgive the people who character-assassinated me without even knowing me." When Walters asked Weis where 15-year-old Charlie would be at- tending college, he replied, "I know where he won't be going to college." 2011: THEATRE OF THE ABSURD How bizarre was the one previ- ous meeting between the Fighting Irish and South Florida in the season opener at Notre Dame Stadium on Sept. 3, 2011? • Of the 1,297 games the program has played, including 21 "vacated" wins in 2012-13, the lone contest with the Bulls is the only known one to have a weather delay and evacuation of the stands. Because of severe lightning, the game was halted two hours and 10 minutes while South Florida held a 16-0 halftime lead. Then, with 4:21 remaining in the contest, another 43-minutes delay occurred after a second evacuation. The official kickoff was at 3:40 p.m. and the contest ended at 9:39 p.m. — a total of 5:59, making it easily the lengthiest game in school history. • Notre Dame's 508 yards of to- tal offense were the exact double of GAME PREVIEW: SOUTH FLORIDA Top STorylineS Severe lightning during Notre Dame's home game versus South Florida on Sept. 3, 2011 caused it to be the only contest in school history known to have a weather delay, with two separate stoppages totaling two hours and 53 minutes. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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