2002 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 2002 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame in the 2002 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Tyrone Willingham and played its home games at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.

2002 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football
Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo.svg
Gator Bowl, L 6–28 vs. NC State
ConferenceIndependent
Ranking
CoachesNo. 17
APNo. 17
2002 record10–3
Head coachTyrone Willingham (1st season)
Offensive coordinatorBill Diedrick
Offensive schemeWest Coast
Defensive coordinatorKent Baer
Base defense4–3
Home stadiumNotre Dame Stadium (c. 80,795, grass)
Seasons
← 2001
2003 →
2002 NCAA Division I-A independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
South Florida           9 2  
No. 17 Notre Dame           10 3  
Connecticut           6 6  
Utah State           4 7  
Troy State           4 8  
Navy           2 10  
Rankings from AP Poll

Season overviewEdit

The 2002 season became known as a "Return to Glory" for the Irish.[1] This phrase appeared on a student shirt that created a "Sea of Green" in the Irish stands.[2] It was picked up by many in the media and was used on the front cover of Sports Illustrated.[3] Despite not scoring an offensive touchdown in their first two games,[4] the Irish won both, and in the process made Willingham the 24th Notre Dame head coach to win his opener in his first season.[5] The team went on to win its next six games, including wins over Willingham's alma mater, Michigan State, and Stanford, his former team.[6][7]

The team was initially led throughout the season by quarterback Carlyle Holiday, former quarterback and wide receiver Arnaz Battle, and on defense, Shane Walton. Running back Ryan Grant, who had to replace Julius Jones who was out for academic reasons, also played an important role. During the Michigan State game, however, Holiday was injured and replaced by backup Pat Dillingham. Dillingham led the Irish to a comeback win on a screen pass to Battle in that game,[6] and he continued the winning streak until Holiday returned for the Florida State game. In that game, Holiday threw a 65-yard touchdown on his first play to Battle that helped the Irish win the game.[8]

The first Irish loss of the season came against the Boston College Eagles, mirroring the 1993 season when Notre Dame narrowly lost a chance to participate in the national championship game due to a loss to Boston College. Willingham, wanting the team to be a part of the "Sea of Green" in the stands,[9] decided that the team should wear green for the game. In 1985, the last time the Irish wore green at home, they came out after halftime against USC and won the game 37–3. The ploy, however, did not work this time, as, after an injured Holiday was replaced by Dillingham, and the Eagles defense returned an interception that sealed the loss for the Irish.[10]

The Fighting Irish won their next two games, including their 39th straight victory over Navy and a 42–0 blowout victory over struggling Rutgers.[11][12] This gave Notre Dame a legitimate shot at a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl game if they could win against perennial rival USC. The Irish were ranked higher than the Trojans, but USC quarterback Carson Palmer, who cited the game as the reason he went on to win the Heisman Trophy,[13] threw for 425 yards in the Trojans' 31 point win.[14] The Irish won 10 games but were not invited to a BCS bowl game, and they accepted a bid to play North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl instead. With both an offense and defense that outmatched the Irish, the Wolfpack won the game 28–6, giving the Irish their sixth consecutive bowl loss.[15] Despite the loss, the Irish ended the season ranked in both the Associated Press (AP) and Coaches Polls.[16]

After the season, some Irish were honored with post-season awards. Battle was named by one foundation as their sportsman of the year,[17] while Walton was named as a Consensus All-American.[18] Finally, Willingham was honored with two Coach of the Year awards,[19][20] was named by Sporting News as "Sportsman of the Year",[21] and was the only coach listed by Sporting News as one of their "Most Powerful People in Sports".[22]

ScheduleEdit

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
August 318:00 p.m.vs. No. 21 MarylandABCW 22–072,903[23]
September 712:00 p.m.PurdueNo. 23NBCW 24–1780,795[23]
September 141:30 p.m.No. 7 MichiganNo. 20
  • Notre Dame Stadium
  • South Bend, IN (rivalry)
NBCW 25–2380,795[23]
September 213:30 p.m.at Michigan StateNo. 12ABCW 21–1775,182[23]
October 51:30 p.m.StanfordNo. 9
NBCW 31–780,795[23]
October 121:30 p.m.PittsburghNo. 8
  • Notre Dame Stadium
  • South Bend, IN (rivalry)
NBCW 14–680,795[23]
October 1910:00 p.m.at No. 18 Air ForceNo. 7ESPNW 21–1456,409[23]
October 2612:00 p.m.at No. 11 Florida StateNo. 6ABCW 34–2484,106[23]
November 22:30 p.m.Boston CollegeNo. 4
  • Notre Dame Stadium
  • South Bend, IN (Holy War)
NBCL 7–1480,935[23]
November 912:00 p.m.at NavyNo. 9CBSW 30–2370,260[23]
November 231:00 p.m.RutgersNo. 8
  • Notre Dame Stadium
  • South Bend, IN
NBCW 42–080,795[23]
November 308:00 p.m.at No. 6 USCNo. 7ABCL 13–4491,432[23]
January 1, 200312:30 p.m.vs. No. 17 NC StateNo. 11NBCL 6–2873,491[23]

RosterEdit

2002 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
WR 3 Arnaz Battle Sr
T 78 Jordan Black Sr
TE 48 Jerome Collins So
T 63 Brennan Curtin Sr
QB 9 Pat Dillingham So
C 52 Jeff Faine Sr
TE 88 Anthony Fasano Fr
TE 14 Gary Godsey Jr
RB 4 Ryan Grant So
QB 7 Carlyle Holiday So
WR 80 Omar Jenkins Jr
RB 22 Julius Jones (S) Jr
G 73 Mark LeVoir So
FB 39 Tom Lopienski Sr
G 79 Sean Mahan Sr
T 70 Jim Molinaro Jr
QB 2 Dan Novakov Sr
RB 35 Tim O'Neill Sr
RB 23 Chris Yura Sr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
CB 9 Jason Beckstrom Sr
DE 90 Brian Beidatsch So
S 27 Lionel Bolen So
DE 92 Kyle Budinscak So
S 29 Quentin Burrell So
CB 6 Carlos Campbell So
DT 60 Darrell Campbell Jr
S 31 Jake Carney Fr
DB 5 Glenn Earl Jr
LB 41 Mike Goolsby Jr
DE 95 Ryan Roberts Sr
LB 56 Pat Ryan Sr
S 20 Gerome Sapp Sr
DE 99 Jason Sapp So
LB 57 Justin Thomas Jr
DE 44 Justin Tuck So
CB 42 Shane Walton Sr
LB 33 Courtney Watson Sr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
P 17 Joey Hildbold Sr
K 13 Nick Setta Jr
LS 53 John Crowther Sr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  •   Injured
  •   Redshirt

Roster
Last update: 2002-08-02

RankingsEdit

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. т = Tied with team above or below. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Final 
AP NR NR 23 20 12 10 9 8 7 6 4 (1) 9 9 8 7 11 11 17 
Coaches NR NR 24 21 12 10 9 8 7 6 6 (1) 10 9 8 7 13 12 17 
BCS Not released 3 3 7 7 6 7 10 9 Not released

Game summariesEdit

at Florida StateEdit

at USCEdit

1 234Total
Notre Dame 6 700 13
• USC 0 171314 44
  • Date: November 30
  • Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
  • Game start: 8:00 p.m. EST
  • Elapsed time: 3:26
  • Game attendance: 91,432
  • Game weather: Cloudy; 60°F; wind variable
  • Referee: Chuck McFerrin
  • Television network: ABC

vs. NC State (Gator Bowl)Edit

Gator Bowl
1 234Total
Wolfpack 0 2107 28
Fighting Irish 3 030 6
  • Source:
Overall record Last meeting Result
First meeting

Team players in the NFLEdit

Player Position Round Pick NFL club
Jeff Faine Center 1 21 Cleveland Browns
Jordan Black Tackle 5 153 Kansas City Chiefs
Sean Mahan Center 5 168 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Shane Walton Safety 5 170 St. Louis Rams
Gerome Sapp Safety 6 182 Baltimore Ravens
Arnaz Battle Wide Receiver 6 197 San Francisco 49ers
Brennan Curtin Tackle 6 212 Green Bay Packers

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Barra, Allen (September 27, 2002). "Notre Dame's return to glory! (Part 23)". Salon. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  2. ^ Krivickas, Justin (October 2, 2002). ""The Shirt" makes a return to glory". The Observer. UK. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  3. ^ "SI Covers". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on June 12, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  4. ^ "Irish defense scoring all the touchdowns". ESPN. September 7, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2007.
  5. ^ "Notre Dame 22, Maryland 0". UND.cstv.com. August 31, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Irish Rally To Stop Spartans, 21–17". UND.cstv.com. September 21, 2002. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  7. ^ "Fighting Irish Crush Cardinal, 31–7". UND.cstv.com. October 5, 2002. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  8. ^ "No. 6 Notre Dame Rolls Past No. 11 FSU, 34–24". UND.cstv.com. October 26, 2002. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  9. ^ "Post Game Notes". UND.cstv.com. November 2, 2002. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  10. ^ "No. 4 Irish Fall To Boston College, 14–7". UND.cstv.com. November 2, 2002. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  11. ^ "No. 9 Irish Come From Behind To Beat Navy". UND.cstv.com. November 9, 2002. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  12. ^ "No. 8 Irish Rough Up Rutgers, 42–0". UND.cstv.com. November 23, 2002. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  13. ^ "Palmer wins every region except Midwest". ESPN. December 16, 2002. Retrieved March 10, 2009.
  14. ^ "No. 7 Irish Fall To Trojans". UND.cstv.com. November 30, 2002. Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  15. ^ "No. 11 Irish Fall To No. 17 NC State In Gator Bowl, 28–6". UND.cstv.com. January 1, 2003. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  16. ^ "2002 NCAA Football Rankings – Postseason Week 3 (Jan. 5)". ESPN. January 5, 2003. Retrieved February 18, 2008.
  17. ^ "Arnaz Battle Named Independence Bowl Foundation Sportsman of the Year". UND.cstv.com. December 18, 2002. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  18. ^ "Shane Walton Named Consensus All-American". UND.cstv.com. January 3, 2003. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  19. ^ "Tyrone Willingham Named Home Depot National Coach Of The Year". UND.cstv.com. December 9, 2002. Archived from the original on July 21, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  20. ^ "Tyrone Willingham Wins George Munger Award for College Coach of the Year". UND.cstv.com. December 13, 2002. Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  21. ^ Bock, Hal (December 11, 2002). "Willingham named Sporting News Sportsman of the Year". Centralohio.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  22. ^ "Willingham Listed As One Of The Most Powerful People In Sports". UND.cstv.com. January 13, 2003. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 2002 Notre Dame football schedule