Blue and Gold Illustrated

Dec 19, 2020

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

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has been a Tremble-like attitude of hard-nosed, downhill physicality. "I try to play like that every game, every single down," he said. Like Tremble, he has brought an infectious personality of fearlessness that has mirrored the team's domi- nant attitude. "My parents have always taught me to be a leader," Williams said. "Ever since I've been playing sports I've always had that natural ability to lead, no matter what it is. People just look on to me to bring that energy and that juice. "I feel like every day now at Notre Dame I have to bring that juice, I have to bring that energy for every- body. From there, that's contagious." And a new season with College Football Playoff fever is just begin- ning, especially with the first semes- ter having ended on Nov. 20. "With classes being out, I feel like that's the best thing as a football player here at Notre Dame," Williams said. "The classes, they're really hard, but now that they're gone we're able to be in the [football] building more. I know personally that I've been able to go to treatment every day no matter … I'm not even hurt." The same can't be said for the op- position he has faced. ✦ First Rate In Year Two Against Syracuse, Kyren Williams became only the sixth sophomore at Notre Dame to produce a 1,000-yard rushing campaign. Here is the "Who's Who" of the others — including bowl games, which have been included since 2002 but not prior to then. Allen Pinkett (1983), 7-5 Record Rushing: 280 carries, 1,505 yards, 5.4 yards per carry, 16 touchdowns Receiving: 28 catches, 288 yards, 10.3 yards per catch, two touchdowns This is the sophomore standard, with the rushing yardage the most ever in any season at Notre Dame (again, when including the bowl games, which are not prior to 2002). Jerome Bettis (1991), 10-3 Record Rushing: 184 carries, 1,122 yards, 6.1 yards per carry, 19 touchdowns Receiving: 18 catches, 195 yards, 10.3 yards per catch, four touchdowns Most astounding is "The Bus" averaged 6.1 yards per attempt while running between the tackles as a fullback. He concluded the sea- son with 16 carries for 150 yards and three scores in the 39-28 Sugar Bowl win versus No. 3 Florida. As a freshman, Bettis had only 18 carries. Autry Denson (1996), 8-3 Record Rushing: 202 carries, 1,179 yards, 5.8 yards per carry, eight touchdowns Receiving: 11 catches, 111 yards, 10.1 yards per catch, two touchdowns In the final season under head coach Lou Holtz — who had threatened to move the school's all-time leading rusher to wide re- ceiver — Denson showcased his workmanlike consistency. Ryan Grant (2002), 10-3 Record Rushing: 261 carries, 1,085 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, nine touchdowns Receiving: 9 catches, 22 yards, 2.4 yards per catch, zero touchdowns After rushing for 110 yards as a freshman, Grant was called on to be the workhorse in head coach Tyrone Willingham's first season with the Irish after starter Julius Jones was declared academically ineligible. Darius Walker (2005), 9-3 Record Rushing: 253 carries, 1,196 yards, 4.7 yards per carry, nine touchdowns Receiving: 43 catches, 351 yards, 8.2 yards per catch, two touchdowns On the smallish side like Williams at 5-10, 205 pounds, Walker also developed into a quality blitz pick-up pass blocker for quarter- back Brady Quinn. — Lou Somogyi DEC. 19, 2020 15 Aside from the statistically obvious highlights — such as becoming the sixth Notre Dame sophomore running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season — Williams has made an impact as a high- energy leader. His teammates look to him to "bring that juice" to practice and games. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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