Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2022

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM AUGUST 2022 15 45 Years Ago: Aug. 27, 1977 The preseason college football edition of Sports Illustrated featured Notre Dame defensive end and 1976 Outland Trophy winner Ross Browner on the cover and listed Notre Dame as the na- tion's No. 1 squad. The rationale for the ranking is led by Browner and the school's record-setting defense from a year earlier (21 quarters without allowing a touchdown) that returned all 11 starters. Mean- while, the offense returned top playmakers in tight end Ken MacAfee and running backs Jerome Heavens and Vagas Ferguson, although quarter- back was a bit of a question mark with junior Rusty Lisch having made only one career start. Finally, the schedule was considered manageable, most notably with USC — which had lost only once to the Fighting Irish the previous 10 years — at home. 35 Years Ago: Aug. 4, 1987 Former Notre Dame basketball All-American Dick Rosenthal was named the director of athlet- ics at his alma mater. He succeeded Gene Corri- gan (1981-87), who resigned from the position to become the commissioner of the ACC. Rosenthal led the Irish to consecutive Elite Eight appearances in 1953 and 1954, and be- came even more prominent locally in business. When he was named president of South Bend St. Joseph Bank in 1962 at the tender age of 29, it had $22 million in assets. During his 25-year stint there they increased to $550 million. When asked if his lack of experience in athletic administration might be a liability, Rosenthal re- plied with a smile, "Hopefully, I'm not a stranger to the function of administration." 20 Years Ago: Aug. 31, 2002 With Notre Dame coming off a 5-6 record that led to the firing of head coach Bob Davie, the Ty- rone Willingham era debuted with a 22-0 shutout of No. 21 Maryland — which finished 10-2 and No. 11 in the Associated Press poll the year prior — at the Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J. The Fighting Irish defense limited the Terrapins to 133 yards of total offense, and fifth-year senior cornerback Shane Walton tied a single-game school record with three interceptions. Willing- ham became the first Fighting Irish head coach to debut with a shutout since Terry Brennan in 1954 (21-0 versus Texas). Just like the 1988 national champs with a 19-17 win over Michigan in the opener, all the points were scored on special teams. The lone touch- down was a 76-yard punt return by cornerback Vontez Duff, while Nicholas Setta tied a single- game school record with five field goals — the longest from 51 yards to open the scoring. 15 Years Ago: Aug. 6, 2007 Following back-to-back BCS bowls (also known as major bowls) and a 19-4 regular-season mark his first two seasons as the Notre Dame head coach, Charlie Weis bristled when he was asked if the Fighting Irish were in a "rebuilding" stage because of the graduation of quarterback Brady Quinn and other standouts, plus poor recruiting classes from 2004 and 2005 in which a combined 17 scholarship players remained now having ma- jor roles. "May God strike me dead if I use that word," Weis said of rebuilding. "I'll never use that word. You use it. … It's easy for me to throw in the towel and start playing a bunch of young guys, take the pressure off of me and buy me more time — but that's garbage." Anniversaries In Notre Dame Athletics: August UNDER THE DOME Tyrone Willingham led Notre Dame to a 22-0 victory over No. 21 Maryland to open the 2002 cam- paign, becoming the first Irish head coach to debut with a shutout since Terry Brennan in 1954 (21-0 versus Texas). PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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