Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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16 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Irish student-athletes excelling on the field and in the classroom Blake Barens, Golf The senior from Villa Park, Calif., qualified for the match play rounds in his first U.S. Amateur Champion- ship by carding a 1-over-par 141 Aug. 15-16 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloom- field Hills, Mich. He finished the stroke play rounds in a tie for 41st, and the top 64 of 312 competitors in the field quali- fied for match play. However, Barens dropped his match play opener by four holes to Oklahoma State's Zach Bauchou. Scott Rodgers, Lacrosse The former Irish goalie — the Most Outstanding Player in the 2010 national champi- onship game — was named the MVP of the Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game July 9 in Fullerton, Calif. He had 10 saves in the second half alone, and helped lead his team, the Riptide, to a 21-20 victory. Rodgers is the first goalie ever to be named the game's MVP. Peter Solomon, Baseball The right-handed pitcher from Ellicott City, Md., has had an impressive summer for Har- wich in the prestigious Cape Cod League. In 10 appearances (four starts) through Aug. 18, he had a 1-0 record with two saves, 28 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.54 in 33 innings of work. Solomon's strong showing earned him a spot in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, along with Notre Dame teammate and fellow right-hander Brandon Bielak. Jennifer Westendorf, Soccer The Grayson, Ga., product was one of four ACC players named to TopDrawerSoccer. com's Preseason Best XI Fresh- man Team. She enrolled in January and led the Irish with four goals during the spring. She also had one goal in each of Notre Dame's two international friendlies played in France over the summer. Over the last four years, Westendorf has aver- aged 32 goals per season with her club team, GSA '97. TOP OF THE CLASS ✦ GIMME FIVE Notre Dame's kickoff at Texas on Sept. 4 will mark the fourth time the Fighting Irish will face the Longhorns in the season opener. Notre Dame lost 7-6 the first time in Elmer Layden's first game as the head coach in 1934 at home. Twenty years later, Terry Brennan also made his head coaching debut against the Long- horns, but this time the Irish won 21-0 at home. Last year, Notre Dame trounced Texas 38-3 in South Bend. Texas also holds the distinction of being the lone Notre Dame opponent to be the first game of the season four times and the last game of the season four times (end of the 1913 cam- paign, plus Cotton Bowl meetings to conclude the 1969, 1970 and 1977 campaigns). Here are the five opponents Notre Dame has opened the season with the most since Jesse Harper became the first full-time coach in 1913: Rk. Opponent Openers Most Recent 1. Northwestern 9 1995 2t. Michigan 8 1998 2t. Purdue 8 2010 4t. Pitt 6 2005 4t. Indiana 6 1991 Note: Notre Dame also opened six times against Kalamazoo from 1917‑23, but the Hor‑ nets are currently in Division III. Getting To Know … SENIOR RUNNING BACK TAREAN FOLSTON Nickname: "T." Major: "Film, television and theatre." Current television show: "'Prison Break.'" Favorite movie: "'Friday Night Lights.'" Favorite Food: "French fries. I don't like Five Guys' fries, though. I'll eat them. I really don't discriminate as far as French fries go." Favorite Musician: "Lil Boosie." Favorite Song by that Musician: "I can't say a favorite. I've got a lot, man. I've got a lot." LeBron James or Michael Jordan: "Michael Jordan. C'mon man. I'm not taking anything off LeBron, but c'mon man. Michael Jordan." CHARTING THE IRISH TEAMS WITH THE BEST CHANCE OF RUNNING THE TABLE When college football transitioned from the Bowl Championship Series era to the College Football Playoff, plenty changed. One didn't: if a team runs the table, it's almost guaranteed a chance to play for a national title. There are exceptions. Boise State went undefeated in 2006 and 2009 and did not play for a title. Utah (2004 and 2006) also faced the same problem. But for powerful programs like Alabama, losing one game doesn't remove it from the playoff picture. During Alabama's last three national title runs in 2011, 2012 and 2015, the Crimson Tide lost a game. Only in 2009 did they go undefeated. The last time Notre Dame won the national title (1988), the Irish went 12-0 under Lou Holtz and took home the crystal football trophy. "We beat the best team in the west, Southern Cal; the top two teams in the Big Ten, Michigan and Michigan State; the best in the east, West Virginia; and the best in the south, Miami," Holtz said at the time. "I don't know what more a football team can do to deserve this trophy." Who has the best chance of going undefeated this season? Scheduling has a lot to do with it — Clemson and Florida State have good odds due to the weaker ACC. According to ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) — which is a fluid measure of team strength based on 10,000 sim- ulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date and the remaining schedule — Notre Dame has a 1.2 per- cent chance of going undefeated. MOVING? Let our customer service department know your new address! Call 1-800-421-7751 CHANCE OF WINNING OUT ACCORDING TO ESPN'S FPI Rk. School Pct. 1. Oklahoma 17.3 2. Florida State 10.4 3. Clemson 8.2 4. Boise State 7.9 5. LSU 5.8 6. Michigan 5.5 7. Tennessee 4.7 8. Oklahoma State 2.3 9. Washington 1.3 10. Notre Dame 1.2

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