More Records in Sight

Last season's 9-3 campaign was not only about a turnaround for Notre Dame football but also a brutal assault on the record books, almost all on the offensive side of the ball. In 2005 alone, there were nine individual career marks set, 14 individual season records broken and seven individual single game marks achieved. As this year approaches, we ask what records are in the crosshairs?

The one obvious player who has left a deep dent in the school record books is Brady Quinn. He set all nine individual career marks that the Irish team accomplished. Touchdowns, attempts, completions and yards are just a few of the career records he holds. Quinn should set these numbers even higher with nine returning starters (if you include Rhema McKnight in the group) back on offense.

But what else is out there for Mr. Quinn? Terry Hanratty set the single game attempts records in 1967 when he passed 63 times against Purdue. This is a record Quinn might not want. Of his six top attempt contests, all of them have been losses (60 vs. Michigan State in 2005, 59 vs. Purdue in 2003, 52 in 2003 vs. Florida State, 47 vs. BYU in 2004, 46 in 2004 vs. Purdue and 45 last year in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State). High attempts usually mean the team is behind and passing is the quickest way to comeback. Quinn's next highest attempt game was the 41 he tossed in the blowout win versus BYU last season. Of those 41 throws, 32 were completed and six of them were touchdowns. Efficiency, not ridiculously high attempts, seems to translate into wins.

Other records in sight for Quinn: completions in a contest. He's currently tied with Joe Theismann with 33. Quinn got that in the loss to Michigan State in 2005. Theismann also holds the single game mark for passing yards with 526. Quinn racked up 467 last season vs. BYU. Maybe the most important stat for a quarterback: passes without an interception. Quinn holds the record now with 130 straight passes without a pickoff. If he can approach this mark again, it would mean big things for the Notre Dame offense.

As for the wide receivers, Jeff Samardzija is creeping close to three career records that would leave him with all the major marks. It's amazing that a player who grabbed just 24 balls with no touchdowns in his first two seasons is on the brink of statistically being the best wide receiver in Notre Dame history.

Samardzija is 56 catches away from passing Tom Gatewood on the all-time career list. Gatewood piled up 157 receptions while Samardzija has 101. The senior wideout is tied with Gatewood for the single season mark with 77 grabs. A repeat season will give Samardzija the record. Also, he's 936 yards from breaking Derrick Mayes's career mark of 2,512 yards and eight touchdowns away from besting Mayes's career scoring mark of 22.

The offense as a whole has a tough job to repeat what they did in 2005. 11 team records were shattered last year. Most notably, the Irish scored more points than any other season in history with 440 points, breaking the 426 put up by the 1991 squad. With 12 regular season contests and a possible 13th in a bowl game, 440 points could be a thing of the past. Other records broken: pass attempts, pass attempts per game, pass completions, pass completions per game, completion percentage, passing yards, passing yards per game, touchdown passes, total offense attempts and total offense yards. Quite a list. The offense also was the first in school history to have a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers. Is more better in 2006? The offense will put up numbers this year but the key stat, not turning the ball over, might be the only number that slows up the explosive attack.

The defense does not have many records in sights. Victor Abiamiri is 13.5 sacks away from Justin Tuck's career mark of 24.5. The senior defensive end tallied eight in 2005 but four of them came in one contest against Stanford. With head coach Charlie Weis making the pass rush a point of emphasis in the spring, a double digit total for Abiamiri would be a helpful contribution to the defense. Instead of records, improving on the 103rd ranked pass defense and 75th overall unit could make this team the national championship contender that national pundits have pegged them to be. Top Stories