McKnight Has Record Setting Day

SOUTH BEND - The bounce in his step, the smile on his face and even the way he complains to officials, you can tell Rhema McKnight is loving every minute of being back on the football field. The fifth-year senior receiver didn't realize how much he missed the gridiron until returning to the field this fall after missing the last 10 games of the 2005 season with an injury.

"It's funny because after a while you start to take things for granted and each and every time I step out on the field, I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Notre Dame football," McKnight said after he helped the 12th-ranked Irish defeat Purdue, 35-21.

Quarterback Brady Quinn and the Notre Dame offense are happy that McKnight is a part of the Notre Dame (4-1) program as well. Quinn's favorite target, McKnight hauled in a career-high 10 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Boilermakers (4-1).

"I don't really pay too much attention to statistics and everything," McKnight said of his career day. "I just go out and play and hopefully make plays and be a contributor."

McKnight, who was the team's leading receiver in 2003 and 2004, has been a contributor all season. He leads the team in all receiving categories, 32 receptions, 433 yards and six touchdowns.

"He's committed to helping this team win as many games as he can and obviously performances like today only help him personally as well," head coach Charlie Weis said.

The view from the press box showed McKnight to be open on almost every play.

"Every receiver thinks they are open on every play, but there were a few plays I think they must of busted coverages, and I came open and Brady found me."

More than a few.

*David Grimes not being able to go was freshman George West's opportunity. The freshman receiver saw his first action within the Irish offense, replacing Grimes, who told Weis before the game he couldn't play "full go."

West saw two plays offensively, the first, an 11-yard scoring run off of a reverse. Weis practiced the play with both Grimes and West during the week in case Grimes wouldn't be able to go.

"I was drooling to call it, you know, I just don't know if calling it on the 10-yard line or 11-yard line if that was the perfect call, but it worked, so we'll take it," Weis explained.

West also returned a kick for 16 yards.

*Bob Morton went down with an injury in the third quarter and did not return. Brian Mattes replaced Morton at guard and played the rest of the game.

"Yeah, we wouldn't have put him-the way the game was going, it could have been one of those ones where lets tape him up and go, like the olden days, but I told him right away when it happened, I said, lets, unless it gets absolutely critical, lets not put him back in the game today," Weis said. "So whether they could have said tape him up and go or not, he wasn't going back in there."

*Chase Anastasio made his first reception of the season, a 15-yard catch in the second quarter. Ironically, the only other catch of Anastasio's career was a 15-yarder against Purdue two years ago.

*McKnight and tight end John Carlson made some moves in the ND record book.

McKnight's two touchdowns gives him 13 for his career, tying Heisman Trophy winnr Tim Brown and Bobby Brown for seventh all-time on the receiving touchdowns list. The 10 catches gives him 135 total, moving him into fourth overall. He passed Ken MacAfee, Derrick Mayes and Maurice Stovall. McKnight also moved into eighth on the all-time receiving yards list with 1,803 total, passing Malcolm Johnson and MacAfee.

Carlson's third reception of the game moved him past Pete Chryplewicz and MacAfee into eighth on the receiving-yards list by a tight end. Carlson, who had five receptions for 62 yards on Saturday, now has 35 career receptions for 446 yards. Top Stories