Why is this play significant? It's the last time Quinn has thrown an interception. The senior has gone 169 straight passes without a pickoff. That's a time lapse of 38 days, 18 quarters and 279 minutes of actual game time of not committing the cardinal sin among quarterbacks. Nationally, he's 22nd in passer efficiency rating. Quinn is right in step with his team. Notre Dame turned the ball over five times in the blowout loss to Michigan. In the other seven contests, the Irish have a total of three giveaways.
"Every week, we have a list of things that we feel is our type priority as an offense to do," Quinn said on Wednesday. "And if we do this, we have a great chance of winning and every week, you'll see zero turnovers. That's a big emphasis we try to hold in practice and in our meetings. That's the biggest X factor is when you allow a team to commit turnovers whether they are inferior or not, they are going to have a better chance of winning that game or they are going to at least get a chance or a possibility of giving them some hope or momentum. The biggest thing is if you can eliminate turnovers, for the most part, that's usually going to be the deciding margin whether or not you win."
*North Carolina uses a rotation system at the quarterback position. Both Joe Dailey and Cam Sexton get to see game action on the field. In last week's 24-17 loss to Wake Forest, the coaches were rotating the two every other series.
Dailey earned the start vs. the Demon Deacons and went 13-of-19 for 156 yards and a touchdown. But the junior threw two picks, including one on the final throw of the contest in the end zone that ended the Tar Heel upset bid. Sexton, a redshirt freshman, was 6-of-10 for 80 yards in the game. Together, they have thrown six touchdowns to an incredible 15 interceptions. The Irish have been preparing for both this week in practice.
"It's interesting by how they went two series at a time," head coach Charlie Weis said. "I'm not really sure how it's all going to play out. They have the junior and the freshman and they both want to give them time. So we'll just have to roll with the punches."
"There are some slight differences between the two young men," defensive coordinator Rick Minter said. "Not so much so that you have to totally alter. They both run the same offense. At times, one runs more than the other. It's not like salt and pepper but there are some slight variations."
*Maybe the most interesting part of Charlie Weis's "60 Minutes" piece was when Quinn agreed with his head coach's assessment that he could be a jerk at times. Reporter Steve Kroft told Quinn about what Weis characterized himself at times and asked the Notre Dame quarterback if this was the case. Quinn said yes. The backtracking from the statement started on Wednesday.
"The funny thing is I didn't realize they took it out of context, before we were talking about all that," Quinn said. "He was really trying to get me to say something and he asked at times can he be rough. And at times obviously Coach (Weis) can be tough. He would be somebody you would not necessarily call your friend at that particular time. But you need that. That's what you need in order to win. Coach (Weis) has had a lot of success and he knows what it takes. It takes that sort of attitude, or if you want to call being a jerk, I'm sure everyone in that locker room would say yeah, I want a coach who is going to be a jerk is going to win every single game."
At his Tuesday press conference, Weis said that as the head coach, he could give some payback to his star signal caller. He wouldn't reveal what he did to Quinn. The Irish quarterback was equally reluctant to give out details.
"I can't go into what the payback was but there was payback and he is the head man," Quinn said. "I don't know how many more times I think I'm going to be able to take some of those consequences."
*The Notre Dame-North Carolina pep rally will be held at the Joyce Center on Friday, November 3rd. A limited number of tickets will be available to the general public. For those interested in getting their hands on some, they will be distributed beginning at 5 p.m. EDT at the ticket windows on the east side of Notre Dame Stadium. If tickets are acquired, the general public should enter Gate 8 starting at 5:45 p.m. EDT.