Irish join Michigan in the 700 club Victory milestone afterthought to Holtz


November 03, 1991|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Correspondent

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It was the first homecoming in 11 years at Notre Dame Stadium, and the Irish made it special by winning the 700th game in school history.

Just one college football team has won more (Michigan has 719, in nine more seasons), but the accomplishment seemed almost an afterthought for Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz.

"We did get 700 -- that's a monumental step for us," Holtz said, when asked whether there was any pleasure in the feat. "I meant to give the game ball to the university, but I forgot. I'm just thinking about 701 right now."

* As the Notre Dame band was preparing to play the national anthem on the field, a crowd was gathering in front of a television set in the press box. On the screen was Navy coach George Chaump in the locker room giving a pre-game talk to his players.

As reporters gathered around the set with pads and pens ready, Navy sports information director Tom Bates called the NBC production truck, furiously attempting to get the camera pulled off what is normally a private moment.

"He has a right to talk to his team privately," Bates said. "I think they owe George Chaump a big apology for that."

NBC did not broadcast the pre-game talk, and interrupted the press-box feed after Bates complained. Bates said he feared Chaump and Navy would be ridiculed.

Bates said he was deceived by NBC sideline reporter John Dockery, saying Dockery agreed Chaump's talk would not be recorded.

"I've never seen anything like this in my 25 years in the business," Bates said.

* A mark of how poorly a team is playing is how many homecoming games it plays. With the loss to Notre Dame, Navy is 0-3 in homecomings this season (including a loss to Delaware in the Mids' homecoming last week). The Midshipmen will look to end the streak in New Orleans next week in Tulane's homecoming.

* Representatives from the Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Citrus and Blockbuster bowls were in attendance to scout Notre Dame.

"Today's game enabled us to be a bowl team," Holtz said of the win. "But we're not near the bowl where we want to be. When I say that, I mean in a bowl against a certain team. I don't care if it's played in the toilet bowl in Flushing."

The team would be in much better position if not for the 24-14 loss at Michigan in the second game of the season.

"It's our faults that our backs are against the wall," Notre Dame defensive tackle Troy Ridgely said. "We shouldn't have lost to Michigan. We've just got to pull together as a team."

* In holding Navy scoreless in the first quarter, Notre Dame extended its streak of not allowing a first-quarter touchdown this season.

For Navy, it marked the first time this season that the team did not score first.

* With 59,075 fans braving the cold, Notre Dame had its 99th straight sellout. Many of the fans left at halftime, but there was a loud group that stayed to the very -- and bitterly cold -- end.

"The people who stayed to the end -- I don't know who they are -- but I was impressed," Holtz said.

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