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Holiday ties Notre Dame record with four TD throws

11/23/2002

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- The Notre Dame offense finally put
together a performance to match its dominating defense.

Carlyle Holiday tied a school record with four touchdown passes
and threw for 270 yards as the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish beat
Rutgers 42-0 on Saturday.

"Our offense did a great job of playing the way I think they
can,'' coach Tyrone Willingham said after Notre Dame totaled a
season high 478 yards.

The victory gave Notre Dame (10-1) its first 10-win season since
going 11-1 in 1993. It also gave Tyrone Willingham the most wins by
a first-year Irish coach, passing the marks of 9-1 by Ara
Parseghian in 1964 and Terry Brennan in 1954.

"That is about our team, our assistant coaches and our team,''
Willingham said of the 10 wins. "They are the ones who deserve the
credit.''

Willingham took over a 5-6 team and has the Irish on the brink
of a BCS bowl berth. A win at No. 7 USC on Saturday would clinch a
spot for the Irish, who could wind up in either the FedEx Orange or Nokia Sugar
Bowl after the final BCS standings are released Dec. 8.

The Irish have struggled at times with Willingham's complex West
Coast offense. But against the weak Scarlet Knights (1-10), the
offense had no problems.

"We believed that at some point this season our offense would
show its true potential,'' Willingham said. "Today our offense did
exactly that.''

Holiday threw touchdown passes of 38 and 63 yards to Arnaz
Battle, who had three catches for 108 yards, and added a 37-yarder
to Omar Jenkins and a 26-yarder to Maurice Stovall for his first
career four-touchdown game -- tying a school record shared by five
others.

"We went out with a bang and did what we wanted to accomplish
today,'' he said. "It's a big momentum builder. It shows we can
put points on the board and throw the ball.''

Holiday, who threw three TD passes all of last season and one
through four games this season, has nine TD passes in the last six
games. He completed 6-of-7 passes in the third quarter for 163
yards and three TDs.

"If Holiday can throw like that and they can run routes like
that, they're going to be tough to beat,'' Rutgers coach Greg
Schiano said.

The 42 points are the most for the Fighting Irish since they
scored 45 against Rutgers two years ago. It was Notre Dame's second
shutout this season. The Irish opened with 22-0 win over Maryland.

The Irish didn't score in the first quarter but had two TDs in
the second and four in the third. Holiday was 13-of-25 passing and
fell 2 yards shy of the career best he set against Navy two weeks
ago.

Ryan Grant scored the other TD for the Irish and rushed for 68
yards on 18 carries, giving him 1,001 yards for the season. He is
just the seventh Irish running back to rush for more than 1,000
yards in a season. Autry Denson was the last to do it with 1,176
yards in 1998.

Grant alone has rushed for nearly twice as many yards this
season as the entire Rutgers team. The Scarlet Knights rushed for
18 yards on 27 carries Saturday, giving them 544 for the season.
Rutgers is on pace to have its worst season rushing since running
for 620 yards in 1946.

Shane Walton returned an interception 45 yards, his seventh this
season, the most by an Irish player since Todd Lyght had eight in
1989. The pass by Ryan Hart, under heavy pressure from linebacker
Mike Goolsby, bounced off the back of center Marty Pyszczymuka.
Replays showed that Walton trapped the ball after it hit the
ground, but officials never blew a whistle and he raced untouched
to the end zone.

Schiano argued the call.

"Everybody makes errors. I made plenty of them today. Everybody
on the field made a few errors, that was just a very costly one,''
Schiano said.

It was Notre Dame's fourth interception return for a TD this
season, tying a school record set in 1966.