It’s hard to know how Miami will react with new head coach Al Golden taking over the program on such short notice heading into the New Year’s Eve showdown with Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl. But If the Hurricanes’ secondary lives up to its impressive billing, it’s unlikely Irish freshman quarterback Tommy Rees will set any passing records in El Paso.
Both 7-5 teams underachieved. However, at times this season, both squads looked unstoppable.
Here’s a look at some of Notre Dame’s offensive bowl records and impressive individual performances. Most marks aren’t in jeopardy. Some might be.
Rushing: Allen Pinkett’s 28 rushing attempts against Boston College in the 1983 Liberty Bowl were the most in Irish postseason history and netted 111 yards in a 19-18 victory. When senior Armando Allen went down earlier this season with a hip injury, sophomore Cierre Wood received the lion’s share of carries, highlighted by a 94-yard day versus Western Michigan. He averaged 82.7 yards in the final three victories against Utah, Army and USC. With Miami stingy against the pass, Wood should get plenty of action, but it will be tough to match Jerome Bettis’ program-record 150 yards versus Florida in the 1992 Sugar Bowl, which included three touchdowns and tied a Notre Dame record.
Passing: Brady Quinn unleashed 45 pass attempts against Ohio State in a Fiesta Bowl loss in 2006. Quinn also holds the high mark with 29 completions in the same game. Jimmy Clausen lit up Hawaii on its home turf in 2008, snagging the completion-percentage record (85 percent) when he connected on 22 of 26 attempts, which netted a record 401 yards. One of the Irish’s living legends, Joe Montana, holds the unfortunate record of four interceptions (1979 Cotton Bowl vs. Houston).
Receiving: Arnaz Battle caught 10 passes in the 2003 Gator Bowl vs. North Carolina State, but Golden Tate terrorized Hawaii in ’08 with 177 receiving yards and three TDs -- both Irish records. Tate also hauled in the longest bowl pass in program history with a 69-yarder. It’s plausible that Michael Floyd might catch 10 balls against Miami next week, but unlikely. Rees might be fortunate to throw for 177 yards all day against the Hurricanes.
Field goals: This year’s Lou Groza Award finalist David Ruffer already holds the single-season record for consecutive field goals with 15. He’s perfect for his career with 20 field goals made dating back to last season. He’ll have to knock down three on New Year’s Eve to tie Scott Cengia’s performance against LSU in the 1997 Independence Bowl.