SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Jimmy Clausen is back as Notre Dame's starting quarterback.
The freshman, who lost his starting job after struggling against Boston College on Oct. 13, will start Saturday against Air Force. Evan Sharpley had started the past two games, a 38-0 loss to USC and a 46-44 loss in triple overtime to Navy.
Brian Hardin, director of football media relations, announced the decision after practice Wednesday. Coach Charlie Weis, who usually meets with the media on Wednesdays, was not available for comment. Hardin said Weis would talk about his decision after practice Thursday.
Clausen has a better completion percentage than Sharpley, but Sharpley has been more productive. Clausen has completed 81-of-141 passes, a 57.4 completion rate, for 618 yards with five interceptions and one touchdown pass. Sharpley has completed 77-of-140 passes, a 55 percent completion rate, for 736 yards with three interceptions and five touchdowns.
Weis indicated after Notre Dame lost to Navy to fall to 1-8 that Sharpley would likely start again against Air Force. But after reviewing game film Sunday, Weis said he was undecided. On Tuesday he said whoever looked better at practice this week would start.
Weis said at the time he named Sharpley the starter for the USC game that he was doing so because Sharpley was steadily improving and because Clausen, who had been sacked 23 times, was banged up. He said Tuesday that Clausen was getting healthier.
Sharpley was 34-of-60 passing for 257 yards with one interception and two touchdown passes in his two starts. He was sacked nine times.
Clausen was rated by some as the top high school player last year. He became the first Notre Dame quarterback in at least 56 years to start his second game as a freshman and then started the next six. He did not play against USC or Navy.
Weis has said part of the reason Clausen has struggled is because he's had trouble adjusting to the speed of the game.