Trojans ‘Easley’ Charge Past Bobcats 90-73

Adam McFerran netted a career-high 20 points in 24 minutes off the Bobcat bench in Saturday's contest (Phillip Greene Photo)

Kendrick Easley scored 30 points on 10 of 22 from the floor, hitting 4 of 11 from behind the arc, as the Mount Olive Trojans rolled past the Bobcats on Saturday afternoon.

Easley opened the contest with eight of the Trojan’s first 14 points, as Mount Olive opened an early ten point, 14-4 advantage over the Lees McRae Bobcats.  The Bobcats battled back over the next five minutes, going on a 10-4 run to cut it to an 18-14 Trojan advantage with just under nine minutes to play in the first half.

The Trojans responded with a 12-4 run over the next three minutes to take a 30-18 lead.

The Bobcats battled back, with Sam Youse capping an 8-3 run with a trey from the wing to cut the lead to seven with just under four minutes to play in the half.  The Trojans again responded with a run, pushing it to 42-28 with 1:38 left on the first half clock, and holding on to a 46-33 lead at the half.

The Trojans opened the lead to 18, at 55-37 with 16:23 to play, but Youse again connected from deep to cut it back to 15, and an Adam McFerran basket pulled it back to the 13 point halftime margin.  The “Cats would hang around until the ten minute mark, trailing 63-50, but an 11-1 run capped by an Easley basket, pushed the lead to 74-51 with 7:33 to play.

In the final minutes of play, the Bobcats were unable to cut the lead below 16 as the Trojan defense kept the Bobcats at bay, clinching the 17-point, 90-73 victory in Williams Gymnasium.

Leading the way for the Bobcats in the loss was Adam McFerran with a career-high 20 points in just 24 minutes off the bench.  Youse added 12 points, hitting 4 of 6 from beyond the arc, and three Bobcats added 9 points in the loss.

The Bobcats hit the road Monday, facing off with Belmont Abbey at 7:30 PM.  They return home on Thursday to face Pfeiffer following the women’s contest in William’s Gymnasium.

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Lady Trojans Hold off Lady Bobcats in Thriller

Colette Montgomery led all scorers with 16 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's contest with Mount Olive (Phillip Greene Photo)

Saturday’s contest between the Lady Bobcats and Lady Trojans came down to the wire, thanks in part to a great comeback effort by Lees McRae that fell just short in the waning moments, as Mount Olive escaped with a 59-58 victory in Banner Elk.

It took two full minutes for either team to find the basket, but once they did, no one in Williams Gymnasium knew the excitement that awaited as the game wound down.  Lees McRae took the early lead, when Janina Thurus found the basket with 17:49 on the clock to give the Lady Bobcats a 2-0 advantage.  The Lady Trojans responded with two 3-pont baskets to take the 6-2 lead, but Thurus answered with a three of her own to cut the lead to 1 with just under 17 minutes remaining in the first half.

On the next possession, a Sophia White basket gave the Lady ‘Cats the lead, and Lauren Casey’s rebound and putback 14:32 on the first half clock extended the lead to 9-6, in favor of Lees McRae.

The Lady Trojans then pieced together a 12-0 run over the next five minutes to take an 18-9 lead with just over 9 minutes to play in the opening half, extending their lead to 28-15 at the 4:04 mark to take control of the contest.  The Lady Bobcats, however, closed the half with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 30-23 as the half closed.

In the second half, the two teams again started slow, but a 6-2 run to start the half for the Lady Bobcats cut it to three at 32-29 with just over 16 minutes to play.  Over the next 9 minutes the Lady Bobcats would battle tough, but Mount Olive would steadily build their lead back to an 11 point advantage, taking a 52-41 lead with 7 minutes remaining in the contest.

Colette Montgomery led the charge over the next six minutes, scoring 10 points, pulling down four rebounds and adding two assists to pull the Lady Bobcats within three at 59-56 with 1:31 left to play.  Casey cut it to one, taking the ball at the wing and dribbling underneath for a reverse lay-up to make it 59-58 with 52 seconds to play.

Lauren Casey had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals in Saturday's loss to the Lady Trojans (Phillip Greene Photo)

The Lady Bobcat defense stood firm, forcing a turnover to get the ball back with just over 30 seconds to play.  The Trojan defense buckled down, facing up Casey, and keeping her from getting a good look at the basket as her shot fell just short and Mount Olive grabbed the rebound to earn the victory.

Montgomery led the Lady Bobcats with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Casey added 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the loss.  The loss drops the Lady Bobcats to 2-12, 2-8 in conference action; while the Lady Trojans improved to 7-8 overall, and 6-4 in Conference Carolinas play.

LMC hits the road on Monday, traveling to Belmont Abbey, before returning home to face Pfeiffer on Thursday, January 28; gametime for both contests is set for 5:30 PM.

Bobcats Swept by Bulldogs in Conference Play

Jessica Blair hit 4 of 5 shots and scored 13 points for the Lady Bobcats on Saturday evening (Phillip Greene Photo)

The Barton College Lady Bulldogs shot a blistering 65 percent from the field (30 of 46) and out rebounded the Lees-McRae Lady Bobcats 36-28, as they rolled to an 86-61 victory on Saturday evening in Banner Elk.

The two teams battled even for the first two minutes of action, but a 6-0 Barton run opened the lead up to 10-4 at the 16:09 mark of the first half.  The Lady Bobcats countered with an 8-0 run of their own to take a 12-10 lead just under two minutes later; only to see the Lady Bulldogs put together a 10-2 run to open a 20-14 lead.

Lees McRae scored five quick points to cut the lead to one, but the Barton ladies then settled into their offense, and scorched the Lady Bobcats to open a 41-28 lead at the half.

The Lady Bulldogs opened the second half doubling up the Lady ‘Cats 22-11 over the first ten minutes of play, opening a 63-39 lead.  The teams then traded baskets for the remainder of the contest, as Barton cruised to victory.

Four Lady Bulldogs scored in double figures, easily overcoming Colette Montgomery’s 18 point effort for the Lady Bobcats.  Jessica Blair added 13 points in the loss for Lees McRae.

Sam Youse netted a buzzer beater to cut it to six as the first half ended (Phillip Greene Photo)

The Bobcat men trailed by just six at the break, but were unable to match the intensity of the Bulldogs in the second half, falling 97-73 to Barton.

Two early 3-point baskets from Daniel Sepokas gave the Bobcats an 8-7 lead at the 17:29 mark in the first half, but a 19-9 run over the next seven minutes opened up a 26-17 Bulldog advantage midway through the half.

Lees McRae countered with a 9-0 run to pull the contest even at 26-26, capping the run with an Anthony Johnson steal and three at the 8:50 mark.  Barton returned the favor with an 8-0 run over the next two minutes to regain an eight point, 34-26, lead with just under seven minutes to play in the first.

Barton opened up an 11 point lead with just under a minute to play in the half, holding a 48-37 lead with :57 seconds remaining.  Jeremiah Henry netted a basket to cut the lead to 9, and Sam Youse drained a 3-point basket at the buzzer to cut the Bulldog lead to just six as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

In the second half, Barton came out of the break firing away, with an 18-10 run over the first six minutes to open a 66-52 lead on the Bobcats.  But with 10 minutes to play, Lees McRae had chipped away, cutting the lead to just nine, at 70-61.  Following a Bulldog time out, Barton put the game out of reach, putting together a 10-0 run to open an 80-61 lead with just under eight minutes remaining.

Six minutes later, Barton had pushed the lead to 24, which is where it would stay, putting the Bobcats away in Williams Gymnasium.

Sepokas netted 17 to lead the Bobcats, pulling down five rebounds in the contest.  Adam McFerran and Resbon Benjamin each hit double figures as well, scoring 11 and 10 respectivley.

The Bobcat men host North Greenville in non-conference action on Tuesday, January 12, at 7 PM.  The Lady Bobcats are on the road next, traveling to Spartanburg, SC on Wednesday, January 13, to face Converse in Conference Carolinas action.

Morrill Takes the Helm of Lady Bobcat Soccer Program

BANNER ELK, N.C. – Athletic Director Craig McPhail has announced the hiring of Cally Morrill as the new women’s soccer coach for the Lees-McRae College Bobcats. Morrill will resume all responsibilities as the head coach affective immediately.

“I think Cally is going to be a great women’s soccer coach, her playing experience at Alabama as well as coaching, recruiting, developing players at Lenior -Rhyne were some of the key factors the search committee found very crucial to our job,” McPhail said.

Morrill has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach at nearby Lenoir-Rhyne University where they went 14-7-2 in the 2009 season. Prior to her post at LR, Morrill was a four-year starter at the University of Alabama. During he senior season, she was named the team’s captain and Most Valuable Player. She also spent time as the strength and conditioning coach for the Alabama women’s volleyball and women’s soccer programs, and is currently an assistant coach for the 93′ girls’ Olympic Development team in North Carolina.

“She is ready to lead a program,” said Morrill’s former head coach at Lenior-Rhyne, Adrian Blewitt. She knows how to develop a program, players and how to recruit.”

“With the progress we have made with our women’s soccer program, I feel we are close to getting to the next level as our men’s soccer program has shown over the past several years,” McPhail said. “With Cally, I feel good about where we are headed and who we have leading the way.”

“I would like to thank Craig and the Lees-McRae family for taking me on board and welcoming me to the Bobcat family, Morrill said. “I am very excited to get started with the program and to meet all of our current players. The spring season will be a great time for our players to develop and prepare for the 2010 season.”

Visit lmcbobcats.com for the latest news and info on Lees-McRae College Athletics.

Honoring a Legend: Tommy Burleson

Twelve years ago the process began between County officials and the Avery Parks and Recreation Department to save the Historic Newland Gymnasium rather than demolish it.  That project has taken close to 12 years thus far and through State grants and private funding, those who have been instrumental in the process are seeing the fruition of their labors.

At the start of December, the gym floor was renovated, becoming the next step to finally seeing the facility getting closer to the days when Newland High School played their home games in the Rock Gym.  The Rock Gym has seen its share of players come through, as well as its share of stories.

From the building of the Gym in 1930s by the Work Progress Administration (WPA), started in 1935 and ended in 1941, developed to boost the economy in the recession.  The WPA helped build a number of schools and gyms, as well as both sewing factories in the County.  The Newland Gym was part of a number of County Schools that were built by the WPA to help boost the areas education and work force.

The athletic history of the gym dates back to the Old Newland High School and Elementary School, and served as home for the Newland High teams.  The Gym now serves as the home of the Avery County Parks and Recreation Department offices and workout facility, as well as housing the APRD league sports that take place throughout the year.

One of the biggest athletes (no pun intended) to ever go through the Avery County School System is Tommy Burleson.  Burleson made a name as the 7’4” center that dominated ACC Basketball in the early ‘70s, and most notably, helped to lead the NC State Wolfpack to a National Championship in 1974.  Burleson’s defense in the National Semifinal against Bill Walton was instrumental in ending UCLA’s streak of 7 straight National Titles, and propelled the ‘Pack into the finals against Marquette.

Along with his 1974 National Title, Burleson also earned a number of personal accolades throughout his career.  He was named All-ACC three times and All-American twice for his accomplishments on the court.  He was also a member of the 1972 USA Olympic team and the Gold Medal winning 1973 USA World University team.

Burleson was then selected as the 3rd overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics in the 1974 draft.  He went on to play eight seasons in the NBA, being known as one of the most prolific shot blockers in the game.  His eight year career took him through Seattle, Kansas City (Kings) and Atlanta (Hawks).

But Burleson’s heart has always been with the youth of this community, and that sparked his interest in becoming a County Commissioner, and one of the leading figures in the restoration process of the Old Newland Gymnasium.

“Tommy did a lot of the leg work,” remarked Teddy Bare, Athletic Director for APRD.  “A lot of people don’t realize the work that he put into getting this process started.”

A process that Burleson had vested interests in…a process that was almost halted in the mid 1970s when the Commissioners were to tear down the facility.   The Commissioners were convinced not to destroy the facility, but they did not have enough funds to restore the facility either, leaving it untouched for years.

This is where the influence of Burleson was seen, behind the scenes.  Burleson applied for a grant from the State to aid in the preservation of the historical landmark, and thanks to his work and private donations, along with some strategically minded budgeting; the gym is seeing the final stages come into play.

“We were able to finally get the floor redone,” remarked Bare, “and we decided the timing was right to do something we felt needed to be done; a token of our appreciation for the work that was done to get this gym to where it is today.”

That token, the naming of the floor as “Tommy Burleson Court”.

“Tommy was very instrumental in all of this,” continued Bare.  “I’ve worked with him on Camps and seen the work he does, not many people realize the work he does behind the scenes.  He has a real passion for the youth of this community.”

“It’s an honor,” stated Burleson.  “Sometimes you just have to step back and say thank you to the one’s that got you there.  I feel honored that the County Officials thought of me in this way, especially the County Commissioners.

“I have a passion for youth,” continued Burleson, “I have always tried to be a halfway decent role model for the youth.  Anything that I can do to help bring them up in a great atmosphere, I will.  I would like most of all to thank God for all the opportunities that He has blessed me with; my family, who has always supported me, and just the people of Avery County for the family type closeness that we all share.”

“We still have some things to finish,” explained Bare.  “There is still some work to be done, but the work that has been done couldn’t have been done without the work of Tommy and a number of members of the community.”

The Rock Gym is open daily from 6 AM to 9 PM (Mon – Thurs) and 6 AM – 4 PM (Friday).  If you are planning on playing ball, they do ask that you wear only sneakers on the floor, and preferably shoes that have not been on your feet.  The Parks and Recreation Department is planning to dedicate the new floor once youth league basketball starts in the next few weeks; we will pass along the dates as they become available.

Irish Fall to Huskies 33-30 in 2 OT

In the early 1800’s fur traders founded a small town along the south bend of the St. Joseph’s River in northern Indiana.  In 1842, Reverend Edward Sorin founded an all-male university just north of South Bend.  That university…the University of Notre Dame.  Today, The University of Notre Dame still sits just on the northern edge of South Bend, and has become the drawing point for this not-so-little town today.

Notre Dame is now home to just over 11,000 students today and since 1972 has been open to women, who now make up around 47 percent of the student population.  All in all, you could say that this little Catholic University has become a big deal in the realm of Colleges and Universities throughout the Nation.  That history has been aided by a storied football program that began 122 years ago and has become one of the elite programs in Division I FBS football.

The University of Michigan football team first introduced the sport to a group of Notre Dame Students in 1887; since that time the team has won 11 consensus National Championships (1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977, and 1988).  The story has taken football fans through coaches like Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy and Lou Holtz.  The story includes George Gipp, The Four Horsemen, Joe Montana and Brady Quinn.  It is a story of history and a story of pride…a story of the Fightin’ Irish.

The 2009 version is coached by Charlie Weis, and has been surrounded by questions of the future, questions of the past, and questions about expectations…all questions that could be answered when the season ends…but those questions were on the back burner when the University of Connecticut came to town to face the Irish on Saturday.  For 4 hours on Saturday evening it was about playing football.

Saturday was the first meeting between the two schools, and the history of the UConn Huskies seems much smaller when lined up aside Notre Dame.  UConn has only been a part of Division I FBS for 7 years and what has been done in those 7 years came full circle when they took to the turf of Notre Dame Stadium.  The Huskies entered the contest with upset on their mind, wanting nothing more than to get the win, although the reasoning likely was not to ruin Senior Day for 33 Irish players.  The reason was deeper than that.

The Huskies have struggled to follow up their great 2008 campaign due to the untimely death of RB Jasper Howard a few weeks back.   Since the death of Howard, the Huskies entered the contest losing 3 straight, having not won since their 38-25 victory over Louisville on October 17.  Husky Coach Randy Edsall has done a great job keeping his team together following the loss of Howard, and the team has become unified beyond measure.

The Irish won the toss and differed to the second half, and the Huskies took the opening kick to begin the contest.  The Huskies would start from their own 24 yard line, and the Irish would hold them to 3 plays and 4 yards, forcing a UConn punt and giving the Irish their first possession on their own 31 yard line.  Jimmy Clausen would then lead the Irish down the field on 9 plays, going 69 yards and capping the drive with an 8 yard pass to Golden Tate in the end zone to put the Irish up 7-0 just over 4 minutes into the contest.

The teams would then trade possessions, but the Irish would begin to drive as the quarter closed working their way to the UConn 1 yard line as the period came to a close.  The Irish took only two plays in the 2nd quarter to extend the score to 14-0, capping the drive with a 1 yard QB sneak by Clausen.

The Huskies took the ensuing kick and start a drive on their own 25.  On a crucial 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Husky QB Zach Frazer would fire a pass just out of the reach of intended receiver Michael Smith, but an unnecessary roughness call would give the Huskies new life on the drive, giving them 1st and 10 from their own 46.  Five plays later the Huskies would capitalize as RB Jordan Todman would scurry in from 43 yards out to cut the Irish lead to 14-7.

The UConn defense would step up forcing the Irish to punt after just 4 plays and 15 yards.  The Huskies would then charge 52 yards on 13 plays, capping the drive with a 39 yard David Teggart Field Goal to cut the lead to 14-10 with 3:42 remaining in the first half.  The teams would trade possessions to end the half.

During the first half, Clausen was 17 of 24 for 179 yards and 2 TD (1 passing, 1 rushing).  Golden Tate had 6 catches for 96 yards.  Tate’s 5th grab of the day, a 39 yard reception, made him the single season Irish reception leader.  The 39 yards also made him the single season yardage leader, passing Jeff Samardzija’s total of 78 catches in 2006 and 1,249 yards (2005).

As the second half opened the Irish took the opening kick, turning it into an 11 play, 77 yard drive that ended with an Irish field goal to extend the lead to 17-10.  Todman would then take the ensuing kickoff and return it 96 yards to tie the contest at 17-17 with just over 9 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.  The Irish and the Huskies would trade possessions, before the Irish would then take the ball and drive the field with Clausen finding Michael Floyd at the UConn 17 to give the Irish a first down, but Robert McClain would reach in and strip Floyd at the 14 yard line, and the Huskies would recover the fumble to halt the Irish drive.

The 3rd quarter would come to a close with the game knotted at 17-17 and the Irish possessing the ball at the UConn 39 yard line.  The Irish would drive the field and cap their opening drive of the final stanza with a 23 yard kick from David Ruffer to give the Irish a 20-17 margin with just under 11 minutes to play.  The defenses would step up and neither team would mount a scoring drive until late in the game.  The Huskies would drive the field, unable to drive deep against the Irish defense, but adding a field goal to tie the contest at 20-20 with just over a minute remaining in regulation.

The Irish would begin a drive with hopes of pulling out one of Clausen’s classic 4th quarter drives.  The Irish began to drive, but the Husky defense had other plans for the Irish forcing a fumble at the Notre Dame 41 yard line and recovering to get the ball back with 49 seconds remaining.  The Huskies would need just 10 yards to be in reasonable field goal range, but would get some great moves from RB Andre Dixon to move them to the Irish 20.  The Huskies would bring out the kicking team, resting the game on the foot of Teggart from 37 yards.  Teggart had hit from 39 earlier in the game, but this one would sail wide left to send the game into overtime.

In the first overtime period the Irish would choose defense  and the Huskies would start riding the legs of Dixon as he moved them down the field setting up a pass from Frazer to Kashif Moore in the corner of the end zone giving UConn their first lead of the game at 27-20.

The Irish then took the ball and following two incomplete passes to Ragone and Tate, Clausen would find Floyd inside the Irish 10 giving them 1st and G from the 4 yard line.  Clausen would then lay a lob pass up and Floyd would go up to make the grab and get the Irish back on the board, tying the game at 27-27 and sending it into a second OT period.

The Irish would be held to just six yards in the second OT being forced to kick the field goal to take a 30-27 lead with the Huskies taking over.  The Husky run attack would be all they would need, putting the ball in the Hands of Todman and Dixon to move the ball down field and into the end zone to end the game 33-30.

“I’m just so proud of those kids over in the locker room and those assistant coaches,” stated Connecticut Head Coach Randy Edsall.  “We persevered today, and ended up making just a couple of plays at the end that we hadn’t been able to make in some of our other games against what I think is an outstanding football team.

“We’re just thankful that we were able to finally put together a win, so now we can take a game ball and send it down to Joe, Angela and Henry and David, and the Howard family. Because I know one thing, that little number 6 was up there looking down on us today.  Like I said, it’s just to come out here to Notre Dame, and to play in this stadium which I can remember our kids really don’t remember, but the history, the tradition that goes with this place and to be seven years at an FBS school, just a remarkable feat by those young men.”

“I really feel absolutely miserable for those 33 guys (the seniors),” stated Irish Head Coach Charlie Weis. “And as I’ve said the other day and I have never been a hypocrite before. I come in here and start talking about me I’m really barking up the wrong tree, because those guys are the guys I should feel for today. I’ll worry about me tomorrow. But I think today I should be worrying about them.

“They had really made one play on offense, and that was that stretch cut run that we were just talking about. They got a field goal to make it 14 10. Get the ball to start the second half and go right down the field again with change modes which we had practiced. This is what we’re going to do. Go from a multiple wide receiver package to a more condensed package to hammer at them. We didn’t know if that would show up in the second quarter, third quarter. But we did it to start off the third quarter. Went right down the field, had to settle for a field goal.

“So that’s the way our teams have been positioned. When you give up a kickoff return for a touchdown in a 17 10 game, it’s a big momentum swing as it is in any other game. Puts you in a position and put UCONN in a position where they had a legitimate chance to win in the game, which they did.”

Prior to the contest the team locked arms coming out of the tunnel to show unity and show that they were behind their coach 100 percent.

“It was an idea that myself and a couple of guys had,” said Irish QB Jimmy Clausen.  “[It was] just about us being behind Coach Weis 110%. You know, he’s leading the program, and, you know, we just want to show him support.  It was Senior Day, but Coach Weis has gone through a lot. And we’re behind him 110%, and that’s what we were trying to do today.  You know, it was really special. He had tears coming down his face. You know, it’s just hard that we couldn’t get a victory for all those seniors and Coach Weis, too.”

“I’m pretty emotional,” quipped Weis.  “I just try not letting you see it. You know, the fact here’s the only thing that got me was the fact that they wanted to do this and they wanted me up there; that meant a lot to me. You know, that’s all I can say, you know; I’m really proud of these kids. I’m really disappointed for them, especially those guys. Those guys up at the front of that list, I really, really truly feel bad for them.”

The Irish now sit at 6-5 on the season and a number of questions surround the team, but the Irish are looking ahead.  Not looking to next season, but looking to next week when they will hit the road to finish their season at Stanford.  Stanford is coming off a loss at the hands of California, 34-28.  The Cardinal enters the game 7-4 on the season falling out of Pac 10 title contention last week with their loss to the Golden Bears.  The Irish are on the heels of a 3 game losing streak (Navy, Pittsburgh, UConn).  Game time on Saturday is set for 8:00 PM EST on ABC as part of ESPN Saturday Night Football.

Avery Post Sports – Live from NOTRE DAME!

We will be live from South Bend today during the Notre Dame vs. UConn game at Notre Dame Stadium.  We’ll update as we can (if possible).  Will be updating via Twitter.com/averypostsports for sure.  Great weekend so far, Pep Rally last night was awesome with Mike Golic of ESPN getting the crowd going…Awaiting start at 2:30 PM – GO IRISH!

UPDATE @ 2:10 PM – Senior Day here in South Bend, 30 minutes to kick-off. Irish on the Field looking poised during walkthroughs.  Today looks to be a good match-up with the Irish taking on the University of Connecticut Huskies out of the Big East Conference.  This is the first ever match-up between the two schools in football and the Irish fans are pumped in anticipation of a Notre Dame victory.

Notre Dame enters the contest 6-4 and hopes to improve their record coming off a loss to Pitt last week in a game that saw a big 4th Quarter comeback fall just short with Pitt stopping the Irish late in the contest to seal 27-22 victory over Jimmy Clausen and the Fighting Irish.  The Irish has totaled at least 20 first downs in each of their 10 contests this season, accomplishing the feat for the first time since the 1974 season.  The Irish rank 9th in total offense and are on pace to record their highest ranking in that catagory since 1992 when they finished the season ranked 3rd in the country.

TE Kyle Rudolph was named as one of the 8 finalists for the 2009 John Mackey Award.  Clausen is making his name here at Notre Dame by littering his name throughout the record books sitting in the top 3 in 15 different catagories.  Sam Young is making his 49th straight start for the Irish at Offensive Tackle, and WR Michael Floyd is second in the FBS rankings among receivers for career Yards Per Game (YPG) with 82.8 yPG.  Golden Tate is only 4 catches shy of the ND single season record of 78 receptions in a season.

UConn enters the game coming off a heartbreaking loss to Cincinnati last week 47-45.

Update – 2:35 PM – “Here Come the Irish, Here Come the Irish” echoing across Notre Dame Stadium as the team comes marching out of the tunnel…it’s football time in South Bend. Captains at mid-field – the Irish win the toss and differ, UConn will take the ball to start the contest.

10:54 – 1st Quarter –  Irish force UConn 3-and- out to open the contest.  Following the UConn Punt, Notre Dame begins their first drive at their own 31 yard line.  The Drive begins with a 7 yard carry by Armando Allen, followed by a 6 yard pass to Allen for the Irish first down.  Clausen leads the Irish attack completeing 6 of 7 passes for 52 yards on the opening drive; completing 3 passes to WR Golden Tate, the last being an 8 yard pass that found Tate wide open in the back of the end zone to put the Irish up 7-0 following the point after.    8 plays 69 yards, 3:11; Irish 7 Huskies 0.

End 1st Quarter – Irish 7 UConn 0 – Golden Tate just became the single season leader in receptions and yardage for the Irish on the same play, a 39 yard pass from Clausen to move the Irish deep into UConn territory.  The Irish have 2nd and goal at the 1 to open the second quarter of play.  Clausen was 12 of 13 passing  for 135 yards and a TD.  Tate had 96 yards and the TD in the first.

14:32 – 2nd Quarter – Irish on the board again as Clausen sneaks across the goal line to put the Irish up 14-0 over the Huskies.  Irish drive takes just over 5 minutes, 8 plays, 80 yards.

11:51 – 2nd – UConn strikes back with a nice drive capped by a 43 yard run from RB Jordan Todman  to cut the Irish lead to 14-7 early in the 2nd quarter.

Halftime – UConn adds a late field goal to cut the Irish lead to 14-10 at the half.  Clausen is 17-24 for 179 yards and a score, adding a second on the ground.  Tate has 6 catches for 96 yards and a score.  For UConn, QB Zach Frazier is 8-17 for 79 yards, while Jordan Todman has 85 yards on 14 carries and a score to lead the Huskies.  Notre Dame receives to start the second half of play.

9:29 – 3rd Quarter – 77 yard, 11 play drive capped by a 20 yard field goal, using 5:31 of the 3rd Quarter clock to get on the board and extend their lead back to 17-10 over UConn.  David Ruffer kicks the 20 yarder from the middle of the field as the Irish continue to hold the lead in this contest.  The Huskies have held their own, keeping the Irish guessing on a number of plays, but not withstanding an Irish D that has been stellar this afternoon.

9:17 – 3rd – Todman takes the ND kick at the 4 yard line and finds a lane through the middle of the field to tie the contest at 17-17.  Great blocking from the wedge opened the center of the field, and Todman’s speed was evident as he ran away from the Irish coverage team.  Notre Dame 17 Connecticut 17.

3:08 – 3rd – Media Timeout following a Notre Dame turnover.  Clausen pass complete to the UConn 16 yard line, but a nice strip from behind by the Huskie defender, and the Huskies recover the fumble and get the ball 1st and 10 at their own 14.

End 3rd Quarter – Irish and UConn tied at 17 with 15 minutes to play.  Irish getting used to close contests this season with most of their games coming down to the wire.  Quarter ends with a 2 to 1 Notre Dame advantage  in total yardage, but a tied contest on the scoreboard. Go Irish!

10:47 – 4th Quarter – Irish move the ball down the field, but are unable to find pay dirt again, settling for the field goal following a 47 yard, 11 play drive that finishes with the Irish holding a slight 20-17 lead over the Huskies.

NOTE:  as time winds down I’ll be heading to the field to make my way to post-game interviews so we will be posting final stats and updates later this evening.  Look to the upper left hand side of the page for the Twitter updates for final updates of the contest.  Go IRISH!

7:26 – 4th – Final Update: Brian Smith intercepts UConn pass in the endzone to halt Husky drive and give the Irish the ball at their own 20.  Irish taking over leading 20-17 here in South Bend.  Heading to field for final moments and press conference, will have final updates later this evening/weekend.