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Phil Taylor's Sidelines
Phil Taylor
September 15, 2003
LUCK OF THE IRISH
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September 15, 2003

Phil Taylor's Sidelines

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LUCK OF THE IRISH

The tape of Notre Dame's 29-26 overtime win over Washington State revealed exactly what Irish coach Tyrone Willingham expected. "Tons of mistakes in every area," he said. "You get that kind of thing sometimes in an opening game. [ Michigan] is not going to let us get away with that kind of performance."

The Wolverines will test Notre Dame's ability to pick up the blitz, which gave the Irish problems against Washington State, particularly in the first half. The Cougars sacked Notre Dame quarterback Carlyle Holiday six times and hurried him numerous others.

But Willingham was heartened by his team's comeback: The Irish wiped out a 19-0 deficit before winning in overtime on Nicholas Setta's 40-yard field goal. Senior tailback Julius Jones was a key contributor to the fourth-quarter rally, with a 19-yard touchdown run that gave Notre Dame a 23-19 lead. Jones has made a comeback of his own this season, after leaving school last year because of academic problems. He took classes at Arizona State before returning to South Bend with his grades in order this summer. "Julius has put himself in a position to contribute," Willingham said. "Now it's up to him to continue to do so."

NEVER FAR FROM HOME

After they returned from their 31-26 win at Alabama State last Saturday, most of the Bethune-Cookman players went home to their dormitories. Wildcats coach Alvin Wyatt went with them. Wyatt has lived in the same first-floor apartment in Bronson Hall, the building where most of the players live, for more than 20 years. Living in the dorm helps keeps expenses down for Wyatt, who is single, but that's not the only reason he does it. "When I tell a mother that I'll take care of her son if he comes to Bethune-Cookman, she knows I mean it," he says. "I'm walking the same hallways, using the same showers as they are. If something happens, I'm there. I'm not hard to find."

The togetherness apparently breeds success. The Division I-AA Wildcats won the MEAC championship with an 11-2 record last year, Wyatt's sixth as coach after guiding the women's basketball team for 18 years. As long as they continue their winning ways, his players should find Wyatt an easy guy to live with.

TELLING NUMBERS

109,580
The attendance at Michigan Stadium for Michigan's 50-3 win over Houston.

150,000
The projected attendance for Houston's entire home schedule.

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