Monday, July 27, 2009

Holtz Coaches Notre Dame To Victory Over Japan

No, this isn't 1945 or something like that...

From the South Bend Tribune:
Jay Vickers ran for 139 yards, scored a touchdown and set up another Saturday to lead Lou Holtz's Notre Dame alumni team to a 19-3 win over Japan in the Notre Dame Japan Bowl.

Vickers, who played in seven games for Notre Dame in 1997 and 1998, sealed the win on a 3-yard run late in the third quarter after Michael Goolsby's interception.

Vickers' 77-yard run in the second quarter shifted the momentum in Notre Dame's favor. He was tackled at the 1, but quarterback Tony Rice punched it in to give Notre Dame a 10-3 lead.

"Coach Holtz said before the game that one play would likely be the difference and if that was it, so be it," said the 31-year-old Vickers, who was chosen MVP. "I wanted to do this for Notre Dame and for my kids and I'm glad they got to see this."

"To be out there one last time with my teammates was incredible, " he added. "I will remember this day for the rest of my life. The offensive line did a great job and the defense kept us in the game. "

Japan went ahead late in the first quarter on a 31-yard field goal from Daisuke Aoki that Notre Dame quickly answered on Scott Cengia's 37-yarder early in the second.

"I expected us to win but I knew it would be a tough game," Holtz said. "We're bigger but they were quicker and I give a lot of credit to Japan.

"It was all about meeting the challenges that were thrown at us and the players responded well," he said. "It was a wonderful experience. When you look at what we had to work with and the skill players who were out...but we found a way to do it."

The Notre Dame special teams unit downed a Geoff Price punt at the Japan 1-yard line early in the second half and two plays later Matt Hasbrook and Casey Cullen combined to sack quarterback Shun Sugawara for a safety and a 12-3 lead for Notre Dame.

Japan used the game to prepare for the American football world championship in 2011. It lost the 2007 final 23-20 in double overtime against the United States.

Here's Jay Vickers' TD that put the Irish up 19-3
Good enough for the final score...

We'd like to thank the shooter of the video for the occasional play-by-play since we didn't have a program...

Irish fans are now asking about that buyout again to see if Holtz will reassume the mantle of leadership in South Bend...

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