1999 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

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1999 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football
Conference Independent
1999 record 5–7
Head coach Bob Davie (3rd year)
Offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers
Offensive scheme Option
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison
Base defense 4–3
Home stadium Notre Dame Stadium (c. 80,012, grass)
« 1998 2000 »
1999 Division I-A independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Louisiana Tech           8 3  
Louisiana–Monroe           5 6  
Navy           5 7  
Notre Dame           5 7  
UCF           4 7  
Middle Tennessee           3 8  
Louisiana–Lafayette           2 9  
Rankings from AP Poll

Season overview[edit]

The 1999 season began on a positive note for Davie, who, after signing 21 recruits,[1] was given a contract extension to coach until 2003. Though there were high hopes that the Irish could finally get another national championship,[2] there were also many questions facing the team,[3] top among those would be whether Jackson could lead a young Irish team.[4] With some controversy surrounding a verbal agreement between Notre Dame and Michigan to not schedule a game before their September 4 matchup,[5] the Irish instead opened the season in the Eddie Robinson Classic against Kansas. Though Jackson didn't answer all the questions in the game (throwing three interceptions), the Irish still dominated the Jayhawks in the 48–13 win.[6] With the Irish ranked 16th they went next to face the seventh-ranked Wolverines. Watched by a, then NCAA record, crowd of 111,523, the Wolverines took the lead late in the game on an Anthony Thomas touchdown run. With under two minutes remaining, Jackson led the Irish down the field with three quick passes, however, the time ran out as he completed his fourth of the drive. Though the Irish lost, 26–22,[7] they would remain at 16th in the national polls until stumbling against Purdue the next week.[8] With Davie blaming poor communication on the loss,[9] the Irish dropped from the rankings for the first time in two years.

With a 10-game home winning streak, the Irish hoped to get back on track with a win against Michigan State.[10] With the game tied 7–7 starting the fourth quarter, it looked to be headed for another last-minute decision, however, with five minutes left in the game, with the score tied again at 13–13, Spartans quarterback Bill Burke threw a quick pass to Gari Scott who ran for an 80-yard touchdown. Though the Irish had a chance and drove to the 50-yard line, Davie elected to punt the ball on fourth down with three minutes left in the game. The Spartans added a field goal to put them up 23–13 and win the game.[11] After a week off, the Irish faced the 23rd-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Down 30–14 mid-way through the third quarter, Jackson led the Irish on two scoring drives to bring them within two points. With the ball at their own 2-yard line, Jackson led a 98-yard drive that gave the Irish the winning touchdown.[12] The Irish continued at home, blowing out Arizona State,[13] coming from behind by 21 points to defeat USC,[14] and scoring a last minute touchdown to beat Navy,[15] to move back into the rankings.

For the first time since September the Irish would go on the road. Facing the fourth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers, the Irish knew they were in for a tough test as Tennessee, the reigning winners of the inaugural BCS National Championship, had not lost a non-conference home game since the 1990 Irish team won there.[16] Against the tough Volunteer defense, the Irish were only able to score 14 in the 24 point loss,[17] and once again dropped from the rankings. With a loss to Pittsburgh in the final game at Pitt Stadium,[18] and a last second loss on a failed two-point conversion against Boston College,[19] the Irish lost all chances to go to a bowl game with a 5–6 record. Hoping to avoid their first losing season since 1986, they traveled to Stanford to face the Cardinal. With Jackson splitting time with Arnaz Battle, the Irish come from behind bid failed on a last second field goal by Stanford.[20]

Though the season was a disappointment,[according to whom?] Jackson, a fifth-year senior, ended his career with the Irish on a high note. Named the team's Most Valuable Player, he set the single-season records in passing yards, total yards, pass attempts, and completions. He also left with the fourth-most passing yards in Irish history.[21] Jackson was drafted in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL Draft, and, although he was the only player from the team drafted, nine others signed free agent contracts with NFL teams.[22] The year ended on a bad note for the Irish program, as the NCAA placed the program on probation for two years after a number of major secondary violations by the university and others involved in athletics.[23] Then-university president Rev. Edward Malloy disbanded all varsity booster clubs, the first time any university took such actions, and put into place other safeguards against violations, pledging his administration would give a greater effort to stop any future violations.[24]


Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
August 28 3:30 pm Kansas #18 Notre Dame StadiumNotre Dame, IN (Eddie Robinson Classic) NBC W 48–13   80,012
September 4 3:30 pm at #7 Michigan #16 Michigan StadiumAnn Arbor, MI (Rivalry) ABC L 22–26   111,523
September 11 3:30 pm at #20 Purdue #16 Ross-Ade StadiumWest Lafayette, IN (Shillelagh Trophy) ABC L 23–28   69,843
September 18 2:30 pm #24 Michigan State Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN (Megaphone Trophy) NBC L 13–20   80,012
October 2 2:30 pm #23 Oklahoma Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN NBC W 34–30   80,012
October 9 2:30 pm Arizona State Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN NBC W 48–17   80,012
October 16 2:30 pm USC Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN (Jeweled Shillelagh) NBC W 25–24   80,012
October 30 2:30 pm Navy Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN (Rivalry) NBC W 28–24   80,012
November 6 7:30 pm at #4 Tennessee #24 Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN ESPN L 14–38   107,619
November 13 3:30 pm at Pittsburgh Pitt StadiumPittsburgh, PA (Rivalry) CBS L 27–37   60,190
November 20 1:30 pm #25 Boston College Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN (Holy War) NBC L 29–31   80,012
November 27 8:00 pm at Stanford Stanford StadiumStanford, CA (Legends Trophy) ABC L 37–40   57,980
#Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Eastern Time Zone.

Game notes[edit]


1 2 3 4 Total
Oklahoma 7 16 7 0 30
Notre Dame 7 7 14 6 34
  • Date: October 2
  • Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
  • Game start: 1:37 p.m. local
  • Elapsed time: 3:38
  • Game attendance: 80,012
  • Game weather: Light Rain, 50 F, N 7
  • Referee: Tom Ahlers
  • Television network: NBC


  1. ^ "Notre Dame Welcomes 21 Football Signees". UND.cstv.com. February 3, 1999. Retrieved August 29, 2007. 
  2. ^ Casey, Tim (August 25, 1999). "ND hopes ’99 is season of destiny". The Observer (UK). Retrieved August 29, 2007. 
  3. ^ Blanco, Anthony (August 27, 1999). "Irish must learn to play like champions". The Observer (UK). Retrieved August 29, 2007. 
  4. ^ Castro, Tom (August 27, 1999). "Young Irish Counting On Jackson". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved August 30, 2007. 
  5. ^ Casey, Tim (September 1, 1999). "Michigan is upset over Irish schedule". The Observer (UK). Retrieved August 30, 2007. 
  6. ^ Ross, JR (August 28, 1999). "Notre Dame Finishes Big In Season Opener". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved August 30, 2007. 
  7. ^ Atkins, Harry (September 5, 1999). "Time Is On Michigan's Side, But Just Barely". Associated Press Sports. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  8. ^ Ross, JR (September 11, 1999). "Irish Stopped On Last Play". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  9. ^ Connolly, Mike (September 13, 1999). "Ill Communication". The Observer (UK). Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  10. ^ Hart, Bill (September 17, 1999). "Notre Dame seeks revenge against Spartans". The Observer (UK). Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  11. ^ Ross, JR (September 18, 1999). "Irish Upset By Michigan State, 23–13". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  12. ^ Ross, JR (October 2, 1999). "Irish Come Back To Beat Oklahoma". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  13. ^ Ross, JR (October 9, 1999). "Irish Punish Sun Devils, 48–17". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  14. ^ Ross, JR (October 16, 1999). "Classic Comeback Downs Trojans, 25–24". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  15. ^ Ross, JR (October 30, 1999). "Final Minute Score Secures Victory Over Navy". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  16. ^ O'Brien, Kathleen (November 5, 1999). "Irish brace for Volunteer onslaught". The Observer (UK). Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  17. ^ Sharp, Tom (November 6, 1999). "Irish Fall To No. 4 Tennessee". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  18. ^ Robinson, Alan (November 13, 1999). "Football Falls To Pittsburgh, 37–27". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  19. ^ Ross, JR (November 20, 1999). "Irish Fall Just Short Of Win". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  20. ^ Gloster, Rob (November 27, 1999). "Irish Fall On Last Second Stanford Field Goal". UND.cstv.com. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  21. ^ "Jackson Named Team MVP For 1999". UND.cstv.com. December 9, 1999. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  22. ^ "Irish Send Ten Players To NFL Camps In 2000". UND.cstv.com. April 18, 1999. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  23. ^ "DIVISION I COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS ASSESSES PENALTIES AGAINST UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME FOR VIOLATIONS IN FOOTBALL PROGRAM". NCAA.org. December 17, 1999. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved September 6, 2007. 
  24. ^ "Statement From Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., President Of The University Of Notre Dame". UND.cstv.com. December 17, 1999. Retrieved September 6, 2007.