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Irish, Davie Escape Heat

September 03, 2000|From Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A handshake and hug from his new athletic director sent Notre Dame Coach Bob Davie off the field to a rousing ovation from the crowd at Notre Dame Stadium.

Before he left, though, Davie walked toward the north end of the stadium and lifted his palms skyward in a "raise the roof" salute to Irish fans.

Notre Dame's first victory in 10 months--a 24-10 triumph Saturday over No. 25 Texas A&M--allowed Davie to breathe a huge sigh of relief. With Athletic Director Kevin White now calling the shots, Davie started his fourth season knowing his job would be in jeopardy if the Irish failed to get off to a strong start.

It took a while, but Arnaz Battle made his first start a memorable one by throwing the first two touchdown passes of his career, and the Irish defense shut down the Aggies in the second half.

"It wasn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination," Davie said, "and I don't know that we played particularly well. But the thing that's really encouraging is we played with a lot of heart and effort."

Battle completed 10 of 16 passes for 133 yards and rushed 12 times for 50 yards as the Irish, who play host to No. 1 Nebraska on Saturday, rolled up 327 yards after a slow start.

"We've got a long, long, long way to go in a short period of time because the football team coming in next week is probably as good a team as I've seen in a long time," Davie said of the Cornhuskers.

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