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Notre Dame Sees Green in Victory

Quarterback overcomes injury to lead Knights to their 27th straight win, 35-28 over Valencia.

October 08, 2005|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

Earlier in the week, the right thumb of quarterback Garrett Green from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame was so heavily taped that he couldn't tie his shoelaces, let alone throw a spiral.

So how does anyone explain his career-high 216 rushing yards and three touchdowns as well as 155 passing yards in a 35-28, come-from-behind victory over Valencia on Friday night?

"He was incredible," Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney said.

In winning its 27th consecutive game, Notre Dame (5-0), ranked No. 3 in the Southland by The Times, had to rally from a 21-14 halftime deficit. Rodney Glass, limited to 11 yards rushing in the first half, scored touchdowns on runs of 18 and three yards in the third quarter to give the Knights a 28-21 lead.

But fourth-ranked Valencia (4-1) was hardly finished. Quarterback Michael Herrick sent the Vikings on a 98-yard drive in the fourth quarter, with Shane Vereen tying the scorewith a two-yard touchdown run with 6:23 left.

Green, returning for the first time at quarterback since spraining ligaments in his thumb in the season opener, answered Herrick with a 79-yard drive. He connected with Shane Horton on a 34-yard play and scored the winning touchdown on a 12-yard run with 1:44 left.

"I'm in a little bit of pain," Green said afterward, "but the adrenaline kicks in and you don't feel it."

Notre Dame's defense made four interceptions, the last by Drew Abeyta with 31 seconds left. Horton had two sacks on Valencia's final drive. Herrick completed 18 of 33 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns.

Vereen, a junior running back, caught seven passes for 139 yards and had touchdown receptions of 36 and 87 yards. Glass had an interception and rushed for 88 yards. Another Notre Dame weapon was kicker Kai Forbath, who twice booted 58-yard punts that left Valencia on its own two-yard line.

Vereen's ability to escape after an initial hit enabled Valencia to come away with a 21-14 halftime lead. On touchdown receptions of 36 and 87 yards, Vereen's tackle-breaking skills sent him into the end zone.

The Knights made three critical mistakes in the first half. Ricky Crouch of Valencia was able to break through to block a 24-yard field-goal attempt by Kai Forbath. The Knights were called for a roughing-the-kicker penalty on a punt, keeping alive a Valencia drive that led to a 41-yard touchdown reception by Virgil Hill. And a holding penalty wiped up a 38-yard touchdown run by Rodney Glass.

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