If you follow me on Twitter, which a good number of you probably don’t, you know that for the last few weeks I’ve been posting photos of old and current ND players in countdown to the first game. Today we are officially 3(!!!) days away from kickoff between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Temple Owls, so here are your 3s. No. 3 is perhaps the most sacred of Notre Dame football numbers.
Joe Montana, Rick Mirer, Michael Floyd and Darius Walker days until kickoff... pic.twitter.com/FpiTvMIcEs— Bobby Norell (@RENorell_III) August 30, 2017
Joe Montana - QB - 1974-78
Montana is perhaps the greatest QB to ever play at Notre Dame. If there was one guy you wanted in the game during crunch time it was Montana. After sitting out his freshman season in ‘74 per University policy, Montana helped orchestrate several comeback wins in ‘75. The Irish trailed to North Carolina 14-6 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Dan Devine put Montana in, and in just one minute and two seconds of action Montana compiled 129 yards and the Irish won 21-14
The next week the Irish the Irish trailed 30-10 against Air Force. Montana then entered the game late in the fourth quarter...Notre Dame ended up winning 31-30. Moose Krause called it “the greatest comeback I’ve seen.”
After separating his shoulder in ‘76, Montana entered the ‘77 season as the third string quarterback. The Irish started the season 1-1 and it took until the third game of the year for Montana get his shot. Against Purdue starting QB Rusty Lisch proved to be ineffective and second string Gary Forystek suffered a career ending injury. Montana entered the game with 11 minutes left and the Irish trailing 24-14. He ended up throwing for 154 yards and a touchdown, leading the Irish to a 31-24 victory. The rest was history from there. The Irish captured the National Title in ‘77, beating No. 1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
The next season Montana pulled off comebacks against Pitt, almost had another one against USC and of course everyone knows about the 1979 Cotton Bowl victory over Houston, AKA The Chicken Soup Game.
Despite all his success in college, the NFL scouts weren’t sold on Montana. He wasn’t selected until the third round by the San Francisco 49ers. Four Super Bowl Championships later, it’s safe to say those scouts were wrong.
Rick Mirer - QB - 1989-92
The local boy from just down the road in Goshen, In. In his senior year of high school Mirer threw for 3,973 yards (the second most in national prep history, which passed Jeff George’s Indiana high school record.
Mirer backed up Tony Rice in 1989, and took over as the starter in 1990. Over his three seasons as the starting quarterback Mirer compiled a record of 29-7-1, including three bowl victories. Throughout his tenure he set many records for passing, most have been broken since. He still holds the record for most points accounted for (running and passing) with 350.
He had many memorable wins including the 1990 win over Miami, the 1992 Sugar Bowl win over Florida State and of course the 1992 “Snow Bowl” victory over Penn State, which was also Mirer’s last game at Notre Dame Stadium.
After Notre Dame Mirer was drafted second overall by the Seattle Seahawks. He won a Rookie of the Year in 1993. He set several NFL rookie passing records, all of which were broken by Peyton Manning. After his rookie season, Dennis Erickson took over for Tom Flores as the coach and Mirer was never really the same. He bounced around the league and eventually retired in 2004. He now owns a wine company.
Michael Floyd - WR - 2008-11
Hands down, Floyd is the best receiver I’ve ever seen at Notre Dame, and the records are there to back it up. He had the size and the speed. He was a nightmare to gameplan for. Floyd holds almost every receiver record there is at Notre Dame, including:
- Career receptions - 271
- Career yards - 3,686
- Career touchdowns - 37
- Single-season receptions - 100
He’s also sixth in single-season touchdown receptions with 12.
Floyd was drafted 13th overall in 2012 by the Arizona Cardinals. He spent five seasons with Arizona before being released last season. He was then picked up by the New England Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl.
Floyd has had his fair share of off-field troubled over the past year. Despite this, his hometown Minnesota Vikings gave him a shot and signed him this past offseason.
Darius Walker - RB - 2004-06
Walker was a highly rated talent coming out of Lawrenceville, Ga. He rushed for 5,676 yards and 91 touchdowns throughout his high school career, including his senior year when he scored 46 touchdowns, breaking Herschel Walker’s Georgia state record of 42.
As a freshman, Walker split time with Ryan Grant. He ran for 786 yards, which was the freshman record until Josh Adams broke that in 2015. In a 2004 upset of No. 8 Michigan, Walker ran 31 times for 115 yards and two scores.
He took over as the full-time starter in 2005 and ‘06, and posted back-to-back 1,100 campaigns. He ranks fourth on Notre Dame’s all-time rushing list with 3,249 yards. Walker saw what was coming in 2007 and got out of dodge. He declared for the NFL after the 2006 season and went undrafted. Walker spent parts of three seasons on the practice squads of the Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos. He now is a college football analyst for Fox.
Ralph Guglielmi - QB - 1951-54
Guglielmi was a three-year starter and an unanimous All-American as a senior in 1954. For his career he threw for 3,073 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also played defense, where he had 10 career interceptions. Guglielmi finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 1954 and was drafted fourth overall by the Washington Redskins in 1955. He played seven seasons in the NFL with the Redskins, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
Daryle Lamonica - QB - 1960-62
I’m going to be honest, before this little project of mine I had knew who Daryle Lamonica was, but I had no clue he went to Notre Dame. Perhaps that’s because he played for some really bad Notre Dame teams and his stats don’t really jump off the page. Lamonica made a name for himself after Notre Dame.
Known as “The Mad Bomber, Lamonica loved to throw the deep ball. He was drafted in both the AFL and NFL drafted in 1963, but decided to go the AFL route, perhaps because it was a much open game with more passing. He played with the Buffalo Bills from 1963-66 before being traded to the Oakland Raiders in ‘67. This is where Lamonica’s career took off. He spent eight seasons with the Raiders and captured three AFL Championships. Lamonica started in Super Bowl II, but the Raiders fell to the Packers 33-14.
Lamonica was a two-time AFL MVP, two-time All-AFL selection, two-time Pro-Bowler and a three-time AFL All-Star. He sits third on the Raiders’ all-time leading passers with 16,655 yards.
Arnez Battle - QB/WR - 1998-2002
People forget that Battle actually came to Notre Dame as a quarterback. He was the starting quarterback going into the 2000 seasons, but suffered a broken wrist on the first play of scrimmage against No. 1 Nebraska and was forced to sit out the whole season. Battle converted to wide receiver the following year.
Battle had his break out season in 2002 as a fifth year senior. He led the Irish in receiving with 58 catches for 786 yards. He also has two of the most memorable plays from that fluky season. The game winner against Michigan State and a TD on the first play against Florida State. Roll tape.
Battle went on to have a lengthy NFL career. He played seven seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before finishing up with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010 and ‘11.
Ron Powlus - QB - 1993-97
Powlus fell victim to unfair expectations. He was the No. 1 rated quarterback out of high school and Beano Cook said he’d win two Heisman Trophies. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a kid before he even takes a college snap.
Powlus would have been the starter in 1993, but suffered an injury in preseason practice. He went on to be a four-year starter and started 42 of 44 possible games. He was a two-time captain. Before Brady Quinn came along, Powlus held 20 Notre Dame passing records. Powlus finished his career with 7,602 yards and 52 touchdowns.
He spent three seasons in the NFL with the Tennessee Oilers, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. He was named Charlie Weis’ QB coach in 2005 and was in that role until Weis was fired. He then had stops at Akron and Kansas, before coming back Notre Dame in 2015 as the Director of Player Development.