Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Notre Dame unveils tough '02 schedule

The Associated Press

        SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The first game in Notre Dame Stadium for new Irish coach Tyrone Willingham will kick off at noon Sept.7.

        The university announced Tuesday the kickoff times for the home opener against Purdue and the five other home games. Times for Notre Dame's five road games have not been set.

        The Irish will open the season against Maryland in the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium. The date and time aren't set.

        After Purdue, the next four home games for Notre Dame will be Sept.14 against Michigan, Oct.5 against Stanford, Oct.12 against Pittsburgh and Nov.2 against Boston College, all at 1:30p.m. The final home game will be Nov.23 against Rutgers.

        The Irish also play at Michigan State on Sept.21, at Air Force on Oct.19, at Florida State on Oct.26, against Navy at Giants Stadium on Nov.9 and at Southern California on Nov.30.


        Derek Watson says he still hopes to play for South Carolina next season once he proves he's innocent of a marijuana possession charge that led to his dismissal from the team.

        Coach Lou Holtz kicked the running back off the team Monday after he learned the 20-year-old was arrested for possession of marijuana last weekend.
       “I am innocent of the misdemeanor charge issued against me and look forward to the opportunity to clear my name,” Watson said in a statement released Tuesday. “I look forward to meeting again with coach Holtz after I put these matters behind me to discuss my possible reinstatement.”

        Watson, who has a history of off-field problems, ran for 618 yards and five touchdowns last season, and has a career total of 2,078 yards and 16 TDs.

        Watson's troubling off-season last year included a suspension from the 2001 Outback Bowl after he was ticketed for driving with a suspended license and driving too fast.

        Holtz also disciplined Watson after he was accused of threatening a student referee during intramural basketball. And last summer Watson was fined $425 after he was charged with driving without a license and playing his car stereo too loudly in his hometown of Williamston.

        Watson was dismissed from the team just days after the junior could have entered the NFL draft.


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