Brown impressed by Jones

Bob Wieneke
BWieneke@SBTinfo.com

ARLINGTON, Texas

During the first half of Notre Dame's 37-34 victory over Arizona State on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium, Irish senior wide receiver TJ Jones moved up three spots on the school's all-time receptions list, climbing to sixth with his 8-yard TD reception late in the first half. The players that Jones passed were first Tim Brown, then Jim Seymour, and finally Tyler Eifert.

In short, pretty good company.

"It doesn't shock me," Brown said during the third quarter, before adding with a chuckle, "I wish we had offenses that threw like these guys throw. We would have put up some serious numbers if that was the case."

Brown had a seriously busy night. He tossed the coin during the pregame coin flip, was part of NBC Sports Network's pregame coverage, and then had a chance to talk with Stephen Jones, the Dallas Cowboys' chief operating officer/executive vice president/director of player personnel. Among the players he addressed with Stephen Jones was TJ Jones.

"He was asking me about a couple guys and TJ was one of the guys that I mentioned," said Brown, who played with the late Andre Jones, TJ's father, at ND, "because I think this kid has potential."

Brown grew up in Dallas and now lives there, and the chance to flip the coin was a special moment for him.

"This is home for me and people have heard me talk about Notre Dame for years," Brown said. "So for them to give me that opportunity in front of my home crowd was pretty special."

Brown also was promoting "Big Break NFL Puerto Rico," a show that airs on the Golf Channel and begins its 20th season Tuesday night. Brown is one of the NFL legends who is golfing with past Big Break competitors. The NFL players are competing for cash for charities, while the previous Big Break golfers are competing for cash, prizes and tour exemptions.

Brown, a 3 or 4 handicap player, says he's been a big fan of the show, which was shot in June and airs through Dec. 17. Playing with teammates whose golf futures are on the line brings with it a certain amount of pressure.

"When I think about it, I guess it's almost the same kind of pressure you have catching a pass," Brown said. "If you don't catch a pass, you're letting these guys down. That was something in football that was easy to get into your mind."

Injured Irish

ND starting inside linebacker Jarrett Grace left the game midway through the second quarter after what NBC Sports reported as a broken right tibia. Grace had to be carted off the field.

Wide receiver Daniel Smith, a senior from South Bend Clay High School, left the game late in the first quarter after suffering an ankle injury. Smith was helped to the sideline before being carted off the field. NBC tweeted that there was concern Smith had broken his ankle.

Friends in high places?

Apparently there will be some folks with Notre Dame connections on the College Football Playoff selection committee, which will go into action next postseason.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, citing anonymous sources, reports that former Irish head football coach Tyrone Willingham and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will both be members of the committee. Rice holds a master’s degree from Notre Dame.

Former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, the father of Peyton and Eli, and USC athletic director Pat Haden are some of the other names that have surfaced.

No game shutdowns?

Even if the U.S. Government’s impasse extends another month, ND head coach Brian Kelly said this week that Irish games against Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Oct. 26 and Navy at home on Nov. 2 should go on as scheduled.

“We expect to play the game at Air Force, because we’re traveling there, so we’ve got the green light for the Air force game.”

Navy’s athletic department is privately funded, so the Mids’ travel arrangements should not be affected.

Squibs

  • South Bend and Dallas apparently got their weather mixed up Saturday. The high temperature in the Dallas area was only supposed to reach 68, while the high in South Bend was projected at 81.
  • Ben Koyack's second-quarter touchdown reception was the first of his career, and also his first catch of the season.
  • Notre Dame had won all four of its previous Shamrock Series games and by an average margin of 28 points.
  • Heading into Saturday’s game, ASU under coach Todd Graham was 10-0 when ASU led at the half, 1-6 otherwise.
  • Injured safety Nicky Baratti, a Tomball, Texas, product, did make the Irish travel roster. Eleven freshmen were included on the travel team as well, including quarterback Malik Zaire and excluding injured running back Greg Bryant.
  • Notre Dame officials estimated the attendance for Friday night's pep rally in Fort Worth was 5,000.
  • Irish kicker Kyle Brindza's 53-yard field goal in the third quarter was the longest of his career, eclipsing the 52-yarder he kicked last season at USC. It also tied him with Dave Reeve for the longest field goal in school history, and it tied Brindza with Nebraska's Alex Henry for the longest field goal by a college player in AT&T Stadium.

Tribune staff writer Eric Hansen contributed to this story.

Notre Dame's TJ Jones makes a touchdown catch in the end zone during the Shamrock Series game between Notre Dame and Arizona State on Saturday, October 5, 2013, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN