ND alumni turns back Japan stars
Published 11:42 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009
TOKYO — Jay Vickers ran for 139 yards, scored a touchdown and set up another Saturday to lead Lou Holtz’s Notre Dame alumni team to a 19-3 win over Japan in the Notre Dame Japan Bowl.
Vickers, who played in seven games for Notre Dame in 1997 and 1998, sealed the win on a 3-yard run late in the third quarter after Michael Goolsby’s interception.
Vickers’ 77-yard run in the second quarter shifted the momentum in Notre Dame’s favor. He was tackled at the 1, but quarterback Tony Rice punched it in to give Notre Dame a 10-3 lead.
“Coach Holtz said before the game that one play would likely be the difference and if that was it, so be it,” said the 31-year-old Vickers, who was chosen MVP. “I wanted to do this for Notre Dame and for my kids and I’m glad they got to see this.”
Japan went ahead late in the first quarter on a 31-yard field goal that Notre Dame quickly answered on Scott Cengia’s 37-yarder early in the second.
“I expected us to win but I knew it would be a tough game,” Holtz said. “We’re bigger but they were quicker and I give a lot of credit to Japan.”
Japan used the game to prepare for the American football world championship in 2011. It lost the 2007 final 23-20 in double overtime against the United States.