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September 4, 2007

Weis picks Clausen to start for Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -Notre Dame freshman Jimmy Clausen will start at quarterback Saturday against Penn State, with the Irish looking to rebound from a season-opening 33-3 loss at home to Georgia Tech.

"I think he gives us the best chance of winning," coach Charlie Weis said Tuesday.

Clausen of Westlake Village, Calif., was rated by Rivals.com as the nation's top high school recruit last year. He entered the opener last weekend as the third-stringer following offseason arm surgery.

Weis said Clausen was the top quarterback after spring practices, but was limited when practice began Aug. 6. He was recovering from the removal of a bone spur from his throwing elbow.

"I'm not going to play a quarterback who can't do everything, so I didn't," Weis said.

Weis said Clausen manages the offense best and has the best arm.

"I think he's ready to run the offense," Weis said. "He was always ready mentally, but his arm wasn't full go until last week."

Weis wouldn't say who will back up Clausen against Penn State.

Notre Dame was held to 130 yards passing against Georgia Tech, ranking them 94th of 113 teams. Clausen played the final two series and was 4-of-6 passing for 34 yards and sacked once.

Demetrius Jones started the game and was 1-of-3 passing for 4 yards against Georgia Tech and ran the ball 12 times for 28 yards. Four of the six drives he led ended in three-and-outs, and he fumbled the ball away on the other two possessions. Evan Sharpley was 10-of-13 passing for 92 yards, but was sacked seven times.

For more coverage of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, check out IrishIllustrated.com.



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