Irish alumni run past Japan

July, 27, 2009
7/27/09
2:49
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Old guys can't pass.

But apparently they can run just fine. Notre Dame's Irish Legends team took that route in beating the Japanese National Team, 19-3, over the weekend in Tokyo.

The team of former Golden Domers completed only one pass during the game in six attempts -- a 7-yarder from Ambrose Wooden. But the alumni rushed for nearly 300 yards and held Japan's offense in check after giving up an early field goal.

"Our team played great defense, great pass defense," said Lou Holtz, who coached the Notre Dame team. "Our quarterbacks could not throw. So we feel grateful to win. We got some continuity in the second half. I can't say enough good things about Jay Vickers and all our backs. We were bigger, they were quicker. But our offensive line did a great job."

Vickers was named MVP after rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown and had a 77-yard run that set up another score. Wooden, a defensive back in college, played the second half at quarterback and also spent much of that time on defense.

"Wooden hadn't played quarterback since high school and took about half the snaps on Thursday [at practice]," Holtz said.

Former Irish quarterback Tony Rice was slowed by leg injuries and threw two incompletions. He ran for 34 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

Brandon Hoyte, a former Notre Dame linebacker, ran for 46 yards while playing fullback. Ron Israel and Mike Goolsby each had interceptions on defense. Matt Hasbrook tackled the Japanese quarterback in the end zone for a safety.

The game was designed to help Japan prepare for the world championships in 2011. It was also a showcase for Notre Dame and a way for former players to get back on the field one more time.

"It was great to be back out here," Holtz said. "We won this game like we won a lot of games when I was at Notre Dame -- we just beat the heck out of them."

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