Steve Megargee Rivals.com College Football Staff Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. ? The retooled Notre Dame defense upstaged the heavily publicized quarterback competition Saturday in the Blue-Gold Game that closed spring practice.
David Bruton returned an interception 35 yards for the winning touchdown as the Gold team defeated the Blue 10-6 in front of a Blue-Gold Game record crowd of 51,852 at Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis hired Corwin Brown as defensive coordinator and switched to a scheme that features 3-4 personnel after the Fighting Irish ranked 90th out of 119 Division I-A teams in pass efficiency defense last year.
"We've been making plays all spring," said Bruton, a rising junior free safety. "We only gave up one long pass all spring. We've been doing really well to keep everything in front of us and not let anything get behind us."
Jones went 3-for-6 for 23 yards and threw the lone touchdown pass on a 15-yard completion to Robby Parris, but the speedy sophomore also badly overthrew tight end John Carlson on the play that resulted in Bruton's interception return.
Clausen, rated by Rivals.com as the top player in the 2007 recruiting class, went 3-for-7 for 23 yards. Sharpley was 5-of-7 for 31 yards, while Frazer went 0-for-4 with an interception.
Weis has said he would wait until the week of May 21 to determine the two leaders in the competition to replace four-year starter Brady Quinn.
"None of them have played themselves out of the mix," Weis said.
Carlson noted that the format of the game might have hindered all the quarterbacks. The game featured a running clock, except in the final two minutes of each quarter. The teams also alternated quarterbacks with each series.
"It's hard to get in a rhythm when the clock runs like this and you keep rotating quarterbacks," Carlson said.
The biggest scare of the day came midway through the third quarter when fifth-year senior center John Sullivan ? one of only three returning starters on offense ? was helped off the field with a high ankle sprain. Weis said afterward that X-rays were negative and that Sullivan should be ready for the Sept. 1 season opener against Georgia Tech.
Lou Holtz and Ara Parseghian served as honorable coaches for Saturday's game. Holtz was in vintage form all day. He continued his trademark routine of pacing the sidelines throughout the game, and even showed his frustration when Sharpley was sacked in the final minute of the first half.
Holtz received a Gatorade shower after the Gold team clinched its victory.
"You don't throw Gatorade on a guy at 70 years old in a spring game when it's not expected," Holtz quipped. "I could have had a heart attack and sued Notre Dame for a lot of money."
NOTES: Senior tailback Junior Jabbie doesn't have any regular-season carries in his career, but he was named the game's offensive MVP after rushing 13 times for 87 yards. ? Tight end Will Yeatman played for the Gold squad after recording an assist in the Notre Dame lacrosse team's 14-2 victory over Lehigh earlier in the day. ? The crowd of 51,852 broke the Blue-Gold Game record of 41,279 set last year. ? Tony Rice and Ross Browner served as honorary captains.