College Football Junkie

A Blog To Share My Tour of College Football

Archive for July, 2014

University of Notre Dame

Posted by Strickland on July 18, 2014

The fall of 2013, I had the opportunity to go to a Notre Dame football game in South Bend, Indiana.  A guy at my church that I attend, is an alumni of Notre Dame.  He also played the saxophone for the football marching band.  The band is well known throughout the country, and now with Notre Dame playing games across seas in places like Ireland, it can be said they are well known throughout the world.  The history, appearances, music, Irish guard, and the plaid colors make the Notre Dame band a top in all the college marching bands.  My friend’s father got tickets to many ND games.  I told my friend, “I would like to go to a Notre Dame game sometime with you, but I want to go to a good rivalry game if I could.”  Next thing you know, I got tickets to the Notre Dame vs. University of Southern California game.  Here is one entry about my visit to Notre Dame.

I packed my bags, picked up my friend at his house, and we left late morning from Cincinnati, Ohio to South Bend, Indiana, on a Friday.  After making our way over to Indiana, we dropped off our bags at his father’s house, and he drove us to the campus to walk around waiting for the Pep Rally that would take place outside the Notre Dame Stadium.  What I wished we could’ve done was walked down the tunnel that the teams walked down from the locker rooms to the field.  They give the fans the opportunity to do this before every home game, usually 10:00am-5:00pm the Friday before the game.  It’s called the “Stadium Tunnel Tour” and it’s located at the north tunnel. (This is the only video I can find of someone walking down the tunnel.  There are a lot of videos of the behind scenes of people taking a tour of the locker room which empties to the tunnel.  The band marches and squeezes into the tunnel as well while chanting, “Here Come The Irish” on gameday.)  We walked around campus on Friday night, waiting for the outdoor Pep Rally where Lou Holtz and Digger Phelps would make a speaking appearance.  (Here is the actual video of Lou Holtz giving his speech.  Classic Lou.  Also, here is the actual video of pep rally, starting with Digger giving his speech.  So, “listen up.”  Also, the “Silent Cheer” didn’t really happen at the game.)

Of course, there was some hype about this game.  Always have been.  That’s a given.  This rivalry started in December 1926, with a 14-10 victory for Notre Dame.  How that game began in 1926 would not had possibly happen without the wives of the coaches not had gotten involved.  A story has been told–“The origin of the series is quite often recounted as a ‘conversation between wives‘of Notre Dame head coach Knute Rockne and USC athletic director Gywnn Wilson. In fact, many sports writers often cite this popular story as the main reason the two schools decided to play one another. As the story goes, the rivalry began with USC looking for a national rival. USC dispatched Wilson and his wife to Lincoln, Nebraska, where Notre Dame was playing Nebraska on Thanksgiving DayOn that day (Nebraska 17, Notre Dame 0) Knute Rockne resisted the idea of a home-and-home series with USC because of the travel involved, but Mrs. Wilson was able to persuade Mrs. Rockne that a trip every two years to sunny Southern California was better than one to snowy, hostile Nebraska.  Mrs. Rockne spoke to her husband and on December 4, 1926, USC became an annual fixture on Notre Dame schedule.”  Whatever the story is on how they started playing each other, they did.  And, they’ve been doing it for a long time.

Both teams have such a history.  A history with former players, Heisman Trophy winners and nominees, great stadiums/coliseum, fight songs (ND, USC), coaches, celebrities, and more.

Going into the game, Notre Dame had a five game home losing streak to USC.  The last time that ND beat USC at home before this 2013 contest was in 2001.  After the 2001 contest, USC had beaten ND straight from 2002-2008.  So, this game ND needed to break the home losing skid against USC.  USC was coming into this game with an interim coach.  Former coach Lane Kiffin was fired during the 2013 season after having a overall record of 3-2, 0-2 Pac-12 Conference record.  He was fired after losing to Arizona State at the airport terminal after a 45-minute meeting.  Ed Orgeron, former Ole Miss coach, became interim for the rest of the season.  Kiffin’s four year record at USC was 28-15 overall.

Both teams started the 7:43pm kickoff game at 4-2.  All the action, all the scoring, was done in the first half.  USC got into the endzone first when Silas Redd ran the ball in.  ND got the next score, when Tommy Rees threw his first touchdown.  At the end of the first quarter, it was tied 7-7.  USC kicked a field goal, then Rees threw his second touchdown, and at the end of the second quarter it was ND–14 USC–10.  In the second half, there was no scoring at all.  Maybe the reason why ND didn’t score was due to Rees being sacked in the third quarter, which put him on the sidelines for the rest of the game due to injury.  He left the game throwing 21 times, connecting 14 of those to his receivers.  Two of those passes were for touchdowns.  He threw for a grand total of 166 yards.  Here is a recap of the game with box scores, play-by-play, and drivesHere is a quick 3:45 minute video recap of the game.

If you’ve never gone to a ND game, at the end of the 3rd quarter, Sargent Tim McCarthy of the Indiana State Police issues a public service announcement.  He starts this announcement with his famous line, “May I Have Your Attention Please.”  When he says this line, the stadium gets silent, and he begins to share his announcement.  At the end of the announcement, he gives a little punch line and the crowd erupts in laughter.  Here is a public service announcement that he recorded to be used on the big video screen at the Cowboys Stadium, home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys team.  ND played Arizona State there as part of the Shamrock Series, which started in 2009 as an annual off-site home game.  Sargent McCarthy co-authored a book, “May I Have Your Attention Please…Wit And Wisdom From The Notre Dame Press Box.”  Here is a great example, and a little documentary, on how the crowd gets quiet at the beginning of the announcement, and how they celebrate at the end.

At the end of the night, ND stopped the home losing skid against USC.  They increased their overall record against USC 45 wins–35 losses–5 ties.  USC finished the year 10-4 overall, which includes a bowl win over Fresno State, and 6-3 in Pac-12 Conference play.  ND finished the year 9-4 overall, which includes a bowl win over Rutgers.

Again, I’ll post another entry with some pictures of my visit.  This is the only school that I have gone early enough to visit a pep rally and visit the whole atmosphere before the game.  I guess with any school, you can share a lot and have different topics.  I’ll have to do that with this visit.  At least one more entry.


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