Irish Fans Breathe Sigh of Relief after First Win of Season
Thank God. That was the mantra of most Irish fans after Notre Dame beat San Diego State in their season opener on Saturday. And, in true Irish fashion, it wasn’t easy.
As has been typical with Notre Dame football in the past couple years, the offense didn’t fully wake up until the fourth quarter. They drove hard in the first quarter, but turnovers kept them out of the end zone. They were able to tie the game with less than two minutes left in the first half and both teams headed into the locker rooms with 7 points each following Jimmy Clausen’s 22 yard TD pass to Michael Floyd. Incidentally, that reception is the only one of Floyd’s career.
They were able to convert only 3 3 rd downs and that will definitely be something that Coach Charlie Weiss will have to work on with his young team. The four turnovers are definitely a blemish on the offense’s record including the controversial goal line fumble by Brandon Sullivan. But their performance in the 4 th quarter gave the fans something to cheer about.
The defense performed well, holding SDSU to only 13 points and causing a handful passes to be broken up. They looked aggressive in the first quarter, nailing tackles left and right, but grew sluggish through the second and third quarter. Near the end of the 3 rd quarter, the defense began to pick it up again and carried the momentum through the rest of the game. In all, Notre Dame was able to capitalize on 2 turnovers by SDSU and come out on top with a score of 21 – 13.
Heading into next week’s game, there is a lot of skepticism about how the Irish will perform against Michigan following last year’s blowout loss to the Wolverines. But Weiss doesn’t seem worried.
"I think that the best thing is after a game like that, the next team on your docket is Michigan," he said. "I think that helps, it really does. It helps, because you have a fierce opponent that you have a lot of respect for that you know is going through a little transition themselves, and you know as you step up to the plate right here, we've gotten game one under the belt and gotten out of there with that so-called ugly win."
Weiss has even gone a bit further, having been quoted at a Notre Dame supporter breakfast as saying, "Then we'll listen to Michigan have all their excuses as they come running in and saying how they have a new coaching staff and there's changes. To hell with Michigan.” After receiving some flak for the comment, Weiss is now saying that it was said in respectful response to Bo Schembechler’s “To hell with Notre Dame” statement. Regardless of the motivation, the quote is now posted on the Michigan bulletin board as motivation for this Saturday’s game.
Will Notre Dame beat Michigan this week? We’ll know for sure on Saturday. One thing for sure is this: the Notre Dame of last year would not have beat San Diego State University and Irish fans are breathing just a bit easier heading into game 2 at Notre Dame Stadium.
by Angela Moore
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