A week ago, on the eve of their much-anticipated game against USC, I posted here an open letter to the Notre Dame football team. In that post I urged the Fighting Irish to -
Play hard. Run like your hair is on fire. Hit like a freight train. If you get hit hard, hit back twice as hard. Finish your blocks. Take care of the football. Don't commit a dumb penalty. Play every play with the urgency of a last-minute drive. Wrap 'em up on your tackles. Play with all the heart we know you have.It was my hope that if they did these things, if they gave it everything they had on every play, they would beat the Trojans.
And they almost did.
As it turned out, despite giving it their all, the Irish last Saturday ran out of time 4 yards short of a touchdown that, depending upon whether they chose to attempt a 1 or a 2-point conversion, would have tied or even possibly won the game. To get to that final play Notre Dame had rallied from a 20-point deficit earlier in the 4th quarter that left many Irish fans, including this one, worried that the game was teetering on the verge of another lopsided finish.
I share the tremendous disappointment of a missed opportunity to beat USC, and of yet another Trojan victory that extends their win streak over ND to 8.
Over the past few seasons USC's dominance over Notre Dame and their blowout wins in both Los Angeles and South Bend left me frustrated and embarrassed and, frankly, angry that the Irish were not even remotely competitive against the Trojans.
This week I have been emotionally drained, but I have not had a single moment of frustration, embarrassment, or anger. This week, I have have been able to hold my head high and I have been especially proud to be a Notre Dame alumnus. Because last Saturday the Fighting Irish played exactly how I hoped they would. They played hard, they fought and they scraped, they took care of the ball and didn't commit dumb penalties. They played with heart and with character and they surprised the college football world by going toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the nation for 60 minutes and coming within a whisker of pulling an upset that would have been one for the ages.
Great game guys. Thanks for being such outstanding representatives of Notre Dame.
Now go beat B.C.!