Nov 19, 2012, 11:18 AM EDT
We are back … back to #1 in the nation!! The Irish now control their own destiny and will square off against the Trojans of Southern California for the right to go to the BCS National Championship. It doesn’t get any better than this!
For my last game as a student I was back in the student section. For one last time I rejoined my friends, stood on the old wooden benches, danced to the Irish jig, cheered on our fellow classmates and swayed together as one to the Alma Mater. As I looked around, trying to take everything in, I saw tears flowing. Not of sadness but of joy – joy that for the past four years we, as a student body, were able to gather together and cheer on our classmates in the hallowed grounds of Notre Dame Stadium. Few have that opportunity – we were lucky enough to be part of that select few.
The emotions were of thankfulness – that for this one afternoon we were able to stand with our closest friends and share a moment that we will never forget. I am blessed and humbled to be part of something so much larger than myself – to be part of the Notre Dame family. And boy if I thought Saturday was bad, I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk out of that tunnel for one last time as a Notre Dame student in May at graduation. On second thought, let’s not imagine that and instead let’s keep enjoying the time we have left at Our Lady’s University.
Back to the main point of the blog, here are three things I learned about the Notre Dame football team this week:
1) The Irish control their own destiny: There have been a couple of Saturday nights this semester where the dorms have exploded with excitement. Last Saturday night triumphed them all as my entire dorm shook when Jordan Williamson nailed the 37-yard field goal to give Stanford the upset victory over the Ducks of Oregon. The festivities continued throughout the night as Irish nation celebrated. The path to the National Championship is now crystal clear: Beat USC.
2) Everett Golson can throw the deep ball: Golson demonstrated his arm strength on Saturday with numerous throws down the field. Some memorable deep passes were the touchdown throws to John Goodman and TJ Jones and the near completion to Chris Brown. Golson has continued to improve and Saturday demonstrated that once again as he picked apart the Wake Forest defense. When you combine Golson’s ability to run with his ability to stretch the field, he is lethal. Just ask Wake Forest.
3) Notre Dame’s defensive depth is much improved: One of the most underrated aspects of Saturday’s game was the opportunity that Notre Dame had to put their back-ups into the game for some quality playing time. I was very impressed with the showing by the defensive back-ups in particular as they performed to the same level of the starters. That defensive depth was demonstrated by the fact that the Irish had 22 different defensive players register at least one tackle in the game. Brian Kelly had made it clear that he wanted to build a dominant, deep defense and that is exactly what he has done.
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