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Throwback Victory

Nov 24, 2013, 12:48 PM EDT

Joe Raymond/ AP

Craig Chval, the official 2013 football beat writer for the Strong & True blog, is currently a junior at the University of Notre Dame. Over the course of the year Craig will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and previews of each game. You can follow Craig (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.

Maybe we should play in the snow more often.

Not only did Notre Dame move to 13-1-3 in games where it snows, but the team also played its most complete game of the season in a 23-13 win on senior day.

In an era of obnoxious, snazzy uniforms and pristine plastic playing surfaces, this was a type of throwback game that can only happen in Notre Dame Stadium.

The South may rule college football at the present, but the most evocative images of football glory are about braving the elements – the 1950 Snow Bowl, Notre Dame’s edition in 1992, the 1967 Ice Bowl on the “Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field.” When you beat your opponent and the weather at the same time, the victory is that much more impressive.

Though a matchup between two unranked teams won’t earn any nicknames any time soon, you can still appreciate the aesthetic, especially now that you’ve thawed out. Sitting through the coldest Notre Dame home game since 1991 was no easy task, and I was proud of the students that stayed. For the ones that left, maybe you picked the wrong college. I hear Purdue has a pretty good team this year.

As for those that remained, I was glad to see them chanting “Tommy” while Rees was in victory formation. For a guy that entered the Purdue game a year ago to boos, it was an especially enjoyable ending to his career in Notre Dame Stadium.

I mentioned that this game was the most complete of the season for the Irish. BYU isn’t the best team they’ve faced, but I think it was the most consistent effort in a game thus far. From the gameplan to the intensity and focus, it was an all-around solid victory. I was especially a fan of starting the game with four runs to set up a play-action 61 yard touchdown pass to DaVaris Daniels. Let’s try that some more.

And while the defense is still plagued by the occasional missed tackle, it’s pretty hard to blame them with all the injuries they’ve faced. Jarron Jones’ presence yesterday (seven tackles, blocked FG) made the murky future of the front-seven a little brighter. The guys who have stepped in over the course of the season have by and large performed admirably.

And although this was senior day, the young guns continue to impress. Tarean Folston keeps making his case for being the best back in a deep stable. Devin Butler and Cole Luke continue to see time and look like they belong with the veterans. Max Redfield finished the game with three tackles. As perhaps our best defensive player not on the line, no words are needed for Jaylon Smith.

This was the last Notre Dame game I’ll see in nine months, and it was a good one to end an up-and-down season on. The next time I’ll be in the stadium, it will be in the senior section. I’m not really sure how to feel about that.


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