In a flash, Week 1 has come and gone. Prior to Saturdays game against Tem-ple, the question on everyone’s mind was, will Team 129 be able to shake off the woes of last season and be able to execute in the season opener? Before we discuss Saturday, lets talk about the atmosphere leading up to the big season opener for this team.
Friday: One Day Before Game Day
Friday, T-27 hours before kickoff and there is no place to park on campus. Rows and rows of cars are parked outside the Purcell Pavilion and the adjoining parking lots on campus. It was definitely a Football Friday on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The weather was a big contributing factor, 73 degrees and blue skies, that’s the kind of weather that will bring you out to campus for football weekend activities. One of the main activities of Football Friday was the release of the Father Hesburgh commemorative forever stamp. Richard “Digger” Phelps gave the opening remarks to the commemorative ceremony. Digger, has been serving on the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee for 22 years. Digger, kicked off the campaign of the Father Hesburgh stamp after his passing in 2015. Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, an ND Alumnae, spoke about Father Hesburgh and her close personal experience with him. Her time with Father Hesburgh goes back to the Civil Rights movement when her met Father Hesburgh. Those who attended the event, received a commemorative cancelled stamp along with a pin of the stamp with Father Hesburgh on it.
Saturday: GAME DAY
Game Day starts early for some. Game Day kicks off at midnight with the Midnight Drummer’s Circle. What a magnificent event. The event is a high energy interactive event as well. Playing in front of the Administrative Building under the Dome, the Student Body delivers the interactive dance routines as the drummers perform. This event is about 45 minutes long. As I walked off campus, I thought to myself about how busy it was going to be in about 9 hours.
After what feels like a cat nap, it’s time to get back to the Notre Dame Stadium for the main event. Saturday was about getting on campus and trying to catch up with those you haven’t seen in a while. Some folks were referring to Saturday as an equivalent to Christmas morning. I used Saturday to reflect as I sat in the shadows of the Basilica and the Administrative Building. Now, what’s great about Notre Dame, is that no one is a stranger. While on the bench just watching traffic increase, a lady walks up, sits down and we just start chatting as if we had known each other for a while. This is why I love this place. Her husband joins shortly after and we sit listening to the bagpipes play. After catching up with a few people along the way, it was time to make my way to the Leahy Gate. Kick-off was now about one and a half hours away. A quick stop at the concession stand, yes I said “quick stop,” it was time to make my way into the stadium and find my seat. All I can say is “Wow!” What a great job was done on the “Campus CrossRoads Project.”
Kick-off and Game Insights
After opening remarks from Father Jenkins from the video board, it was about time to get this season underway. The Irish win the coin toss and choose to receive. What better way to start your new season, getting the ball first. Well, the score was 0-0 for about thirty-three seconds as the Irish scored after two plays. The first play was Wimbush to St. Brown for 33 yards and Josh Adams capped the opening drive with a 37 yard scamper for a touchdown. The stadium was just electric for a quick drive to score. The offense would have a total of 7 touchdowns in the game. What a great way for the offense to start the season. Yoon struggled a little on field goal attempts, as he missed a pair, but the season is young and it didn’t cost the team anything in the end.
Lets talk about the defense for a moment. The defense last year struggled to wrap up players, stop drives and exhausted themselves as they just could not get off the field in a quick manner. What a difference a year makes. Under Coach Elko, this defense has some early signs of having some grit. Lets start in the sack department. Yes, the Fighting Irish had 3 sacks in the season opener. The Irish defense didn’t get a sack until game 4 last season. So improvement there. The defense overall had 11 tackles for loss, including a fumble in the fourth quarter. That was a check mark the team looked to improve upon as Coach Elko is known for driving turnovers on opponents. There were some struggles on defense as well. There were some blown coverages, but in the end, the Irish defense held Temple to a total of 330 yards. In the end the Fighting Irish beat the Owls, who talked smack all week, 49-16. Next up for the Irish a formidable opponent in the Georgia Bulldogs.
#GoIrish #BeatGeorgia #PlayforAra