Tag Archives: Notre Dame

College Football 2009: Pittsburgh holds on to Notre Dame’s love

Yay! Saturday Night Football on my local ABC station.  It’s been a while, dear lover.

But first.  It’s a great day to be a YELLOW JACKET! ACC, I tell ya.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog entry:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Pittsburgh Panthers entwined spandex tonight at Hines Field.  The first quarter saw the Panthers scoring first with a touchdown connection between quarterback Bill Stull and wide receiver Oderick Turner.  Right? No.  Turner couldn’t maintain possession of the ball after catching it in the back of the end zone.  The Panthers made a field goal instead (Dan Hutchins at kick).  Pittsburgh 3 and Notre Dame 0.  The second quarter started with the Fighting Irish having to punt the ball away.  Panthers defensive back Jared Holley intercepted Jimmy Clausen three minutes into the quarter.  The Irish tie the game with a forty-two yard DavidRuffer field goal.  Pittsburgh 3 and Notre Dame 3.   Let the tie be broken.  With fewer than three minutes left in the first half, Panthers wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin made a leaping TD catch.  Pittsburgh 10 and Notre Dame 3.

The third quarter was molasses on the brain for about four minutes until Jonathan Baldwin made a gorgeous catch.  Long legs, long arms, up in the air.  Delicieuse.  Panthers increased their lead with a field goal and then again minutes later when running back Ray Graham made a TD.  Pittsburgh 20 and Notre 3.  The Fighting Irish suddenly woke up from their lethargy in the bottom of the third quarter when wide receiver Michael Floyd caught a forty-four yard projectile from Jimmy Clausen.  The TV signal became very splotchy and image very pixelated at this point in the telecast.

The Fighting Irish eventually got a TD seconds into the fourth quarter (the ‘ol QB broke the plane but the extra point was no good).  Panthers running back Dion Lewis crumpled up the meaning of that numerical increase by running fifty yards for a TD.  Pittsburgh 27 and Notre Dame 9.  But the Irish weren’t going to implode just yet.  Wide receiver Golden Tate managed to cross the goal line as he was going down to the ground.  Pittsburgh 27 and Notre Dame 16.  WOW! SWEET RED BELL PEPPER HUMMUS!!! GOLDEN TATE and an EIGHTY-SEVEN YARD return for a TD.  The two-point conversion was no good, but dayam.  Highlight of the game, methinks.  What would the Fighting Irish do with just about two minutes left in the game?  Jimmy Clausen was overtaken by Panther-blue on two attempts to throw.  The Fighting Irish did some amazing things in the second half, but uh, it was a snare too little for a win.  Pittsburgh 27 and Notre Dame 22. Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Commentary was provided by Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musburger, who remarked in the top of the quarter that “Golden Tate” is a great name for a Notre Dame player.

2.  High angle shots of the field revealed a hazy, white sheen in the sidelines at the top of the screen .  Was it a musty night?

3.  Did I see a Jerome Bettis jersey when the game returned from commercial break with 4:25 minutes left to play in the first quarter?  Yes, I did.  Bettis went to Notre Dame.

4.  Does it phase the punter or kicker when he’s readying to kick the ball and there he is on the jumbotron with televised movements two seconds slower than his real-time motions? I’m referring to Notre Dame punter Eric Maust in the top of the second quarter.

5.  The Fighting Irish “real life” mascot mimed punching moves and kept repeating “let’s go” to the camera that was taping him before the telecast cut to commercial in the top of the second quarter.

6.  Is it my imagination or is ESPN’s boxscore/game center page refreshing lagging about ten minutes?  Through the first half at least.

7.  Notre Dame’s players have light blue mouth guards.

8.  Panthers defensive back Antwuan Reed plowed into one of the ABC cameramen after following one of the Notre Dame players into the back corner of the end zone.

Click here for game summary, stats, and play-by-play.

College Football 2009: Michigan butters Notre Dame’s bread

106,000 spectators filled the Michigan Stadium today to witness the Wolverines break down Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish.  ABC televised the game; Sean McDonough and Matt Millen provided commentary.   The first quarter was scoreless until four minutes were left to play.  Wolverines Brandon Minor running back caught quarterback Tate Forcier pass and nudged the ball into the end zone.  Michigan 7 and Notre Dame 0.  Fighting Irish halfback Armando Allen Jr. answered with a TD.  Michigan then challenged the TD ruling, citing that Allen Jr.’s right foot stepped out of bounds at the twenty-two yard line.  Michigan won the challenge.  With under a minute left on the clock, Nick Tausch landed a field goal for the Fighting Irish.  Wolverines wide receiver Darryl Stonum then made a ninety-four yard kickoff-return for a TD.  Going into the second quarter, Michigan 14 and Notre Dame 3.

The top of the second quarter saw an increase in the Fighting Irish’s score, thanks to quarterback Jimmy Clausen’s pass to wide receiver Golden Tate for a TD.  Michigan 14 and Notre Dame 10.  By the bottom of the quarter, the Fighting Irish bumped up their number with another TD, courtesy of wide receiver Michael Floyd, and a field goal.  With seconds remaining in the first half, the Wolverines narrowed the score gap with a thirty-nine yard field goal by kicker Jason Olesnavage.  Notre Dame 20 and Michigan 17.

The third quarter gave the Wolverines an opportunity to tie the score, but Olesnavage shuttled that ball very wide left (from the kicker’s POV, the ball sailed beyond to the left of the uprights).  Halfway through the quarter, though, the Wolverines took the lead with a TD reception by tight end Kevin Koger.  Michigan 24 and Notre Dame 20.

The fourth quarter spat out a thirty–one yard touchdown, taken into the end zone by Tate Forcier himself.  He ran right down the field with no threat of being tackled.  Michigan 31 and Notre Dame 20.  The Fighting Irish nearly clocked in another TD on their next possession, but Golden Tate dropped the ball as he came down in the end zone.  His mouth guard fell out as well.  A couple of plays later, though, he would get the prolate spheroid across the goal line without dropping it.  A two-point conversion was unsucessfully attempted.  Michigan 31 and Notre Dame 26.  Halfway through the quarter, Forcier threw an interception.  Irish safety Kyle McCarthy made the catch and ran the ball back twenty-some-odd yards (he travelled in more of horizontal trajectory).  With five minutes left on the clock, the Fighting Irish took the lead with a second Allen Jr. TD.  This time, the two-point conversion worked.  Notre Dame 34 and Michigan 31.  Down to sixteen seconds and Wolverines wide receiver Greg Mathews made a TD reception.  He caught the pass and took a step into the end zone.  Michigan 38 and Notre Dame 34.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  The yellow from those Wolverines’ uniforms were so bright!  Pacman bright.  The Michigan fans in the stands also made me think of Pacman.

2.  Denard Robinson stepped in as QB for Michigan intermittently from the middle of the second quarter onwards.

3.  In the bottom of the third quarter at 3:48 seconds, a flag was thrown on the field, a holding penalty on Notre Dame.  The camera cut to one of the Fighting Irish (in long shot) standing somewhat nonchalantly on the field (the flag was in the background, slightly to screen right).  Was it Jimmy Clausen who was standing there…and readjusted the cloth about his crotch?  Oh yes, his hand gestures bore a striking resemblance to picking a wedge–only in the front rather than in the rear.

4.  Did Matt Millen say something about Darius Fleming’s jock strap being on the field after Tate Forcier’s fourth quarter TD? What could Millen have said if he didn’t say “jock strap.”

5.  After Notre Dame got on top towards the bottom of the fourth quarter, the camera cut to a couple shots of the Fighting Irish fans.  Imagine a moshpit, if you will, except there’s no crowd-surfing.  There’s crowd-pushups.

6.  Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis has to get his other knee replaced?

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

College Football: Notre Dame poker faces Navy

For forty-three years straight since 1963, Navy lost to Notre Dame. 2007 was different. The Fighting Irish and the Midshipmen gathered at the M&T Bank Stadium to answer the jackpot question of the day: Today’s jackpot question: Will Notre Dame get their groove back or will Navy see a second victory?

Broadcast on CBS, the first quarter started with Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen throwing an interception. Midshipmen cornerback Ketric Buffin caught the ball at Navy’s eighteen-yard line. No score came from it but the Navy defense gave Notre Dame more reason for pause as linebacker Corey Johnson brought Clausen down (on the Fighting Irish’s next possession) and defensive end Jabaree Tuani landed on the ball. Notre Dame would not be discouraged, though. Navy’s punt was blocked and Toryan Smith was able to run the ball into the end zone. Fighting Irish 7 and Midshipmen 0.

The second quarter was considerably uneventful until the bottom when Midshipman quarterback Jarod Bryant successfully threw to running back Cory Finnerty, who then ran twenty-two yards into the end zone for a touchdown. Notre Dame and Navy tied with seven points each. With fewer than two minutes left in the quarter, Midshipman Ketric Buffin intercepted Jimmy Clausen a second time–but Notre Dame immediately recovered the ball. Going into halftime, the Fighting Irish pushed out a twenty-eight yard field goal for a three-point lead. 10 to 7.

The third quarter progressed roughly two minutes. Navy had the ball; the quarterback was tackled before he got too far down field. His contact with the turf was captured from a high-angle medium long shot, meaning that the players’ bodies were entirely on screen but only a few of them were on screen. Number twenty-nine (I think) from Navy, slammed his hands together in frustration. I could’ve misinterpreted the sounds and sights, but I do believe that as he clapped his hands, he cried out, “phuck man.” Not too long after that moment, Notre Dame increased their lead thanks to running back Armando Allen Jr. Notre Dame did it again at the bottom of the quarter, courtesy of running back Robert Hughes. Fighting Irish 24 and Midshipmen 7.

The top of the fourth quarter put a broader smile on Notre Dame’s face in the form of a thirty-six yard field goal. 27 to 7. “Sheets of rain,” as one of the commentators put it, also started to pour down in the fourth quarter (the rain didn’t last too long, though). In the bottom of the quarter, Navy running back Shun White got the ball into the end zone. Fighting Irish 27 and Midshipmen 14. Navy wide receiver Tyree Barnes made a brilliant catch just shy of the end zone with under two minutes left to play. The review of the play ruled it down at the one-yard line rather than a touchdown. Ricky Dobbs, who took over quarterbacking duties for Navy in the bottom of the third quarter, put the ball in the end zone himself on the next play. Fighting Irish 27 and Midshipmen 21. Navy got so close to nabbing the game because they recovered the ball on their next punt-away. Unfortunately, a series of incomplete passes meant that Notre Dame took the victory 27 to 21.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. There was a montage-with-voice-over that summarized the Notre Dame-Navy rivalry before the game.

2. Craig Bolerjack and Steve Beuerlein were the commentators.

3. US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were at the coin toss. Navy won but deferred.

4. Nearing the end of the first quarter, before going to a commercial, the camera cut to a low-angle shot of Navy’s mascots: two goats looking very much like oatmeal. That is, their coats reminded me of oatmeal. Bill the Goat anyone? Both goats got more screentime before the start of the third quarter.

5. Upon returning from a commercial at the top of the second quarter, there was an acknowledgment of Colonel John Ripley and his contributions to the Vietnam War.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.


Be sure to watch the 2008 Army-Navy game on December 6. Kickoff will be at noon and televised by CBS. Last year’s game was in Baltimore; Navy beat Army.

And, UGA nipped Auburn in the bud. 17 to 13.

College Football: Hokies bat the Yellow Jackets away

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets traveled north to hammer it out with the Virginia Tech Hokies (televised by ESPN via ABC). This entry shall be streamlined because of a substantial tangential thought which surfaced while I watched a few plays from the Notre Dame vs. Michigan game.

By the end of the first half, Virginia Tech was in the lead with fourteen points (thanks to touchdowns by running back Darren Evans and quarterback Tyrod Taylor) to GaTech’s 9 (a field goal and a Roddy Jones TD). By the end of the second half, GaTech tied the game 17 to 17; but then there was a field goal by Virginia Tech.  Final score 20-17.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. The Hokies donned orange jerseys, which hasn’t happened since 1994. The uniforms made me think of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The bleachers were a sea of orange.

2. Virginia Tech’s president was interviewed briefly in the first quarter. He said that all VT’s home games are sold out. Ever since April 16, 2007 the entire community has banded together in unprecedented ways.

I flipped to NBC during a commercial break in the first quarter and was met with the game between the Fighting Irish and the Wolverines. The substantial tangent has to do with a particular pass in the top of the second quarter when Michigan had possession of the ball. Quarterback Steven Threet threw an incomplete pass.  The ball was knocked from flight by one of the Notre Dame players (I don’t recall who).  Threet’s pass would probably have landed in the hands of its intended (or an eligible) receiver if the other guy wasn’t in the way.  Does the incomplete pass mean Threet didn’t throw the ball adequately enough?  Should he have seen the blue jersey coming?

I’ve always believed that hard work doesn’t always pay off–not even for those who deserve it.  Athletes probably experience it disproportionately more than non-athletes.  So, the next time you tried really hard but didn’t stick the landing, remember the pass that was rendered incomplete because the ball was batted away.  It’s not your fault.  There are other forces at play.

The halftime show during the Notre Dame vs. Michigan game included an interview Bob Costas did with Jim Brown about Ernie Davis, who played for Syracuse University, became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, and died of leukemia at the age of twenty-three.  Jim Brown mentioned his “quickness, speed, power…agility, intelligence” and that “he transcends race….people just liked him…He had that..that spirit, just an intangible that moved mountains. The human spirit man…it can overcome anything.”

Notre Dame players have translucent blue mouth guards.  Dazzling.  The Irish Guard.  Click here to read all about Notre Dame’s win over Michigan.  35 to 17.

Block with Ferocity, Kick with Grace, Throw with Intensity

…but don’t get so emotional, baby.

I’m just about halfway through reading John Feinstein’s book on the Army-Navy rivalry. While recounting the game between Army and Notre Dame in 1995–the one primarily quarterbacked by junior Ronnie McAda and where a successful two-point conversion in the bottom of the fourth quarter would’ve given Army a 29-28 victory over the Fighting Irish–Feinstein comments, “Emotion, as any coach will tell you, only takes you so far…Once the game starts, emotion may carry you for a play or two or even an entire series, but that’s about it. Emotion can also work against you, make you tight, take away your ability to play on instinct” (187).

I ask all you footballers and coaches: is emotion not part of instinct? Is instinct not part of emotion? Does acting on instinct only imply that one doesn’t have to think beforehand? that one simply knows what to do next? Does it also apply to feeling? that one doesn’t have to be fired up to execute one’s job?

In other performative athletic activities such as ballet, figure skating, fencing, boxing, and various martial arts, bringing and conveying emotion is an essential part of the game-play. Boxing, martial arts, and fencing may involve some bluffing to confuse one’s opponent, but punching, kicking, dodging, and parrying concern more than just literally going through the motions. One has to exhibit a certain demeanor, even if it is feigned and part of the strategy to win. With ballet and figure skating, displaying and applying emotions are not up for debate. An accomplished dancer may be able to do fouette turns for minutes on end followed by a series of triple pirouettes, but if there’s no feeling in it, then it’s just a sequence of movements.

Alas, playing the lead role in a ballet is not the same as being starting quarterback, running back, tight end, or cornerback. For one, football players wear helmets. No matter how many times the camera goes in for an extreme close-up, whatever the eyes say won’t be analogous to what the whole body of a dancer communicates. When the players are on the bench and not wearing the head gear, they’re not participating in the game-play. They may be smiling or scowling from having nabbed or fumbled the ball, but that grin or frown occurs after the fact.