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Students impressed by Notre Dame’s suprising victory

Danielle Lerner | Monday, September 13, 2004

After a devastating loss last week to Brigham Young, the football team came back in full force Saturday, beating Michigan 28-20 and recapturing the title of the most winningest program in college football.

Notre Dame senior Andrew Nakamoto was happily surprised by the outcome.

“I really didn’t think we were going to do so well,” Nakamoto said. “I just wanted the game to be a close one, and I was able to get that, and, even better, the win.”

Whether it was Brady Quinn’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Matt Shelton or the fact that Notre Dame rebounded from last year’s 38-0 loss, fans campus-wide were pleased with the win.

But before the Michigan game, some students were skeptical of the outcome.

Notre Dame junior Sam Richey was one of those students.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to do as well as we did because of what happened last week and what happened against Michigan last year,” he said.

Entering halftime down 9-0, students were happy with the defense’s effort to keep the Irish in the game and impressed with the dominance the unit showed throughout the game.

“The defense played really well, [and] to hold them to a touchdown until the very end, I don’t think anyone expected that,” Richey said.

And many fans felt this week, the team looked and seemed just a little bit different.

“We did well because our offense and defense played their hearts out and, more specifically, we were able to get our rushing game in order,” Nakamoto said.

While some attribute the team’s success to the offense or defense, some attribute it to heart – the heart of the team, and of the fans.

Saint Mary’s freshman Natalie Holtz, stood in awe of the student body’s support.

“It was amazing how the student body came together and put their hearts into it,” Holtz said. “It was great how we backed our boys the whole way, through thick and thin.”

Saint Mary’s junior Shannon McManus felt the game gave new meaning to the idea of home-field advantage.

“There is something about being at Notre Dame Stadium, something about coming to our house,” McManus said. “You don’t want someone beating you in your own house.”

The high from Saturday’s win has still yet to wear off, but some students cannot help wondering what future games hold for the Irish.

“I am very optimistic for the future; they proved to themselves and the fans that you can win if you have the heart,” McManus said.

Although the team succeeded in upsetting Michigan, they still have a tough upcoming schedule, including No. 13 Tennessee and No. 1 USC.