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Students feel pain of USC losing streak

Maddie Hanna | Tuesday, November 30, 2004

After watching the football team lose to USC on Saturday, Notre Dame students returned from Thanksgiving break saddened by the season-ending loss.”That was an absolute embarrassment,” sophomore Mac Murray said of the football 41-10 loss to No. 1 USC.Murray, who is from Chicago, traveled to Los Angeles with his family to watch the Irish play the Trojans. “We shouldn’t have even been on the same field with that team,” Murray said.Junior Steve Sweeney, who traveled to USC from northern California with his dad, shared Murray’s sentiment.”We weren’t prepared to play with the number one team in the country for four quarters,” Sweeney said.Sweeney pointed out the growing gap in performance between the Notre Dame and USC teams.”It’s amazing how the series with USC has changed in the last three years. Four years ago we beat them – they weren’t that good. But they get a new coach and have beat us by 31 every year since,” Sweeney said.Sweeney said he pointed to the administration and head coach Tyrone Willingham for the team’s poor performance.”I feel that the current administration is fine with having a mediocre coaching staff,” Sweeney said. “Some people say that Ty’s first recruiting class is only in their sophomore season, and that he needs time, but our recruiting classes have been worse now than under [former head coach Bob] Davie.”Freshman Ned Hawley, who lives in Los Angeles, attended the game with family and friends.”Going into the game, I felt we had a shot,” he said. “USC doesn’t have the practice that we have in the rain, so the weather was on our side. We had a good turnout for the game, and in the first quarter the ND fans were much louder.”According to Hawley, momentum shifted once USC settled down and found their offense. “We lost our energy, and from there it was all downhill,” Hawley said.But students who were upset by the game said they enjoyed USC. “The SoCal fans were great, very intense, but an amicable rivalry. Outside of us getting pounded, it was a really fun time,” said Murray. Hawley enjoyed himself, but noted the difference between ND and USC fans.”USC fans don’t have the heart Notre Dame fans do – when they’re down, they don’t cheer. Win or lose, USC football just isn’t Notre Dame football.”Sweeney said he has attended Notre Dame-USC games since he was little. “It’s a great rivalry and most USC fans are respectful, at least the ones I’ve been around,” he said.