Travelers enjoy ND win, southern hospitality
Tricia de Groot | Monday, November 8, 2004
Notre Dame fans everywhere were surprisingly pleased with the football team’s performance in Knoxville on Saturday.
The victory over No. 9 Tennessee was celebrated by students both in South Bend and by those who traveled the eight and a half hours to Tennessee to see the game.
Unlike some more volatile away games of the past, Irish fans felt the southern hospitality of the Volunteers.
“I was surprised at how nice all of the Tennessee fans were to us, especially after we beat them down,” said sophomore Tom Bradley who drove to Tennessee for the game. “Although, one lady came up to us after the game and said, ‘I hope you enjoyed your stay and thanks for hurting our quarterback.'”
Students felt the Tennessee fans were very welcoming overall and many of them congratulated the opponents for their attitude throughout the entire weekend.
“I was surprised by how respectful the fans were before and after the game,” said sophomore Kathryn Schuessler.
Other students were satisfied with being able to watch their team, the underdog, make an unexpected win in Neyland stadium.
Sophomore Rick King was among them.
“It was just one of the best football games I’ve ever been to,” King said. “Watching Notre Dame beat Tennessee in Neyland was awesome.”
In addition to miraculously defeating the orange of Tennessee, this win gave Notre Dame six victories, making them eligible for a bowl game.
“I was really excited about the win over Tennessee not only because they were ranked [No.] 11 and we lost to BC, but also because the win made us eligible for a bowl,” junior Gretchen Byars said.
Freshman Elizabeth Elliot said she thought it was nice to win after Boston College.
“It gave us all confidence for the next two games and shows that we are willing to rise to the challenge,” Elliot said.
Fans also praised the performance of Notre Dame’s defense and expressed the advantage the team gained with the injury to Tennessee’s quarterback.
“The Irish defense was so tough on Saturday that even the Tennessee quarterback wanted out, and that’s what the Irish did – they took him out,” Holobowski said.
Not only was Tennessee playing with their third-string quarterback, the Notre Dame defense, including Justin Tuck and Brandon Hoyte to name a few, looked exceptional for the game.
“When Justin Tuck tackled people it was like phagocytosis,” freshman Joe Runde said.
Two weeks after the disappointing loss to Boston College, the whole team came out focused to go into a hostile Southeastern Conference environment and come out with a win.
“The defense really stepped it up and we came out with a huge win,” junior Sam Pandolfo said. “It really says a lot about the determination of our team and send the message that no one at Notre Dame is ready to give up on this season.”
With a shot at a bowl game and newfound hope in the team for the next two games, students rejoiced in the weekend’s victory.
“Even though I love the south, I’m even happier the Fighting Irish lived up to their name,” sophomore Caroline Murphy said. “We proved once again that excellence on the field and in the classroom are not mutually exclusive.”