Charging the field
Eric Prister | Monday, October 12, 2009
Three seconds. Two seconds. One second. The time has run out, and Notre Dame, after three-straight humiliating 31-point losses, has finally beaten USC. The student section begins to storm the field, ecstatic beyond all measure. Then they heard it. Somewhere over the roar of the Notre Dame faithful, a man was speaking the words that could never have been expected, but brought the worst possible.
“Please get off the field. The game is not over. You must get off the field or Notre Dame will be penalized,” PA announcer Mike Collins was saying.
Known as the “Bush push” or, to some, simply Oct. 15, the three-point loss in Notre Dame’s football game against USC in 2005 was the closest Notre Dame has been to competing with our biggest rival since they became a national power in 2002.
As heartbreaking as that game was (trust me, I was in the student section charging the field), even worse is that the Irish have been outscored by the Trojans by 186 points in the six other games since 2002. The closest of these games was a twenty point loss in 2006, a year that Notre Dame began the year ranked second in the nation and had high national championship hopes. To put it bluntly, outside of 2005, it hasn’t even been close.
Now, I haven’t ever been to a game between Texas and Oklahoma, or to the Big House for a Michigan game against Ohio Street, but I can’t imagine a more perfect place to be than on the campus of Notre Dame on USC weekend when the Irish have a fighting chance to win the game. The sun is brighter, the grass is greener and an excitement permeates campus like no other time.
I’m no expert, nor would I ever be so bold as to say that we will defeat USC this weekend. But, having lived in South Bend for my entire life, I have experienced the ups and downs of Notre Dame football more than many people on campus. This year’s football team may not have had the most convincing victories so far, but we certainly can compete with any team in the nation, including that team from southern California. In this rivalry, if the game stays close, anything can happen.
So I urge you to live it up. Keep the buzz and excitement alive, because you may never have another opportunity like this. Soak up the feeling that only this weekend can bring. Get excited, wear green and yell until you have no voice left. And if, no matter how it happens, we beat USC, you have an obligation to charge the field. Do it for all those who have watched USC dominate the rivalry over the last seven years. Do it for those who were on their way when they were summoned back to the student section, only to watch the victory ripped away. And do it for yourselves. You won’t regret it.