Students disappointed as Irish lose again
Jenn Metz | Monday, November 16, 2009
Irish fans were hardly visible in the sea of Pittsburgh navy that filled a sold-out Heinz Field Saturday. Drowned out by a raucous Panther student section, Notre Dame students who made the six-plus hour drive east to witness Saturday’s loss expressed disappointment in the team’s failure to follow through with a win.
Senior Meghan Magargee and six of her friends trekked to Pittsburgh for the weekend after purchasing tickets in September. After the Irish shutout Nevada in the season opener, Magargee and her friends were enthusiastic and hopeful for a memorable senior season.
“We wanted to travel as much as possible,” Magargee said. “We were really excited and thinking that we would have an awesome winning season.”
After several close games and waning student support for the Irish, now 6-4, coupled with the lack of a student ticket lottery, Magargee said she knew of several students planning to attend Saturday’s game but decided not to.
The Notre Dame 27-22 loss at Heinz field was disappointing for Magargee. The Irish were down 27-9 in the fourth quarter, and two scores from junior wide receiver Golden Tate brought the team within one touchdown for the win.
“To recover so much and then not pull through was pretty upsetting,” Magargee said.
Senior Ashley Mensch said she thinks the now-routine fourth quarter comeback attempts are exciting, but it would be better if the Irish came out with a victory.
Still, the trip to Pittsburgh was fun, and it hasn’t been a negative season for Mensch, who hopes for a win against Connecticut next week.
“That would be a great way to end our senior football season,” she said.
Though she said there were only a “moderate” amount of students at the game, she was surprised by the amount of Irish fans of all ages in Pittsburgh.
The students that were there “had a lot of fun and showed their spirit” with the other Notre Dame fans at the game, Mensch said.
The primetime game in a pro stadium came with several aspects of NFL football Notre Dame fans might not have been used to, including stadium speakers and a jumbotron.
Junior Steve Stober said he thought playing in a pro stadium was a good experience for both the fans and the team. He said he noticed, however, the speakers played music while Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen attempted to call plays, perhaps causing a distraction.
Stober traveled to Pittsburgh with four other friends, and went into the game thinking Notre Dame would not come out with a win against the ranked Panthers. He said he saw more fellow Irish fans than expected.
His seats, high in the end zone, allowed him to see the play develop, and he said he is most disappointed in the offense not finishing their drives.
“Especially in the first half … they weren’t coming out and finishing their drives. The defense kept the game close in the first three quarters and kept giving the offense a chance to win the game — but they couldn’t finish their drives,” he said.
As for the two remaining matchups for Notre Dame — Connecticut and Stanford — Stober predicts a 1-1 finish.
“I think we can beat UConn as long as we just play well. It will be another close game — every game in this season has been close except Nevada and Washington State,” he said.
After Stanford’s sound defeat of Pac-10 opponent USC this weekend, Stober doesn’t think the Irish have a chance in their last regular season game.
“I really don’t think we can beat them,” he said.