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Notre Dame fans left seeing red

by SAM STRYKER | Monday, September 27, 2010

Though the Stanley Cup made its way onto the field Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium, its winning luck could not rub off on the Irish as Notre Dame fell to Stanford, 37-14.

After two losses in a row that came down to the wire, Irish fans had tempered expectations prior to this weekend’s matchup. Sophomore Tylor Gauger said though he did not expect much before kickoff, the final score came as a bit of a shock.

“I knew it was going to be a tough one to win but I didn’t think we would lose that badly,” he said. “Stanford played smart but we also did not play up to par.”

Stanford was able to post points largely on the strength of kicker Nate Whitaker, who transferred to Stanford from Notre Dame in 2008 nailed five field goals for the Cardinal Saturday. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been hyped as one of the top in the nation, threw two interceptions for his first turnovers of the year.

Junior Melissa Guinan said it was difficult to watch the Irish not capitalize on those chances.

“It is a shame we weren’t able to turn the big turnovers into something,” she said.

Sophomore Brian Morell said though a loss to such a prestigious opponent was disappointing, the defense looked sharp against Luck.

“It was disappointing, but not completely unexpected. Stanford was the highest ranked team we have faced this season,” he said. “We did well against Luck, we just didn’t have any offense.”

At 1-3, Notre Dame is off to its worst start since 2007. Sophomore Catherine Flatley said expectations going into the season may have been unrealistic and to evaluate the team on such a small sample would be misleading.

“Obviously the loss was really disappointing, but everyone seemed to hope it would go a lot better than it did,” she said. “People just do not seem thrilled relative to our expectations this year. However, I don’t know if you can judge everything [first-year Irish] coach [Brian] Kelly has done in just a few games.”


Senior David Riehm echoed Flatley’s statements, and said he believes Kelly will be able to turn the Irish around soon enough

“I guess it would have been cool if we came out and won, but we have a long way to go largely because we’ve been down the last three years,” he said. “We played like a team that has a lot of work to do. Kelly has shown that he can bring us out of that.”

Senior Alex Sajben said the loss was particularly tough for seniors because of the performance of the team over the last few years, but that Kelly represents hope for the future.

“It is tough because since freshman year our particular class has had a lot more downs than ups,” she said. “I think honestly, Stanford is a very good team. I’d love to be here next year when coach Kelly settles in. He is a very good coach.”

Stanford scored 18 points in the fourth quarter. As the gap in scoring between the Cardinal and the Irish widened, Notre Dame Stadium began to empty out early.

“It was really sad to see Notre Dame Stadium empty out. Everyone seemed just quiet and disappointed,” Guinan said. “Thank goodness we scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was a nice reward for the people who stayed.”


Sajben said the behavior of the fans was more disenchanting to her than the play of Notre Dame on the field.

“I didn’t come out disappointed in the team, I came out disappointed in the fans,” she said. “I’ve lived through all the disappointment but I stayed there the whole game because that is what you do as fans.”

Despite three difficult losses in a row, Riehm said he was optimistic about this weekend’s matchup against Boston College.

“Boston College got shut out this weekend, so I believe we can keep fighting because that is what we do.”