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ND students cheer Irish on to victory

John Cameron | Sunday, November 6, 2011

Junior Pat Vinett, who transferred to Notre Dame from Wake Forest, returned to Winston-Salem, N.C. for Saturday’s game hoping for an Irish victory.

Vinett said he was cautiously optimistic about Notre Dame’s chances, even more so than many of the Wake Forest fans he spoke to.

“I know talking to kids down there, they were expecting to lose by like 40. I thought it was going to be pretty close, that we were going to underestimate the ACC,” Vinett said. “I knew we’d win, but I thought it’d be difficult.”

Despite the Demon Deacons’ stadium being less than half the size of Notre Dame’s, Vinett said the level of excitement was impressive.

“I ended up in the student section, so I don’t know about general admission, but compared to whenever I’ve been there before, it was really loud,” he said. “They had fireworks going when they scored, it was pretty good considering the size of the stadium. It was packed.”

While it was a farther trip from South Bend than Purdue or Michigan, Vinett said the Notre Dame turnout was surprisingly large.

“There were a ton of ND people,” he said. “I’m not going to say there were more ND people [than Wake Forest fans], but I’d say it was pretty even cheering.”

Despite having a friend on the Wake Forest team, Vinett cheered for the Irish throughout.

“I was cheering for ND the whole time,” he said. “My buddy’s one of the wide receivers [for Wake Forest] … I was happy when he was doing well, but I was happy ND won.”

Vinett said the highlight of the game was senior receiver Michael Floyd’s third quarter touchdown.

“It completely sucked the life out of the Wake student section,” he said.

Sophomore Ashley Barraza turned down the long drive in favor of on-campus game watch and said she was expecting the Irish to quickly lock in a victory.

“I thought the game was going to be a blowout,” she said. “I thought we were going to go in there and dominate, that they’d put it away in the first half like the Navy and Air Force games.”

She said the decidedly less impressive victory was due to a series of minor errors.

“I thought the two interceptions were pretty bad, especially the one where they were in Cover 3 [zone defense] and Tommy [Rees] threw it anyway,” she said. “Just a bunch of fundamental mistakes we could have avoided … Wake’s not that great a team so we could recover, but if it were a better team it could have cost us.”

Junior Andy Boes was also confident in Notre Dame’s odds at the beginning of the game.

“We’re athletically superior to them,” he said. “It was just a matter of how much we would win by.”

After struggling in the first half, Boes said the defense coming together later in the game was crucial for the victory.

“The defense came up with some plays that were pretty important,” he said.

Boes said he was happy with the win, despite the close score.

“I would have liked to see a bigger point differential, but a win’s a win,” he said. “I’m hoping next week it’s not as close as it was this weekend, but I’m glad we can continue with some momentum.”