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Students reflect on final game of the regular season

| Tuesday, December 2, 2014

In the final regular season game of the 2014 season, the Irish lost 49-14 in a game against USC on Saturday afternoon.

The game concluded Notre Dame’s season, one that saw the University climb to No. 5 in the AP Poll after a perfect 6-0 start and fall out of the rankings after losing five of the next six games, finishing with a 7-5 overall record.

The Irish were well supported in Los Angeles, as a strong Notre Dame contingent traveled to support the team, freshman Kelly Loughran said.

“The tailgating environment was a lot of fun at the game,” Loughran said. “I was impressed by how well represented the Notre Dame fans were in Southern California.”

Junior Lisa Wuertz said she was also impressed by the University’s committed fans.

“One of my favorite parts of away games is seeing Notre Dame fans traveling from all over the country,” Wuertz said. “I sat in the Notre Dame section. There were a ton of Irish fans.”

In the face of the USC loss, ND fans left the game with mixed reactions.

“One positive is we have a month off to get ready for the bowl game and finally get healthy,” sophomore Ryan Loughran said.

“The worst part was definitely the score, but enjoying one last Notre Dame game this year made it completely worth it,” Kelly Loughran said.

Ryan Loughran said with the close of the regular season, he was curious about the possible quarterback competition between sophomore Malik Zaire and senior Everett Golson.

“There needed to be some type of change to put a fire into this team,” Ryan Loughran said. “I don’t know who [Irish head coach Brian] Kelly will go with, but there definitely is a QB controversy.”

Zaire took over the quarterback responsibilities from Golson during the second quarter of the game and ran for one of the Irish touchdowns. In addition to the quarterback switch, Kelly also subbed in redshirt freshman Mike McGlinchey at offensive tackle for fifth-year senior Christian Lombard.

“We have a lot injuries, so it’s hard to really judge where we will be next year,” Wuertz said. “I thought Malik looked good and was a good change of pace.”

In spite of the loss, the Irish were able to finish with a winning record for a seventh consecutive season.

“With young teams, bowl preparation can be very beneficial to the development of a team leading into the offseason,” said Ryan Loughran.

After a series of disappointing losses, the Irish aim to end the year on a high note as they turn their attention to bowl game preparation.

Students say they are ready to move on.

“I’m indifferent about a bowl game,” Wuertz said. “I sort of want to just start a new season and forget about the negatives from this one.”

Currently, the Irish are predicted to play against the University of Tennessee in the Belk Bowl on December 30 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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