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Campus anticipates traditional matchup

Justin Tardiff | Friday, November 11, 2005

As a school deeply rooted in the values of tradition, Notre Dame’s on-campus atmosphere this weekend will be one of excitement when the Irish take on Navy as part of the historical rivalry between the two teams, students said.

Not only do Notre Dame and the Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy have the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country – a mark set at 79 games – but the Irish also hold the NCAA record for most consecutive wins against one opponent, with 41 wins in a row versus Navy.

Students said the streak is a main draw for the matchup.

“I just want to keep the streak alive,” freshman Clare Heintz said.

Navy’s last win in the series came in 1963, when Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach lifted the Midshipmen to victory 35-14 in Notre Dame Stadium.

Although Navy is unranked in all major polls, the Irish are not taking this game lightly – and neither are some students.

“I think that this will be a fun game to watch, as always,” freshman Drew Tuckett said.

Some students said despite the storied rivalry of the two teams, fan energy will probably be lower than in the case of more hyped-up games this season.

“The Notre Dame/Navy game brings a lot of tradition to campus, which always makes for a good match-up,” freshman Katie McInerney said. “[But] nothing can possibly live up to the USC game as far as excitement goes.”

Freshman Emily Perry said she “cannot wait” to cheer the Irish on to victory Saturday – even if her classmates don’t share in her excitement.

“Other students are not quite as excited for this [weekend], as the Irish have already taken on all of their ranked opponents this season,” she said.

Lackluster expectations will cause some students to skip the game altogether.

“I traded in my ticket and decided not to go because I don’t think that this is even going to be close,” freshman Jessica Billings said.

Despite the varied levels of anticipation, students also expressed respect for Navy team members as American military personnel.

“The thing that I love about the Navy game is that, no matter what happens [on the field], you know they are fighting for a good cause,” junior Melissa Chandler said. “Even though we’re playing [against] them on the field, we are always on their side.”