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Campus erupts in wake of victory

Patrick Cassidy | Monday, September 25, 2006

“Emotional rollercoaster” is not a phrase anyone would have used to describe Notre Dame’s despairingly disappointing home loss to Michigan last week – unless the rollercoaster was going nowhere but down.

The same can’t be said about Saturday’s 40-37 win over Michigan State.

For a while, the freefall continued in East Lansing. That is, until the Fighting Irish did their nickname justice, finding themselves strapped in tight on a rollercoaster ride that ended at its peak.

Freshman Brandon Drenon said he had never “experienced so many feelings in a four-hour period.”

Doing their best Michigan impression, the Spartans jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead. Freshman Anthony Parrish, a trombonist in the marching band, said he knew that “an epic comeback was necessary.”

“We just needed the team to step up,” he said.

The Irish took more than a few big steps in tough weather, which senior Annie Hollenbeck said was “borderline snow.”

“Although it was almost freezing rain, the students were still in high spirits,” she said.

Terrail Lambert’s interception in the closing minute sent the Notre Dame faithful into a frenzy.

“I was swept up in the urge to hug random people,” freshman Jim Murphy said.

For Murphy, who was in attendance, the most satisfying moment of the day was “seeing the pride on the players faces as they came over to sing the Alma Mater.”

Back on campus, the fight song rang out over the quads while jubilant confusion struck the student body. Many bewildered students found themselves ankle deep in the waters of North Quad’s Clarke Memorial Fountain (Stonehenge). Cheers, jigs and push-ups filled the night, creating a rare and unforgettable moment for those in attendance.

Freshman Josh Garrett joined the festivities soon after the game clock hit 0:00.

“I wandered to LaFortune and heard the raucous crowd that surrounded the fountain and could not resist the impulse to join in the celebration,” he said.

Notre Dame Security Police officers were “monitoring the celebration at Stonehenge but made no arrests,” Associate Director of Notre Dame Security/Police Phil Johnson said. “NDSP was present during the celebratory gathering and we were concerned that no one gets hurt,” he said. “Our officers helped people get out of [Stonehenge] – it’s a very slippery pool.”

Around 3 a.m., the band, students and the football players began to return to campus. The team was greeted like a group of conquering heroes when nearly 75 students welcomed them as they arrived at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Freshman Rob Jones described the scene as “electric and a great way to finish off a great night.”

“We all lined up to cheer for them, and even though they looked exhausted, many reveled in the moment and showed their appreciation,” he said.