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Expectations lead to frustrating defeat

Nora Kenney | Monday, November 3, 2008

This week, many Irish fans entered the Notre Dame stadium feeling overconfident in anticipation of a game which ended in a loss that was grueling for both players and fans to endure. Part of this overconfidence was a result of Pittsburgh’s loss to unrated Rutgers on Oct. 25, in which the Panthers lost 54-34 and were knocked off the polls from their previous position at seventeen.

The overconfident attitude wasn’t just with the players, but the students also. “You are walking into the Stadium and you think we’re going to win because we haven’t lost a game in our stadium yet [this year],” freshman Michelle Consiglio said.

“I thought we’d win, but we were insanely evenly matched which you could tell because of the four overtimes.”

However, as the players left the field for halftime, the teams did not seem evenly matched at all, as seen in the Irish’s 14-point lead.

“I felt pretty comfortable about it. It was pretty good I think. You know everyone is optimistic and had a lot of momentum going into the second half,” senior Dan Fanuele said.

Unfortunately, the optimism and momentum in the student section was tainted when Pittsburgh scored a touchdown early in the second half, and continued to diminish, despite Clausen’s 6-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Golden Tate in the fourth quarter and senior David Bruton’s interception.

Senior Jeston Greenwood described “A growing sense of collective despair” amongst the students as the regulation game ended in a tie.

Throughout the four overtimes, the Notre Dame defense was able to prevent the Panthers from scoring any touchdowns.

The players did not leave the field without putting their arms around each other and singing the alma mater with the fans. For some freshman, however, this attitude was not completely expected, and came as a pleasant surprise.

“It was really neat that the entire crowd stayed and that we rallied,” Consiglio said.

In fact, students said they maintained a sense of optimism for next year’s season as well, despite the loss.

Students are still optimistic about future seasons despite the loss. “Next year and the year after will be ridiculous, so this loss…I mean it’s all right because we can still make a bowl game. We have a lot to look forward to,” sophomore Justin Siler said.

Much of the post-game discussion focused on Brandon Walker, who was put under immense pressure when the Notre Dame offense was unable to score touchdowns during any of the four overtimes. Although his last field goal attempt was unsuccessful, many students felt proud of his efforts, and confident in his future on the team.

Freshman Javier Galán said, “He did a great job considering he made four field goals.”