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Irish fans disappointed, embarrassed by USC loss

Liz Harter and Katie Kohler | Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Notre Dame students who traveled out to the University of Southern California this weekend were hoping for a miracle – but instead they got a massacre, watching the Irish fall 38-3 at the Coliseum.

Waiting until only seconds left in the third quarter for the Irish’s first first down, students were disappointed in the last game of the regular season.

“I was disappointed overall,” said Saint Mary’s senior Allison Buddie, a member of the Band of the Fighting Irish. “Our defense was able to keep it close through the first quarter which gave me a lot of hope, but then the offense was unable to come up with even a first down until the third quarter.”

Senior George Packer said he was not only disappointed in the loss, but embarrassed.

“It’s embarrassing. We have lost 76-3 to USC the past two years. Father Jenkins only gave Ty Willingham three years. Why should Charlie [Weis] get more than four?” Packer said.

“It sucks that we fell apart right at the end [of the season],” Buddie said. “But I think Weis will stay another year … too much money and overall improvements have been made to have Weis leave now.”

Breaking Charlie Weis’ contract could cost the University up to $20 million, but Packer thinks that as an alum of the University, Weis should walk away.

“As an alum, he should walk away from the buyout and not make the school pay … out of respect for the school and the students who have had to watch the past two years,” Packer said. “Hopefully it gets better. There is nowhere to go but up.”

The only positive thing for Packer and many other Notre Dame fans was the beautiful California weather, he said.

Senior Luke Tabit thought the problem wasn’t the lack of talent, but the lack of emotion.

“I don’t think it would look good for Notre Dame to fire another coach after three years, but we definitely need change. Our team has a lot of talent, but they don’t look like they are motivated at all. We don’t play as a team and we don’t play with emotion,” he said.

Kristi Pellegrini, a Saint Mary’s senior in the Band of the Fighting Irish, said she was glad she had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to support the team.

“It was definitely a unique experience being out there and supporting the football team,” she said. “I wish the outcome of the game had been better, but I’m glad I had the opportunity.”

Pellegrini said she thinks the best part of the game was the band’s halftime show.

“So many USC fans even came down and complimented the band on our performance,” she said. “And during the game, our band was even audible above the mic-ed USC band.”

The Trojan Marching Band’s halftime show was a dig at the fact that the Band of the Fighting Irish hadn’t traveled to Southern California in 35 years, she said.

“USC’s halftime show was a classless attack on Notre Dame,” Pellegrini said. “Their show was designed to remind Notre Dame of what we missed out on in the 35 years that we haven’t been traveling to USC.”

Even though they felt attacked, Pellegrini said the band listened to the USC halftime show and were commended by fans at their respect during their show.

“Our band was commended by both Irish and Trojan fans as having the better halftime show,” she said.

She said most of the band is talking about how they outplayed the Trojan Marching Band by playing a better arrangement of A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” a song that USC played during their halftime show, during the second half.

Senior Matt Meinig, a saxophone in the band, said traveling to USC will be something he always remembers from his time at Notre Dame.

“It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life, to be sure,” Meinig said. “As a senior, it was a great way to top off my final season. Despite the outcome of the game and the hostile environment, it was probably the best away game I’ve played at because I could tell that every Irish fan out there appreciated the band’s presence.”