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Students excited for 2009 season

Irena Zajickova | Friday, September 4, 2009

Despite last year’s even record, students say they are optimistic about the Irish’s chances against the Nevada Wolf Pack Saturday to begin Notre Dame’s 2009 football season.

After last year’s 6-6 record followed by a victory in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, students say they have high hopes for the football team, especially in light of the No. 23 preseason ranking in the Associated Press poll.

Judging from an inspired performance in the bowl game and a promising freshman class, the Irish could be good this year, senior Jason Miller said.

“Based on what we saw in the bowl game, our schedule and the incoming class, I think the pieces are finally falling into place for a breakout season,” Miller said. “It’s going to be fun to watch.”

Since he was abroad last fall, Miller said this season will be even more exciting, as he has not seen a football game in Notre Dame stadium for almost two years.

And the promise of a good season makes that even better, Miller said.

“I’m hugely excited for the first game. After a year away, I can’t wait to get back in the stadium,” he said. “Like most other people, I have high hopes for this season, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

For freshmen with no prior game day experience, this year signifies the beginning of an era of quality football that will hopefully last for the duration of their time at Notre Dame, according to James Benner, a freshman from Dillon Hall.

“The guys on SportsCenter are saying that this will be a breakout year for the Fighting Irish, so it’s a pretty exciting time to be a freshman here,” Benner said. “I’ve got a lot of good football to look forward to.”

Benner, along with most other freshmen, is also looking forward to his first football game in the student section.

“My family is big on Notre Dame football, but I’ve never been to a college football game, so this is pretty cool for me,” Benner said.

Another thing to look forward to is the highly-anticipated return of the Dillon Hall pep rally. The pep rally’s cancellation last year was met with great disappointment from the student body, and students are happy to have it back, said senior Michelle Hackner, a resident of Walsh Hall.

“The Dillon pep rally was hilarious my first two years here, and I was sad that they cancelled it,” Hackner said. “My friends are I are all excited to watch it this year. Hopefully it’s funny.”

As a senior, Hackner has high hopes for the season.

But she said there are other things to look forward to if the team doesn’t meet expectations, such as tailgating.

“I’ll still be excited for games and tailgating if the team doesn’t live up to the hype, but it will all be so much better if they do,” Hackner said. “The starters are all back and they played well in the Hawaii Bowl, so there’s no reason for them not to do well this year.”

The Irish will kick off their season tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.

The Dillon Hall pep rally will take place tonight at 5:45 p.m. on South Quad.