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Students excited for first win of Irish season

Vienna Wagner | Monday, September 19, 2011

For freshman Irish Schweier, the Notre Dame victory over Michigan State on Saturday was a day of firsts.

For the first time, Schweier celebrated a win in the student section.

The 31-13 upset was also Schweier’s first chance to celebrate a touchdown with triumphant push-ups on her friends’ shoulders.

“Doing push-ups was slightly terrifying, but so much fun at the same time,” Schweier said. “I’m really glad that we played well enough to score so many times.”

Freshman Sean Gervais grew up watching Irish football at home. He said this game was a welcome improvement.

“I’ve grown up such a pessimist after seeing Notre Dame lose in past seasons,” Gervais said, “After the Michigan game, you could see how the defense is able to adapt and have people present to make tackles. Once Rees’ throwing game came together, you could see the offense pick up and start driving down the field.”

After freshman running back George Atkinson III scored a touchdown on an 89-yard kickoff return, Gervais said the energy in the stands was contagious.

“The student section had the most spirit after the kickoff return,” Gervais said.

Despite the win, Brenda Smith, assistant rector in Lyons Hall, said fans were frustrated by some of the mistakes on the field.

“I felt like I was really glad that we won, but we still could have played better,” Smith said, “There were some turnovers and bad plays, such as the punt that could have been caught.”

The gameday included an added bonus as the marching band performed its regularly schedule halftime show, as well as the halftime show cancelled two weeks ago due to inclement weather.

Junior Lizzie Helping said the band’s two performances, which included renditions of Toto’s “Africa” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” were impressive.

“The band was awesome,” Helping said.

During its first show, the Notre Dame band and the Michigan State band collaborated to play “Amazing Grace.” The bands performed the song together 10 years ago during the first home game following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Freshman Grace Paz said the tribute to the anniversary of the terrorist attacks was moving.

“It was inspiring to see how two bands with completely different playing styles could unite in song,” Paz said.

Freshman Katie Bascom said she felt the crowd’s spirit during her first full game in Notre Dame stadium.

“The only thing that we in the freshman student section have in common is that we are freshmen,” Bascom said, “But we all join arms in joy for the Irish-jig to celebrate our success and again in respect for the ‘Alma Mater.’ Win or lose, ‘Our hearts forever love thee Notre Dame.'”

While Saturday’s game was not her first Irish win, junior Leah Bernardi agreed that the energy in the student section added to the thrill of the victory.

“It was exciting to finally be able to do some push-ups,” Bernardi said.