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Ward: ND wins big with eye-catching light show

| Friday, October 29, 2021

When you think of college football, it’s hard not to think about tradition. And when you think of Notre Dame football in particular, it’s hard to ignore their fantastic history and tradition. As a result, their fanbase can tend to react rather snobbishly to any sort of altercation or change that they see unfit. But Notre Dame’s football recruiting staff took a huge leap this weekend and made a much-needed splash in the national spotlight (no pun intended) in the form of a fun light show between the third and fourth quarters.

It was perfectly fitting for Notre Dame, a program that honors its history and traditions. The program had new life breathed into it on Saturday night when a new atmosphere that we have never seen at Notre Dame Stadium before was brought before us. 

There were several notable recruits in attendance as the Irish marched towards a 31-16 win over USC on Saturday including Top247’s No. 1 safety Xavier Nwankpa, five-star defensive lineman Anthony Lucas plus offensive linemen Aamil Wagner and Billy Schrauth. The Irish also hosted three more uncommitted recruits on official visits in LSU commit and five-star quarterback Walker Howard, defensive lineman Hero Kanu and athlete Carson Tabaracci. There were also plenty of former Irish players in attendance including Chase Claypool, Jerome Bettis and his son (another recruit) Jerome Bettis Jr. and Josh Adams. 

The highlight of the night was perfectly fitting for Notre Dame; a program that wishes to honor history and tradition while also keeping up with the massively shifting recruiting landscape. Flicking the lights off before the Fighting Irish took the field and the ensuing light show that followed was all that Notre Dame needed to do to get a second glance from the nationwide audience during the primetime game.

It wasn’t over-the-top; it wasn’t Athens in 2019, but it did the job. The collective gasp from the stadium said it all. It was an attempt to catch attention that wasn’t overly ambitious and distasteful and most importantly, it got the job done. Notre Dame needs more of this. They need more new material to keep not only recruits but their national fanbase entertained, interested and engaged with the team. It was certainly able to grab the attention of all in attendance at the game and it wasn’t too much when they did the light show later in the game. Now, it goes without saying that a light show is not sustainable as weekly pre-game entertainment, but these changes have not been met with much if any negative response from their sometimes grouchy fanbase. In fact, they have largely been met with a rejuvenated delight and excitement about the program, even a few weeks after a flawless season was snapped.

This is what we need from Notre Dame — answering the bell and delivering will prove to be a tremendous stepping stone for the Irish in the future.

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About Jimmy Ward

Jimmy is a senior at Holy Cross College, where he studies English and sports management. He is originally from Westfield, Indiana. Currently, Jimmy serves as an associate sports editor at The Observer. You can find him at @jimmyyward on Twitter.

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