Saturday dawned early after a night of reconnecting with old friends at Finnie’s. Not even dark skies and stormy weather could dampen the excitement that an Irish home-game brings. Texas and Notre Dame fans alike began their gameday preparations early, despite a night game. College football has returned and the Irish are back again to prove their prowess on the football field.
My day started with a personal tradition: pancakes and Jell-O shots. While the boys sat on my couches watching pregame predictions, I made pancakes and bacon to order. The rain delayed our start but it did nothing to decrease our excitement.
Around noon we decided it was time to go, even with the rain. We savored our last dry minutes and got ready to trek to the Joyce lot.
It was still raining when we arrived, but there was beer and booze and homemade Jambalaya. We sat under the tents, talking hometowns, game predictions, college and Notre Dame.
The skies eventually cleared and it was tailgating as usual. I ran into old friends, former roommates, dormmates, London flatmates, and everyone in between. The sun came out and we all ditched our rain coats for sunglasses and sunscreen.
We made our way to the stadium around 7:00 pm. Nostalgia hit when I realized I was this would be the last home opener I would see from the student section. But I was soon swept up by the band’s music and the fly over.
The team took the field and the stadium exploded. It was finally game time!
6:29: Will Fuller catches a 16-yard pass from Malik Zaire. Justin Yoon makes the point after attempt. The Irish go up 7-0. The stadium explodes and I go up for student section pushups. No one was kicked in the process.
1:02: Josh Adams makes a 14-yard run to score the Irish’s second touchdown. Yoon’s kick is good. 14-0 Irish. Notre Dame fans everywhere rejoice as Texas fans groan.
7:53: Yoon makes a 38-yard field goal. Texas is now losing 0-17. The Irish are ecstatic, but the Longhorns don’t manage to put any points on the board in the first half.
The band takes the field and puts on an incredible halftime show. The entire student section blissfully sinks onto the benches to rest their feet.
8:36: Nick Rose makes a 41-yard field goal for Texas. The Longhorns finally have something to celebrate, but the Irish aren’t worried. 17-3 Irish.
5:50: Will Fuller catches a 66-yard pass from Zaire and Yoon’s point after the kick is good. The Irish lead 24-3 and Notre Dame fans celebrate once again.
2:00: Josh Adams completes 25-yard run for a fourth Irish touchdown. Yoon’s kick is good and the Irish go up 31-3. The game is going well and the season is full of promise!
Just before the fourth quarter begins, the press box announces that even though Sgt. Tim McCarthy has retired, they have pulled a witticism from the archive. The student section is beside themselves with joy. Everyone learns how to get home safely and the students cheer loudest of all.
11:46: Chris Brown catches a 6-yard pass from Zaire for the Irish’s fifth and final touchdown of the game. Yoon delivers another successful point after attempt to make the score 38-3. The Irish have a solid lead and the last people holding their breath in the stadium breathe a sigh of relief. The Irish offense and defense look good!
The game ends with an Irish victory. Notre Dame fans not only celebrate a successful win, but optimism fills the stadium. The Irish looked great. A good season lies ahead. As Texas fans leave dejected, Notre Dame fans sing the fight song. The players make their way to the student section and everyone links arms to sing the alma mater. I’m struck, as always, by the incredible place we go to school. What a day to be an Irish fan! #LoveThee
Though the hour is late and the sky is dark, a buoyancy of spirit fills the fans filing out of the stadium. Tired feet and hoarse voices are nothing in exchange for an Irish victory. The lady on the dome stands sentinel as always, watching over her loyal sons and daughters. Onwards to victory, she seems to say from her glowing pedestal.
Images: All author’s except 5, which is Aubreanna Bobb’s.