Notre Dame football shakes down the thunder, but South Florida goes home with the victory

The energy was contagious. The crowd was electric. The team was fired up.  It was finally kickoff.

Opening drive:

Dayne Crist pass complete to Cierre Wood for 31 yards.

The student section erupts. Now that’s how you start a football game.

Dayne Crist pass complete to Michael Floyd for 26 yards.

I turned to my friend and said, “Ah this is going to be a great season!”

Cierre Wood rush for a combined 21 yards. Now it’s 3rd and Goal at USF 1.

Text received from my brother: “I’m not worried about this game. ND’s offense is owning. Wood is going to be one of the best RBs in college football by next season.”

Jonas Gray rush, fumbled. Recovered by USF Kayvon Webster at the USF 4. Kayvon Webster for 96 yards, to the ND 0 for a touchdown.

Silence. Disbelief. Did that really just happen?

That was just the first of many questions that students and fans everywhere were asking throughout the game. “Is this a joke?” “Seriously?” “How did we just let that happen again?” Within seconds, that opening thrill and glimpse of the season we had all been hoping for was shot down. Shot down so hard that it was completely lost the rest of the game.

The final score, 23-20 USF, does not represent how it felt sitting in those stands the entire game. Between switching quarterbacks, turning the ball over 5 times, constantly getting flagged for personal foul penalties, missing field goals and extra point attempts, and allowing multiple 3rd down conversions, it seemed like we got beat by five times more than that.

From the game standpoint alone, here are some things that students have concluded.

- Total yards does not equate to total points because someone actually has to get the ball into the end zone to score. ND had 508 total yards compared to USF’s 254. The scoreboard would indicate it was the other way around.

- Dayne Crist makes a great video game QB. He knows the playbook like the back of his hand and can perform successfully if everything goes exactly as planned. But if it doesn’t…well we saw how that went on Saturday. Will the bookstore be offering full refunds on recently sold number 10 jerseys?

- We were once again overrated in our preseason rankings which makes this loss seem like a major upset, when in actuality, we just weren’t as good as everyone (including ourselves) thought we would be, as much as we all hate to admit it.

While we may not have had a memorable performance on the field, there’s one thing we'll never forget, and that’s the weather. For the first time in Notre Dame’s long football history, storms delayed the game, not once, but twice. That’s one record no one predicted we’d set in our home opener.

Stadium ushers and officials required everyone to evacuate the stands during halftime. At first, we all thought the storm would quickly pass so we waited out by the concession stands. Some people started trickling out of the stadium, but I was hesitant to leave because missing a second of Irish football, as painful as it was to watch, was not going to happen. However, I finally gave in and left when I found out that this was not going to be a short delay.

After 2 hours, 10 minutes, the game was back on and everyone filed back into position. At this point, we had all chalked the game down as being “the weirdest, most ridiculous game we’d ever been to.” Little did we know, that with 4:21 seconds left in the 4th quarter we’d have to clear the stands due to weather…again.

The game didn’t even feel like real life at this point. We were down 23-13, we’d already stuck it out for 5 hours of game time, tensions were high, students were frustrated, fans were tired, but this is Notre Dame and we weren’t going to bail out on the team now.

Ever wonder what the best way is to take your mind off of the fact that you’re soaking wet, losing, and frustrated? Well we found a solution: break out into full outburst of 99 bottles of beer on the wall. What started as just a few guys singing turned into 2,000 students jumping around, dancing, and clapping. Ushers were pulling out their phones and videoing us as it turned into quite the scene. Here’s a small clip of what it was actually like to be there.

A couple minutes later, the ushers signaled for everyone to go back in and it was literally the equivalent of a student jailbreak back into the stands.

The story of the weather and the craziness surrounding the game temporarily softened the blow of the loss. When the players came over to the student section at the end of the game to sing the alma mater, it still felt special to be a student at Notre Dame.

At least at the end of the day we’ll be able to say we were there for the record-breaking six hours of Notre Dame football.

As one student tweeted after the game, “Still haven't missed a minute of Notre Dame football. Proud to bleed blue and gold. 11-1 here we come.”

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