Trojans capitalize on Irish turnovers for the win in an electric Notre Dame Stadium

I’ve said it a million times already this season, but I’ll say it again. Irish turnovers cost us the game. 31-17 Trojans.

Is it really that hard to protect the football?? We turned the ball over three times and USC never did. In fact, we gave them the ball back at terrible times and they capitalized on the opportunities. Even though they were all bad, the worst one was the fumble in the third quarter.

After Tommy Rees was injured on a play, it was back to our old “In Dayne Crist we trust” tag line. We all cheered and were hopefully optimistic that he would redeem himself in the quarterback position.

At first, he delivered. He led a drive that put us in a first and goal situation and a chance to tie the game at 17. Way to go, Crist! However, we spoke too soon.

On third down and one yard to go for the touchdown, he rushed, fumbled, and then USC recovered it and took it all the way to the house. So much for tying up the game, now we were down 14. That was the last we would see of Dayne Crist that game.

The most frustrating part about all the turnovers was that recently we had made huge improvements in this area; however, this game it felt like we took a couple big steps back. It was a flashback to the beginning of our season when we excelled in the turnover category (not necessarily something you want to be proud of).

Coming off of a bye week and a week without classes, we all expected a much better team performance. If only the team had stepped up like the fans did.

Aside from the game itself, last night was by far one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever been a part of in Notre Dame stadium. The environment was unbelievable.

Navy rally towels in hand and charged up by the night game, there was a natural electricity in the crowd. And then, the moment I’ve been working toward since the Michigan game, the music played.

There are some moments that are just hard to describe, and this is one of them. I get chills just thinking about it and it being there was unreal. Right before kickoff, we played Shipping Up To Boston and the crowd exploded. Everyone, and I mean everyone, not just the students, was up and cheering. The students were going crazy. Music? In Notre Dame Stadium? That’s new!

The energy that one traditional, Irish song instigated was amazing. We didn’t just stop there. On third downs, we blasted the first part of Crazy Train. This had the effect of prompting the whole stadium to stand and get loud rather than just sit and watch as the defense tried to put up a big stop. It was so cool!

We also played Welcome to the Jungle and Seven Nation Army a couple times to increase the volume and intensity in the stadium. And it worked! Adding just a little bit of music truly made it a special night in Notre Dame stadium and one that I will never forget.

So even though next year we’ll be starting back at square one against the Trojans rather than extending a win streak, not everything from last night was a bust. Now all we can do is look forward to next week when we’ll all be back in the stadium. Here's to hoping that the great stadium atmosphere matches the team performance. Go Irish, Beat Navy!

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