TOLEDO, Spain - While most students witnessed Notre Dame take down the Trojans from their homes Saturday, many students abroad cheered on the Irish in cities around the world and at all hours of the day.
Junior Laurel Komos is studying in London, England, but watched the match-up from Athens, Greece, beginning at 3 a.m. local time. She and her friends streamed the first half online and saw the second half from a sports bar adjacent to their hostel.
"The only other person present was the hostel and bar manager, and he spent most of the time cleaning the floor and preparing for the continental breakfast that opened at 7 a.m," Komos said. "At some points, he would stop and watch the game with us, and he was definitely interested in our reactions to American football."
When the Irish won around 6 a.m. local time, the students had to avoid waking up the people sleeping next door.
"It was hard not to cheer our brains off, but the jumping up and down, high fives and silent cheers were definitely still a fun way to celebrate," Komos said.
For junior Caroline Thompson, lack of sleep and impending final exams posed no obstacle to watching the game online at Trinity College Dublin. She and approximately 15 other students watched kickoff in a common room at 1 a.m. Only five fans remained by the end of the game.
"I specifically remember being up by nine points with four seconds left in this game and telling my friends to not celebrate just yet since the game is not over," Thompson said. "When the clock hit zero, I jumped out of my seat, into the arms of my friends and immediately played the Alma Mater on my iPod."
Junior Jenny Loconsole watched the game at her international school in Toledo, Spain, beginning at 2 a.m. Like Thompson, she did not let herself celebrate until the clock ran out.
"When the Irish won, my thoughts were 'Miami, baby' and also 'How many non-Notre Dame students can I text right now to brag?'" she said. "The answer turned out to be roughly half of my phonebook."
Thompson said watching senior linebacker Manti Te'o's postgame interview was the proudest moment of the game watch.
"To see any team with such hard-working, faith-filled and overall respectable athletes pull out a victory is inspiring to me, and it's all the more uplifting and exhilarating to have that team be yours," Thompson said. "In short, I just thought, 'Thank God I go to Notre Dame.'"
Thompson said the game reminded her of a conversation she had with friends after attending the United States Naval Academy game in Dublin, Ireland.
"After our win [against Navy], the kids in our program joked about the possibility of the Irish going undefeated the semester we are abroad," she said, "and here we are."
Although she knows friends will comment about her missing the football season, Thompson said huddling around a computer to watch the games in exotic locations with fellow students created life-long memories.
"If anything, a stronger appreciation for this school grows within you when you are removed from campus," she said. "And if I do happen to receive jabs about missing the season, I'll be sure to remind those people that they have Ireland to thank for bestowing their 'luck of the Irish' on the first game that started this golden season."