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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

Students react to narrow win over Stanford

In a hard-fought game that required battling both the weather and the nation’s number one-ranked scoring defense, Notre Dame defeated the Stanford Cardinals 17-14.

The game had major college playoff implications, with the Irish strengthening their resume to earn the No. 5 USA Today Poll and No. 6 AP Top 25 football rankings. Several ESPN commentators also included Notre Dame in their predictions for one of the final four teams included in College Football Playoff at the end of the season.

IMG_1976 shot by KEvin Song
Kevin Song
Although the weather played a significant role in the game, as both teams’ offenses struggled to consistently move the ball, junior Matt Castellini said it did not damper the enthusiastic mood following the game.

“Yes, the weather was bad, and yes, it negatively affected my experience,” he said. “But it’s like I always say, rule No. 76: no excuses, play like a champion. We did that in the stands, and they did that on the field.”

Senior Casey Macdonald said the game reminded her of the 2011 Notre Dame game against the South Florida Bulls, which was postponed multiple times due to inclement weather.

“Seniors started their football careers at Notre Dame with thunderstorms, two delays of game, evacuating the stadium and hours of wait time,” Macdonald said. “Notre Dame fans are not strangers to adverse weather.”

Although some fans made for the exits as early as halftime, a vast majority of the student section stayed to cheer on the team.

“I was so glad I stayed until the end,” senior Claire Lupo said. “It was maybe the best game I have ever seen our D-boys play.”

The fans were raucous and aided Notre Dame’s defense, as a combination of strong secondary play by the Irish and an inability to move the ball on Stanford’s part allowed senior quarterback Everett Golson and the offense one last opportunity to win the game.

Junior Chuckie Connors said he celebrated excessively, at his own expense.

“We dog piled in the stands," he said. "I sprained my ankle, but it was well worth it."

The game was a back-and-forth affair that saw neither team establish its dominance, until Everett Golson’s game-winning 23-yard pass to tight end Ben Koyack gave the Irish the lead for good.

Senior Shannon Hogan said she felt the Irish were always going to win the game.

“It was just proof that the Irish will always pull through in the end,” she said. “I think all of us could feel that we were going to win that game, we could feel the need to win that the players were feeling.”

Notre Dame fans can now turn their attention to upcoming opponents, including an away matchup in two weeks against the Florida State Seminoles.

Senior Kevin McMannis said he is confident the Irish can continue to win on their home turf.

“This was the last home game I thought we could lose, and I’m glad we survived it,” he said.

Regardless of the weather, the Irish continue to find ways to win tight games.