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Ouch! - The Fighting Irish Team Thread

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WhiteWolf View Drop Down
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    Posted: November/22/2006 at 6:59am
This weekend, The University of Notre Dame takes on USC in a storied rivalry comparable only to that of Michigan and Ohio State. And even though those two teams still top the rankings at Nos. 1 and 2, make no mistake, This Game Matters.

And what better game to open the Notre Dame Fighting Irish team thread in our new Football Forum?

Following ND's trouncing of the military academy teams Navy and Army, I wonder if the team has been too softened up leading into the tougest contest they will have had since facing, and losing ( ) to #2 Michigan early in the year.

But hopefully, with God on our side, Notre Dame will emerge victorious!




Trojans, Irish ready to add to storied rivalry
By Mark Schlabach
ESPN.com
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It is hard to imagine the Notre Dame-USC rivalry getting much bigger. From the first time Knute Rockne took the Fighting Irish across the country by train to face USC in 1926 to the schools' legendary meetings in the 1970s, the game has often been a highlight of the college football season.

"Beat SC!" were among Brady Quinn's first words after defeating Army on Saturday.But with the Trojans sitting right behind No. 2 Michigan in the Bowl Championship Series standings, and the Fighting Irish not far behind at No. 5, Saturday's game in the Coliseum (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) actually has national championship implications. It will be the first time since 1988, when Notre Dame won its last national title, that the game will have such an impact on the sport's championship.

"This is obviously a bigger game than usual," Fighting Irish safety Tom Zbikowski said.

And it is more anticipated because of the way last season's game between the schools ended. Fighting Irish quarterback Brady Quinn gave his team a 31-28 lead with about two minutes to go when he scored on a 5-yard run at Notre Dame Stadium.

But Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart completed a 61-yard pass to Dwayne Jarrett on fourth-and-9 at the USC 26. A few plays later, the clock appeared to run out when Leinart scrambled toward the end zone, was stopped and fumbled the football out of bounds. Notre Dame fans stormed the field to celebrate what they thought was another improbable upset, and coach Charlie Weis raised his arms on the sideline.

But USC coach Pete Carroll protested that the clock should have stopped because the football went out of bounds. Seven seconds were put back on the clock and the Trojans were given possession inside the 1. Instead of spiking the football to set up a final play, Leinart called his own number and dove for the end zone. He got help from teammate Reggie Bush, who appeared to push the quarterback into the end zone, and the Trojans won 34-31 for their 28th victory in a row.

It was perhaps the most thrilling ending in one of college football's grandest rivalries. It was at least a competitive game again, after the Trojans had won each of the previous three meetings by 31 points.

"It's just a big traditional game here," USC linebacker Oscar Lua said. "There's so much history and tradition in that game with the guys who played here before us. Last year's finish was so crazy, there's some added tension involved this year."

And even more pressure for the Trojans, who are only .075 behind the Wolverines for second place in the BCS standings. If USC beats Notre Dame, the Trojans would probably jump Michigan for second place behind Ohio State. Beating the Fighting Irish and UCLA in its Dec. 2 finale would most likely guarantee USC a spot in the Jan. 8 BCS title game in Glendale, Ariz.

The infamous push from 2005 will add fuel to Saturday's Notre Dame-USC showdown."This team is probably as complete a team as we go against on offense and defense," Weis told reporters on Sunday in South Bend, Ind. "In [Carroll's] career at USC, he's 19-0 in the month of November, and I'm sure he's looking forward to trying to make it 20-0. The first thing you have to do is be ready to play 60 minutes because what happens is a lot of teams go into the locker room content that they're close. There's been a lot of times where it's close at halftime, and next thing you know they're winning by two, three, four, five touchdowns."

That was the case again Saturday night, as USC trailed then-No. 17 California at halftime and the score was 9-9 going into the fourth quarter. The Trojans rallied for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive Pac-10 championship and the corresponding berth in the Rose Bowl.

But the Trojans have their sights set on bigger prizes.

"We have no say in this thing other than to play well, and we'll find out what happens," Carroll told reporters on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Notre Dame's chances of reaching the BCS title game aren't as favorable. Because Michigan remained No. 2 in the BCS standings after losing to Ohio State 42-39 on Saturday, the Fighting Irish would probably have to beat the Trojans very soundly to have any argument. That might be the only way the Irish can persuade pollsters to forget about the Wolverines' 47-21 win at Notre Dame on Sept. 16.

But as long as Notre Dame stays competitive with the Trojans, the Irish seem assured of playing in a BCS bowl game, probably against the SEC champion in the Sugar Bowl.

"Everybody knows what's coming up and what's at stake next week," Notre Dame tailback Darius Walker said. "We've put ourselves in a position to do something big, and we want to follow through and achieve it."

The importance of Saturday's game certainly isn't lost on Weis. Surprisingly, Weis admitted he was looking forward to the Trojans even before the Fighting Irish beat Army 41-9 on Saturday. And it was evident where his players' attention was directed. After beating the Black Knights, Quinn was shouting, "Beat SC! Beat SC!" with fans sitting in the student section at Notre Dame Stadium.

"I agree with them," Weis said, of the students' rallying cry. "That's what was going through my mind. They could have been louder."


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bubcar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/24/2006 at 8:25am
Sorry WW, but I have to hope that USC wins this weekend because I think if the Trojans win out they'll be playing The Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl. I wouldn't say that I'm worried about Michigan but to be totally honest I think that it would tarnish the rivalry that has become Ohio State and Michigan for the teams to play each other twice in one season.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WhiteWolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/24/2006 at 4:30pm
I have not heard anyone say that the Irish are going to win this game. Even die-hard ND fans are walking around like the season is already over. "Look at their last ten opponents" people are saying, "because you can't honestly tell me they have had any difficult games."

Well, that's true, but you can't honestly measure the abilites of a football team by their opponents alone, there is just too much more involved.

And I refuse to listen to any of these people. Notre Dame isn't fifth in the BCS rankings by accident. And anythin can happen; just look at Arkansas losing at home to LSU today! Do you see now? It is possible!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote christophersnow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/24/2006 at 4:38pm
I can't think of any good teams that USC has played. They played California, who was beaten by the UT Vols for crying out loud. And USC was beaten by a non-ranked team.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WhiteWolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/24/2006 at 4:39pm
Exactly!
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