"Irish Creed" is in no way affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by the University of Notre Dame

Oct 28, 2010


Our thoughts, our prayers, and our hearts go out to a loyal son of Notre Dame, Declan Sullivan, who lost his life yesterday.  May he rest in peace, and may God bless his family as well as all those impacted by this tragedy.

An Irish Blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, 
May God hold you in the palm oh His hand.

Oct 27, 2010

Kelly’s Unwavering Vision

The only way last Saturday’s 35-17 loss to Navy could have ended worse would have been if Kelly, his team, and his staff adopted the doom-and-gloom outlook that much of Notre Dame Nation has exhibited in the days since.  Fortunately for our school, our football program, and all of us fans, Kelly’s refusal to be phased by the loss has his team looking in the right direction (hint: not backwards). 

Despite recent growing pains,
Kelly leads with an unwavering vision that will have
Notre Dame back on top in the years to come.

In his press conference immediately following our loss to Navy, Kelly acknowledged that he and his staff didn’t have an answer to their opponent’s strategy.  When that happens, as he so simply put it, “you get what you deserve.”  While Kelly did voice expectations of improved execution during the weeks to come, at no point did he throw his players under the proverbial bus or claim (as so many “critics” have without warrant) that his guys played without heart.  Interestingly enough, he made it clear that he approved of the way his team played with toughness throughout the game.

After four days of reflection, I finally agree with Kelly on these points.  The easy conclusion to jump to in reaction to such a loss is one claiming that our players just didn’t care, had no heart, or gave up.  After taking a step back, though, I can’t come up with any real evidence of that happening.  What I did see, however, was a team that appeared to be flat due to confusion and an inability to overcome gaping holes created by injuries.  Without the proper scheme, our defense was unable to step up and make stops when it needed to (or at all, for that matter).  Without Floyd, Rudy, Theo, or a 100% healthy Allen, our offense was unable to find its rhythm.  We simply aren’t talented enough (YET!) to be able to overcome such deficiencies. 

Enough about last week.  Our coaches and players know how hard they fought and they know what they must do during the remainder of the season, so last week no longer matters.  As Coach Kelly said in that same press conference, he likes his guys and trusts his coaches, the necessary changes are taking place, and no matter how viciously the team comes under fire from outside criticism, they “have each other’s backs.”

Rather than hang his head, Kelly is remaining steadfast in his confidence that Notre Dame is well on its way to returning to “where it should be.”  His current perspective stands as proof that he is exactly the type of leader we need to help us climb out of the basement back up to the top floor.  Right now, at this very moment, he is injecting strong leadership and a focused vision into a program that has seemed lost at sea lately (especially after 3 losses to navy… get it?!)

During his first press conference focusing on this Saturday’s matchup between the Fighting Irish and the Golden Hurricane, Kelly stayed true to the message he has been preaching all year.  He stressed player development, the need to remain “focused on the right things” no matter what, and continuing progress “as we move forward.”  Of his inherited senior class, he is proud of the way they are “building a foundation” for the resurgence of our program. 

In sharing all of this information, I hope to send a message to all the doubters and doomsday “analysts.”  I would advise that you hold your tongues for now, in hopes that no one is keeping your faithless statements on record to remind you of your disloyalty when we are finally back on top.  It will take a lot for us to get back “where we should be,” no doubt.  Not only must the team show sacrifice, resolve, and mental toughness, however, but every student, alumni, and fan must as well. 

We need to change our attitude, our mindset, and our overall culture as a community.  Disenchantment and submission to mediocrity must not be tolerated, this is true.  The road won’t be easy, though, and resolve will be a key factor in our return to glory.  In the words of the great prophet Steve Miller, sometimes “you know you got to go through Hell before you get to Heaven.”  I honestly believe that Coach Kelly’s vision for Notre Dame can help us find our way.  Here’s to hoping all you of little faith can find it within yourselves to believe as I do (and as Lou does).

Oct 26, 2010

IBG: Irish Facing Golden Hurricane

Thanks for Subway Domer for writing the most creative IBG questions to date:

1. A young man of 12 arrives in the United States from the city of Moroni, on the island of Comoros. He has never seen the game of football before, but notices you watching a game. He seems to really like watching it with you and asks what team he should cheer for. You, of course, tell him Notre Dame in attempt to have more company for your misery. He asks, "why Notre Dame?" Without using any of Notre Dame football history prior to 1995 and without spewing off nonsense about academics (which has no real bearing on a football game); give him your best answer. His name is Tonokiuyt Paluifirtaginerto.

TheNDleprechaun: Well, Tonokiuyt, I say Notre Dame because it is a magical place full of gold, mythical fairy-tale creatures that bring good luck, and the ghosts of legends that live on from past glory days. It is a place that was built from the ground up based on a fighting spirit and an inspired drive to excel in every way possible. Its a place where people always have and always will try their hardest to do things the right way. It stands for everything that is good and pure in this country and the great game of football. Plus, it's God's favorite team...

2. If you are anything like me, you trolled around the Notre Dame message boards after the loss to Navy. We don't need direct quotes, but what was the best line, subject heading, argument- whatever? Should Irish fans be banned from the Internet for at least a couple of days after the game, win or lose?

TheNDleprechaun: I must not be anything like you, because I avoid message boards like the plague (especially after losses). As a result, I have no quotes to report but I have a feeling that this quote: "___" is probably more intelligent than anything that was written in the direct aftermath of Saturday's loss. As far as an internet-ban, all self-respecting Irish fans should probably ban themselves after losses in order to avoid embarrassment.

3. Tulsa is a scary team after a loss to Navy. Before the Navy game- not so much. Give me your most dramatic nightmare scenario as well as your fairybook ending for this weeks game against the Golden Hurricane. Which one is closest to a possible reality?

TheNDleprechaun: I think there is a typo in this question... or did you actually mean to type the words "Tulsa is a scary team..." ?! There will be no nightmare or fairybook ending on Saturday because the Fighting Irish will take care of business against an inferior opponent just as they did against WMU.

tendomer: Fairybook is a win in which Cwynar and Hafis Williams demonstrate they can man the nose in the 3-4, boding well for next year. Nightmare is a loss. This game is going to be tough but I think we'll win.

4. Most of these IBG's have had a rather dark tone to them because of the season Notre Dame is having. If we would have beat Navy, we would be 5-3 and riding a 4 game winning streak. I had rather hoped to use that cheerfulness, and ask a few light-hearted questions. Seeing as how we lost, I think we need these more than ever. They're not the wittiest questions, but you better answer them:

What college football team would you blog about if Notre Dame did not exist?
TheNDleprechaun: The Buffalo Bills, since they're my hometown team and most college teams could probably beat them right now.

Change Notre Dame's colors. No blues, gold, or green please.
TheNDleprechaun: Madonna Blue, Papal Gold, and Emerald Green are the most meaningful colors in college football.

Change one play in Notre Dame history. What was it, and how did it help?
TheNDleprechaun: I don't recommend taking such action since it could create a time paradox, the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space time continuum, and destroy the entire universe. Granted, that's a worse case scenario. The destruction might in fact be very localized, limited to merely our own galaxy.

Turn one loss into a win, and one win into a loss for one season. What season and what games are they?
TheNDleprechaun: See above.

5. Tell me more about this Tulsa matchup. Tell me anything you like- but use at least one real stat.

TheNDleprechaun: Here's a stat: Classes were cancelled due to weather today for the first time since I've been a Notre Dame student.  The cause?  A tornado warning.  Here's a riddle: What's sorta like a tornado, has the word "golden" randomly placed in front of it, and for some unknown reason is the current nickname of a school in a landlocked state that we happen to play on Saturday?  Answer: A hurricane.

tendomer: Tulsa is No. 13 in rush yardage and No. 28 in pass offense. Dangerous balance. They'll put up points on us. We will need Dayne to play significantly better.

6. Phil Steele now has Notre Dame picked to play in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Pinstripe Bowl is in New York City and will be played in Yankee Stadium. Agree or disagree. Give me your bowl scenarios- if there are any.

TheNDleprechaun: I have a slight (read major) obsession with quality fitted hats so I'm pretty excited about the opportunity to attend a bowl game sponsored by New Era.

tendomer: I'll take anywhere. 6-6 and we are in, and we need it.

BONUS----Please tell me that we can turn this season into a positive learning experience for 2011. How?

TheNDleprechaun: View this season for what it is, the starting point of a long journey to the top.

tendomer: I'd say learning new schemes on O and D are the two positives. I don't want the story during the spring to be "we're learning how to practice." And hopefully the team is getting mentally and physically accustomed to the work volume so that hamstring injuries won't be the norm for our star players in 2011.  Finishing 6-6 and gaining 15 bowl practices would be a positive development at this point.

Sending out an S.O.S.

I have to admit that I was unable to review Saturday's loss to Navy, the post-game comments made by either side, or pretty much anything related to Notre Dame football until three separate events changed my perspective today.


The first took place in South Dining Hall, where I happily ate my go-to meal between law school classes after a long fall break without the mexican wraps I have perfected over the 5 years I have been eating there.  As I went right-right (you Domers know what I'm talking about) I saw one of my friends on the team.  After we talked and laughed and went our separate ways, I realized that I hadn't even thought about how badly the team had just gotten beat or how miserable I had been afterwards.  I know this particular player goes all out every game and invests a tremendous amount of emotional energy into every play.  If he can keep his head up and his spirits high, so can all of us fans.  After all, as fans, the only way we can contribute to the success of our team is by showing loyal support and getting loud at the games (I'll save my thoughts on our consistent failure to fulfill either of these duties as of late for another post).  I guess my message to everyone wallowing in their own pity-parties is this:  Help us Save Our Ship by keeping the faith and staying loyal.

The second took place when I got home from class and checked our blog for comments.  I wasn't expecting anything profound due to the pessemistic vibes I've been catching from ND Nation lately, but instead I read these words from a self-proscribed "Navy Type":

"As a kid in the 1940's I never missed a radio broadcast of Notre Dame's football games - never thinking that someday I'd be at a school that played them.  Some years later, then a Mid, I clearly remember sitting in the stands and feeling the deep respect we all had for ND.  Sure - we wanted to win, but no matter, we always came away with a respect for what ND was, is - and I know, always will be, not only in football, but in all you do."    -Jim ... USNA '54

Opposing fans don't usually post very nice things on enemy blogs.  Navy fans and Notre Dame fans don't follow the "usual" trend, though.  I'd like to thank Jim for reminding me of the big picture.

The third event was simple.  Since the weather is changing quickly in South Bend and shorts will no longer be an option in a few weeks, I went for a run.  Nothing in the world can compare to our campus on a crisp fall day when the leaves are changing and the crisp smell of autumn is in the air.  Nothing, that is, except the perfect moment when the Band of the Fighting Irish unexpectedly strikes up the Victory March just as you are passing between Notre Dame Stadium and Touchdown Jesus.  Let's just say my vision was a little blurrier during the remainder of my run.  I still have no idea how it happens, but every time I begin to doubt the continuing power of the Notre Dame mystique, a moment like that comes along and unexpectedly rocks my perspective back into focus.

We may have been shipwrecked by Navy on Saturday, and our football program may be sending out an S.O.S. right now, but something tells me that staying the course will prove worthwhile once we weather the storm.

(No, not those Hurricanes, the Golden ones)

Oct 22, 2010


Notre Dame v. Navy 1941 Game Program
University of Notre Dame Archives
Game Notes:
  • The Fighting Irish haven't won 4 straight since 2006.
  • WR Theo Riddick (ankle) will not play on Saturday.
  • WR Michael Floyd (hamstring) will be a game-time decision.
  • Look for WRs Goodman, Toma, and Jackson to get opportunities in a depleted WR core.
Score Predictions:

ND: 27
Navy: 17

ND: 30
Navy: 24

ND: 37
Navy: 17

ND: 23

Overall Average Prediction:
ND: 29
Navy: 18


For an in-depth look at the Notre Dame v. Navy rivalry, read our recent post: "Blood Brothers: Notre Dame v. Navy"

Although Notre Dame and Navy are currently represented on the field by a Leprechaun and a person in a goat costume, the traditional rivalry included a clash of two fierce animals.  Navy's "Bill the Goat" was a favorite target of "Clashmore Mike," Notre Dame's Irish Terrier who, legend has it, was sustained on a diet of goat meat and trained to attack "Bill" on sight.

"Bill the Goat" and The Leprechaun in 2008

"Clashmore Mike" suited up in Blue and Gold

"Bill the Goat" on the gridiron


Oct 21, 2010

IBG: ND v Navy

Thanks to Subway Domer for leading the IBG and writing the questions for Navy week:

1. Notre Dame routinely gets blasted by the media and other fans for scheduling Navy every year. It gets especially out of control when Notre Dame decides they want a portion- or all of the Commander in Chief trophy when they put either Air Force and/or Army on the schedule. Would you like to see this series continue or blown up? Why? If the series was forced to end, who would you replace them with that isn't on Notre Dame's schedule in the next decade. Bonus points if youcome up with someone other than Alabama or Texas.

TheNDleprechaun: My latest post, "Blood Brothers: Notre Dame v. Navy" makes the claim that no two teams in college football share a closer history than the two that will be meeting on the gridiron in New Jersey this Saturday. The football rivalry between Notre Dame and Navy goes back uninterrupted to 1927. As if that wasn't enough, many of the greatest figures in the history of Notre Dame football served proudly in the Navy (Do the names Leahy or Lujack sound familiar?) Most importantly, though, the University of Notre Dame owes much of what it is today to the United States Navy. As recounted in my previous post, over 85% of all Notre Dame students at the height of WWII were Navy trainees. Our school would have folded during the war if our brother school had not sent us thousands of transfers to keep our enrollment up and our spirits high. To answer the question, anyone who "blasts" the continuance of this rivalry (one of the greatest in all sports) is either insensitive to the values that our nation was built upon, or just plain ignorant as to the significance of the event. I guess I will be forced to settle for zero bonus points because I find it obvious that no team, not even Alabama or Texas (or USC or even Michigan for that matter), could possibly be more important to our schedule than Navy.

(On a side note: While we currently stand at 4-3, Army is also 4-3, Navy is 4-2 and Air Force was ranked as recently as last week with a record of 5-2.)

((On a side note to my side note: Check back during the week prior to the ND v. Army game for a post covering the significance of the rivalry matchup that put Notre Dame on the map as a football team and as a university.))

2. Before 2007 (and even still) Navy was treated like the neighbor kid with a terminally ill disease that does charity work and plays basketball against you in the driveway, by the media and fans when it came to their game against the Irish. Personally, if I was a Navy player, I would be pissed at the lack of respect given because of all of the "respect" given. Know what I mean? Seriously... answer that poorly phrased question. (I'm a pirate not a wordsmith).

tendomer: I don't endorse the aforementioned analogy, but the Middies come to play both mentally and physically. I think there's a chip on their shoulder, possibly from the respect that might border for some folks on pity. Now, I'm not ready to attribute their great play to that. There are a lot of things at work, such as the notion that football is the easiest part of their day, which I think also plays into their discipline and success on the field.

3. It seems like the injury bug has really hit the Irish this year. We're not talking about leg amputations or eyes popping out of the socket, but there is a trend of frontline players getting injured. Bad luck, or is this staff pushing the envelope with some of the players? Navy is skilled in the dirty tactics art of the chop block. Do you have any special concerns this week in terms of injuries?

tendomer: It's more visible because injuries have hit the offensive skill guys, but the injury bug hasn't been particularly bad this year. Knock on wood, especially with Navy looming. The high risk of injury to our defenders is a huge theme this week. Perhaps the 'coat of armor' that Longo discusses is taking longer to apply than it did at Cincinnati, where in Kelly's first year the same 22 players started at the beginning and end of the year. But I don't fault the Kelly coaching staff for the injuries, just like I don't fault the Weis coaching staff for serious injuries last year to Rudolph, Floyd, and Crist and lesser injuries to Clausen and Allen.

BONUS: Give me your prediction for this weekend. Good. If Notre Dame continues to win, when (homonyms) will they creep back into the top 25?

tendomer: Check back on Friday for our game predictions. As far as getting into the polls, ND's best chance, for once, may well be in the final poll. Three-loss teams appeared in the tenth week of the AP Poll six times in the past four seasons. ND could show up heading into the Utah game, but the schedule's weaker midseason names and the week nine bye will both hurt the cause for ranked status before Utah.

Irish Game Report

IrishGirl10 presents 4 quarters of action with her first Irish Game Report of the year:

First Quarter: Women's Soccer

This past Sunday, the Irish ladies claimed the Big East National Division Title with a 3-1 win over Providence. This achievement brings the ND title tally to thirteen: ten from the divisional format of the conference and three as a result of winning the overall championship. Considering these ladies have only been members of the Big East Conference for 16 seasons, this record is pretty remarkable; but unsurprising when one considers the consistently outstanding talent featured on the Irish roster. Currently ranked No. 4/5, the team is 14-1-1 for the year; with upcoming matches against Villanova (October 22) and Georgetown (October 24), however, that win column will undoubtedly improve to an even sweet 16. Following the conclusion of their regular season play, the Irish will enter the Big East tournament with the first game slotted for October 28 at a yet-to-be-determined site. Being the loyal Irish fan I know you are, I’m sure you’ll be tuning in. But if not, we’ll have all the latest news and scores right here.

Second Quarter: Men’s Soccer

At a record of 7-4-3, the boys of Notre Dame soccer have seemingly struggled to capitalize on offensive opportunities and find the back of their opponent’s net. With three shutout losses (they managed to sneak one in against West Virginia), three ties after fruitless double-overtimes, and only two wins with a goal margin greater than two, it’s an easy argument to make. What doesn’t fit this picture, however, is the extreme talent and high capability level of this Irish squad – including previous members of the U-14 through 18 U.S. National Teams and their pools. So what’s the problem? Experience. Our roster consists of 8 freshman, 6 sophomore, 8 juniors, and 7 seniors; only two of these seniors saw game action prior to their junior year, with the minutes of play for current juniors and sophomores doing little to impress. What this team needs, unfortunately, is time. With three games left in regular season - match-ups against the strong competitors of Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and Georgetown – the Irish players have multiple opportunities to prove themselves and display the talent their backgrounds suggest. Here’s hoping it happens in time for the start of the Big East tournament November 17.

Half-Time Updates

-Men’s and Women’s Cross Country concluded their seasons at the Pre-NCAA meet, with the boys placing seventh and the girls placing twenty-third overall on October 16.

-Men’s Golf finished second at the Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio, TX on October 18, next weekend they travel to California for the Saint Mary’s Invitational. The women’s team recently finished fifth at the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Knoxville, TN; next they will compete in the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, NC.

-Men’s Lacrosse defeated Johns Hopkins 10-7 in the San Francisco Fall Classic on October 16.

-Men’s Tennis is set to host the Midwest Regional Championships starting this Saturday, with the women traveling to Ann Arbor for their Midwest Regional.

-Women’s Basketball is set to participate in the first Super Six Series, a set of games in which two teams are chosen from the top six conferences (Big East, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC), with the resulting twelve scheduled to face off six early-season games.

-Volleyball (currently 12-8 for the season) will play this Saturday in South Bend against Syracuse.

Third Quarter: Hockey

Last Thursday and Friday, the Irish opened their season at home with a pair of games against Lake Superior State. Both nights, the boys left the ice with a 4-2 win blazing on the scoreboard. Scoring a goal apiece in the first match-up were freshmen David Gerths and Mike Voran, junior Billy Maday, and senior Calle Ridderwall. Sophomore goaltender Mike Johnson racked up 26 saves, shutting out the Lakers in the third period after their pair of goals split between the first and second. On Friday, seniors Calle Ridderwall and Ben Ryan along with freshmen T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee each recorded goals for the Irish – 3 in the first period and 1 in the third. Once again, Johnson tallied 26 saves, with a shutout in the third period. This Saturday, Notre Dame faces off against a top-ranked Boston College team that is certain to test the legitimacy of these early Irish wins as well as indicate where they deserve to be placed in early CCHA ratings. Despite a 16-11-2 series record that favors the Eagles, the Irish have won four of the last six encounters beginning in 2003-04. Not to mention, the Irish are still seeking vengeance for their defeat at the hands of BC in their first NCAA Tournament Championship. What does this all mean? That when the puck drops this Saturday at 7:05, our boys are going to swiftly and soundly destroy this overrated Back-Up team and reclaim their rightful place at the top of the CCHA.

Fourth Quarter: Basketball

Let’s take a break from the official-sounding game reports and stats. It’s confession time: I hate the NBA. I also hate high school basketball…but that has a lot to do with my required attendance at every. single. game. as a member of the dance team (yes, I was on the dance team – judge as you will). So logically, I must hate college basketball right? WRONG. I love it. Every spring break while my friends are timing their tequila shots to a serenade of raucous whistles, I’m getting spilled on as I paw my way towards the television and the magic of the NCAA tournament. When it was recently announced that the Irish are pegged to finish seventh overall in the Big East Conference, I wasn’t sure quite how to feel. Preceding the Irish are (in order) Pittsburgh, Villanova, Syracuse, Georgetown, West Virginia, and St. Johns; and they are followed by Louisville and Marquette (tied for eighth), Connecticut, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, USF, Providence, Rutgers, and DePaul. Woof. See what I mean? The Irish are crushed in the middle of the conference, in between some insanely talented bookends. If we have learned anything from coach Brey and past seasons, however, it’s that rankings and season records are deceiving. As such, I’m attempting to take the current team placements lightly. Luckily, the Irish appear to start this season with a rather light load: two exhibition matches against Marian and Catholic, continuing on to face Georgia Southern, Liberty, Chicago State, and Maine before the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s hoping these games give the Irish the wins and the confidence they need to get started on a consistent and successful season.


Oct 18, 2010

Blood Brothers: Notre Dame v. Navy

“Mr. K. K. Rockne may, or may not, be a psychologist. But, he did array his Fighting Irish in bright green jerseys for their battle with the United States Naval Academy.  Mr. Rockne evidently surmised that garbing a band of native and adopted Irish in their native color is somewhat akin to showing a bull the Russian flag.” The Scholastic, “Football Review,” 1928

No rivalry holds as much history as that between the University of Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy.  Fierce contests between the powerhouse Midshipmen and the underdog Fighting Irish during the Rockne era helped Notre Dame gain respect and grow from a largely unknown football program into the greatest of all time.  Since then, the two teams have played annually without interruption for over 80 years.  One of the longest continuous series in the history of college football, the rivalry has seen domination on both sides.  Navy had its way for many of the early years before Notre Dame went on to win 43 straight times.  Recently, the tables have turned and I have personally never seen the Fighting Irish beat Navy at home.  

The brotherhood between Notre Dame and Navy is one that deserves recognition and respect from all fans of both schools.  As a preview of the 2010 edition of a continuing saga that began in 1927, I hope to shed some light on the historical significance of the bonds we share:

Frank Leahy after returning from active duty in the Navy
 during WWII, where he proudly served
God, Country, & Notre Dame
    The Second World War proved to be pivotal in the evolution of Notre Dame. Those who returned home from the war reentered society as All-American heroes.  At Notre Dame, the “Fighting Irish” became national icons due to their commitment to the war effort and their domination on the football field.

    The wartime era brought sweeping changes to Notre Dame.  The draft depleted enrollment numbers and consequently forced the administration to request transfers of over 1,000 midshipmen from the Naval Academy to attend Notre Dame through the newly created V-7 Naval Training Program.  In addition, the naval ROTC unit expanded dramatically and newly constructed naval drill halls appeared across campus.  By the start of the 1943-1944 academic year, over 85 percent of the students on campus were Navy trainees.

    Not only did the war alter the physical appearance of campus, but it also brought uncertainty to a football program that lost players and coaches to the draft.  Most importantly, though, it cemented the already strong commitment to American values at Notre Dame.  In turn, the public came to view the university as a prominent symbol of American patriotism.

    On a page labeled “For God, Country and Notre Dame” in the 1944-1945 volume of The Scholastic, a tribute was made to the “Notre Dame men who made the supreme sacrifice for our final victory” by listing all 272 individuals associated with the university who had died or gone missing during the triumphant war effort.  Through the life-stories of these brave individuals, American society came to associate Fighting Irish Football with those remarkable Notre Dame men who had served their country honorably during the war.  For all those men returning to play football at Notre Dame after the war, the name “Fighting Irish” now symbolized an American fighting spirit, especially to all those who had fought for the honor of God, Country, and Notre Dame.

    The post-war era saw Notre Dame put together the most dominant dynasty in the history of college football.  Coach Frank Leahy was already known as a legendary figure due to his prior successes as a coach and the respect he earned nation-wide when he voluntarily joined the war effort by enlisting in (you guessed it) the Navy.  Returning to play for him were several of his dominant players from before the war who came back from active duty with years of eligibility remaining. In addition to his former players, a horde of fresh football recruits joined Leahy’s ranks after becoming attracted to Notre Dame because of the widespread recognition that military men with ties to Notre Dame Football had gained during the war.

    In 1943, star quarterback Angelo Bertelli’s season had been cut short by active duty with the U.S. Marines.  Though he had only competed in six games, he was awarded the Heisman Trophy while on active duty overseas. Future Notre Dame recruits undoubtedly remembered this remarkable episode while deciding which football offer to accept after returning home from war.  Thus, when Leahy ended his tour of duty in 1946 he essentially returned to two full teams of talented players.  Under his direction, the Fighting Irish would go on to win 39 straight games, claim four National Championships, and produce another Heisman winner. John Lujack, who had been Bertelli’s replacement during the second half of the 1943 season, returned to Notre Dame in 1946 after service in (you guessed it again) the Navy and was recognized as the most prolific player in all of college football in 1947.

    The success stories of Bertelli, Lujack and Leahy represented just a few of the many that came from the home of the “Fighting Irish” during this period.  As both football stars and noted veterans, the most visible heroes of the day at Notre Dame were doubly considered to be All-Americans.  The Fighting Irish had become America’s team, and Notre Dame was now America’s school.

Angello Bertelli, the epitome of an All-American,
receives his Heisman Trophy while on active duty
in the Pacific.

All information and photos researched through the Archives of the University of Notre Dame

Oct 17, 2010


The Band of the Fighting Irish forms the crest of the Congregation
 of Holy Cross in honor of Brother Andre Bessette

On the day before Brother Andre Bessette, C.S.C. was canonized in St. Peter's Square as the first member of the Congregation of Holy Cross to be named a saint, ND took care of business by beating WMU 44-20 on the same campus once visited by the holy man.  The Fighting Irish clearly outmatched their MAC opponent, getting ahead early and running away with the game during the second half.  Several players contributed to the victory with solid performances.  Here are our picks for Week 7 edition of Irish Creed's Weekly Awards:


Overall MVP:  Michael Floyd
 - Finally put up Floyd-like numbers with 9 catches for 157 yards and 3 TDs

Offensive MVP:  Michael Floyd
 - Got our offense rolling right from the start with an 80 yard TD reception on the first play from scrimmage

Defensive MVP:  Gary Gray
 - Becoming a consistent playmaker; Turned in the best performance of his career so far with 8 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception

Special Teams MVP:  David Ruffer
 - Extended his all-time record with another FG made; looked much improved on kickoffs with 2 touch backs and good directional kicking that forced WMU returners into corners

Breakout Player:  Cierre Wood
 - Can you be named a breakout player twice in one season?  Wood proved that his "slump" is officially over by asserting himself as a dangerous threat every time he touches the ball.  Not only did he have 94 yards and 1 TD on the ground, but he hauled in 3 catches for 29 yards as well.  Most importantly, he showed that he has the potential to become a human highlight reel.  Like I said earlier this season, Irish fans should start pre-ordering #20 jerseys now.

Best Play:  Goodman's 32 yard TD throw to Floyd
 - The former Bishop Dwenger quarterback and track star showed that he is a versatile offensive threat by receiving the ball on a reverse and slinging it accurately downfield.


Overall MVP: Michael Floyd
 - Turned underthrown passes into two of his three TDs and set key blocks on the other three scores

Offensive MVP: Michael Floyd

Defensive MVP: Darius Fleming
 - Backed up the staff's talk of his improved play in the flats

Special Teams MVP: David Ruffer
 - Blocked PAT put damper on his season's perfection but his second-half tackle showed toughness

Breakout Player: Tyler Eifert
 - Minus his fumble, Eifert filled in well for Rudolph

Best Play: Manti's third-down stop to begin second half
 - Forcing a three and out set the tone for the second half

ND Stadium gets hit by a double-wave during the only time in which
a wave is acceptable: the second half of a sure blowout victory

Oct 14, 2010


The "Irish Man" has replaced the "Green Man"
in the ND Student Section

A few points of interest before we share our score predictions:

  • Western Michigan will be the first MAC school to play in our stadium.  Saturday will be the highlight of most of their players' careers, so let's welcome them hospitably... then annihilate them ruthlessly on the field... so one day, years from now, they can tell their grandkids about the time they had the privilege of getting beat up by a team of tough Fighting Irish gentlemen.
  • The Fighting Irish will debut Adidas' revolutionary new line of form-fitting football jerseys on Saturday.  They are designed to increase range of motion, comfort, ventilation, and they weigh 30% less than the average jersey.
  • Armando Allen has a hip flexor injury and will be a game-time decision.
  • Kyle Rudolph will have season-ending surgery on Friday.  We wish him well.
  • We mean no disrespect to WMU by the title of this post.  We consider WMU to be a fine upstanding MAC school.
  • The "Irish Man" suit is awesome.
  • The Band of the Fighting Irish has been practicing "Funky Town" all week.

Score Predictions:

Irish: 30
Broncos: 14

Irish: 51
Broncos: 13

Irish: 38
Broncos: 17

Irish: 33
Broncos: 10

Irish: 31
Broncos: 14

Irish: 38
Broncos: 7

Overall Average Prediction:
Irish: 37
Broncos: 13


Oct 13, 2010

WNG hosts the IBG

Thank you to Matt at We Never Graduate for writing the questions for the Western Michigan edition of the Irish Blogger Gathering.

1. The Irish have posted back-to-back victories over teams that have given us fits the past decade to pull back to .500, but when you head to the message boards on ND Nation, Rivals, etc. all you see is unrelenting negativity. Some cry Kelly's in over his head and doomed to fail, others bitch and moan about the run-to-pass ratio, and many more say that even though we've won the last two there's no improvement over last year's team. What's your take on the negativity that's swirling around the program on the internet? What message would you like to convey to ND Nation?

tendomer: Fans write on message boards largely to express their complaints. They're inherently negative. I am also disappointed with certain aspects of the team, but for those who suggest this team is worse than last year's team, I would encourage them to look at the end of this season at the team's record in 2009 and 2010 against the eight common opponents relative to both years. Comparing across years, it's 3-3 with Navy and USC to go. ND lost to both last year, and that won't happen again.

2. When Western Michigan and Tulsa were announced as 2010 opponents last fall there was a full-throttle meltdown among ND fans that was surpassed only by The F-Word Incident in April in terms of sheer outrage. Well, if the opinions expressed then are the same now the apocalypse has finally arrived and a MAC squad is about to forever sully our field by stepping foot on it. Have your thoughts on the Western Michigan/Tulsa games changed since they were announced? Would you rather ND Stadium sell out and continue the streak that extends back almost 40 years or see the streak broken so that the powers-that-be know just how disrespected you feel by the audacity they showed in scheduling such inferior opponents?

tendomer: I wouldn't wish for a non-sellout to make a point, especially to a man who knows what the problem is and has worked to rectify it almost completely. Swarbrick scheduled WMU because his predecessor left him and the university in a huge bind with a poor model and even worse contract skills. Swarbrick's addition of Miami and Texas to already tough schedules proved his worth. ND is No. 18 in Jeff Sagarin's strength of strength rankings right now. I don't feel bad about bringing a MAC school to ND Stadium. It's not like an FCS opponent. I think Swarbrick agrees it's better to do a home-and-home with a BCS bottom feeder (see Wake Forest signing). People were mad because WMU and Tulsa were on the schedule in the same year and they thought this was a sign of things to come. Swarbrick showed that it's not. As soon as 2011 the schedule will be stacked with ten BCS opponents, Navy, and an Air Force team that's currently ranked. 2011 and 2012 will both be among the hardest schedules in the country.

3. Most people painted AD Jack Swarbrick as the villain when the Western Michigan/Tulsa games were made public. Since then he's made drastic moves in locking down opponents on future schedules, went through the process of firing Weis and hiring Kelly, and navigated ND through the murky waters of conference realignment. Has your personal opinion on Swarbrick been altered over the past year?

TheNDleprechaun: I had a chance to sit down with Mr. Swarbrick at the end of last year, and I was more than impressed with his knowledge of Notre Dame history. I was sold the minute he told me that he considers Jesse Harper to be his top Notre Dame hero. No one has a better grasp of what it means to be in charge of athletics at Notre Dame than this man. Not only does he have an amazing track record as a tremendous organizational leader, but he is a true Domer who loves his alma mater. When he is not working tirelessly for the Fighting Irish, he can be seen cheering on all of our teams from the sidelines. When it came to hiring coach Kelly, he conducted a top-secret campaign that would make Ethan Hawk from Mission Impossible jealous. I would love to know exactly what happened in the days leading up to that hiring, and I can only hope that he writes a book about his time at Notre Dame one day. To answer the question, I have always had full confidence in Mr. Swarbrick and recent developments only serve as further evidence that he is the right man for the job at Notre Dame. Obliterating WMU and Tulsa won't be all that painful, especially considering that I haven't witnessed a blowout victory at home since we overwhelmed Nevada (who are, interestingly enough, currently ranked #19) 35-0 on opening day last year. Also, I'd like anyone complaining about our scheduling to ask themselves what other school could possibly pull off playing in Yankee Stadium, Soldier Field, and Aviva Stadium (in Dublin) over the next three years... that's right... only Notre Dame.

4. We're at the halfway point so it's a perfect time to step back real quick and evaluate what's happened thus far. What have been your two biggest surprises at this juncture of the season? Choose one positive and one negative.

FightinIrish1313: Question number four was the toughest question I’ve ever had to answer in my life for two reasons: I don’t know how I am expected to limit myself to one disappointment this season and I don’t know what about the team has surprised me in a positive manner. Obviously as seen through my season prediction I never would have guessed that we would be 3-3 at the halfway mark of the season, so that is my overbearing disappointment. After writing out a few of my individual disappointments I guess that my biggest surprise would be at how poorly the rushing game has come together this season. With Armando Allen and Cierre Wood in the backfield, there should be no reason that we aren’t averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground. Cierre rushed for more yards in the first game than he has in the rest of the five games combined, and Allen has yet to hit the century mark. I know that we are a pass first offense but there is no excuse for not utilizing two talented backs on the ground or with the air attack. Not only would it help open up the receivers more but also help with the clock management issue we are clearly struggling with. I hope that these two talented athletes get more touches in the next six games and that we can have more than 2 rushing touchdowns by the backs during that period.

I expected that Theo Riddick and Carlo Calabrese would have exceptional seasons, so I can’t consider their outstanding performances to be a surprise. What I did not expect, however, was that the University of Notre Dame’s offensive MVP would be a walk on. I knew that Ruffer was a great kicker, but I did not expect him to be 100% on all attempts halfway through the season. He is the definition of a team player and it is a shame that he does not have a scholarship when a free one was awarded to someone just because of his father’s name.

5. Which player that hasn't contributed much to this point in the season do you see emerging as a contributor down the stretch?

FightinIrish1313: I guess my answer would have to be Ragone. He is finally having a healthy season and will be much needed over the next six games. With Rudolph out Mike will finally have his chance to shine and sure as hell better do so. I expect him not only to be ready to make key catches downfield but also to help the struggling offensive line better open holes for the ground game. He was finally incorporated in the passing game last week, expect him to put up more than 11 yards in the second half of the year.

6. Scholarships are running thin and some tough decisions are going to have to be made this spring when it comes to offering 5th years to current seniors. If you're Coach Kelly who do you offer and who is left out in the cold to make room for the incoming freshman class?

tendomer: Given the talent remaining on ND's recruiting board, I think Gray, Smith, and Dever are the only locks for a fifth year. Between Romine and Nuss, I think only one will get a fifth year unless ND has extra space as recruiting crystallizes. Despite Nuss' versatility, Romine probably has the upper hand if the starting lineup from last week is any indication. I think Nwankwo (fourth-best DE now but could be sixth if and when Tuitt and Lynch arrive) and Ragone (Rudolph is more likely to stay now that rehab will probably last through the NFL Combine) are both long shots because they're dependent on recruiting falling apart or another player leaving early.

Jordan Prestwood's recent decommitment shows just how fluid the situation is. If Floyd, Rudolph, and four fifth years are on scholarship next year and the staff doesn't renew former walk-on Nate Montana's free ride, ND could take five more commitments in this class if the prospects are good enough. ND should aggressively recruit the remaining dozen or so seniors on the board, knowing that it won't land the majority of them anyway. By the beginning of the spring semester (Jan. 18) and the NFL's deadline for underclassmen entrants to withdraw (it was Jan. 18 last season and could change slightly for 2011), the staff will have a good picture of where on-the-fence fifth-year candidates stand.

7. *****BONUS***** You've been challenged to a Tailgate Olympiad by some chaunce from Southern Cal and you need to assemble a dream team of your fellow Irish fans to compete in the following events:


* Full Beer Flip Cup (four-man team)
Who else could I possibly turn to for a strong start than the greatest four-man combo in Notre Dame history? The Four Horsemen would set the tone early for the Irish in this one.

* Hamburger Eating Contest (two-man team)
Something tells me that the brothers Golic would dominate this event. I challenge anyone from Cal Southern to find a better duo than Bob and Mike.

* Beer Pong
In their prime, the two greatest hardwood legends in Notre Dame history would be unbeatable once they adjusted their stroke to the pong table. Austin Carr (all-time career and single-season scoring leader) and Adrian Dantley (second all-time in scoring and first in free throws made) would not disappoint.

* Cornhole/Bags/Whatever You Call It
I'd have to go with two more Notre Dame Basketball greats: Colin Falls (all-time record for three pointers made with 189) and Tim Abromaitis, who has personally shut me out in cornhole on numerous occasions.

* Individual Case Race
Windell Middlebrooks - also known as the Miller High Life Guy - could be seen on the sidelines rocking a green ND jersey last season. Not only would he have little trouble downing an entire case, but he would steal his opponent's beer of choice only to replace it with an inferior product.

* Thunderdome (one shotgun per minute until someone can't answer the bell)
His nickname says it all: Angelo "The Springfield Rifle" Bertelli was more than an All-American at Notre Dame. For a man who was awarded a Heisman Trophy, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart all in the same year, I have no doubt that he could take care of business against Cal Southern no matter what the challenge entailed.

Competition Playlist:
1. Survivor - Eye of the Tiger (to get in the zone)
2. Queen - We are the Champions (to celebrate our win)
3. The Greatest of all University Fight Songs, The Notre Dame Victory March

Livin' the High Life

Oct 12, 2010

The House that Jackson Built

IrishGirl10 is back with another guest post for Irish Creed,
 this time providing the Fighting Irish Faithful with an inside look at Notre Dame Hockey.

I grew up in Northern Wisconsin just a stone’s throw from the Minnesota border. For some of you this means I must live on a farm, root for the Packers like it’s my only reason for existing and subsist on a diet of beer and cheese. And you’d be pretty accurate. What you missed in this equation, however, is hockey. My town, and the surrounding region (which pretty much goes all the way up to Canada), live and breathe hockey. As such, I was a little nervous about going to Notre Dame. They had a hockey team, sure, but compared to the domination of my home state Badgers and my brother’s support of the Fighting Sioux out in North Dakota, I was a little nervous that Our Lady’s loyal sons would disappoint out on the ice. To say these worries were completely unwarranted is a vast understatement and does a great disservice to the Irish Hockey Team’s meteoric rise to supremacy in the CCHA and the NCAA itself. Where did this team come from?

Cue coach Jeff Jackson.

Jackson arrived on the South Bend scene in 2005; the new head coach of a team coming off a 5-27-6 season. With two NCAA Championships under his belt from Lake Superior State University, Jackson wasn’t fazed. Instead, he went to work. In his first year, the team improved to 13-19-4; in 2006-2007, the Irish had a record-breaking season with 32 overall wins and their first-ever CCHA regular season and tournament championship titles; they went on to the NCAA tournament for the second time in program history and were rewarded with an unprecedented tournament win. Coach Jackson was also rewarded; he was named CCHA Coach of the Year and received the Spencer Penrose Award for the National Coach of the Year. Hardly one to rest on his laurels, in the 2007-2008 season, Jackson guided the Irish through their repeat advancement to the NCAA tournament. This time, the Irish persevered to reach their first-ever Frozen Four and eventual berth into the NCAA Championship game, where they suffered a devastating loss at the hands of Boston College. In the 2008-2009 season, Notre Dame earned its second CCHA title, but their season ended in the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal with a loss to Bemidji State – the small Minnesota school would go on to win the NCAA title in Cinderella-like fashion. In 2009-2010, my last season as a student, the Irish were 13-17-8 overall, their play-off dreams cut short by consecutive losses in the CCHA tournament.

This brings us to our current season. With the performance of coach Jackson seemingly guaranteed to be solid, what this season holds for the Irish comes down to the boys in the skates. Despite the loss of some talent due to both graduation and the NHL draft, the Irish feature a strong returning roster that is bolstered by 13 new and highly capable additions. Led by their veteran captains – Seniors Joe Lavin, Calle Ridderwall (team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year as voted by the ND Monogram Club), Ben Ryan, and Ryan Guentzel – this freshmen class features: three players from the USA Hockey’s National Team Developmental Program (Johns, Rust, Tinordi), eight players fresh from the United States Hockey League (USHL), two players that have already been drafted by NHL teams (Costello, Lee), and five who were listed by the NHL’s Central Scouting in their final rankings prior to the June Entry Draft (Johns, Rust, Tinordi, and Lind). Not too shabby considering the talent these guys are joining ranks with.

Last Sunday, the Irish opened preseason play with a 5-3 win over the University of Guelph. They resumed preseason play this weekend in St. Louis at the Ice Breaker Tournament, beating Holy Cross 6-3 in the opening match. Freshman left wing Anders Lee made a strong entrance to his Notre Dame career, tallying an impressive hat trick for the Irish – with assists by Kevin Lind, Ben Ryan, and Ryan Guentzel. Joining Lee on the scoreboard were senior Joe Lavin, sophomore Nick Larson, and fellow freshman T.J. Tynan (assists by Ryan Guentzel, Mike Johnson, Riley Sheahan, Shayne Taker, Billy Maday, and Nick Larson). The Irish succeeded in shutting down Holy Cross in all six of their power-play opportunities and managed to capitalize upon one of their own four power-play chances with a goal. This win allowed the Irish to advance to the championship game against Boston University, which ended in a devastating last minute 5-4 loss. Our stellar freshman class continued their strong performance with goals by Bryan Rust (Riley Sheahan, Joe Lavin) and Shayne Taker (Anders Lee). Scoring twice in the second period was sophomore Nick Larson, who was twice assisted by T.J. Tynan and Billy Maday. The Irish managed to out-shoot B.U. 34-24, with neither team capitalizing on the power play (ND 0/7, B.U. 0/4). Following the tournament, freshman Anders Lee was named the CCHA Rookie of the Week.  

The Irish will look to their talented freshmen and established leaders as they open their season this weekend in a home series against the Lake Superior State Lakers, the games are slotted for 7:35 p.m. on October 14 and 15 at the Joyce Center.

Now I know you Irish fans are content to let football consume your life this Fall, but when the temperatures start dropping in South Bend to those lovely flesh-freezing levels (literally.), don’t hesitate to take your raucous support indoors to watch the Irish Icers skate their way to an NCAA title.


2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(