Ben Belden: Southern Cal at Notre Dame, 2005
Breaking the trend a little bit, my most memorable Notre Dame game was, unfortunately, a game the Irish lost. Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and company invaded South Bend in October of 2005. College Gameday was there. The Trojans were the top-ranked team in the country, with the Irish coming in 9th. The atmosphere was electric.
At the time, I was 14 years old and I was in attendance with my dad. We were sitting in the northeast corner of the stadium, behind where the band used to sit in the stadium’s old arrangement.
We all know how that game went down (if you haven’t picked up on it yet, this game is more affectionately known as the “Bush Push”). Southern Cal had the ball on a 4th and 8 deep in their own territory. I allowed myself to think, “Holy smokes, Notre Dame is going to beat the number one team in the country.” Moments later, Matt Leinart hit Dwyane Jarrett to put the Trojans deep in Notre Dame territory. From there, Leinart fumbled out of bounds, Bush pushed Leinart into the endzone, and I’m still not done stewing about it. If you want to re-live my teenage angst with me, watch this video:
What I’ll remember forever, though, is the fun day I had with my father at a time where campus was perhaps more electric than it normally is. I’ll remember commiserating with my family about what could have been if any of those plays had gone in Notre Dame’s favor.