By Dwight Moore–
Heading up to South Bend, I knew this was a huge game for the Cards. Both teams were going into week 13 with a record of 7-3 and hopes of reaching the Orange Bowl, if the dominoes fall correctly. This was the first time in history that Louisville and Notre Dame have faced, making it even more of a thrill knowing how prestigious the Fighting Irish football program is. Notre Dame wanted to bounce back after losing two in a row, but we didn’t flinch going into the game, even though our opponent was favored by three and had home field advantage.
Upon my arrival, I started to see more and more red. I wasn’t too sure how many fans were going to make the five-hour drive. Surprisingly enough, our fans seized the moment and showed that a little rain isn’t going to stop us from showing up. Before tailgate, we had the opportunity to walk around campus. Notre Dame oozes with history and I couldn’t wait to check out the great sights. A few sights were the Golden Dome, the Grotto and Touchdown Jesus. Just the raw history here at Notre Dame’s campus was simply amazing!
After touring and tailgating, it was time to go into the stadium. Before the game started, the Irish had the traditional pre-game ceremony. From the band taking the field to our Cardinals running out of the legendary tunnel, it was an amazing thing to witness in person. My emotions spiked. Our fans got rowdier than ever. Throughout the first half, we controlled the tempo and weren’t making any mistakes on offense or defense. At one point our fans, which I’d say was 25 percent of stadium, were louder than Notre Dames. It seemed like everything was aligning for a victory.
Then the second half came. We got outscored in both the third and fourth quarters. Flashbacks of the Florida State game started to occur. Our team stayed strong, but our fan base did too.
In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame was down 31-20. They put together a clutch drive to score a touchdown along with a two-point conversion, putting the game at 31-28. Louisville needed to score to put this one away. We were on Notre Dame’s six-yard line, third down, and ended up getting sacked for a loss of 14 yards. We now had a 37-yard field goal attempt, in which we missed. This allowed the Irish to have one last attempt to win the game. They marched down the field after a few nice plays to Louisville’s 15-yard line. Louisville’s defense came up with an incomplete pass, which forced them to either turn it over on downs or kick the field goal for the tie.
The environment in the stadium was insane! Everyone was screaming and both teams were feeling the pressure. The Irish was going to attempt the field goal. When the ball was snapped, the holder had mishandled it and the kick was sprayed. Notre Dame had choked big time! Again, our fans were going wild with only 51 seconds left. We ran out the clock and brought home an historical win. Even though traffic was atrocious due to the mass exodus of U of L fans, the victory was well worth the agony of waiting.