September 1, 2012 - Notre Dame returns to Ireland

Kicking off their 125th Football Season, Notre Dame traveled to Dublin to play their third game overseas. In 1979, the team first traveled to Tokyo to play Miami and in 1996 traveled to Dublin to play Navy. Unlike the 1996 trip which took place in November, this year's overseas trip kicked off the football season. This would prove beneficial for several reasons: (1) get the travel done early and back to a normal schedule; (2) spend fall camp planning for the triple option and not mid-season.

An estimated 35,000 American fans traveled to Ireland, some for an entire week of travel. Some reports said it was the most Americans travelling to Europe at one time since World War II. After the pep rally the night before (which was more like a late night show than a pep rally), the Temple Bar district turned into tailgate central. The marching band did a parade down Grafton Street and gave the Irish a taste of an American game day.

The 2011 season entered on a down note when the team lost to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl 18-14. There were many questions going into the 2012 season, especially with starting quarterback Tommy Rees staying behind in South Bend. Redshirt freshman Everett Golson got the starting nod ahead of Andrew Hendrix. How would Golson respond? How would Notre Dame fair against Navy who had won 3 of the past 5 games? Preseason predictions put the Irish at an expected 8-4 record, no game would be easy.

Once the game started, all fears were erased. Receiving the opening kick, the Irish went 75 yards in 13 plays to score a rushing touchdown by Theo Riddick. The defense would hold Navy on 4th down and four plays later George Atkinson scored a touchdown on a 56 yard run. At the end of the first quarter, ND led 13-0. A Navy punt put Notre Dame at their own 20. The third drive of the day was capped by a 5 yard pass to Tyler Eifert for touchdown number three, ND 20-0. On Navy's first play, the Navy quarterback fumbled and Manti Te'o recovered the fumble. Deep in Navy territory now, Golson threw an interception and the team was back where they were. Following the interception, Navy put together their first long drive and went 66 yards into the red zone. Navy's quarterback fumbled a second time and defensive end Stephon Tuitt recovered the fumble. Tuitt scooped up the fumble and outran the Navy offense 77 yards for a touchdown. Tuitt's fumble return was the longest since 1985 and the third longest return in Notre Dame history. A Navy field goal as time expired left the score 27-3 at halftime.

The second half would be all Notre Dame as well, despite Navy starting off the half with a touchdown to make the score 27-10. Notre Dame would go on to score the next 23 points on touchdowns from Atkinson, Riddick, and Robby Toma. Nick Tausch would also add a field goal for good measure. the final score would read 50-10, Notre Dame. In a complete 180 from last season, Notre Dame passed the ball 23 times for 197 yards and rushed it 46 times for 293 yards. Not only did the team put the game away by rushing the ball, they continued to average 6.4 yards per carry. For the first time in history, Notre Dame won a game on September 1 (though the only other time they've played on Sept. 1 was in 2007).

      1  2  3  4  F
ND   13 14 13 10 50
Navy  0  3  7  0 10

For the first time since 2010 and the 103rd time overall, Notre Dame started the season 1-0.

Keywords: football, navy, dublin, 125th season, tokyo, miami, band, florida state, champs sports bowl, tommy rees, everett golson, andrew hendrix, stephon tuitt, theo riddick, george atkinson, tyler eifert, manti teo, robby toma, nick tausch

Posted On: 2012-11-29 00:15:01 by IrishTrpt07
Edited On: 2012-11-29 07:51:40 by IrishTrpt07


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