As far as Notre Dame Blue-Gold Game weekends go, this year’s weekend was pretty fantastic. It was jam-packed, star-studded weekend, and the game was pretty good, too! Sit down while I take you through the diary of my Blue-Gold Game weekend experience.
The weekend started a few days early for me as I attended the annual Notre Dame Alumni Senate meetings prior to the game on Saturday. This year’s Alumni Senate meetings turned out to be even better than usual as I was recognized for my “Biggest Fan of the Big East” win. I not only got to meet Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick, but also got to meet Notre Dame Head Basketball Coach, Mike Brey. As if winning a car wasn’t surreal enough, meeting Coach Brey was pretty amazing!
The highlight of Friday night was a fundraiser sponsored by The New Notre Dame Nation. They are currently raising money for Play Like A Champion Today, Uganda. Play Like a Champion Today, Uganda is a university initiative that proposes to increase the Notre Dame influence on the continent of Africa. This initiative plans to promote sports as a form of physical, moral and social development for the children in the region. I was aware that some current and former football players would be attending the event to show their support for the cause, but I was blown away when I walked in and saw former Notre Dame Tight End, Irv Smith, who was a member of my Notre Dame class. What a total blast from the past. We were also honored to meet and greet with Kapron Lewis Moore, Darius Fleming, Bobby Brown ’00, Gerome Sapp ’04, among others! A few of the guys from the hockey team even graced us with their presence. It was a very eventful night, and a successful night of fundraising!
Saturday was the highly awaited Blue-Gold game. The day started out at a crisp 37 degrees … but by game time it was near 55 degrees and we were peeling off layers.
We snagged a front row spot in the end zone so that I could snap some good pictures, and were also in prime position to see people come in and out of the tunnel. It was a star-studded day. Walking by us, we were able to meet/talk to Kyle Rudolph, Michael Floyd, Justin Tuck, Gerome Sapp, and the team’s Orthopedic Surgeon, and a defensive star from my class, Brian Ratigan.
The highlight of all of this craziness being Kapron Lewis Moore blowing my friends a kiss. Good grief, you would have thought they were 18 year old school girls! All of that and I have not even gotten to the good part yet … the game!
Let’s hit the big stuff first … Quarterbacks. Everett Golson had a very impressive outing on Saturday. VERY impressive. He completed 11-of-15 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. His arm looks great. He is quick on his feet. He looks very comfortable. I am extremely excited about the possibility of seeing much more of this kid. Much more!
Andrew Hendrix looked pretty average to me. He did have one touchdown, but he also had one interception. He finished completing only a meager 4-of-9 passes for 51 yards. Nothing really to write home about.
Tommy Rees still looks like a deer in headlights. They said that he had regained some confidence during spring ball, but honestly, I do not see it. I know that Kelly will still probably lean on Tommy and name him his starter, but this thought makes my stomach flip. He ended up completing 7-of-14 passes for 84 yards, with one touchdown pass, but also had one interception.
Gunner Kiel, the baby of the group, actually looked pretty good despite his lack of experience. He took all of the snaps in the running clock fourth quarter, and ended up completing 5-of-9 passes for 57 yards. Not too shabby at all.
There were several guys that stood out on the offensive side of the ball. One being George Atkinson III. It seemed like every time there was a running back running down field, it was Atkinson! He rushed for 110 yards in the first half, an finished with 15 touches for 124 yards. He also caught 3 passes for 54 yards, and showcased some awesome running skills. He definitely made an impression on Saturday!
“I watch a lot of guys in the pros and try to implement what they do in my game as much as possible. I watch Adrian Peterson and those guys make moves like that, and I’m trying to do the same thing.” George Atkinson
Offensively, the Irish looked pretty good on Saturday. In addition to Atkinson tearing up the field, Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick had impressive outings as well. Several of the Irish wide receivers made good grabs … including Tight End Tyler Eifert, wowing the crowd with two long receptions, one of which for a touchdown. It definitely looked like they were giving the defense a run for their money.
It wasn’t a bad day for the defense though. Kendall Moore, Junior linebacker, lead the defense with eight tackles. Cornerback Lo Wood had an excellent day with seven tackles, and Anthony Rabasa brought in six. Notre Dame’s offense, however, still struggles with it’s continuing turnover woes. These were highlighted again today with interceptions by Senior Chris Salvi, Sophomore Matthias Farley, and Sophomore Ishaq Williams.
Now Brian Kelly knows what he needs to work on in the off season!
Enjoy some highlights from the game … and GO IRISH!