What stadium was I in on Saturday night?
There are plenty of important things to take away from Notre Dame’s 31-16 victory over the USC Trojans — but one of the more important happenings of the night cam in the dark whilst no football was being played.
Notre Dame’s visit to Athens in a 2019 loss to Georgia still looks like it has a lasting effect on the program. That night was nuts, as Georgia put on a sound and light show that really symbolized the importance of that game. It was a much wilder atmosphere than what happened in South Bend in 2017 — which isn’t saying much.
A few weeks after that 2019 Georgia game, Notre Dame asked fans to turn on their phone lights for the 1812 Overture — a move right out of the Bulldogs playbook. It definitely looks like that addition is staying for the future.
Two years and one pandemic season later, the Irish unleashed all they learned in Athens upon the Trojans. It started with the team intro, which already had major changes this year. For night games though… it was time to hit the turbo button.
Notre Dame changed up their intro. LIGHTS OUT! pic.twitter.com/9MgFDOPEPz
— One Foot Down (@OneFootDown) October 23, 2021
Cool, cool… Notre Dame is really trying to make the game atmosphere something special. As cool as it was, I never thought they would break it out again during the game, and that’s exactly what happened — the 1812 Overture got a turbo and rocket fuel boost.
Notre Dame went FULL nuts with the lights tonight. pic.twitter.com/zNirwr5RPb
— One Foot Down (@OneFootDown) October 24, 2021
So a couple of really important things here:
— This is not the Notre Dame of my youth. Hell, it’s not even the Notre Dame of 2012. There is a lot going on with the gameday atmosphere, and despite rumblings from the blue-hairs and the “cult of old is tradition” crowd, it really looks like the fans are liking the changes.
— This was a HUGE recruiting weekend for Notre Dame. Every bit of glitz and glam used could only (probably) help with helping a kid decide about a future at Notre Dame.
When Brian Kelly was asked about it after the game, he just gave a coy smile and said it wasn’t his job (marketing) and that he was “just glad the lights came back on. Regardless of his low-key answer, the change going on at Notre Dame is massive — and he knows it.
Things like this don’t help you win ONE ball game — they are supposed to help set you up to win years and years worth of ball games. The culture at Notre Dame has changed dramatically since Brian Kelly’s arrival in 2010, and despite that gnawing bone about a national championship, his time has seen a revival in the program, and changes to help it prosper for many more seasons.