The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 31, 2012

Kelly won’t use history to motivate

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The similarities between Notre Dame this season and the Fighting Irish squad from a decade ago are uncanny enough that it might make some fans a bit uncomfortable heading into Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh.

A decade ago, a Notre Dame team that started the season unranked persuaded many college football fans it was for real when it won at then-No. 11 Florida State to improve to 8-0 and rise to a No. 4 ranking. That team was a 10-point underdog when it beat the Seminoles in the eighth game by breaking a second-half tie by scoring 24 straight points to drop Florida State to 84-5-1 in its previous 90 home games.

This year’s team has many fans believing it is real after starting the season unranked and winning at then-No. 8 Oklahoma to improve to 8-0 and rise to a No. 4 ranking. The Irish were 10-point underdogs when they beat the Sooners in the eighth game by breaking a second-half tie by scoring 17 straight points to drop Oklahoma to 79-5 in its last 84 home games.

Following that 2002 win, Notre Dame appeared to have an easy path to a BCS. This time, the Irish again appear to have an easy path to a BCS game with a three-game stretch against Pittsburgh (4-4), Boston College (2-6) and Wake Forest (4-4) before the season finale at Southern California (6-2).

As any Irish fan can tell you, the ninth game of the 2002 season was the beginning of the end for then-first-year coach Tyrone Willingham.

The Irish were favored by 10 points, but turned the ball over seven times while wearing green jerseys for motivation and lost 14-7 to Boston College. They then struggled to beat Navy, were trounced 44-13 at USC and lost 28-6 to North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl.

Coach Brian Kelly isn’t much interested in that history, though.

“History will have no effect on how this team plays,” Kelly said. “What will affect how they play is how they prepare during the week. That is what I can control and that’s what our players can control. Our focus is on what we can control.”

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014

  • Romo skips full-pad session for the first time at camp

    OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys are taking it easy with Tony Romo’s back....

    July 30, 2014

  • Vikings hire help for Kluwe talks

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have hired the attorney who investigated the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and another who played a prominent role in the fight for marriage equality to help in settlement talks with former punter ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Cards’ Abraham charged with DUI

    ATLANTA — Authorities say Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge a month ago in the Atlanta area. Abraham has been absent from the team’s training camp since Friday....

    July 30, 2014

  • Players elect new executive director

    Michele Roberts has watched basketball for as long as she can remember. It was an easy choice growing up in a home with one TV and two older brothers....

    July 30, 2014

  • NCAA settles head-injury suit

    CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Yanks hold off Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Brett Gardner had four hits to go with a tremendous sliding catch and the New York Yankees held on for a 12-11 victory at Texas on Tuesday night in spite of J.P. Arencibia’s seven RBIs. Gardner had a leadoff homer and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Twins pick up undrafted arm ‘out of nowhere’

    SAN FRANCISCO — In one of their craziest scouting experiences, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal with a 24-year-old pitching prospect who has thrown 100 mile per hour fastballs but has never been drafted....

    July 30, 2014