The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 26, 2012

Irish reign once again

LOS ANGELES — The postgame roars from Notre Dame’s locker room echoed right through the Coliseum’s thick cement walls and metal beams Saturday night, moving around the 89-year-old arena like a long-absent force of nature.

After decades away, the Fighting Irish are back on top of college football — unmatched in the rankings, unblemished in the standings, and unequivocally ready for a chance to end a 24-year national championship drought.

Manti Te’o, the star Irish linebacker from Hawaii who led this improbable revival season, took a moment to listen to those echoes.

“This is where you want to be when you go to Notre Dame,” he said.

The Irish are No. 1 again — a Golden Dome atop their sport.

Notre Dame (12-0) beat Southern California 22-13 to complete its first unbeaten regular season since 1988. That’s also the last championship year for the school that produced a legion of the sport’s most memorable figures: Knute Rockne, the Four Horsemen, Paul Hornung, Joe Montana — heck, even Rudy Ruettiger.

A no-nonsense win over Notre Dame’s intersectional rivals in Los Angeles capped a year of historic dominance for a defense led by Te’o. That defense allowed just nine touchdowns all season long, capped by four downs of unyielding play while backed up to its goal line by the Trojans in the final minutes.

“You just put the ball down in front of us, and if there’s time on the clock, we’re never going to give up,” defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore said.

These Irish never flinched, either in dire late-game circumstances or under the weight of history that has crushed decades of previous Notre Dame teams. After beginning the year unranked and projected for maybe eight victories by optimistic pundits, the Irish produced a marvelous season of old-fashioned, hard-nosed football amid the wacky spread offenses and garish neon uniforms that seem to dominate the sport these days.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Drivers visit Indiana National Guard before race at Brickyard

    EDINBURGH, Ind. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal are used to occasional fireworks when drivers get upset at the track....

    July 25, 2014

  • Nibali wins Stage 18, builds overall lead

    ARGELES-GAZOST, France — As his team hoped, Vincenzo Nibali demonstrated he’s the “boss” of the Tour de France. Just don’t compare him to the last rider to regularly bear that sobriquet at cycling’s greatest race, Lance Armstrong....

    July 25, 2014

  • Sooners use momentum from Sugar Bowl in preparation for 2015 season

    The Associated Press NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma got a lot of attention with its upset victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl....

    July 25, 2014

  • Yankees edge Texas for sixth victory in seven games

    NEW YORK — Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley are quickly putting their stamp on a playoff surge for the New York Yankees....

    July 25, 2014

  • Smoke turns corner at Indy

    INDIANAPOLIS — Drivers always say there’s something magical about Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the opportunity for NASCAR to race there opened the door for one of Jeff Gordon’s most treasured victories. It was a race Tony Stewart ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Former great addressed during annual shareholders meeting in G.B.

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — Flush with cash, the Packers have a 112,000 name-long waiting list for season tickets filled with die-hards eager to see a team that figures to be an NFC contender for years to come....

    July 24, 2014

  • Roma tops Liverpool

    BOSTON — Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a preseason friendly Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There were limited chances until Borriello volleyed in a corner from in front of goal....

    July 24, 2014

  • Marcus Mariota helps Oregon’s PAC-12 title chance in preseason polls

    LOS ANGELES — Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role....

    July 24, 2014

  • Potential buyer group scouts Toronto area

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Buffalo Bills prospective ownership group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi has conducted a feasibility study into buying the NFL franchise and building a stadium in Toronto, a person close to the situation said....

    July 24, 2014

  • Majka wins 16th stage, Nibali leads

    PLA D’ADET, France — On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycle’s antenna....

    July 24, 2014