The Norman Transcript

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
Sports
  • Big 12 Media Days Football Big 12 could fill NCAA’s vacuum; make the discipline calls, too

    It doesn’t look good for Joe Mixon.  Though his attorney, Kevin Finlay, said the most ballyhooed prospect of the Sooners’ most recent recruiting class “instinctually defended himself against further harm,” it just doesn’t ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tang making a splash on state level

    The Sooner Swim Club has produced a long string of great athletes in Norman. Norman North has won back-to-back state championships and senior Justin Wu owns several state records and last week qualified for the U.S. National swim meet. The ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Bradford facing another year of scrutiny in newest season

    ST. LOUIS — It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford. Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Judge rules against owner Donald Sterling, but lengthy saga far from over

    LOS ANGELES — Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer....

    July 29, 2014

  • T-Wolves land guard Mo Williams

    MINNEAPOLIS — Mo Williams is on his way to Minnesota, which means J.J. Barea could be on his way out....

    July 29, 2014

  • LSU freshmen face misdemeanors

    BATON ROUGE, La. — Two LSU freshmen football players face charges, one for allegedly stealing a bicycle outside Middleton Library and the other for allegedly tossing firecrackers into a campus apartment....

    July 29, 2014

  • Fitzgerald says players’ push for union brought Northwestern together

    CHICAGO — No matter how this season unfolds, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald insisted there is no more unified team than his Wildcats. For that, he credits the push for them to unionize....

    July 29, 2014

  • Delany rides fence with PSU

    CHICAGO — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany took a non-committal stance on an effort by five Pennsylvania Congressmen to rescind sanctions against Penn State for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal....

    July 29, 2014

  • Murray St. aims to be OVC contenders

    Fifth-year Murray State coach Chris Hatcher has returned the program to OVC relevance thanks to his exciting “Hatch Attack” offense. The Racers will need more results if they hope to be serious contenders....

    July 29, 2014

  • Healthy Claiborne ready to show his worth to Cowboys

    OXNARD, Calif. — Morris Claiborne got on Terrance Williams’ nerves the minute the competition started at training camp for the Dallas Cowboys....

    July 29, 2014

Facebook