The tailgater could not have been better executed. There must have been a hundred Notre Dame grads and friends, including a prominent alum we failed to mention in our previous post about the clout of Notre Dame in South Florida. That would be Paul Flanigan, ’79, owner of the Quarterdeck restaurants. He and has wife mingled with fellow Domers under pleasant skies. Anyway, it was a great night for the Irish. Then the game began.
The first mistake Irish coach Brian Kelly made was electing to kick off and give Alabama the ball. It quickly became apparent that Notre Dame’s only chance in this game was to keep Bama’s offense off the field. And that might have been possible early in the game before the momentum became irreversible. There were several questionable calls early in the game – at least the Notre Dame stands thought so. One was the long pass to a receiver who the replay showed was in bounds. The refs thought otherwise. The other was the fumble on a fair catch deep in Alabama’s territory. Those two calls might have, we say again might have, given Notre Dame a score in the first quarter to keep them in contention.
But the decisions went the other way, and after the second touchdown there was no stopping the Crimson Tide. Most impressive were their running backs, and for the next three weeks (it seemed that long with all the commercial breaks and interruptions for various awards which mar big games) Alabama seemed to have three Jim Browns, taking turns shredding an Irish defense that had been much praised during the regular season. These guys were big, fast, surprisingly agile and determined. Bama runners found holes when they appeared, and if they didn’t, they made them themselves with brute force. Time and again Notre Dame players made a hit at the line of scrimmage, and even in the backfield, only to be swatted away like meddling insects. That just did not happen in Notre Dame’s previous 12 wins.
Alabama was superb in every phase of the game, but the lopsided score was largely a credit to the running game. This morning’s papers were surprisingly kind to Notre Dame, so much so that the headlines and extensive coverage were not the most depressing news of the day.
Here we change mood. There was a story about a Florida Atlantic University professor who blogged that he questioned the recent mass shooting of children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. He questioned the circumstances of this appalling tragedy, even wondering if it happened at all, suggesting it might have been a conspiracy to justify gun control. He said the behavior of investigators was strange, and no photos were shown to prove the event occurred as reported. How astoundingly ghoulish.
We are not making this up, and FAU was quick to distance itself from the man’s ideas. We don’t know how he feels about the Holocaust. Probably not as strong. After all, in that instance there were photos.