Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2012

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 86 of 89

Ghosts No Match For 2012 Spirit THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI The amazing 2012 Notre Dame regular season ended with the victory at USC, and only one more win away from immortality with the program's first 13-0 finish. I team, directed by charismatic first- year head coach Ara Parseghian and advertised as the most important sin- gle campaign in Notre Dame's foot- ball history. The book was marketed as "an unforgettable story of second chances, determination and unwaver- ing spirit." However, in this 125th season of Notre Dame football, the 2012 cam- paign is on the threshold of becom- ing the greatest Cinderella story in the program's unrivaled pantheon — if it hasn't already. It's not about which was the great- est Notre Dame team or possessed the most NFL talent … or even put up the most "style points." Rather, until this season, hands down the two greatest "Where in the … did that come from?" football seasons at Notre Dame were 1964 and the 1988 national champions, mainly because of minimal to zero ex- n 2009, author Jim Dent's book Res- urrection: The Miracle Season That Saved Notre Dame was published. It was about the 1964 Fighting Irish pectations. Yet even in 1964, Notre Dame was PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press poll after its first game. During "The Second Coming" in 1988, the Irish started out ranked No. 13 in the pre- season. From game one through 12, this 2012 team was besieged by ghosts of 18 seasons past — more combined than the eight from 1956-63 and seven from 1981-87. Each week of the 2012 Notre Dame season provided head coach Brian Kelly, his staff and the play- ers a checklist of ending streaks and dreaded apparitions from the past that had haunted the program. • Game one against Navy was about not starting 0-1 two years in a row for the second time ever under the same coach. The first occurred in 1984-85. Check. • Game two against Purdue was about starting 2-0 for the first time in Kelly's three seasons. It also happened to be the one day ever (Sept. 8) during the college football calendar months

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