Hey all, wanted to post about this much earlier in the week, but I've been hella busy and haven't had the chance to log on, sit down, and give this proper treatment until now.
As many late-night Friday MGoPosters know, last Friday night, IUandUofM offered up an extra ticket to the ND game on Saturday, per here: http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/free-notre-dame-ticket-someone-who-otherwise-could-not-go#comment-635907 . I lucked out, became the chosen one, promptly packed my things, got in my car at 1:45 AM, and drove 12.5 hours from North Carolina to South Bend.
By the way, IUandUofM should be pos-banged for all eternity for his generosity in offering up the extra ticket. A big thanks to him. It was fun to watch the game with a fellow MGoBlogger.
Here are some thoughts about my experience and some pics of my travels....
(The West Virginia sign....a bit blurry as it was taken while driving... I was on a schedule so I didn't get the chance to find RR's holler while in WV.)
A couple nice pics of the sunrise in Ohio:
(The following one was striking to me because it was 9/11...the telephone poles are reminiscent of the twin towers, and the sunrise reminds us of the endurance of hope.)
Once I got to South Bend, I must say I was extremely impressed with the way ND does parking. They are very, very quick and efficient. I was impressed with ND overall. While they razzed visiting fans, of course, they were hospitable, classy, and helpful. The campus is very nice as well.
As for the game itself, we were seated in the south end zone, with a bunch of other Michigan fans/alums. We were fairly high up, but the view of the game was great. This offered a much different perspective than you get on TV, and viewing the game from this angle really gave me an accurate sense of just how much RR stretches the field.... watching it on TV, from the side-to-side vantage point, you don't get much of a sense of this.
Also, in person, I got a much better sense of the fakes on the zone read. Denard's fakes are much more convincing in person than on TV. This was one of my beefs with the zone read last year....that on reads where the QB handed off, they didn't follow through with the rest of the play like Pat White often did at WVU. Denard is definitely doing that this year, which is great to see.
As for the 87 yard run, it was awesome to see that live!! The crowd in our section went nuts for that. Obviously this was a great game to be at.
Here are some pics from during the game:
The Band making an outline of the shape of the US at halftime:
Obviously the second half was awesome. The game was epic overall, probably the best sporting event I've ever been at. What amazed me was that between the penalties, the huge defensive mistakes....like we were finding every way possible to lose the game, and still won it. In the middle of the fourth quarter, the sun finally came out as well, and, the sun finally shined on us in South Bend. When the game ended, the people in our section went absolutely nuts!!
...Touchdown Jesus approves!!
On the way out, it was one of the coolest things ever as all the M fans poured out of the stadium, singing The Victors, and chanting "It's great!!...To be....A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!" filling ND stadium with our triumphant cheers. It's hard to describe in words, but, anyone that was there knows how awesome it was. It was awesome to, finally, have something to be *that* excited about relative to M football!!
After the game, we went around the stadium and found where the players exit to go to the buses. We met some of the coaching staff and many of the players.
- Barwis' voice is even more gravel-filled in real life than on YouTube. His wolves must have already been on the bus though, as I didn't see them.
- GERG is a very good looking man. (No homo) His hair is so shiny he could have his own Pantene Pro-V commercial
- I shook Devin's hand and his hands are very large. Should bode well for him holding onto the ball.
- I'm now much faster from the dilithium residue that remains on my hand after high-fiving Denard
- Tate signed a couple autographs, and seemed to be in good spirits, positive, and upbeat. Take it for what it's worth as it's an isolated incident, but, I think it bodes well for him staying and being an asset to the team. He seemed to have a good attitude and I took that as a positive.
- Vincent Smith is *tiny*. Wow. I think 5'8" may be generous. I'm thinking more like 5'7". Now that I've seen him in person, I find what he does on the field that much more amazing.
- Big Will is huge (obvsly)
- Also high fived Odoms, Kovacs, Molk, Schilling, Mouton, and many others. Wasn't able to get to Roh or Martin, but saw them.
Overall, it was an awesome time. Once again, a big thanks to IUandUofM for the opportunity to go.... If there's anything I forgot or left out, hopefully he'll chime in in the comments.