It was a game of emotion.
One that began with a moment of silence.
On Friday, Robert Hughes buried his brother Tony, who was killed earlier in the week. He was 24.
A day later, Robert scored the first touchdown of the game to honor his brother.
Teammates circled Hughes in a great moment of team unity in the endzone.
Robert then went to the sideline where he handed the touchdown ball to coach Charlie Weis. The two embraced. Corwin Brown and other players joined in.
As the game neared its finish, the stands were rocking. Fans anticipated the first home victory of the season.
But then overtime came.
Excitement turned to worry.
And finally, Travis Thomas was stopped. And the game was over. A win streak that stretched 43 straight games was over.
On one side, faces dropped in sadness; stunned that Notre Dame was now 1-8 and had lost to Navy for the first time since 1963.
On the other side, there was a celebration unlike any other for the U.S. Naval Academy.
As the emotions continued to run high on both sides, everyone came together as one to honor Navy’s Alma Mater.
When it was over, the stunned looks continued on the faces of the Irish. The celebration continued for Navy.
Officers, like retired Admiral Tom Lynch, who was a captain on the 1963 team that last beat Notre Dame, celebrated outside the Navy locker room.
He hugged a female officer who was overwhelmed and kept screaming, “We Beat Notre Dame. We Beat Notre Dame.”
It’s a game the U.S. Naval Academy will never forget. One so big that they have cancelled classes on Monday.
It’s a game Notre Dame fans never forget either. One so big that a 43-year certainty came to an end.