The message from Notre Dame all off-season was moving forward, not looking at the past.
But as the Irish get to set to play rival Michigan this Saturday at the Stadium, there is no way they have completely forgotten about last year’s debacle against the Maize and Blue.
It was the game that symbolized the 3-9 2007 season. A 38-nothing thumping in Ann Arbor that left the Irish and at 0-3 and stood as a sign of everything that would happen in the final months of the year.
“I just remember a sick feeling to my stomach,” safety and captain David Bruton explained Thursday. “I was just real upset that we play as poorly as we did.”
“It’s a rivalry and I haven’t forgotten about last year,” senior defensive tackle Pat Kuntz says.
It was also the 2nd straight embarrassing loss to UM. In 2006, Michigan won 47-21 at the stadium. The Irish were ranked 2nd in the country at the time.
For this year's senior class, they need a win. It’s their final game against a big time rival.
“It’s Notre Dame-Michigan. Nothing else needs to be said,” linebacker and captain Maurice Crum points out.
But what does need to be said is that Irish have not lost three straight times to Michigan in 100 years. It’s a game the seniors know means everything.
“It’s colossal,” 5th year senior cornerback Terrail Lambert says. “You’re talking about Notre Dame and Michigan. It’s one of the richest rivalries in all of college football.”
“Just to be a part of something like that and knowing it’s going to be your last time, you really want to go out with a bang. I’m just glad I can be a part of it.”
Avenging a 38-0 defeat to Michigan is something the Irish have done before. That was the score when the two teams met in Ann Arbor in 2003.
The following year, the Irish produced one of the most improbable wins over Michigan since the series resumed in the 70s.
That was 2004, when Crum and Lambert were true freshmen. They didn't play in the game, but were on the sidelines and felt the emotion of what the win meant.
That game helped pave the way for them to truly understand what this rivalry is all about.