Notre Dame night game energizes fans

By: Barbara Harrington Email
By: Barbara Harrington Email

It was a long day for football fans in South Bend on Saturday, as Notre Dame hosted its first night game in 21 years. But the later start time didn't tire game-goers.

Thousands of people came to campus to tailgate at the same time they normally would for a day game. Some fans were up at 4:30 a.m. to start gearing up for the Notre Dame and USC match-up.

"We've been tailgating for five hours before this, then four hours of game, and two hours of after party," said Notre Dame student Ane Perez.

Whether their team lost or won, both Irish and Trojan fans say the game was worth the wait. They say they enjoyed seeing such a heated rivalry played out under stadium lights.

"This matchup should always be at night," said Notre Dame fan Richard Fallat. "Because these are two of the best teams in the country. This rivalry is a hated rivalry."

The nighttime atmosphere also seemed to have an effect on fans, who cheered louder during Saturday's game than during any other game this season.

"We're seniors here and it's been the best energy through all four years," said Notre Dame student Sylvana Gomez.

But police worried that energy would turn into fans acting out of control.

They urged fans to pace themselves throughout the day and said anyone who got too rowdy would be kicked out of the game.

Police tell NewsCenter 16 there were more people escorted out of the stadium during Saturday's game than there have been during any home game this season. They say many of the issues within the stadium were alcohol related.

Because several different police agencies were working with stadium security to keep fans under control Saturday, police did not have any idea how many people were kicked out or arrested at the game.

While they say the nighttime game resulted in more trouble, fans say they were just trying to have some fun.

"Everyone's having a few beers and having a good time," said USC fan Michael Wertz. "No one wants to end up wasted."

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