Sports Day
Classic Cowboys
High Schools
Health | Science
House & Garden
Metro | Obituaries
National | World
Sports Day
Texas Living
Texas & Southwest
Real Estate
Contact us
Site index
Web specials
Texas Tech hires Bob Knight
The News' 2000 All-Big 12 football team
The News' Big 12 football awards
The News' 2000 All-WAC football team
The News' WAC football awards
Recruiting 2001
Southwest sports review, 2000-01 Contact us Sports Day : Colleges: Steve Richardson
Power failure: Irish are struggling

Nebraska 27, Notre Dame 10


LINCOLN, Neb. – This was the site Saturday night of another indicator of our rapidly advancing age.

Today's teenagers can't remember life without the Cartoon Network or Gameboys. And the concept of Notre Dame as a football power seems as absurd as Russia as a world power.

After the Irish's 27-10 season-opening loss at Nebraska, it doesn't look like the kids are going to get a history lesson any time soon.

Let's get the asterisk out of the way early: Lesson No. 1 on Saturday was that you don't play your first game at the No. 5 team in the country playing its third game.

This was as victory produced as much in the athletic directors' office as on the football field. (Deliver your high-fives to Bill Byrne, Huskers fans.)

Notre Dame looked like a team that could have benefited from a couple of scrimmages against TCU and Troy State, which helped Nebraska fine-tune its game for the game that was its emotional season opener.

The Fighting Irish didn't even know that Matt LoVecchio was not their starting quarterback. Fellow sophomore Carlyle Holiday was far superior – as superior as anyone could be against Nebraska's everywhere, all-the-time defense.

Excuses aside, this was the game that motivated the Cornhuskers during summer conditioning drills and two-a-days.

Nebraska proved beyond a doubt that it is the team to take seriously if you're talking modern powers among these two teams with storied histories.

For the record, 1993 was the last time Notre Dame ever hurt anybody you respected.

The Irish are 3-12 against top-10 teams since that year, when they finished No. 2 in the nation – their last top-10 finish.

Reasons are speculative, but the value of the "Notre Dame mystique" has clearly diminished in recruiting – only a couple of years after the Irish signed a national network TV package with NBC in 1991.

Opponents viewed that deal as the weapon Notre Dame would wield to perpetual national-title contention well into the 21st century. Talented athletes like TV, and nothing is more valuable than having every game on national, network TV.

That was the theory, anyway.

But Notre Dame has produced only two first-round NFL draft picks in the last seven years. It had three in 1994, four in 1993, and at least one in eight of the 11 seasons prior to that.

So what if this was the school that invented the forward pass? It didn't pass or run very well against Nebraska. The Irish had 43 yards of net total offense at halftime, by which point they trailed, 27-3, and a wet Memorial Stadium crowd had only a smidge more enthusiasm than it had for TCU two weeks earlier.

In the end, Notre Dame accumulated 162 yards, while Nebraska relied on its superior defense and traditional and competent clock-killing running game for a fast second half.

Nebraska whips Notre Dame? Once upon a time, this kind of news would have sparked the uprooting of goal posts. This time, it was as dull as an afternoon against Troy State.

And though it did liven the Cornhuskers' hopes for a championship season, what Nebraska saw was little more than a Galloping Ghost of Notre Dame's former identity.

The good news to Irish fans is this should not be the last we hear from coach Bob Davie's fifth Notre Dame team. Davie has 18 seniors in the 22 starting positions on offense and defense.

The bad news is Davie's record is now 20-30, not good enough at any traditional power. And certainly not at a school the boasts of having the highest winning percentage (.752) of any school in Division I.

It's college football's prevailing historical marker, having given us the Knute Rockne, the Four Horsemen and Win One for the Gipper.

Then again, ask a teenager if she or he has ever heard of them.

Related sites
Grapevine Sailing Club
Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club

Dallas Trails

Greater Dallas Bicyclists Club
Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association

Aikido of Dallas

Dallas Rowing Club

Dallas Rugby Football Club

Cross Country Club of Dallas
White Rock Marathon

Mesquite Championship Rodeo

Subscribe to The Dallas Morning News and get your first two weeks free. Click here for details.

© 2001 The Dallas Morning News
Privacy policy

Subscribe to The Dallas Morning News Archives Sports Day: Other sports E-mail staff