by Kevin Herrity
Aug. 28, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – On a sun-splashed Wednesday afternoon, the University of Notre Dame football team finished up its last practice on campus before leaving for East Rutherford, N.J., where it will open the 2002 season against defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion and 21st-ranked Maryland in Kickoff Classic XX.
Notre Dame will be playing at Giants Stadium for the first time since 1995, when the Irish downed Army, 28-27. Notre Dame has never lost at the Meadowlands, thanks to five wins over Navy, three wins over Army, and one against Virginia (in the ’89 Kickoff Classic). Also, the Irish have never lost in the state of New Jersey in 12 previous visits, which is good news for Notre Dame fans and players entering Saturday night’s game against Maryland.
One player in particular who will be looking forward to the game will be sophomore running back and Nyack, N.Y., native Ryan Grant.
“I am really anxious and really excited not only to be able to play the first game, but to be able to go home and play in front of the hometown crowd,” Grant said.
According to Grant, the team does not feel any first-game jitters; rather, they are looking forward to getting the season started after nearly three weeks of preseason camp.
“I think everybody is just anxious and ready to get onto the field,” he commented. “When you are banging out there with your own teammates day after day, it gets a little monotonous. When you play an opponent of this caliber, it gets you really excited.”
The Kickoff Classic is scheduled for an 8:07 p.m. EDT start (7:07 p.m. in South Bend) on Saturday and the game will be televised nationally by ABC.
— ND —