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Irish Take To The Road

Sept. 22, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It is do or die?

Skeptics believe that it is exactly that. For the first time this season, the Irish take their game on the road to Spartan Stadium to prove that this last month has not been a fluke.

The Irish have not won a regular season road game since the November 14th game against Navy at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium back in 1998. The 1999 season proved a long one for the Irish with no wins on the road and finishing the season at 5-7.

Davie realizes his troops have not taken part in a road win and sees Michigan State as being a crucial game.

“It is no secret that we haven’t had a lot of success on the road,” Davie said. “We have to go and win a game on the road. That is not easy.”

The 20th ranked Spartans are no cakewalk, considering they are led by one of the nation’s top running backs in sophomore T.J. Duckett.

Right now, Davie and his staff are approaching this game as a one game season. The Irish have to play Michigan State on Saturday and then are off for a week before facing Stanford at home.

Is this Saturday’s game a must? Not really but Notre Dame is approaching the contest that way. Although, Davie and Co. would like to get a marquee win in a big time stadium like the one in East Lansing. A road win like that would not only make this the September to remember but it could make the Irish the toast of the town.

Nothing would be sweeter than going 3-for-4 against some of the top college teams in the country. However, the Irish still have plenty of time to show all the critics that they have not fallen from the pedestal of power.

Saturday’s game is Davie’s toughest road challenge all season. The team plays the likes of Navy, West Virginia, Rutgers and USC on the road to conclude the season.

“As I mentioned, playing out here in this stadium is one thing,” Davie said. “Playing up there is another thing. This is why I still have a wait-and-see-attitude.”

In his three previous seasons, Davie’s troops won just five of the 16 games, which they have played in opposing team’s stadiums. Those five wins came in the 1997 and 1998 season against the likes of Pittsburgh, LSU, Hawaii, ASU and Boston College.

Those are stats are extremely disappointing to not only Davie but also the entire football program. Saturday’s game is a chance to wipe the slate clean.

It is a chance for Davie and his team to prove how solid they truly are despite the setbacks with the loss of Arnaz Battle and Grant Irons. It is a chance to make September the month when Notre Dame reaffirms its dominance

Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, Irish fans could not be prouder of a team that so many counted out from the start.

The question remains, is it do or die time? Davie is approaching the game, as it is exactly that.

It is a one game season according to the coach and he wants it to be an undefeated one.