Notre Dame Football: 10 Unforgettable Moments of the 2010 Season
(photo by Jim Sheridan)
The 2010 season was filled with many memorable moments, some good and some bad. One thing is certain, all of them will remain with Irish fans for a long time.
A couple of these moments even classify as "where were you when" moments.
Through the course of the 2010 season, there were also some moments that were tragic and unfortunate. These were left out not due to omission, but out of respect to the families involved.
Jim Sheridan is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10: Kyle Rudolph's 95-Yard Touchdown
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
With less than four minutes in the game and Notre Dame down 24-17, Dayne Crist connected with Kyle Rudolph for a 95-yard touchdown to give the Irish a three-point lead following David Ruffer's kick.
Rudolph, who had been nursing a bad hamstring, looked to be in good shape as he galloped the length of the field for the go-ahead score.
While this play erupted the fans, it actually had a two drawbacks. Rudolph scored with three minutes and 41 seconds left on the clock, and it may have been the final blow to his weaken hamstring.
One thing is certain, it was a huge play that will be remembered for a long time.
9: Denard Robinson Carves Up the Irish
Rick Dole/Getty Images
Denard Robinson would have been fascinating to watch on Sept. 11, 2010 had the University of Michigan been playing Michigan State. The fact that his 258-yard rushing performance came against the Irish made it lose some lustre to Notre Dame fans.
Of Robinson's 258 yards on the ground, 152 came in the second quarter alone, including an 87-yard touchdown rip. The 87-yard run was the longest ever in Notre Dame Stadium.
Robinson saved his best for the final drive. Michigan took the ball back after Kyle Rudolph's go-ahead touchdown with 3:41 left on the clock, and delivered the knockout blow with 11 seconds remaining to give Michigan the victory.
8: Tommy Rees' Performance Against Tulsa
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
When Dayne Crist went down with a knee injury in the first quarter against Tulsa, Tommy Rees stepped up to the plate and delivered for the most part.
Rees put veteran numbers up on the board, finishing 33-of-54 for 334 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions.
While some will only remember the final interception that led to a Tulsa victory, the otherwise brilliant performance of Rees should not be overshadowed.
Rees was the first Notre Dame freshman ever to throw for four touchdowns in a game. His 334 yards in the air were the most ever by an Irish quarterback who did not start the game.
Although the results were not what Irish fans were looking for, the long-term benefits of Tommy Rees' performance were evident later in the season.
7: Manti Te'o
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
It seems that every moment that Manti Te'o is on the field has the potential to be noteworthy. As a sophomore, Te'o started every game for the Irish and registered 133 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss.
One of Teo's most outstanding performances came in the loss to Stanford, when he racked up 21 total stops, sixth most in a single game in Notre Dame history. The 21-tackle performance was also second most by an Irish sophomore behind Bob Crable. Double-digit tackles were not uncommon for Te'o in 2010; he recorded 10 or more seven times.
While the best is yet to come with Manti Te'o, what we have seen so far has certainly been memorable.
6: Aaron Lynch Re-Commits to the Irish
(photo courtesy of wsbt.com)
When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, Aaron Lynch was a member of the Fighting Irish.
After verbally committing to Notre Dame last summer, Lynch re-opened his recruitment in the fall. Leading up to National Signing Day all indications were that Aaron Lynch would sign with the Florida State. However in early January, word spread that Lynch would make another visit to Notre Dame.
With the weekend visit complete, Lynch decided once again to be Irish. Within days he was enrolled as an early enrollee.
While we don't know how it will play out, every indication is that Aaron Lynch is at the beginning of a prosperous career.
The day that Aaron Lynch singed his letter of intent to Notre Dame is one of those "where were you" moments.
5: Notre Dame Defense vs. Navy
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Every now and again something good comes out of a bad situation.
The Navy Midshipmen racked up 438 total yards on the Irish, 367 of them coming on the ground. To make matters worse, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco admitted that the Irish were not prepared for Navy's attack. Many feared the the wheels had come off of the cart.
What happened next was classic Irish resilience. Notre Dame's defense buckled down and bought into Diaco's defensive scheme and produced one of the finest defensive finishes in memory.
4: Bob Diaco Lands Ishaq Williams
photo courtesy of wsbt.com)
Posters on the Notre Dame site Irish Envy said it best.
Picture Bob Diaco pulling up to Ishaq Williams' Brooklyn home at 4 a.m. in a black Cadillac, the floor covered in empty coffee cups. As Williams prepares for his for a trip to Happy Valley, a trip that will most definitely make him a member of the Nittany Lions, Diaco emerges from the shadows and seals the deal.
Ishaq is Irish and all of Notre Dame nation is in shock. This was another "where were you" moment in Notre Dame history.
The way that Bob Diaco landed Ishaq Williams is truly the stuff of legends and will be talked about for generations to come.
3: Notre Dame Pounds Miami
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Most agreed that with some extra practice Notre Dame fans might see a more expanded playbook in the Sun Bowl. Those people were correct, as the Irish were running on all cylinders.
Notre Dame intercepted four passes, Michael Floyd caught six passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Floyd became Notre Dame's all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 28.
Robert Hughes and Cierre Wood each had 81 yards on the ground, with Wood getting his yards on 12 carries for a 6.8 yards per carry average.
What Irish fans walked away with was a sense of the future. And the future is looking very bright.
2: Robert Blanton's Blocked Punt
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Wind, cold and rain, Irish fans (with the exception of the student section) were a three-and-out away from losing interest. Then it happened, the play that changed the season.
An untouched Robert Blanton blocked a Utah punt, picked up the ball and raced six yards for a touchdown that put the Irish up 7-3.
With that play, the Irish never looked back. It was as if a new life was breathed into the Irish faithful. The crowd, newly energized and ignoring the weather, rallied behind the team.
While some may argue, many people think that Robert Blanton's blocked punt turned the season around.
1: Notre Dame Fans Rush the Field After Win over Ranked Utah
Celebration (video shot by Jim Sheridan)
Like the camera showing the scoreboard after a perfect game in baseball, no words are needed. The same holds true for the No. 1 moment of the 2010 season. Sit back and enjoy the video, when you're done, repeat.