Yes, it hurts to lose, as an obviously pained Marcus Freeman made clear last Saturday post game. But, they say if you are going to lose one, lose it early and it’s even better if it is to a pretty good football team, and that is what happened last Saturday.
In fact, that are several examples over the last few decades where Notre Dame righted the ship after an early loss and went on to a great season.
One time they even went on to win a National championship.
In 2019 in week three, the Irish turned a tough six-point loss to #3 Georgia into an 11-2 record and a win in the Camping World bowl.
In 2017, coming off a disastrous 2016, the Irish fell to Georgia in week three, this time by just one point. The Irish went on to an outstanding rebound season of 10-3 that included a Citrus Bowl championship over LSU.
In 1992 Lou Holtz was leading a team loaded with NFL talent but the Irish tied Michigan in week 2 and lost to Stanford in week 5. They went on however to win everything else, including the Cotton Bowl and finished 10-1-1 and ranked 4th in the nation.
And in 1977 Dan Devine’s Irish were loaded, Ross Browner, Luther Bradley, Ken McAfee, Bob Golic and Joe Montana. But the team faltered in week 2 at unranked Mississippi, 20-13.
But they turned things around and rolled through their next nine contests including a 49-19 stomping of #5 USC in the famous “Green Jersey” game. The Irish then took out #1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl and claimed the National Championship.
So, sure, last week’s loss to Ohio State was painful, losses always are. But it doesn’t mean the season is over. Not by a long shot. The Irish defense showed grit by holding the Buckeyes to their lowest point total since 2017 and we always knew the offense would be a work in progress.
The pain from an early loss can be quickly cured by an Irish win party that may well be just about to start.