ATLANTA — The enduring memory for many, when it comes to Georgia’s win at Notre Dame in September, might be the crowd. The red-clad fans and their near takeover of Notre Dame Stadium stand out. For Quenton Nelson, who was supposed to be playing in his home stadium, it was “definitely a shock.”
It didn’t have an effect on how Nelson, Notre Dame’s star guard, played. But it might have, he theorized, affected some of the younger Fighting Irish.
“It wasn’t a factor in them being loud. But it was a factor in seeing half the stadium be red,” Nelson said. “It was pretty crazy. It was a first for me, ever having a home game that felt almost like an away game.”
Nelson spoke this week while attending the College Football Awards show in Atlanta. He was nominated for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top interior lineman; Houston’s Ed Oliver won it. For a time, it appeared Georgia and Notre Dame might be on a collision course for a rematch, but the Fighting Irish stumbled near the end to a 9-3 record and will play another SEC team, LSU, in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1.
“I would say that early in the season we just weren’t prepared for [Georgia]. I think if we played them later in the season it would have been a lot more fun for us,” Nelson said. “After that game we felt like we could stick with anyone in the country and beat anyone in the country. And we left a lot of plays on that field. So we just felt if we cleaned up the details we could dominate some teams. Which we ended up doing – but we ended up with two more losses.”
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