<
>

Halloween at Notre Dame

Everyone hates Mondays -- except for Halloween. Here, we spice things up with a spooky look at Notre Dame's season and what remains of it as the calendar turns toward November.

Haunted House: We've been calling it the Big House of Horrors here for quite some time, so it has to be Michigan, right? Notre Dame has lost its past three games in Ann Arbor, including a 38-0 defeat in 2007. That may actually be better than losing on last-second touchdowns, the way the Irish have in their previous two trips to Michigan Stadium.

Scary movie: The Irish's opener was straight out of a horror flick. The lights came on, the sun went down and nearly three hours of thunderstorms rained on Notre Dame fans' parade, culminating in a five-hour, 59-minute contest that everyone in South Bend would like to forget. Five turnovers and a quarterback change plagued the Irish in a 23-20 Week 1 loss to South Florida.

Boo: Notre Dame has been relatively lucky injury-wise, except on the defensive line. There, senior end Ethan Johnson (sprained right ankle) hasn't played since the first snap Oct. 1 at Purdue and fellow senior Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) is gone for the year. The third season-opening starter, nose guard Sean Cwynar, missed two games and has been limited much of the season because of a broken right hand, though he is now at full-strength and no longer has to play with a club on it.

Witchcraft: These were Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo's words following his team's 56-14 loss Saturday: "We tried to mis-direction him, tried to get him lost, tried to do some different things with eyes and that kid was dialed in. Like I said, we tried a lot of different blocking schemes and we couldn't get him blocked." He was talking about Manti Te'o, who has continued to puzzle offenses all season long. His 82 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks all lead the Irish.

Monster Mash: The Irish's Nov. 26 game at Stanford will be, if nothing else, a great chance to see where this team stacks up with the nation's elite. Stanford could be playing for a spot in the BCS title game then. And who knows, given all of the upsets that have happened the past two weeks -- maybe there's a shot, albeit a very slim one, that an 8-3 Notre Dame team is playing for a potential BCS bowl bid as well.