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NCF Nation: Maurice Crum Jr.

Posted by's Graham Watson
 AP Photo/Michael Conroy
 Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is worried that his team will have a difficult time bouncing back from a disheartening loss to Pittsburgh.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Charlie Weis is worried about the psyche of his team.

After Pittsburgh overcame a 17-3 halftime deficit to beat the Irish 36-33 in four overtimes, Weis said he's wondering how his team will bounce back.

"I think the next 24 to 48 hours, you know, it's a trying time when you come off a disheartening loss," Weis said. "You got to bounce right back. Get treatment tomorrow, and Monday morning come in and watch the tape, move on to Boston College. I think more than closing the game, I'm just worried about getting their psyche right for this week."

Weis' concern is understandable. This is the second game Notre Dame has lost late after giving up a double-digit lead. The Irish led North Carolina 17-6 before the Tar Heels marched back to win 29-24 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Tar Heels outscored Notre Dame 20-7 in the second half. On Saturday, Pittsburgh outscored the Irish 21-7 in the second half before hitting four consecutive field goals in overtime.

Weis made similar comments after the Irish loss to North Carolina, but his team had a bye the following week. He even said in his press conference after the game that he was happy his team didn't have to play the following week because he thought it might be too difficult a loss to overcome in such a short amount of time.

Now, the Irish have to prepare to play a 5-3 Boston College team on the road. Notre Dame is 1-2 on the road this season.

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Posted by's Graham Watson

 AP Photo/Michael Conroy
 Notre Dame linebacker Maurice Crum Jr., seen here celebrating a sack, traveled to Ghana this year to help out at an orphanage.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Last season's 3-9 finish would have humbled any Notre Dame player, but fifth-year senior linebacker Maurice Crum Jr. took the message a little deeper.

He used one of the worst seasons in Notre Dame history to not only reexamine his football life, but also his life off the field. He felt like it needed meaning.

So when he was approached by ex-teammate Abdel Banda to join a group called Students Bridging the Information Gap (SBIG), he was intrigued. The group was responsible for building and providing books and computers for a library for an orphanage in Ghana off the southwest coast of Africa. The orphanage was called Bosco, a non-profit facility that sits on nine acres of land about two hours outside the capital city of Accra and is open to both boys and girls. Bosco houses, feeds and teaches 105 orphans and 292 students overall.

It seemed like the perfect place for Crum Jr. to learn more about himself outside of football and give back to those less fortunate.

"I think it helped me a lot to grow as a person," Crum Jr. said. "Because sometimes you forget all the stuff that's available to you, but it's not available to them."

Crum Jr., Banda and eight other Americans raised funds through book drives and other fundraisers to help build and furnish the library for Bosco. When enough funds and materials were gathered, the group got on a plane in New Jersey on June 10 and traveled to Ghana to set up the library.

"We did some computer classes with the kids, and made sure everything worked," Crum Jr. said. "We passed out t-shirts, but it was definitely a really good thing."

According to the SBIG website, Crum Jr's group set up an air-conditioned computer lab with 14 computers, 2 printers, and an LCD projector and seating for 24 students. It built a library that holds about 2,000 donated books and has seating for 16 students. The group met with the acting U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and attended a session of the Ghanaian Parliament.

And soon a new diesel generator will be installed to supply power for the computer lab and seven communities near Basco, giving electricity to more than 5,000 people.

Crum Jr., who returned from Ghana on June 18, spoke to his teammates about his mission earlier in the week and conveyed a message of selflessness and appreciation that he hopes carries his team through the season.

"The message when I share my story with my teammates is 'it's not that bad,'" he said. "Two-a-days get tough and practice gets tough, but it could be much worse.' And being able to see it first-hand it makes playing easier and more excitable.