Director for Game Day Operations Mike Seamon said Notre Dame game weekends are following an upward trend. With the unusually warm weather, enthusiasm of fans and a 59-33 victory against Air Force, Seamon said the past weekend had all the ingredients to be “first class.” “We couldn’t ask for better weather, there was just a great sense of enthusiasm and energy in the fans, you could just see it,” said Seamon, also the associate vice president of Campus Safety. Seamon said the Air Force weekend was even more successful than the Michigan State weekend. “The Michigan State weekend was a really good weekend … But the Air Force weekend, from top to bottom, was heads and shoulders above that,” he said. The temperature Saturday was about 10-15 degrees higher than the average for the beginning of October, Seamon said, making the game day uncommonly warm for this time of year. “The weather we had this weekend was more typical for an early September game than early October,” he said. Seamon said the high levels of energy on campus were apparent as early as Friday’s pep rally. “It was a really good positive pep rally,” he said. “People were loving the weather.” Saturday’s game was sold out, with more than 82,000 people in attendance, Seamon said. Police made 10 arrests Saturday, director of Notre Dame Security Police Phil Johnson said. Seven arrests were made outside the stadium: two for public intoxication, one for battery on a police officer and public intoxication, one for battery, one for battery and public intoxication, one for theft and possession of marijuana and one on an outstanding warrant. Johnson said at the stadium, three more people were arrested for public intoxication Seamon said 4,200 people visited the tunnel Friday, which was more than 1,000 more than the Michigan State weekend, and 1,300 attended Friday’s football luncheon. “That told us on Friday to start expecting some good things,” he said. He said the flyover before the game and the recognition of the marching band at halftime contributed to the energetic atmosphere. “People loved the B-2 Bomber flyover, that was kind of very special for us,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on that.” Seamon said game weekends have been following a “really good trend,” which he expects will continue for the remaining home games. “Overall I would have to say the energy and the enthusiasm was unbelievable for the weekend, [and a] great springboard into the upcoming USC weekend,” he said.
Jones leads the team in rushing yards this season at 314 while averaging 4.2 yards per carry, a healthy improvement from the abysmal 1.9 mark he had last year. Anything would be an improvement from Jones’ play in 2018, which could be attributed to a new approach. Leonard Williams Against the New England Patriots, Darnold could barely complete a pass, and his poor performance was further underscored by the fact that the TV crew picked him up saying he was “seeing ghosts” in the game. Darnold’s play was similarly poor Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He threw for just 218 yards and three interceptions, emerging from the game with a sprained thumb. Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster matches his big personality with his on-the-field play. A big-bodied receiver, Smith-Schuster uses his strength to bully defenders and come down with physical catches. Coming off a 1,400-yard receiving year and the departure of Antonio Brown, Smith-Schuster appeared to be poised for another productive year. The season has turned out to be a big question mark for Darnold thus far, as he has already suffered three injuries. Perhaps most unfortunate, Darnold suffered from strep throat and mononucleosis before his Week 2 contest against the Cleveland Browns and was out through Week 5 due to an enlarged spleen. Darnold came back strong for Week 6, leading the Jets to their first and only win of the season over the Dallas Cowboys while putting up over 300 yards and two touchdowns. The next two games were a different story, however. Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II has been a pleasant surprise this season. After failing to even crack the gameday 46-man roster, Jones was a healthy scratch in multiple games last season despite being a second round pick. It’s probably too early to grade Darnold’s performance this season given that he’s missed half of it, but if he can play like he did against the Cowboys, he’ll have a bright future. The former Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year was listed as a first-team alternate for the 2017 Pro Bowl but has not lived up to his draft hype since then. Williams has recorded just eight solo tackles through the first seven contests of 2019, but he’ll hope to experience better luck with the 2-6 Giants than he did with the 1-6 Jets in a new chapter of his football career. While it seemed as though Jones was just a quick-to-accelerate speed back who didn’t pan out, the terrible competition in the Buccaneers backfield finally allowed him to get touches. The Jets’ second-year quarterback Sam Darnold headlines a group of USC alumni that hoped to break out in their second season. Darnold entered the season with high expectations due to the improved core around him, namely star running back Le’Veon Bell and new offensive-minded head coach Adam Gase. Ronald Jones II Former Jets defensive end Leonard Williams will now play for MetLife Stadium’s other tenant, the New York Giants. Williams was traded to the Giants Monday in exchange for a 2020 third-round pick and a 2021 fifth-round pick. 2009 John McKay Award winner Devon Kennard has been a dominant presence for the Detroit Lions this season as the team looks to remain competitive within the NFC North. The former fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has three sacks this season and is tied for fourth among linebackers with two fumble recoveries, including one that was returned for a touchdown in the Lions’ last game. Although Detroit’s playoff hopes are slim in a competitive division, Kennard could be bound for a Pro Bowl if he continues his impressive play this season. Former USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had a great 2018 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers but has not been as productive this year. (Daily Trojan file photo) Sam Darnold JuJu Smith-Schuster However, after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 1, Smith-Schuster’s production fell off a cliff. With just 443 yards and three touchdowns in seven starts, it’s been a bit of a down year for the typically-dominant USC product. Head coach Bruce Arians is an offensive mastermind who should allow Jones to further develop the talent he flashed during his time at USC. From former Rose Bowl MVP Sam Darnold to former Biletnikoff award candidate JuJu Smith-Schuster, there is no shortage of Trojan talent in the NFL this season. Not only are these USC alumni great players, but they are explosive, exciting athletes who genuinely make the game more entertaining. Here’s how these Trojan alumni have stacked up through the first eight weeks of NFL competition. Devon Kennard