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Irish brace for first true road game in six weeks

There’s only person on the Notre Dame roster, according to Theo Riddick, who has first-hand knowledge of what a game at Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium is like. But Cam McDaniel’s experience — he attended a game there once as a kid — doesn’t really provide a heck of a lot of insight.

But the Irish have an idea what they’re in for on Saturday.

“Norman? That’s where dreams go to die, I heard,” said nose guard Louis Nix III. “We’ll see about that.”

Remarkably, this is Notre Dame’s first true road game in six weeks, since a 20-3 win at Michigan State on Sept. 15. And it’s only the Irish’s second true road game this season — Navy was technically the home team in Ireland, and Notre Dame was technically the home team in Chicago against Miami.

“Been six weeks,” Riddick said. “We’re all excited for this game. We hear the environment is crazy, and it’s something we’re very much looking forward to.”

Some players actually prefer being on the road — and the natural us-against-the-world mentality it fosters — than the creature comforts of home.

“I like road games,” linebacker Prince Shembo said. “I like when people come and they have stuff to say, everyone’s against us. I like that feeling. I think it’ll be a great atmosphere.”

Shembo said it’s not hard to get fired up in a hostile environment.

“I just like seeing middle fingers,” he said. “When we’re in the bus and you see middle fingers pointed at the bus, it fires you up. I don’t like that. Me, personally, I would never flip anybody off. But they’re flipping me off, so I take that seriously.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson has actually fared better on the road than he has at Notre Dame Stadium. Two of his best games were at Michigan State and at Soldier Field. Tackle Zack Martin said that’s not uncommon for players to be at their best on the road.

“It’s very exciting to go on the road in a big-time game,” he said. “It doesn’t really get much better than that. We have guys on this team who played in the biggest college football game ever last year at Michigan. I don’t see how it gets much more hostile than that. So everyone on the team is used to playing in situations like that.”