Notre Dame DE Andrew Trumbetti's fortunes flip in win

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Andrew Trumbetti tweeted, and the football gods took note.

On Friday afternoon, roughly 27 hours before his mind went blank with elation, Notre Dame’s sophomore defensive end broke a three-day social media silence to voice an unsettling concern.

“Saw a black cat on Friday the 13th ... If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. #StayPositive”

During his first start of the season, the positives came rolling in.

Call it a change of luck, or the product of preparation when John Wolford reared back to pass and the football got lost in the shuffle. With two minutes and 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter of an eventual 28-7 Irish victory, Wake Forest’s sophomore quarterback dropped back, looked left to his running back and suddenly lost the handle.

The ball went up — straight up — hanging in the air like a present, before dropping oh so conveniently into Trumbetti’s waiting mitts. The former high school running back and kick returner morphed into a previous self, shrugging off Wolford’s feeble tackle attempt before rumbling 28 yards for the score.

He lifted his arms skyward, before being swallowed by an Irish mob.

It was his first interception and his first touchdown in the first quarter of his first start of the season.

Add it all up, he says, and there were too many positives to process.

“I really don’t remember the play. I kind of just blacked out,” Trumbetti said. “It was the coolest moment of my life.”

Gather the context, however, and this was neither fluke nor fortune. The touchdown was the result of a long, concerted effort — an emphasis placed on the defense every day, in every meeting.

“That’s kind of what we’ve been preaching all week,” junior linebacker Jaylon Smith said. “(Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder) has been telling us that we need turnovers. We need to score. That’s something that we accomplished.”

After accomplishing one goal, Trumbetti quickly established another. This was more fundamental.

Keep breathing, no matter what.

“When I got to the sideline, I was really worried about catching my breath, because I thought I was going to pass out,” Trumbetti said. “I was just so excited. Everyone was jumping on me. I think I forgot to breathe.”

Trumbetti finished with two tackles and the team’s lone interception, matching Wake Forest’s touchdown total — one — in a memorable, and forgetful, play. It was an opportunity granted by injury, as the 6-foot-4, 260-pound sophomore was told he would start on Monday after nose tackle Daniel Cage was ruled out for the game.

Next week, perhaps, he’ll start again. But at what position?

“Coach Kelly came up to me and said, ‘Maybe we have to use you on offense,’” Trumbetti recalled with a grin. “So that was a pretty funny feeling. It was weird, but it was awesome.”

Despite black cats and ominous Fridays, Trumbetti’s luck finally flipped. And on his phone, as in the end zone, he received an overwhelming reception.

“My mom sent me like a thousand text messages,” he said. “My dad sent me a few. I probably had like 200 text messages after the game. I still have to respond to like 100, probably more.”

It’s a good problem to have, especially considering the alternative.

With the playoff looming in the distance, Notre Dame could use some luck.

Saw a black cat on Friday the 13th...If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. #StayPositive

— Andrew Trumbetti (@AndrewTrumbetti) November 13, 2015

mvorel@sbtinfo.com

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Twitter: @mikevorel

Notre Dame's Andrew Trumbetti (98) celebrates his touchdown after a first half interception Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in South Bend. SBT Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ