Brian Kelly as a meme, Wake Forest's kicker and other fun moments of Notre Dame's season (PRINT)
From postgame locker room celebrations to the BK Homeboy meme, Notre Dame has produced a lot of fun moments — beyond the wins — throughout its undefeated season. The South Bend Tribune recaps the best of them.
1. The #BKHomeboy meme
The funniest moment of the season came from the aftermath of a picture head coach Brian Kelly took with a handful of players. Before departing for a flight to San Diego for ND’s Oct. 27 game against Navy, Kelly posed with members of the Irish defense. A normal thing to do, right? Well, he dropped to one knee, tucked a binder and neck pillow under his left arm and flashed the peace sign in awkward fashion.
What ensued was a social media frenzy of memes teasing Kelly’s pose. Fans photoshopped him into iconic movies and sports scenes. One person dressed up as him for Halloween, striking the pose to post on Twitter. Even receiver Chris Finke poked fun at Kelly, tweeting a picture of a couple teammates and him flashing the peace sign on one knee following the Navy win.
2. Wake Forest kicker
Facing a fourth-and-6, the Demon Deacons lined up to attempt a 38-yard field goal. However, true freshman kicker Nick Sciba was nowhere to be found. Ten of Sciba’s teammates waited as their kicker hurried onto the field with 18 ticks remaining on the play clock. Wake Forest elected to not waste a timeout as Sciba hurried his routine. His kick sailed and clanged off the left upright. Twitter made sure he would not make the same mistake again.
3. Shamrock Series unis reaction
The Notre Dame and New York Yankee brands alone can be enough to incite disgust from opposing fans. But to combine them? The Aug. 16 unveiling of ND’s Shamrock Series uniforms against Syracuse this season sparked a Twitter riot. The Irish opted to mesh both brands, as pinstripes streamed across the uniforms’ helmets, sleeves and pants.
Jason Kirk of SBNation photoshopped the rapper Drake and logos of the Los Angeles Lakers and the University of Duke onto the uniforms, poking fun at the mainstream, high-profile combo. Others mocked or expressed their distaste for the look in general. Uniform Twitter can be vicious.
4. Legends Trophy
Handling then-ranked No. 7 Stanford a 38-17 defeat was enough for the Irish — but Kelly had to fulfill his promise. On the Thursday before the Sept. 29 contest, Kelly told his players that he would drink from the Legends Trophy, which is gifted to the game’s winner. He kept his word, drinking red Gatorade from the crystal bowl as a raucous locker room cheered him on.
5. All hail Matt Balis
Kelly awarded 11 different players the game ball prior to the Nov. 24 regular-season finale at USC. Instead of making it 12 after a win over the Trojans, Kelly gifted it to his strength coach. Matt Balis’ fingerprints in his second year with the program showed throughout this season, especially down the stretch in November. A horde of ND players reacted to the news by hoisting Balis on their shoulders and cheering.
Other videos of the Irish players celebrating their undefeated regular season also surfaced on social media. One included a congregation of ND players shouting the lyrics to the rap song “Mo Bamba” by Sheck Wes.
• Before ND clashed with Florida State for its Nov. 10 Senior Night game, the Irish teased the green uniforms they would don by reenacting an iconic scene from the movie “Rudy.”
• Defensive lineman Chase Winovich created backlash after his postgame comments following Michigan’s 24-17 loss at Notre Dame. The senior doubted that his Wolverines were the lesser team despite the final tally.
“I’m not really sure where they beat us,” Winovich said. “Still kind of confused. I came in the locker room and I looked around kind of confused how we lost that game, because I didn’t feel like they dominated us on any facet of the ball.
“But, like I said, ultimately they made plays when they needed to and that’s a credit to them.”
• Defensive line coach Mike Elston expressed his admiration of a certain photo from ND’s victory over Michigan. Wolverine backup quarterback Dylan McCaffrey was pictured. While he released the football, McCaffrey was swarmed by a pair of ND defensive linemen. Their hands were all over McCaffrey, including his helmet.
“I don’t know who took this photo, but it’s now my screensaver so thank you! On to Ball State! Go Irish,” Elston tweeted.
Elston can thank the Tribune’s Robert Franklin for snapping the photo.
• ND heard all week about the intimidating “Enter Sandman” entrance at Virginia Tech. Following ND’s 45-23 victory on Oct. 6 in Blacksburg, Va., the Irish celebrated by blasting the Metallica song in the locker room.
• The Irish players found a game other than football that interests them. Referred to as “Knockout,” a bevy of ND players challenge each other to the game to kill time. Almost every player, especially Te’von Coney, is very opinionated on who is the team’s best knockout challenger.