What's the recipe for "The Big Game"? Well, start with two undefeated teams in the fifth week of the season. Make sure one of them has a storied history and is hosting the game on homecoming weekend. The other team should be up an upstart, a new program that for the first time is emerging as a powerful, tough-to-beat squad.
That's a Big Game.
And's the situation tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. when Notre Dame hosts the Holley Hawks Notre Dame. The teams clash as division rivals with matching records of 4-0.
“They’ve (Holley) got a great group of kids and we’re probably the underdog here" said Notre Dame's head coach, Rick Mancuso. "We’re fighting an uphill battle, but we’re looking forward to the challenge."
If you put any stock in such things, MaxPreps ranks the Fighting Irish 121st in the state, and Holley at 155th.
The Irish have scored 101 points on the season, Holley, 114. ND's has allowed 35 points, with Holley being a bit stingier, giving up only 23.
The Hawks have a reputation for being a strong, hard-hitting team, and Coach Mancuso acknowledges the Hawks are a tough, well-coached team, but that doesn't make them much different from Attica and Oakfield. Both of those squads have fallen once each this season to the Irish.
"We’ve been against some tough, strong, hard-hitting teams and Holley’s no different than them," Mancuso said, "other than Holley’s maybe a little bit bigger and they have a little bit better skill level in their back field."
Mancuso said the Hawks probably have the best four backs in the league.
"That gives them an advantage," he said.
"We've got to come out and we've really got to work at it," Mancuso said. "We can't get down they have a big play. We can't get too high and we can't get too low. It's a big challenge."
He said his players are excited about the big game.
It sounds like a recipe for a can't-miss match up.
AUDIO: Interview with Head Coach Rick Mancuso (mp3)