Notre Dame fans storm field after defeating Clemson amid COVID-19 spike

Notre Dame’s double-overtime upset over No. 1-ranked Clemson ended on a frightening note on Saturday evening.

Pandemonium broke out moments after the No. 4-ranked Fighting Irish secured a 47-40 victory, as thousands of students in the stands rushed onto the field in a scary mob scene with many either not wearing masks properly or not wearing them at all.

The Tigers were already playing shorthanded with quarterback Trevor Lawrence sidelined while recovering from COVID-19.

Attendance at the game in South Bend, Ind. was 11,011 and was limited to students, faculty, university personnel and families of players.

The announcer asked fans to leave the field but chaos continued for many minutes after.

“A night I’ll never forget, no matter how old I am, I know I’ll remember this game forever,” Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book said. “Just a special moment. … When the fans stormed the field, it was actually pretty cool. It was really fun.”

“That was a cool experience for me, everybody rushing down,” running back Kyren Williams said.

“I loved the energy,” receiver Avery Davis added.

The scene was particularly concerning in light of spiking COVID-19 cases at Notre Dame’s campus and around the United States. The university’s president released a statement ahead of the game imploring students to “recommit” and exercise increased caution at a time of a “significant and very concerning rise in cases here on campus.”

The university reported 138 positive tests from Tuesday to Thursday, according to ESPN.

“Approve of the win, but this is concerning,” St. Joseph County’s deputy health officer Dr. Mark Fox tweeted in response. “At least there are masks and all undergrads were tested this week!”

After the game, it was revealed that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly had actually warned his players this would happen during the team’s walkthrough.

“I just want you to know,” Kelly told his squad. “When we win this thing, the fans are going to storm the field.”

“Coach Kelly told us before the game that it was going to happen,” Williams said. “He told us to get inside after the game, fast.”

“Coach Kelly, you might as well call him a prophet,” linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah said. “Prophet Kelly.”

The Notre Dame squad has already dealt with an outbreak in September that postponed their Wake Forest matchup to December.

“With COVID being as it is, we’ve got to get off the field and get to the tunnel,” Kelly said. “Now I beat ’em all to the tunnel. So that didn’t go over so good, but they reminded me that I did tell them that, so my skills of prognostication were pretty good today.”

Notre Dame (7-0) will take on Boston College (4-3) next week while Clemson (7-1) will face Florida State (1-5) on Nov. 21.

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