There’s been a lot of talk this college football season in regards to “revenge.” I suppose that can be said most seasons, but this year it’s mentioned weekly. Most of that has to do with the Michigan Wolverines and their self-proclaimed “revenge tour.”
It’s not a new concept. Teams that have lost a lot, tend to look towards “revenge” to motivate them. For individual players, however, something like revenge isn’t much of an option — but redemption is.
For Brandon Wimbush, redemption is most certainly on the table, and tonight he sat at the head of that table.
Brandon’s rise and fall from grace as the Notre Dame starting quarterback is well documented — because he was the starting quarterback at Notre Dame. We don’t need to rehash all of the ups and downs of Brandon Wimbush’s career, because all we need to know is that he was replaced as the starter after the Irish started the season 3-0.
It was a bold move by Brian Kelly to make the change to Ian Book at quarterback, and even though it also seemed like an obvious one, it was needed to help the team win. There’s no way anyone could take that kind of news “well,” but Brandon is a good teammate, and quietly took his place on the team.
The most important thing was to keep Wimbush engaged with the team. Brian Kelly was insistent that Brandon was engaged, and Kelly dropped some prophecy back in September when he kept saying that Wimbush was going to have to help this team win a few games. Once news broke about Ian Book’s injury, that prophecy started to become a reality.
Brandon Wimbush was going to have to start against the Florida State Seminoles, and he was going to have to help the Irish win a football game in November.
It was a strong start for Wimbush. Notre Dame scored on its first five possessions (4 TD / 1 FG) and Wimbush had three touchdown passes (2 for Alize Mack & 1 for Miles Boykin). By halftime, he was a very Brandon Wimbush like 10-19 for 111 yards and 3 TD’s with 48 yards rushing. It was like Brandon was still every bit of what he was before.
The second half was also very much like Brandon Wimbush with 2 early interceptions. It didn’t have much impact on the game, and Brandon didn’t seem overly worried about them either. So, I suppose we can put those thoughts in the back of our mind.
When we found out that Brandon was going to start this game, a lot of people started freaking out. It’s like Wimbush’s 12-3 record as a starter didn’t exist, and Notre Dame was about to fall out of the playoff race — hell even the spread started to narrow up by about 3 points.
What happened instead was sweeter than revenge. After all, Michigan’s big bad “revenge tour” didn’t include Notre Dame because of Brandon Wimbush and his play in that game. What happened was that Brandon Wimbush found redemption. He proved Brian Kelly’s prophecy true and helped Notre Dame to not just win a football game, but to blow out a team in November.
Brian Kelly called a timeout so Brandon could get that final ovation from a fanbase that never fully embraced him as a quarterback, but still treated and respected him as a loyal son of Notre Dame. He helped Notre Dame win a football game to keep them alive in the college football playoff race, and he did it in what is likely the last game he will ever play in Notre Dame Stadium.
Redemption really is sweeter than revenge, and Brandon Wimbush got to drink from that cup tonight with the only people that really matter in this thing — with his brothers.