MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — There were no dreams that looked like this when Stephon Tuitt exported himself out of SEC country two winters ago and into a Notre Dame football recruiting class that had all the makings of becoming the missing link that had finally been found.
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Ironically, Aaron Lynch — the eventual defector in the historic defensive front-seven haul — connected the dots that way. He envisioned a Notre Dame football resurrection fueled by himself, Tuitt, Ishaq Williams and the other defensive prodigies.
He talked about it, visualized it, pushed himself and his teammates out of their comfort zone to chase it — until he truncated his 16-month stay at ND last May with an abrupt transfer to the University of South Florida.
Strangely, that and every other piece of sour offseason news — season-ending injuries, 11th-hour recruiting defections, suspensions, the mysterious exit of early enrollee Tee Shepard — seemed to galvanize those Lynch left behind for an improbable run into Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game between the No. 1 Irish (12-0) and second-ranked Alabama (12-1) at Sun Life Stadium.