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Notre Dame alumni Drue Tranquill, Aaron Banks headed to Super Bowl LVIII

IMG_7504by:Jack Soble01/29/24

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Chiefs linebacker Drue Tranquill switched teams, bet on himself with a one-year contract and finally reached NFL glory. 49ers guard Aaron Banks was a key cog in the league’s best offense. Both former Notre Dame stars are headed to Super Bowl LVIII with their respective teams.

Tranquill played first and he made his presence felt early against the Baltimore Ravens. He made a tackle for loss on third-and-1 in the game’s first possession, starting for the Chiefs in place of the injured Willie Gay Jr. The Ravens converted the ensuing fourth down, scoring later in the possession, but Tranquill went on to help stonewall their offensive attack throughout the afternoon.

The former Notre Dame captain finished the game with 8 total tackles, all of which were solo stops, including that tackle for loss. He was part of a Kansas City defense that held Baltimore to just 10 points, stunning the Ravens in their home stadium with a 17-10 win.

On one of Tranquill’s tackles, he caught Ravens quarterback and likely NFL MVP Lamar Jackson from behind after Jackson caught his own batted pass and took off running. Upon further review, Tranquill’s tackle may have saved a touchdown.

After coming over from the AFC West-rival Chargers, Tranquill quickly became a fan favorite in Kansas City and has been crucial to one of the NFL’s best defenses. He also continues to dominate social media, posting this after Sunday’s game.

Banks helped lead a 49ers rushing attack that gained 155 yards on 23 carries in a 34-31 comeback win over the Detroit Lions. In his third season, Banks has established himself as a constant on the left side of San Francisco’s offensive line, playing next to future Hall-of-Fame left tackle Trent Williams.

Super Bowl LVIII will be both Tranquill and Banks’ first chance to play for a championship since they entered the NFL out of Notre Dame. The game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Hamilton stars despite Ravens loss

Former Notre Dame stalwart Kyle Hamilton, now a safety with the Ravens, did not advance to Super Bowl Sunday. However, he played an unbelievable game in the AFC Championship.

Hamilton totaled 11 tackles, including 2 defensive stops. He was everywhere, at one point stonewalling a drive by himself with a great coverage rep on first down, a tackle for loss on second down and a quarterback pressure on third down.

While Hamilton did allow a touchdown, he did so on a perfect back-shoulder throw and catch from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to tight end Travis Kelce. It would have been quite difficult to cover better than Hamilton did on that play, but sometimes good offense beats good defense.

Hamilton finished the 2023 season as a first-team All-Pro.

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