BREITBART/AP; (VIA MATT):
A season lost. Three players indicted for rape. Nearly a year of criticism for everyone associated with Duke lacrosse. On this day, for a few hours, it didn't seem to matter as much.YOU CANNOT KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN - OR A GOOD TEAM DOWN. (OR A GOOD ARMY DOWN.)
Playing their first game in 11 months, the Blue Devils opened the 2007 season Saturday with a 17-11 victory over Dartmouth in front of a big crowd cheering their every move.
It was a triumphant return for the Blue Devils, whose season was canceled last spring amid the rape allegations that touched off a debate on sports, race, class and privilege at the elite university. And it was clear this game was more than a game, from the steady stream of students who poured into Koskinen Stadium on a sunny February afternoon to the throng of reporters covering the event.
"It feels right to be back," said Madolin Archer, mother of senior defenseman Breck Archer. "They've been working toward it for so long and the interruptions certainly have prolonged things. But it's where they should be."
The crowd of 6,485 fans - a few hundred shy of the school record - rivaled that typically drawn by Duke's woeful football team. The fans packed the bleachers to support a team that until last year was lost in the shadows of Mike Krzyzewski's storied basketball team.
"It really makes me proud to see them come out and give this team support," athletic director Joe Alleva said. "It's what I hoped for, for sure."