A group of Notre Dame athletes won friends at the University of Alabama long before anyone knew these schools were on course to play for the national football championship.
Two dozen of them traveled from South Bend, Ind., to tornado-ravaged Tuscaloosa, Ala., during fall break in 2011. They cleared lots and hauled debris a few months after the storm left more than 50 dead in the college town.
Notre Dame cheerleader David Jones says the warm reception made Alabama ''one of my favorite schools.''
Tide coach Nick Saban says the action by students at schools like Notre Dame, Auburn and Kent State ''speaks volumes for the kind of character and leadership that those people have.''
The ''Fight for Tide'' service project didn't include any football players.