South Bend fans shower Notre Dame players, police with snowballs

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame football players were pelted by snowballs from fans sitting in the student section during their loss to Syracuse on Saturday.

"To throw snowballs at their own team, I didn't think that was a smart thing to do. I guess [they thought] it was funny," defensive tackle Pat Kuntz said after Syracuse upset the Irish 24-23.

South Bend was hit with about 10 inches of snow Friday. While the field had been cleared before the game, there was still snow along the fringes and in some areas of the stands.

Fans at first threw snow in the air, but then quickly switched to tossing snowballs toward the Notre Dame sideline. Defensive lineman Ian Williams got hit in the helmet, defensive end Ethan Johnson was struck on the left cheek and a St. Joseph County police officer on the sideline looking into the crowd got hit in the chest. An NBC camera man also was a frequent target and several snowballs reached the field, although none landed near where play was occurring.

When the Irish defense held a meeting on the sideline, injured linebacker Brian Smith stood on a bench to try to shield his teammates. But when a snowball hit Kuntz, he stood and faced the crowd and appeared to challenge whoever threw it to come down on the field.

"I was pretty mad about that, but whatever the fans want to do," Kuntz, a senior who was playing his last game at Notre Dame Stadium, said flatly.

At least one fan was seen being led away by police.