September Calendar

 

TODAY IN NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL HISTORY:

Sources for the calendar are 100 Years of Notre Dame Football by Gene Schoor, The Fighting Irish 1999 Calendar, Knute Rockne by Francis Wallace, The Notre Dame Football Scrapbook by Cohen, Deutsch and Neft and The Fighting Irish Football Encyclopedia by Mike Steele

September 1

1947: Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy would have liked nothing more than a chance to play fellow national championship claimant Michigan in 1947. But Wolverine coach Fritz Crisler was boycotting the Fighting Irish (a tradition that began with Fielding Yost and his feud with Rockne) because of his antireligious sentiments and his feud with Leahy. This frustrated Leahy, and when a reporter asked him how badly Michigan would beat Notre Dame, the normally self-deprecating coach shot back: "I just wish we had the opportunity to beat Michigan. We'd be happy to play them any time, on any Saturday, during any fall.

September 2

1995: Gary Barnett's Northwestern team shocks the Irish in the first game of the season at Notre Dame, 17-15

September 3

1994: Quarterback Ron Powlus tosses four touchdown passes in his first career start against Northwestern, tying the Notre Dame record as the Fighting Irish ravage the Wildcats 42-15 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

September 4

1993: In the first game of what would be a season of highlights and heartbreaks, Notre Dame defeats Northwestern 27-12 at Notre Dame Stadium.

September 5

1967: One of the most dynamic and successful quarterbacks in Notre Dame history, Tony Rice, is born in Spartenburg, South Carolina. He would become an elusive runner, a strong-armed thrower, and a steel-

hearted leader in Lou Holtz's option-oriented offense in the late 1980s. As a junior in 1988, Rice would quarterback the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 record and a national championship, ten would follow that up by guiding the Irish to a 12-1 mark in 1989.

September 6

1980: Dan Devine's Irish beat Purdue in the first game of the season 31-10. This made nine victories in the last eleven games against their in-state rivals. Heralded Purdue quarterback Mark Herrmann injured his thumb in practice during the week and did not play. ND quarterback Mike Courey survived Devineís five-man race to win the job. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.

September 7

1923: Emil "Six Yard" Sitko, great Notre Dame back of the late 1940s, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was a key figure in Leahyís post-war teams. Like Leon Hart, he never played in a losing game in his career under the Dome. He was a consensus All-American who won the Walter Camp Trophy as the outstanding college player. For his career, he 363 times for 2,226 yards and 26 touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 188 yards. He returned seven kickoffs for 217 yards and one punt for 23 yards. His career total was 2,654 yards.

September 8

1984:Gerry Faust loses the 1984 opener against Purdue, 21-23, in the Indiana Hoosier Dome.

September 9

1974: ND opens with a 31-7 pasting of Georgia Tech. I believe this is the game that an unruly Tech crowd taunted the Notre Dame players with racial and anti-catholic insults. They threw fish on the field, and a couple of the players mentioned that they actually feared for their safety as the game ended.

September 10

1988: Special teams saved the day, as Notre Dame fails to score an offensive touchdown but defeats Michigan 19-17 to begin its march toward the national championship. Ricky Watters returns a punt 81 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, when walk-on kicker Reggie Ho uses him unorthodox motion to perfection, nailing all four of his field-goal attempts--including a 26 yarder with 1:13 remaining to win the game.

September 11

1993: In one of the sweetest victories of the Lou Holtz era, nine-point-underdog Notre Dame upends third-ranked Michigan 27-23 in Ann Arbor, in a contest not nearly as close as the score indicates. Before allowing two late touchdowns, the Fighting Irish ravagethe Wolverines on both sides of the ball offensively behind the running and throwing of senior quarterback Kevin McDougal, and defensively behind the two pass interceptions from safety Jeff Burris.

1993: Before Notre Dame's huge 27-23 win over Michigan in 1993, Assistant Head Coach Mike Trgovac gave a thunderous pregame pep talk. Trgovac had played for the Wolverines from 1977 to 1980, twice losing heartbreakers to the Fighting Irish. "I was never so emotionally charged for a game," Irish linebacker Pete Bercich said. Added Lou Holtz: "Knute Rockne's speech on the Gipper is now No.2 on the all-time list."

September 12

1992: Barring a change in the rules, the last tie game at Notre Dame Stadium will go down as being played on September 12, 1992. That's when the third-ranked Fighting Irish and sixth-ranked Michigan Wolverines battled to a 17-17 draw. In 1996, the NCAA introduced overtime to Division I-A to resolve games that end in a tie.

September 13

1986: Lou Holtzís first game as coach of Notre Dame. In a torrid, tense battle against the nationís number-three football team, the unranked Fighting Irish piled up 455 yards and twenty-seven first downs. They converted eight of twelve third-down situations and lost a 24-23 heartbreaker in one of the most pulsating, come-from-behind surges in recent Irish history. They came within a single point of toppling the highly ranked Wolverines, losing the game only because the Irish kicker missed an extra-point conversion and then with thirteen seconds remaining missed a forty-five yard field goal attempt

September 14

1991: Notre Dame loses to Michigan 24-14 at Ann Arbor. Play of the game was future Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard's diving touchdown catch on a fourth and inches pass from Elvis Grbac.

September 15

1975: The Dan Devine era at Notre Dame kicks off in heart-stopping fashion, as the Irish fight off a determined Boston College team to post a 17-3 victory at Foxboro, Massachusetts. "Pressure? I never would have taken this job if I thought I was going to die in my very first game," Devine says. He would win only two more games, however, before suffering his first defeat at the hands of Michigan State.

September 16

1989: In one of the most electrifying individual single-game performances in Notre Dame history, Raghib "Rocket" Ismail ties an NCAA record he already shares by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. The top ranked Fighting Irish defeat No.2 Michigan 24-19 in the rain at Ann Arbor before a crowd of 105,912. No one had returned a kickoff for a score against the Wolverines in thirty-two years. "We felt Rocket was going to be something special," Coach Lou Holtz would recall. "Nobody else did."

September 17

1977: In a thrilling seasaw battle in Jackson, Mississippi, the Rebels defeated the Irish 20-13. Notre Dame rebounded from this early season loss to win nine straight games and beat No.1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl. This game propelled ND to the 1977 National Championship.

September 18

1982: In the historic first night game ever played at Notre Dame Stadium, Coach Gerry Faust begins his second year with a 23-17 victory of No.10 Michigan. Quarterback Blair Kiel efficiently leads the Irish attack, while the Notre Dame defense contains All-American wide receiver Anthony Carter and holds the Wolverines to their lowest rushing output in twelve years -- only 41 yards.

September 19

1970: Ara Parseghian beats his former team, Northwestern, for the fifth straight time, 35-14.

September 20

1980: In one of the most dramatic moments in college football history, Harry Oliver boots a 51-yard field goal that sneaks over the crossbar by inches as time runs out, giving Notre Dame an incredible 29-27 victory over Michigan. Oliver is immediately engulfed beneath a pile of green-clad players and fans alike, as Notre Dame Stadium erupts in perhaps the wildest celebration ever. "This could only happen here," Irish defensive tackle Pat Kramer says.

September 21

1996: Before the largest crowd in the history of Darrell K. Royal -Texas Memorial Stadium (83,312) ninth-ranked Notre Dame stormed back in the fourth quarter to upset No. 6 Texas 27-24. Freshman Jim Sanson drilled the game-winning 39-yard field goal as time expired. An 11-yard completion from Ron Powlus to Malcolm Johnson on third-and-eight had set up the winning kick.

September 22

1956: After a remarkable run of twenty-eight games over sixty-nine years, Notre Dame loses its first game ever in September - 19-13 at Southern Methodist. Previously, the Fighting Irish had gone 25-0-3 in games played in this month.

September 23

1978: Linebacker Bob Golic plays like a man possessed, registering an all-time ND-record twenty-six tackles in the school's first game against Michigan in 35 years. Time and again, Golic smells out the direction of Michigan's tricky option offense and belts the ball carrier, only to see the Irish fall 28-14.

September 24

1966: Jim Seymour set two all-time single-game records for pass receiving in a 26-14 win over Purdue on this date. He caught thirteen passes for 276 Yards. Seymour also tied the Notre Dame record for touchdown catches in a game with three.

1977: Against Purdue, Joe Montana, a third string quarterback when the game began, replaces the injured Gary Forystek (who earlier in the game had replaced Rusty Lisch). Joe once again returned to the spotlight where he seemed to belong and led the Irish to a spectacular, last-minute, 31-24 victory over the Boilermakers.

September 25

1943: Frank Leahy wins the season opener with a 41-0 pasting of Pittsburgh. ND quarterback was Angelo Bertelli, who won the Heisman Trophy that year after playing in only six games. He was drafted and ordered to report to duty. This was after he beat Navy, but conveniently for the Cadets, he was ordered to report for duty just before the Army game.

September 26

1964: The Era of Ara begins at Wisconsin, where the Irish trimmed the Badgers 31-7. Coach Parseghian took the quiet and insecure John Huarte, and molded him into a great leader and quarterback who would go from seldom used back up to Heisman Trophy winner. In his first game against Wisconsin, Huarte completed fifteen of twenty-six passes for 270 yards, a new Irish record. One pass play was a forty-two-yard touchdown pass to his favorite target, Jack Snow.

September 27

1941: Arizona is no match for the Irish under the direction of new coach Frank Leahy, who records his first win at his alma mater with a 38-7 thrashing of the Wildcats at Notre Dame Stadium. Leahy would not only go undefeated in 1941, but would do so an unbelievable seven times in his eleven-season career.

1959: New head coach Joe Kuharich led the Irish to a 28-8 victory in his first game against the North Carolina Tarheels. It was one of the few highlights in Kuharichís tenure as head coach.

September 28

1918: Knute Rockne picks up his first victory in his first game as Notre Dame head coach, as his squad pounds out a 26-6 victory over Case Tech. Rockne would win 104 of his next 121 games over thirteen seasons.

September 29

1945: The fighting Illini open the season against the Irish before a South Bend crowd of 41,000, and they saw one of the best games of the year between two evenly matched teams. Notre Dame managed to score the only touchdown, a 78-yard run by halfback Phil Colella to win 7-0. Hugh Devore took over the head coaching job of Frank Leahy, who was in the Navy during WWII.

 September 30

1916: Jesse Harper, ND head coach and mentor for his assistant coach, Knute Rockne, defeat Case Tech 48-0 in the season opener.

 

 

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