Shenanigans

George Gipp joins all-time great ND fullback Louis "Red" Salmon on the sidelines before Notre Dame's first homecoming game against Purdue in 1920. (Photo courtesy of the University of Notre Dame Archives)

George Gipp joins all-time great ND fullback Louis "Red" Salmon on the sidelines before Notre Dame's first homecoming game against Purdue in 1920.
(Photo courtesy of the University of Notre Dame Archives)

Both the following stories took place at the 1920 Notre Dame - Army game:

When the teams were going through warm-ups and signal drills, there was a fabulous demonstration of drop-kicking skill by Gipp. Russell "Red" Reeder, the Soldier specialist, was matched against him in an impromptu competition, but the Army man dropped out when they backed up to the 40 yard line. Then Gipp walked to the midfield stripe and called for four footballs. >From there with seeming unconcern he sent two kicks over one cross-bar and turning around, did the same thing between uprights at the other end of the field-four

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"Rockne, giving one of his finest halftime orations to date, was really putting it to the boys for shoddy defensive play. He had just about finished when Gipp, standing nearby, asked for a drag on my cigarette. Rock loooked up and caught George leaning against the door, his helmet rakishly set atop his head, blowing out smoke. Rock's face turned purple. 'What about you, Gipp?' he snapped. 'I don't suppose you have any interest in this game?'

" 'Look, Rock,' Gipp replied, 'I got $400 bet on this game, and I'm not about to blow it: "

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Not only was 1920 to be one of Rockne's great seasons when Big Ten teams Purdue, Indiana, and Northwestern were back on the schedule, but the new west stands were opened on Cartier Field. Twelve thousand fans were on hand for the first football Homecoming.

Bringing back the stars of the past- Red Salmon, Red Miller, and Frank Hering among them -was a Rockne idea. Homecoming wasn't restricted to former athletes, because more than 600 alumni showed up for the three-day celebration. Most of them cheered when it was announced that the Oliver Hotel (reunion headquarters) had seceded from the United States for the weekend, effectively eliminating enforcement of the Volstead Act. (Prohibition)

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