by Johnny Cleveland
Whom can stop thinking about this one??? Well I sure can't so I figured I would give my memories of the recent UM v. ND history. By the way, if you read this and check out the links and videos, I gaurantee it will bring back memories (good and bad), give you the chills, and most importantly help Saturday get here faster! xoxo, JC
With two schools so rich in History and Legends of Days of Yore, we would be remised not to explore our conjoined pasts. If you can think of a way to win a game, surely this rivalry has produced it. It appears to all of us that in the last 25 years we have been the defeated in more games than not against the aforementioned fish eaters, however the monumentality the Irish and National media make of them struggling to barely beat us is what I believe adds to this illusion. So without further ado, I give my personal history lesson on the highlights/lowlights of the feud.
As we know two of the most recognized Football Programs as well as Universities in the World and easily 1 and 2 in the Midwest in overall recognition and support. Their traditions and fan base make them universal names in athletics and scholastics.
A. Prototypical Helmets
B. Famous Fight Songs
C. Football History
UM: #1 Wins and Winning % ND: #2 Winning %
D. Stadium Lore
UM: "The Big House" - the largest capacity of any college football team.
ND: Home of the famous"Touchdown Jesus".
I. Big Upsets
You can take this as a compliment or as a continual underachievement thing but the big upsets of the past 30 years tend to only occur when ND wins since we are usually fairly evenly ranked or UM is supposed to win.
#1. 1993 - ND is a nine point dog and UM is ranked #3. ND assistant coach apparently gives pep talk that leads to win and then coach Lou Holtz proclaimsRockne's speech is now #2. ND 27 UM 23.
#2. 2004 - Although UM blew this one and it was in SBend, they were unranked and we were #7. Hart and Henne appear as Freshmen in their first encounter with ND and now they want paybacks, as does Steve Breaston, #15 for his fumble. ND 28 UM 20.
II. IT'S GOOD!!
When teams are closely matched it's inevitable that special teams play a part.
#1. 1994 - Just after the Webmaster attends his last class at UM, ND scores with under a minute to play to take the lead on a throw from Ron Powlus. Then Todd Collinsrallies UM in range and Remy Hamilton etches his name in UM history with a buzzer to win it. Lou Holtz's participation in the rivalry ends on a sour note. UM 26 ND 24.
#2. 1980 - UM goes for two earlier in the game and misses, it later comes back to haunt them as Harry Oliver squeaks a 51 yarder over the uprights as the strong wind in his face miraculously disappears just as the ball is snapped. Touchdown Jesus? The ensuing elation of the south benders is labeled "The Wildest Celebration Ever". ND 29 UM 27.
III. Historic Contests
With rich history, there are some unique events that transpire when these two rivals meet.
#1. 1992 - The last ever tie at ND stadium. A fabulous match up between #3 ND and #6 UM ends all square as the Irish's Reggie Brooks scores as he falls into the endzone after being knocked unconscious by would be/should be Michigan tacklers. UM 17 ND 17.
#2. 1982 - First ever night game at ND. #20 ND holds #10 UM to a measly 41 yds rushing. ND 23 UM 17.
#3. 1887 - As a friendly gift we generously allow Notre Dame to play us in their first ever game. And like any good mentor, we refuse to humiliate them and let them stay close. However we shut them out! UM 8 ND 0.
IV. R U KIDDIN ME!
#1. 1989 - UM is in control of every aspect of this one, except for tackling a certain kick returner. Notre Dame struggled throughout this rain filled afternoon, but their"Rocket" did not. He becomes the first player to return a kick against UM in 32 years, then #25 does it again later in the game. ND 24 UM 19.
#2. 1991 - The blue prevail in this one that will forever be remembered for "The Catch". Desmond Howard gets horizontal with the big ball as he catches the oblong ball in mesmerizing fashion. UM 24 ND 14
#3. 1990 - With #4 UM leading by 10 points in the final quarter, #1 ND decides to allow young Rick Mirer to make his Irish debut. Elvis Grbac gets picked twice late and ND preserves its top national ranking with an astonishing comeback. ND 28 UM 24
V. Fairly Rare Ones
#1. 1999 - A rare occurrence for Maize/Blue fans. UM is trailing late and future NFL Superbowl MVP (X2), Tom Brady leads UM all the way back to take the lead and defeat the shocked Irish faithful. UM 26 ND 22
#2 1978 - UM is running an option offense? ND gets a ridiculous 26 tackles from legendary linebacker Bob Golic but neither is enough. UM 28 ND 14
VI. NATIONAL CHAMPS!
#1. 1997 - An early season test in the rivals' first meeting in three seasons boosts UM up the polls. Although don't get to excited it was Bob Davie's coaching debut against UM. The Wolverines slip by the Irish in route to a perfect season and National Championship! UM 21 ND 14
#2. 1988 - #9 Michigan v. #13 ND. Probably the most memorable for any ND fan. UM's stingy D allows no offensive touchdowns on the day. However Ricky Watters returns a punt 81 yds for a score to go along with the diminutive Reggie Ho's 4 field goals that included the game winner. Last minute heroics by Mike Gillette miss splitting the uprights and ND goes on to win the National Championship! ND 19 UM 17
#1 2006- Story to be told: Saturday, September 16th beginning at 3:30 in South Bend, Indiana. Go Blue!!!!