Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 9, 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 52 of 55 NOV. 9, 2019 53 SEASON REVIEW The 1989 season was supposed to commence on Sept. 16 in a No. 1 ver- sus No. 2 showdown between Notre Dame and Michigan. However, as the defending national champ, Notre Dame accepted the Kickoff Classic's invitation to play Virginia on Aug. 31, much to the consternation of Wolver- ines head coach Bo Schembechler. Virginia had become a top-20 con- tender under College Hall of Fame head coach George Welsh, but the Irish cruised to a 36-13 victory. Sophomore Rocket Ismail then ce- mented his place in Notre Dame's foot- ball pantheon with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in the showdown at Michigan, a 24-19 win that would help ensure the Irish remained at No. 1 for the next 11 weeks. Not once in those 11 weeks was there an idle Saturday, although back-to- back November home games against 3-8 Navy and 2-9 SMU served as a respite to the grind. But those games came after defeating No. 17 Air Force (41-27), No. 9 USC (28-24) and No. 7 Pitt (45-7) on consecutive weekends. The regular season concluded with trips to Penn State's Beaver Stadium, where the Irish were 0-4 since 1981, and at Miami, where the Irish also were 0-4 since 1981 while getting out- scored 139-22. Notre Dame amassed 425 rushing yards against Penn State (a record versus the Nittany Lions) in a 34-23 victory. However, after rallying to tie the Miami game at 10 in the second quarter, the Irish fell 27-10 to the Hur- ricanes, who converted a third-and-43 situation deep in their own territory with the score 17-10. No. 4-ranked Notre Dame returned to Miami's Orange Bowl venue on Jan. 1, 1990 to play 11-0 and No. 1 Colorado and, after a scoreless first half, posted an impressive 21-6 victory. Holtz then attempted to convince the voters that despite No. 2 Miami's win over Ala- bama in the Sugar Bowl that same eve- ning that Notre Dame should be the national champ. Whereas Notre Dame was 7-1 against the teams that finished among the top 18 in the final AP poll, Mi- ami was 4-1 versus the final top 25, with its 24-10 loss coming to Florida State, which finished No. 3 in the AP (and No. 2 in the UPI, ahead of Notre Dame). Plus the Hurricanes were only 1-1 against the top 10, while the Irish were 3-1. • Notre Dame played eight oppo- nents in 1989 that finished in the top 18 of the AP poll: Miami (No. 1), Colo- rado (No. 4), Michigan (No. 7), USC (No. 8), Penn State (No. 15), Michigan State (No. 16), Pittsburgh (No. 17) and Virginia (No. 18), losing only the regu- lar-season finale at Miami. • Only five of the 13 games in 1989 came at home. You will never see again in college football where a top-10 outfit plays more games on the road. • Five of the Irish's first six 1989 tilts were on the road — as were the final three, including the bowl. Again, that is something you will never see again. "We played the toughest schedule, we had the best record (12-1 to Miami's 11-1), were No. 1 every week but one — and we came back and beat No. 1 [in the bowl] quite decisively," Holtz said in his politicking. The next morning, he was crestfallen when he learned Miami received the No. 1 nod, with just 21 voting points separating the Hurricanes (1,449) and the Irish (1,428). It was the second- closest final vote since the AP began its postseason poll in 1968, behind only Brigham Young edging Washington by 20 points at the end of the 1984 season. The bottom line was Miami defeated Notre Dame head to head — a point Holtz would emphasize four years later when Florida State was given the edge over the Irish despite losing the head-to-head contest in November. "I have no fault with Miami, but doggone it we played nine teams which were in bowls, eight will finish in the top 20, we played everybody at an emotional peak, we beat the ACC champ [Virginia], we beat the Big Ten champ [Michigan], we beat the Pac-10 champ [USC], we beat the Big Eight champ [Colorado], and we beat the top two independents in the East [Penn State and Pitt]," Holtz lamented. "… To end up with the best record against the best schedule — and then you're going to choose who was best on No- vember 25? I'm sorry. "I don't think any football team has ever played a football schedule as dif- ficult as ours was this year." Can Notre Dame football some day match or break that 23-game winning streak? "One day … I don't know when," replied 1987-89 starting quarterback Tony Rice after a long pause. "All re- cords are meant to be broken — or can be broken. I may be long dead and gone by then. Hopefully it will be bro- ken sooner than that." ✦ MEMORABILIA MEMORABILIA Vintage Notre Dame Memorabilia Augie's Locker Room ND Stadium Items, Jerseys, Helmets, Autographs and One-of-a-Kind Rockne Items. COME INTO THE STORE TO SEE OUR RARE NOTRE DAME HELMET DISPLAY, 1900 - PRESENT!! Voted Best Notre Dame Collectibles in the Country! 1811 South Bend Ave. South Bend , I n 46637 574-277-NDND (6363) FACEBOOK.COM/AUGIESLOCKERROOM NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL GAMES on VHS or DVD for sale, from 1928 to present. Contact Peter Rahas at 7700 Golden Filly St., Las Vegas, NV 89131 or call 1-702-395-2974 M A R K E T P L A C E Call 877-630-8768 to advertise in Blue & Gold Illustrated! Want a prayer published? Call 800-421-7751 NOTRE DAME'S 1989 SCHEDULE Date Opponent Result Aug. 31 vs. Virginia^ W, 36-13 Sept. 16 at Michigan W, 24-19 Sept. 23 Michigan State W, 21-13 Sept. 30 at Purdue W, 40-7 Oct. 7 at Stanford W, 27-17 Oct. 14 at Air Force W, 41-27 Oct. 21 USC W, 28-24 Oct. 28 Pitt W, 45-7 Nov. 4 Navy W, 41-0 Nov. 11 SMU W, 59-6 Nov. 18 at Penn State W, 34-23 Nov. 25 at Miami L, 27-10 Jan. 1 vs. Colorado* W, 21-6 ^ Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium * Orange Bowl at Miami

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