Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 18, 2021

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

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Page 14 of 55 SEPT. 18, 2021 15 50 Years Ago: Sept. 18, 1971 During a 50-7 opening-game rout of a North- western team that would finish as the Big Ten runner-up to Michigan, Notre Dame intercepts a school-record-tying seven passes (a mark that still stands). Three of them are picked off by safety Ken Schlezes, while safety Mike Crotty and cornerback Ralph Stepaniak return their interceptions for 65- and 40-yard touchdowns, respectively. The dominant Notre Dame defense also re- covers two fumbles, and All-American end Walt Patulski blocks a punt to set up the game's first touchdown. Sports Illustrated — which picked the Irish as the preseason No. 1 despite the gradua- tion of quarterback Joe Theismann — covers the game and defends its choice of the Irish. Its game headline is "A Cheerleader Could Run This Team." Head coach Ara Parseghian rotates quarter- backs Pat Steenberge and Bill Etter, who complete only 9 of 27 passes between them. 25 Years Ago: Sept. 21, 1996 For the fifth time in its football history, Notre Dame wins as the clock hits 0:00 to end the game. Freshman kicker Jim Sanson's 39-yard field goal as time expires lifts the Irish to a 27-24 victory against No. 6 Texas in front of a record 83,312 fans in Darrell K. Royal-Memorial Stadium. 15 Years Ago: Sept. 16, 2006 The No. 2-ranked Fighting Irish — fresh off a 41-17 victory over Penn State the week prior — find themselves on the wrong end of 47- 21 blowout versus rival Michigan, allowing the most points scored against them at Notre Dame Stadium in 46 years. Quarterback Chad Henne throws three touchdown passes to wide receiver Mario Manningham, and the Wolverines inter- cept Irish signal-caller Brady Quinn three times. The tone is set early when U-M linebacker Prescott Burgess picks off Quinn on the second play of the game — on a pass that sailed through the hands of tight end John Carlson — and re- turns it 31 yards for a touchdown. The Wolverines build a 26-7 lead before the Irish can even earn their initial first down (Notre Dame's first score was set up by Chinedum Ndukwe's 51-yard interception return to the U-M 4-yard line), while taking advantage of sev- eral mistakes. Manningham was left wide open for a 69-yard touchdown catch and Irish receiver David Grimes fumbled a kickoff return that set up a two-yard touchdown run by U-M running back Mike Hart, who finished with 124 yards on 31 carries. The Irish trailed 34-14 at the half, having surren- dered the most first-half points by an opponent since Purdue scored 45 in its' 51-19 win in 1960. In addition to the three picks, Quinn fumbled a ball that U-M's LaMarr Woodley returned 54 yards for a touchdown. The Wolverines ended a two-game losing streak to Notre Dame as well as a three-game slide at Notre Dame Stadium. The 47 points allowed were second only to the 51 scored at Notre Dame by Purdue in 1960. It was just the eighth time the Irish have given up at least 40 points at home. 10 Years Ago: Sept. 17, 2011 Notre Dame avoids becoming the second foot- ball team in school history to begin a season 0-3 (the 2001 team 10 years earlier was the first) with a 31-13 victory over No. 15 Michigan State, which would finish No. 10 in the Associated Press poll with an 11-3 record. Two newcomers steal the show. Freshman run- ning back George Atkinson III returns a kickoff for an 89-yard touchdown to provide a 14-3 cushion in the first half. He joined Fighting Irish luminaries Al Hunter (1973), the first 1,000-yard rusher in a season at Notre Dame, Allen Pinkett (1982) and Raghib "Rocket" Ismail (1988) as the only Irish freshmen to score on a kickoff return. On defense, freshman defensive end Aaron Lynch, who didn't play a snap in the previous week's 35-31 loss at Michigan, records a remark- able six quarterback hurries and forces a fumble by quarterback Kirk Cousins on another hit com- ing off the edge. To put that stat into context, no Notre Dame player the previous year was credited with more than five QB hurries the entire season. Senior cornerback Robert Blanton also has an outstanding game, including sealing the outcome with a fourth-quarter interception return of 82 yards. Anniversaries In Notre Dame Football History: Sept. 15-21 YOU DON'T WAIT FOR MAIL DELIVERY! HAVE TO The digital edition of Blue & Gold Illustrated is available Sundays at The Blue & Gold Illustrated digital edition includes all the great content you find in your print edition, plus: ✦ Searchable archive ✦ Downloadable PDFs ✦ Available on computers and tablets Visit for the latest issue every Sunday! It's already part of your subscription! PLUS: The Blue Gold Report Midweek Update! • Emailed Every Pre-Game Wednesday • Depth Charts And Rosters For Both Teams • Updated Statistics • Columns and Much More! • Can be viewed on your computer, phone or tablet, or printed out to read later. To receive notifications, please send your email address to: Customer Service: 1-800-421-7751 Freshman defensive end Aaron Lynch's big game — six quarterback hurries and a forced fumble on quarterback Kirk Cousins — helped the Irish to a 31-13 win over Michigan State in 2011. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA UNDER THE DOME

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