Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2022*

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM SEPT. 10, 2022 15 45 Years Ago: Sept. 10, 1977 The showdown between defending national champion Pitt and projected 1977 national title winner Notre Dame saw the No. 3-ranked Fight- ing Irish rally in the fourth quarter for a 19-9 victory versus the No. 7 Panthers in the Steel City. Ironically, the game-changing play for Notre Dame came on Pitt's touchdown with 1:28 left in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. On that 12-yard pass from Matt Cavanaugh to Gordon Jones, Notre Dame defensive end Willie Fry hit Cavanaugh right as he released the pass, and the QB broke his left wrist when Fry's weight landed atop him. Minus Cavanaugh, his two replacements com- bined for 3-of-13 passing for 10 yards with 2 interceptions, 4 fumbled snaps and numerous other bobbles. The Panthers had 8 fumbles — 7 in the second half, losing 5 — and managed just 82 yards of total offense. Pitt's defense, coordinated by future Miami national champion and Super Bowl champion Jimmy Johnson, kept it ahead 9-6 entering the fourth quarter, but Notre Dame's final six posses- sions began in Panthers territory — the 26, 16, 38, 16 and 11 on the first five — to set up two field goals by Dave Reeve and a late touchdown. 35 Years Ago: Sept. 12, 1987 After a 5-6 debut season under Lou Holtz in 1986, the second-year head coach had a succinct message for his troops before they opened the new season in Ann Arbor against No. 9 Michigan. "It doesn't have to be close," he said, noting the previous year's 24-23 loss to the Wolverines and how the series often comes down to the final series. With the aid of 7 Michigan turnovers (and only 1 by Notre Dame), the Irish romped to a 26-7 victory. Senior Heisman Trophy candidate Tim Brown put the Irish ahead 10-0 with a spectacu- lar, leaping catch in the end zone on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Terry Andrysiak. Four of Michigan's 23 passes were intercepted, 2 by safety Corny Southall and 1 apiece by line- backers Wes Pritchett and Cedric Figaro. Fresh- man Ricky Watters capped the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown run on third-and-5 with 6:14 left in the contest. 20 Years Ago: Sept. 14, 2002 One year after a 5-6 finish, first-year Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham became the toast of the town following a 25-23 victory versus No. 7 Michigan that elevated the No. 20-ranked Irish to No. 12. Fifth-year senior Irish cornerback Shane Walton broke up a 2-point conversion pass to Braylon Ed- wards with 2:53 left, and then intercepted a John Navarre pass near midfield in the closing seconds to seal the verdict. 10 Years Ago: Sept. 8, 2012 Kyle Brindza kicked a 27-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining to lift No. 22 Notre Dame to a 20-17 victory over in-state rival Purdue. The winning points culminated a 55-yard drive in which backup quarterback Tommy Rees is in- serted in place of starter Everett Golson, leading to highly audible booing in Notre Dame Stadium. The poised Rees completed a 10-yard pass to John Goodman on third-and-6 and then connected with Robby Toma for 21 yards on third-and-10. "Does he have all the elite skills? No, but he's a gamer," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said of Rees. "Those guys in the locker room will go to the wall for him. They'll do anything because he's a great teammate." 5 Years Ago, Sept. 9, 2017 After losing five games the previous season in which it held a fourth-quarter lead (and a sixth when it was tied), No. 24 Notre Dame's inability to finish continued in a 20-19 defeat versus No. 15 Georgia. A stout, sound and physically punishing defen- sive effort from both teams — in the first regular- season meeting between the two schools — saw the Bulldogs take control when most needed in the final 10 minutes in front of a capacity audience of 77,622 — about one-third of them boisterous Georgia followers — in Notre Dame Stadium. Fighting Irish junior kicker Justin Yoon con- verted all 4 of his field goal attempts, the last from 28 yards to give Notre Dame its final lead at 19-17 with 10:21 remaining in the contest. However, Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship's 30-yard field goal with 3:34 left provided the Bull- dogs the advantage for good, and then the fierce and supremely quick Georgia defense withstood two opportunities by Notre Dame attempting to make the game-winning march. "They continue to do exactly what I ask them to do," head coach Brian Kelly said of his team. "The credit should go to Georgia today. … When they needed the big plays, they came up with them." Anniversaries In Notre Dame Football History: Sept. 8-14 UNDER THE DOME Ten years ago, backup quarterback Tommy Rees came off the bench and orchestrated a 55-yard drive to set up Kyle Brindza's 27-yard field goal that gave the Fighting Irish a 20-17 win over Purdue in Notre Dame Stadium. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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