Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2014

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

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WHERE HAVE YOU GONE? Former captain funded new FieldTurf and much more BY LOU SOMOGYI T he installation of FieldTurf inside Notre Dame Stadium this year was viewed as a severe blow to tradition by many of the school's old guard. How ironic then that the man who wrote the check for the new layout is one of the older living former Notre Dame captains. Former halfback/ flanker Jim Morse, class of 1957, has always espoused that tradition should never stand in the way of progress. "The condition of our field was em- barrassing," said Morse, 79, of why he undertook the endeavor. "Here we have one of the greatest universities in the world, and our football field was in worse condition than my high school stadium. "I didn't think it made any sense. Most of the people that were talking about the tradition of the sod, for the most part from what I could tell, were people that never played a down on it." Sixty years ago on a muddy, slip- pery Notre Dame sod during a rainy afternoon, Morse broke a 72-yard touchdown run on third down mid- way through the fourth quarter to give the Irish a 21-17 lead over Rose Bowl- bound USC en route to a 23-17 win dur- ing a 9-1 season under first-year head coach Terry Brennan. Morse, a sophomore, finished that game with 179 yards rushing, still the third-highest total in school history by a Notre Dame back against the archri- val Trojans, eclipsed only by Reggie Brooks' 227 in 1992 and Vagas Fergu- son's 185 during a 1979 loss. The next year in a loss at Los An- geles, Morse caught five passes from quarterback Paul Hornung and gained 208 yards (still the most by an Irish receiver against USC), a 41.6-yard aver- Jim Morse, 1954-56 Halfback/Flanker Morse was a three-year starter at right half- back, captained the 1956 Irish football team, and became just the ninth player to lead the Irish in receiving during multiple seasons and one of only two Irish running backs to catch passes for more than 1,000 yards in his career. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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