Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct.10, 2016

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

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52 OCT. 10, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI O ne of the first mandates to a successful college football season is to win the games you're "supposed to win." That especially means taking care of business against the double-digit underdogs that enter your home field — a la 20-point underdog and 1-2 Duke Sept. 24 at Notre Dame Sta- dium. Instead, the Blue Devils pulled off a 38-35 win on the road against the Fighting Irish. That setback continued what has become a distressing pattern within the past decade where the Fighting Irish consistently lose such games at Notre Dame Stadium. It's one thing to lose on your home field to estab- lished brand names such as USC (2011), Oklahoma (2013) and even Michigan State (2016) the week prior to the Duke debacle. However, from 2007-16, it's almost become an annual rite for the Irish to lose at home to opposition it was either heavily favored against or has significantly more talent than, or at least does on paper. Back-to-back losses at home to Navy and Air Force in 2007; falling to 2-8 Syracuse in 2008; losing to UConn, which moved up to Division I-A/FBS in 2000, and Navy again in 2009; Tulsa in 2010; South Florida, which started its football program in 1997, in 2011; and Northwestern and Louisville on consecutive Saturdays in 2014. And the nightmare continued ver- sus Duke. Was the defeat to the Blue Devils the biggest upset of the Irish in Notre Dame Stadium? Probably not, though it might have felt like it at the time. Here is our other "Dirty Dozen" — minus Duke — listed chronologically and based on three criteria: • Where was Notre Dame ranked at the time and how strong would it prove to be that year? • How good was the opponent that season? • What was the point spread enter- ing the contest and how ignominious was the defeat? NOV. 9, 1935: NORTHWESTERN 14, NOTRE DAME 7 This defeat against the Wildcats was the first "shocker" in the edifice. Head coach Elmer Layden's Irish were 6-0 and the week prior had won 18-13 at unbeaten Ohio State — it was voted the greatest college game in football's first 100 years (1869-1969) — to put them in the driver's seat to win the national title. Northwestern limped in with a 2-3 record. OCT. 7, 1950: PURDUE 28, NOTRE DAME 14 This is listed only because the Irish lost a football game for the first time in five years, although it would end up a pedestrian 4-4-1. However, Purdue was 4-5 a year earlier, 0-1 entering this game — and would finish only 2-7. OCT. 11, 1952: PITT 22, NOTRE DAME 19 A week before this game, No. 8 Notre Dame won at No. 5 Texas, 14-3, while Pitt was crushed by Oklahoma, 49-20. The Panthers were 3-7 a year earlier and now were under the di- rection of a new coach, Red Dawson. Yet 13-point underdog Pitt man- aged to upset Frank Leahy's Irish 22-19 in Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame finished No. 3 that year, while Pitt was a solid 6-3. OCT. 2, 1954: PURDUE 27, NOTRE DAME 14 The Irish were 9-0-1 the previ- ous year while Purdue finished 2-7. Notre Dame also vaulted to No. 1 un- der first-year head coach Terry Bren- nan this season after defeating No. 4 Texas 21-0 in the opener. But Boilermakers quarterback Len Dawson propelled an upset at Notre Dame with four touchdown passes — Notre Dame's lone loss of 1954. Purdue finished 5-3-1. OCT. 21, 1972: MISSOURI 30, NOTRE DAME 26 Head coach Ara Parseghian's 4-0 Irish yielded only 30 points in their first four games, while 2-3 Missouri was coming off a 1-10 record the pre- vious year and a 62-0 loss to Nebraska the week prior. Consequently, the Ti- gers reportedly were a 35-point un- derdog on the road — the largest we can ever recall where the Irish lost. Missouri took a 30-14 lead into the fourth quarter (aided by a first-half phantom touchdown) and held on against a fierce Irish rally. The Tigers also upset No. 7 Colorado the ensu- ing week and eventually earned a bowl bid. SEPT. 28, 1974: PURDUE 31, NOTRE DAME 20 Parseghian's final squad was the defending national champ and a fa- vorite to repeat, outscoring its first two opponents 80-10. The Boilermak- ers were 0-1-1, with the tie occurring against Miami (Ohio). The Irish were a 28-point favorite — but fell behind 24-0 in the first quarter en route to a stunning defeat. One week later, Purdue lost to Duke. The Boilermakers would finish 4-6-1, while Notre Dame finished 10-2 after defeating No. 1 Alabama 13-11 in the Orange Bowl. OCT. 6, 1990: STANFORD 36, NOTRE DAME 31 Notre Dame was 27-1 in its previ- ous 28 games, was ranked No. 1 and had won 19 straight at home. Stanford was an 18-point underdog, finishing 3-8 the year before and entering with UPSETTING DAYS The loss at home to Duke ranks among the most stunning in Notre Dame Stadium's 86-year history Northwestern has posted three stunning upsets at Notre Dame Stadium, most recently the 43‑40 overtime triumph in 2014. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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