1973 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

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1973 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football
NotreDameFightingIrish.svg
National Champions
Sugar Bowl, W 24-23 vs. Alabama
Conference Independent
Ranking
Coaches #4
AP #1
1973 record 11-0
Head coach Ara Parseghian
Offensive scheme Wing T - Double Wing formation
Defensive coordinator Joe Yonto
Base defense 4-3
Captain Dave Casper
Captain Frank Pomarico
Captain Mike Townsend
Home stadium Notre Dame Stadium
Seasons
« 1972 1974 »

The 1973 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1973 college football season. The Irish, coached by Ara Parseghian, ended the season undefeated with 11 wins and no losses, winning the national championship. The Fighting Irish won the title by defeating the previously unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl by a score of a 24-23.[1] The 1973 squad became the ninth Irish team to win the national title and the second under Coach Parseghian. Although Notre Dame finished No. 1 in the AP Poll to claim the AP national title, they were not awarded the Coaches' title, since Alabama was awarded the Coaches' Poll title before the bowl season.

Season[edit]

Ara Parseghian's second national title team was led by its relentless rushing attack. Fullback Wayne Bullock (750 yards), halfback Art Best (700 yards), halfback Eric Penick (586 yards) and quarterback Tom Clements (360 yards) comprised one of the fastest Irish backfields, with Peneck and Best clocking in under 10 seconds in the 100-yard dash.[2] The Irish started the season strong, amassing large margins of victory over Northwestern, Rice and Army to set up a highly anticipated contest with No. 6 and unbeaten USC.[2] USC came into the contest riding a 23 game unbeaten streak, and USC's star tailback Anthony Davis ran over the Irish the previous year for 6 touchdowns in a 45-23 Trojan victory.[2] Moreover, Parseghian had not outright beaten USC since the 1966.[1] The Irish defense responded to the challenge, limiting Davis to 55 yards on 19 carries. The star tailback of the day was Notre Dame's Penick, who ran for 118 yards, 50 more than the entire Trojan team. The Irish won the contest 23-14 and won its remaining games.[2] After Notre Dame accepted the Sugar Bowl bid, the stage was set to determine the national championship. Alabama was awarded the UPI title before the bowl season,[3] but it was Notre Dame that won it on the field, winning 24-23 in a thriller that had six lead changes. Notre Dame jumped to a 6-0 lead, but Alabama answered with a Randy Billingsley 6-yard touchdown run. After Al Hunter scored on a 93-yard kick off return, Alabama scored 10 straight points. In the fourth quarter, three turnovers occurred in 90 seconds, with Alabama coming out on top and capitalizing on a halfback pass from Mike Stock to quarterback Richard Todd for a 25-yard touchdown to take a slim 23-21 lead, but the Tide missed the crucial extra point. Notre Dame responded, with Tom Clements driving the Irish 79 yards in 11 plays and setting up a potential field goal on a clutch 15-yard pass to tight end Dave Casper. Irish kicker Bob Thomas kicked the extra point to give the Irish a slim 24-23 victory and the AP national title.[4]

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
09/22/1973 2:30pm Northwestern #8 Notre Dame StadiumNotre Dame, IN W 44-0   59,075
09/29/1973 1:50pm at Purdue #7 Ross-Ade StadiumWest Lafayette, IN ABC W 20-7   69,391
10/06/1973 2:30pm Michigan State #8 Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN W 14-10   59,075
10/13/1973 8:05pm at Rice #9 Rice StadiumHouston, TX W 28-0   50,321
10/20/1973 2:00pm at Army #11 Michie StadiumWest Point, NY W 62-3   42,503
10/27/1973 1:50pm #6 USC #8 Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN ABC W 23-14   59,075
11/03/1973 1:30pm Navy #5 Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN W 44-7   59,075
11/10/1973 1:30pm at #20 Pittsburgh #5 Pitt StadiumPittsburgh, PA W 31-10   56,593
11/22/1973 1:20pm Air Force #5 Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN ABC W 48-15   57,236
12/01/1973 7:30pm at Miami (FL) #5 Miami Orange Bowl (night) • Miami, FL W 44-0   42,968
12/31/1973 8:00pm vs. #1 Alabama #3 Tulane StadiumNew Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl) ABC W 24-23   85,161
#Rankings from AP. All times are in Eastern Time.

Roster[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Name Position Year at
Notre Dame
Ara Parseghian Head Coach 10th
Tom Pagna Offensive Backs 10th
Brian Boulac Offensive Line 4th
Bill Hickey Offensive Line 4th
Wally Moore Offensive Line 10th
Mike Stock Receivers 5th
Joe Yonto Defensive Coordinator
Defensive Line
10th
George Kelly Linebackers 5th
Paul Shoults Defensive Backs 10th
Greg Blache Junior Varsity 1st
John Murphy Scouting
Defensive Coach
15th

Game notes[edit]

Northwestern[edit]

Purdue[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Notre Dame 3 7 7 3 20
Purdue 0 7 0 0 7

[5]


Michigan State[edit]

Rice[edit]

Army[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Notre Dame 0 28 20 14 62
Army 3 0 0 0 3

[6]


USC[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
USC 7 0 7 0 14
Notre Dame 3 10 10 0 23

[7][8]


Navy[edit]

Pittsburgh[edit]

Air Force[edit]

Miami (FL)[edit]

Sugar Bowl[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Notre Dame 6 8 7 3 24
Alabama 0 10 7 6 23

[9]


Post-season[edit]

Award winners[edit]

All-Americans

Name AP UPI NEA FC SN FW T FN WCF
Dave Casper, TE 2 1 1 1 1 1
† Mike Townshend, DB 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
†denotes consensus selection       Source:[1]

College Football Hall of Fame inductees

Name Position Year Inducted
Ara Parseghian Coach 1980

[10] Notre Dame leads all universities in players inducted.

1974 NFL Draft[edit]

Player Position Round Pick Franchise
Dave Casper Tight End 2(19) 45 Oakland Raiders
Mike Townshend Defensive Back 4(8) 86 Minnesota Vikings
Brian Doherty Punter 9(18) 226 Buffalo Bills
Tim Rudnick Defensive Back 11(5) 265 Baltimore Colts
Frank Pomarico Guard 14(15) 353 Kansas City Chiefs
Bob Thomas Kicker 15(24) 388 Los Angeles Rams
Cliff Brown Running Back 17(11) 427 Philadelphia Eagles
Willie Townsend Wide Receiver 17(24) 440 Los Angeles Rams
Source:[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "2007 Notre Dame Media Guide: History and Records (pages 131-175)". und.cstv.com. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  2. ^ a b c d "2007 Notre Dame Media Guide: 2007 Supplement (page 163)". und.cstv.com. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  3. ^ "Past Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I FBS) National Champions (formerly called Division I-A)". ncaa.org. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  4. ^ "2007 Notre Dame Media Guide: 2007 Supplement (page 129)". und.cstv.com. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  5. ^ "Notre Dame Bests Purdue." Palm Beach Post. 1973 Sept 30.
  6. ^ Eugene Register-Guard. 1973 Oct 21.
  7. ^ Palm Beach Post. 28 Oct 1973. NO BOX SCORE.
  8. ^ "Irish end years of frustration." Eugene Register-Guard. 1973 Oct 28.
  9. ^ "Notre Dame Preserves 24-23 Victory." Palm Beach Post. 1974 Jan 1.
  10. ^ "College Football Hall of Famers.". collegefootball.org. Archived from the original on 21 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  11. ^ "Notre Dame NFL Draft History". uhnd.com. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-31.