1977 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

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1977 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football
NotreDameFightingIrish.svg
National Champions
Cotton Bowl Classic, W 38–10 vs. Texas
Conference Independent
Ranking
Coaches #1
AP #1
1977 record 11–1
Head coach Dan Devine
Offensive coordinator Merv Johnson
Offensive scheme Wishbone
Defensive coordinator Joe Yonto
Base defense 4–3
Captain Terry Eurick
Captain Willie Fry
Captain Steve Orsini
Home stadium Notre Dame Stadium
Seasons
« 1976 1978 »

The 1977 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1977 college football season. The Irish, coached by Dan Devine, ended the season with 11 wins and one loss, winning the national championship. The Fighting Irish won the title by defeating the previously unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, Texas by a score of a 38-10.[1] The 1977 squad became the tenth Irish team to win the national title, led by the quarterback play of junior Joe Montana and defensive play of '76 Outland Trophy winner Ross Browner.[1]

Season[edit]

Dan Devine entered his third year as head coach, coming off of a 9-3 season and 20-9 Gator Bowl win over Penn State the previous year.[2] Devine returned a highly touted defense, featuring 1976 Outland Trophy winner Ross Browner, defensive end Willie Fry, and a linebacking corps featuring All-American Bob Golic.[2] On offense, quarterback Joe Montana earned the starting job and led an offense that included running backs Jerome Heavens and Vagas Ferguson and All-America tight end Ken MacAfee.[2] Montana, who would earn a reputation as "the comeback kid", had two come from behind victories in the 4th quarter against Purdue and Clemson, down 17 and 10 respectively.[2] After a surprising loss to unranked Ole Miss, patience among the fans was running thin, who considered Devine’s previous 8-3 and 9-3 seasons as lackluster compared to what they were accustomed to with coach Ara Parseghian.[3] The Irish rebounded to win their remaining games, including a 49-19 rout of Southern Cal in the now famous "Green Jersey Game."[3] The Irish earned a Cotton Bowl Classic berth, where they defeated No. 1 and unbeaten Texas by 38-10 to capture Notre Dame's tenth national title.[2] The Irish leaped four spots in the polls after the Cotton Bowl Classic victory to claim the consensus title.[2]

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 10 at #7 Pittsburgh #3 Pitt StadiumPittsburgh, PA W 19–9   56,500
September 17 vs. Mississippi #3 Memorial StadiumJackson, MS L 13–20   48,200
September 24 at Purdue #11 Ross-Ade StadiumWest Lafayette, IN W 31–24   68,966
October 1 Michigan State #14 Notre Dame StadiumNotre Dame, IN W 16–6   59,075
October 15 at Army #11 Giants StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ W 24–0   72,594
October 22 #5 USC #11 Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN W 49–19   59,075
October 29 Navy #5 Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN W 43–10   59,075
November 5 Georgia Tech #5 Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN W 69–14   59,075
November 12 at #15 Clemson #5 Memorial StadiumClemson, SC W 21–17   54,189
November 19 Air Force #6 Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN W 49–0   59,075
December 3 at Miami #5 Miami Orange BowlMiami, FL W 48–10   35,789
January 2 vs. #1 Texas #5 Cotton BowlDallas, TX (Cotton Bowl Classic) W 38–10   76,701
#Rankings from AP Poll.

Roster[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Name Position Year at
Notre Dame
Dan Devine Head Coach 3rd
Merv Johnson Offensive Coordinator
Offensive Line
3rd
Brian Boulac Recruiting Coordinator
Offensive Line
8th
Hank Kuhlmann Offensive Backs
Special Teams
3rd
Ron Toman Quarterbacks
Receivers
3rd
Tony Yelovich Guards and Centers 3rd
Joe Yonto Defensive Coordinator
Defensive Line
14th
Jim Johnson Defensive Backs 2nd
George Kelly Linebackers 9th
Francis Peay Junior Varsity 1st
Ross Stephenson Scouting
Volunteer Assistant
3rd

Game notes[edit]

Purdue[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Notre Dame 0 14 0 17 31
Purdue 10 14 0 0 24

[4]


Michigan State[edit]

Michigan St at #14 Notre Dame
1 2 3 4 Total
Michigan St 3 0 3 0 6
Notre Dame 0 10 6 0 16


USC[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
USC 0 7 0 12 19
Notre Dame 7 15 13 14 49

Notre Dame wore green jerseys for the first time since their 1963 game against Syracuse.

[5]


Navy[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Navy 0 0 3 7 10
Notre Dame 7 9 14 13 43
  • Date: October 29
  • Location: Notre Dame Stadium • South Bend, Indiana
  • Game attendance: 59,075

Notre Dame wore green jerseys for the second straight week.

[6]



Post-season[edit]

Award winners[edit]

Heisman Voting

Ken MacAfee, 3rd[10]
Ross Browner, 5th[10]

All-Americans

Name AP UPI NEA FC SN FW FN WCF CW
† Ross Browner, DE 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
† Ken MacAfee, TE 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
‡ Luther Bradley, DB 2 1 2 1 1 1
Ernie Hughes, G 2 2
Bob Golic, MG(MLB) 2 2 2
Willie Fry, DE 2
Ted Bergmeier, DB 2
†denotes unanimous selection
‡denotes consensus selection Source:[1]

College Football Hall of Fame Inductees

Name Position Year Inducted
Ross Browner Defensive End 1999
Dan Devine Coach 1985
Ken MacAfee Tight End 1997

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

1978 NFL Draft[edit]

Player Position Round Pick Franchise
Ken MacAfee Tight End 1(7) 7 San Francisco 49ers
Ross Browner Defensive End 1(8) 8 Cincinnati Bengals
Luther Bradley Defensive Back 1(11) 11 Detroit Lions
Willie Fry Defensive End 2(23) 49 Pittsburgh Steelers
Ernie Hughes Guard 3(23) 79 San Francisco 49ers
Ted Burgmeier Defensive Back 5(1) 111 Miami Dolphins
Steve McDaniels Tackle 9(27) 249 San Francisco 49ers
Doug Becker Linebacker 10(18) 268 Pittsburgh Steelers
Source:[12]

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 e f "2007 Notre Dame Media Guide: 2007 Supplement (page 164)". und.cstv.com. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  3. ^ a b Walters, John (2004-07-21). Notre Dame Golden Moments. Rutledge Hill Press. ISBN 1-59186-042-3. 
  4. ^ "Wolves Subdue Stubborn Navy; Notre Dame Overcomes Purdue." Ocala Star-Banner. 1977 Sept 25.
  5. ^ "Green Irish thump Trojans." Eugene Register-Guard. 1977 Oct 23.
  6. ^ "Irish wear green and don't need it, 43-10." Eugene Register-Guard. 1977 Oct 30.
  7. ^ "Winners & Finalists". Rotary Club of Houston. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  8. ^ "The Maxwell Award Collegiate Player of the Year: Past Recipients". The Maxwell Football Club. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  9. ^ "Walter Camp Football Foundation Awards (Page 3)". The Walter Camp Foundation. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  10. ^ a b "Heisman Voting". und.cstv.com. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  11. ^ "College Football Hall of Famers.". collegefootball.org. Archived from the original on 21 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  12. ^ "Notre Dame NFL Draft History". uhnd.com. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-30.