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Considering the magnitude of the matchup, and how Notre Dame really hasn't been in the spotlight for quite some time, we're going to try something a little different.
In the 24 days leading up to the game (yes, it's only 25 days away now), we're going to give you a chance to learn some of Notre Dame's history and traditions. Some days the Daily Dose of Notre Dame will be pretty short, other days it will be pretty long. But if you read it each day you won't be sitting there during the game broadcast wondering what the announcers are talking about.
It'll also give you plenty of ammunition, if you know what I mean.
So here's Day 1, Notre Dame's version of Joe Namath:
1. Joe Cool
“Joe was born to be a quarterback,” Joe Montana’s high school coach Jeff Petrucci said. He wasn’t particularly tall, certainly wasn’t fast and didn’t have a particularly strong arm. Yet when you factor in his pro career with the San Francisco 49ers, winning four Super Bowls and becoming the only player in NFL history to win three Super Bowl MVP awards, some believe he’s the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
Actually, Frank Carideo (1928–1930) and Johnny Lujack (1943, 1946–1947), who played for Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy, respectively, are known to Notre Dame historians as the best quarterbacks who ever took the field for the Fighting Irish as both were two-year unanimous All-Americans. Lujack won a Heisman (Carideo don’t have an opportunity, the award didn’t exist yet), and both led the Irish to back-to-back national titles.
Montana didn’t win a Heisman and he didn’t make All-American, though he did win a national title as a junior in 1977.
At Notre Dame, Montana was known as the Comeback Kid. He started three games as a sophomore in 1975 for first-year Irish coach Dan Devine, then missed the 1976 season with an injury. When the 1977 season opened, he was No. 3 on the depth chart, and the Irish was already 1–1 before Devine inserted him into a game. Notre Dame was trailing Purdue 24–14 when Montana came off the bench with 11 minutes remaining and led the Irish to 17 points, throwing for 154 yards in the 31–24 win.
Montana pulled off the greatest comeback win in Notre Dame history in the 1979 Cotton Bowl, a.k.a. the Chicken Soup Game. Played in an ice storm, Montana missed most of the third quarter with hypothermia when he was administered a dose of chicken soup to bring his body temperature up to normal. The Irish trailed the Cougars 34–12 midway through the fourth quarter when the Irish rallied for 23 unanswered points. Montana ran for a touchdown, threw for another and also connected on a pair of two-point conversion passes, including one with no time left on the clock, for the 35–34 victory in the last game of his college career.
Christopher Walsh covers Alabama football for BamaOnline, 247Sports, and is the author of 18 books.
My former in-laws are Catholic. I got a daily dose of Notre Dame my entire marriage. Not saying that's why they are now former in-laws.....just sayin'....
I hear you. I grew up in Minnesota, and with the Gophers continually lousy (except when Lou Holtz was there, but he left the program in a mess) I heard a lot about Notre Dame even though it was like 3-4 states away.
Yep growing up in Ohio when you only had a handful of TV stations the ND replay would come on...it was either ND football or Lawrence Welk...tiny bubbles actually won out at times
TRADITION IS THE FOUNDATION GREAT PROGRAMS ARE BUILT UPON.
Spent alot of time in Grand Forks. Used to ride across the river to East Grand Forks to the Cabella's there. College hockey still as big up there as it was in the 90's?
Luv ya Walsh, but I'm skipping these....lol
I used to live in Indiana during the Weis years. It was alright since they were irrelevant but on the flip side so was Bama
Weren't we evaluating Montana's son a year or two ago? Not sure if we ever offered him. Where di he eventually go?
Pretty sure he went to Washington...not sure if Bama offered
He started at the University of Washington but then he transferred to a juco, Mt San Antonio College.
The name is very familiar - Montana. This is not your average Joe. He is Nick Montana, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana, who led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl championships.
On Alabama: CeCe Jefferson - "It was a bunch of beautiful women..." Reggie Ragland - "oh the females of course..."
I think this is a great idea. As much as I hate Notre Dame, which is a lot, I still respect their tradition and think this match-up is one of the best ever. I don't know a whole lot about their history, just that they're obviously one of the blue bloods, so I think these pieces will be interesting and I'd like to learn a little more about them.
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