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And Royal said, "Our opportunities were there. We didn't get beat so bad that we didn't have our opportunities. Their inverted defense didn't cause us to mishandle those kickoffs and punts. I've never said the Wishbone offense won a football game. Angry people win football games, and Notre Dame was angrier than we were."
An indication that it wasn't Texas' day came on its first series of plays. Phillips cut away for 63 yards, and it looked like another wonderful afternoon for all the Texas statisticians. But Texas only got a field goal as Bertelsen fumbled a wide pitchout on what would have been a walk-in touchdown. It was the first of nine Texas fumbles. Some of them might have been caused by Notre Dame's hardhitting, but some of them weren't.
Thereafter, Steve Worster started fumbling—often on first down—and Notre Dame got so far up on the scoreboard, 18 points, that Texas could never afford, really, that next mistake which always seemed to be on the verge of happening.
Intriguingly, it worked out that both coaches were right in their guesswork. Parseghian made the good defensive move, and Royal made the good offensive preparations. In between was Joe Theismann getting the points that mattered, and that was the real difference.
Theismann did his usual thing of hitting Tom Gatewood—on a beautifully open 26-yarder for a touchdown—and then he did his keeper things, once for three yards and the last time on a 15-yard scoot around his right end which saw him dance, crawl and wiggle the last fantastic eight steps, barely staying in bounds and flashing beneath a whole row of orange jerseys.
"We ran good enough to keep 'em honest," Joe said. "If you can't run on Texas, you're in trouble." It was, he said, the happiest day of his life in three weeks—or since he got married.
The Rose Bowl will probably rank as the happiest day in Jim Plunkett's life—until he signs his pro contract. He may be worth whatever sum he can bargain for. More than any discontent among the Buckeyes, who in three weeks weren't allowed to meet the press long enough to ask if any wars had ended in the world, it was Plunkett's arm that beat Ohio State.
Hitting 20 passes for 265 yards, he put more pressure on the Jack Tatums and Jim Stillwagons than they had ever known about, and Stanford just kept scoring and threatening. And the Stanford football team has as much fun as the Nattering Nabobs of Novelty. The Indians laughed in workouts, went out on the town continually and, as Billy Reed reported, whooped and hollered when they heard Woody had said at one point, "If we win it on the ground, what better place to do it than where the greatest tank commander of all was born—the great General George Patton."
In its raging moment of stress, Ohio State uncharacteristically panicked. After Plunkett had put Stanford ahead by 20-17, there were still 10 minutes left to play, plenty of time for the Buckeyes to move like the tanks they are. So Rex Kern threw an interception dead in the hands of Jack Schultz, a kid who grew up in the Pasadena area just like Patton. And Stanford got the ball at the Ohio State 25, and Plunkett hit Randy Vataha for another touchdown, this being the West Coast version of Theismann to Gatewood.
Schultz had never seen a Rose Bowl game until last Friday. "I always wondered what went on in there," he said. "Now I know."