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So you think Notre Dame lost last week? You heard that USC knocked off the Irish for the second straight year, beating them 28-14, and in South Bend yet? Well, it's true, Notre Dame did lose—its undefeated season, its chance to play an Oklahoma or Nebraska in the Orange Bowl and any hope for the national title. But, folks, Notre Dame did not lose everything last week.
The freshmen won. In fact, they won the big game, the grandest international football confrontation of the year: ND vs. Mexico City Redskins. And they did it with a few points to spare. You didn't know about the game? Well, nice group of kids, the freshmen. Over there is Kevin Nosbusch, a friendly kid when not playing football, a defensive tackle standing 6'4" and weighing in at 255 pounds, all of it hard muscle. Another defensive tackle is John Roscoe, also 6'4" but only, well, 240. And then there are a couple of defensive ends who have to stoop to get under a 6'5" doorway and go 230 and 240. And if anything gets past that crew, there are linebackers like John Freeman (235) and Greg Cortina (255), and they are as quick as they are big. And now last Saturday night here comes Sergio Chagary Cosio, trying to zip his 165 pounds out of the Mexico City Redskins' backfield. Leading the blocking is Rito Calzada Salda�a, a 175-pound guard. Double-splat! No one asks if Sergio gained any yards, just if he is still alive. Ah, all is well. Rito just wiggled a foot. Oh, oh, there goes Daniel Carranza Reyes, a 160-pound defensive back, off on a stretcher. From the top of Mexico City's huge but empty Azteca Stadium (the crowd of 35,000 was lost in the 97,240-seat arena) a man bugles taps.
From the beginning it was an Aztec sacrifice. The home team even lost the toss of the coin. And what followed wasn't football, it was a demolition derby. The final score was 80-0, or maybe even 82-0. No one was sure. Notre Dame went for two points after its last touchdown, and half the officials said they made it and the other half said no. The important thing was that the Irish didn't lose another football. After their 10th touchdown they kicked the extra point and the fans refused to throw the ball back.
"From now on," said an official, noting that the score was then 68-0 and there was still more than 21 minutes to play, "when you score, just run for your extra points."
"People thought we were trying to run up the score," said Denny Murphy, the Irish freshmen coach. "Shoot, we just didn't want to lose any more balls. You can't tell kids not to score, all you can do is just tell them not to throw and to use basic stuff."
For the record, the Irish touchdowns were scored by Halfback Ron Goodman (4), Fullback Wayne Bullock (3), Quarterback Tom Clements (2), Bob Sweeney (1), Chuck Kelly (1) and Tom Bake (1). You might as well remember the names. Ara will. En route Notre Dame rolled up 800 yards, most of it on the ground. Clements threw just four passes, two of them for touchdowns.
"We played with very much heart." said Elias Fernando Yapur, a Redskin Athletic Club official. "But Notre Dame played with very much height, very much weight and too much speed."
"We got the spit kicked out of us," said a Redskin player. "Their team outweighs half of Mexico City."
In a two minute and 18 second spurt, Notre Dame's Eric Penick went 84 yards to score only to have it nullified by a penalty. On the next play Bullock went 89 yards to score, and after the Redskins punted, Kelly went 73 yards to score. Then just a shade more than a minute later, Bake, shedding Mexicans like an oak tree undressing for winter, went six yards to score.
At halftime, leading 48-0, Murphy told his troops: "Now look, guys, these are nice people, and I'm not asking anybody not to go all out, but let's just stick to the basics. The very basics. But you on the defense, let's not lose the shutout."