The throbbing heart of the defense was the very center of its line—Tackles Randy Holloway, a 6'6" 242-pounder, Don Parrish, 6'6", 248, and 6'3", 235-pound Middle Guard Al Romano. These were the three who grabbed noses and kicked rear ends. Arms flailing like giant birds, they intimidated the younger, inexperienced Notre Dame linemen and applied so much pressure that the Pitt ends and linebackers were free to play soft and help in other areas.
Pitt people like to point out how handsome Romano is—an Omar Sharif look-alike with flashing eyes and a black mustache. "A sweetheart," they say. Holloway they characterize as more the King Kong type. He already weighs 14 pounds more than his program weight, and his coaches figure he will be 260 before long. "Eat," they tell him. "Eat."
It was Parrish, however, who threatened the smallish Rick Slager and forced his pass awry and turned the game around with the score tied 7-7 in the second quarter. Pitt Cornerback LeRoy Felder picked off the wobbling ball on the Irish 30 and ran it back to the two, setting up what turned out to be the deciding touchdown. Slager, hard-pressed to see over the smothering rush of Holloway and Romano, threw a second interception on his next passing attempt to set up still another Pitt touchdown. Thereafter the Irish had to play catch-up, and it is a game they are not yet ready for.
The quality of play diminished markedly after the first quarter, lapsing into a series of fumbles, penalties and passes that fluttered and were dropped and a punt that went straight up. Part of this was attributable to the ferocity of the defensive unit (Pitt obviously knows how to stick a head through a wall, too).
Moreover, what was already apparent about the Pitt offense, and in particular Tony Dorsett, was made even clearer by what happened on this bright, sunny day in South Bend. What Dorsett now represents to the Pitt team is a possible ticket to the very top. Well, why not? With all those giants having taken headers, somebody has to make a claim.
Johnny Majors was standing on the field last Friday with a group of friends when a reporter from Iowa asked Mrs. Majors who she thought was the best tailback of all time. Mary Lynn Majors put her finger to her chin for a moment and, obviously thinking about Johnny, said, "It depends on what formation you're talking about."
"Don't let her kid you," said Majors. "There's only one answer to that question. Number 33."