Once the first lick was made, though, it was clear that Notre Dame—even without Running Back Jerome Heavens, who has a bad knee—was in for a glorious day. In one stretch, Joe Montana completed 10 passes in a row, tying the school record that Angelo Bertelli set in 1942. Vagas Ferguson rushed for 255 yards, breaking the Notre Dame single-game record he set three weeks ago by 36 yards. Final score: not 69-14, just 38-21.
As Tech discovered, emotion doesn't beat Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets' offensive line was overmatched, and so was its defensive line. Notre Dame got an early field goal by Chuck Male and added second-quarter touchdowns on a 26-yard Montana-to-Pete Pallas pass and a 20-yard run by Ferguson for a 17-0 lead.
Late in the first half, Ivery, who was to rush for 102 yards for the day, threw a scoring pass to Wingback Bucky Sham-burger, reducing the margin to 10 points. Rodgers, though, was downcast in the locker room. "They are too big and too physical, which is no surprise," he said. "They've only been that way since Rockne." Student-trainer Allen Lawrence had a different assessment. "We peaked too early with all that rah rah, pep rally stuff," he said.
And the Irish rolled on. Linebacker Bob Golic intercepted a pass early in the third quarter to kill a minor Tech threat. Then Montana took over, scoring one touchdown on a plunge and passing five yards to Kris Haines for another. Notre Dame's final score came on Jim Stone's five-yard run. And the Irish were going to the Cotton Bowl once again.
With 2:24 to play, Tech fans began hurling debris at Notre Dame. Not helping matters was Grant Field's seating arrangement, with the Tech student section behind the visitors' bench. Fish, ice cubes and, ultimately, liquor bottles were tossed out of the stands. When a pint rum bottle landed nearby, Devine picked it up and ran onto the field to show it to an official. Then he circled his players at midfield and warned them—indeed, threatened them—not to lose their tempers. "Act like Notre Dame," he said. "You have more class than that." The Irish did.
Devine later downplayed the bad scene, saying, "The fish smelled like hell, the eggs were interesting and the ice sort of stings when it hits your face. Let's talk about the game."
Rodgers didn't want to do that. "Life's not fair." he sighed. Maybe not, but Rodgers and Tech later received an invitation to play Purdue in the Peach Bowl at Atlanta on Christmas Day—and promptly accepted.