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But wait. Was that a young lady the Old Grad saw dashing into Walsh Hall, his senior dorm? Venturing inside, he peeked into his old room and there on the radiator where he used to dry his sweat socks was the frilly evidence that Notre Dame was indeed fostering a feminine mystique. More startling still, as the Old Grad reeled outside he spotted one of the lads actually holding hands with a coed. Egad, the old monastery had become a Club Med franchise!
Even Badin Hall, the Animal House of the 1950s, was sporting lace curtains. While visiting the top floor the Old Grad met roommates Fran Coughlan and Adrienne Marshall and grandly informed them that in 1953 he resided in the very next room. Encouraged by their awed expressions, he told them how the devilish Badinites of old climbed to the roof to store their contraband beer in the snow-filled gutters, how they fired rockets out the windows and....
"Wow!" Fran interrupted, "1953. We weren't even born then."
Abruptly silent, the somewhat older Old Grad skulked off, stopping at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, where, as always, the faithful were lighting candles to ensure that the Irish would work yet another miracle victory-Spirits uplifted, the Old Grad then joined the throng following the Notre Dame band on its traditional roundup tour for the big pep rally in Stepan Center. Coach Dan Devine, not one for fiery speeches, was a no-show. But Digger Phelps, the funeral director's son turned basketball coach, was a suitably wild-eyed sub, directing cheers and shouting into the mike, "They say that Notre Dame is dead. Well, The Undertaker is here to tell you that we are alive and well!"
Perhaps it was because of the cheerleader who looked like June Allyson, or maybe it was the fireworks blossoming in the night sky, but the pregame delirium was such that the Old Grad felt like an extra in one of those idealized campus pigskin movies of the '50s. Indeed, the scenes—the glee club belting out Hike, Notre Dame; the crackly voice of Rockne booming from a dorm stereo ("Fight to live!"); the student barbecue stands; the strolling bagpipers; the dorm bands—might well have been staged by Cecil B. O'Mille.
But then the game began, and as the delirium gave way to the doldrums of the fourth quarter, it was sadly apparent that this was a flick in dire need of a socko finish, some kind of deus ex machismo that would fire up the Irish. For one awful moment the Old Grad considered sneaking out the exit.
Then it happened. During a pileup, Guard Tim Huffman suffered a neck injury and had to be helped from the field by his older brother, Dave, the All-America center. Risking a delay of game penalty, Dave refused to leave his brother's side, saying, "We've got more centers than I've got brothers." To which Tim replied (chroniclers take note): "Get your ass onto that field and play football!"
Back in the huddle, Dave Huffman spoke emotionally of brotherly love. "If this doesn't get us stirred up," he concluded, "nothing will." Blocking with a vengeance, Huffman helped clear the way for Jerome Heavens, who broke Gipp's career Irish rushing record of 2,341 yards as he ran for 21 yards on four successive plays. Then Joe Montana, en route to completing seven of seven passes for 110 yards in the final 14 minutes, capped an electric 86-yard scoring drive with a toss to Kris Haines. Pitt 17, ND 13.
Yelling as of yore, the Old Grad fancied that Cecil B. had revved up the Hike, Notre Dame sound track and was splicing in the sound effects and quick cuts of the ND heroes in action.
Whap! Dean Masztak grabs a 22-yard pass. Pop! Montana plunges in from one yard out. Ooofff! Case recovers a Pitt fumble. Zip! Ferguson snares a quickie pass in the end zone. Zap! Waymer picks off an interception. Bang! Final score: ND 26, Pitt 17.