Ggeorge Izo moved back to throw his first pass of the 1959 season, disposed of a big California end, fended off a guard, then threw. Bob Scarpitto made the catch to complete a 26-yard touchdown and it appeared as though both Izo and Notre Dame were realizing their mutual dream—that he would be a quarterback to match the great ones in the university's history. Izo is the type of quarterback every coach longs for: a powerfully built passer who packs 210 pounds over a 6-foot-2 frame. Although in his senior year of high school his team won only four of nine games, the college scouts were trailing him. Purdue's Coach Jack Mollenkopf thought he had captured George, but Izo's father, once a promising lineman under Knute Rockne, filled his son with legends of the Fighting Irish. Thus it was that George matriculated at South Bend and began passing in earnest.
After earning his letter as a sophomore, Izo badly sprained an ankle during initiation for the Monogram Club. George missed spring practice, and it was not until midseason last year that he saw much action. When he did it was against Mollenkopf and Purdue, with the Boilermakers leading 23-3. Izo connected on pass after pass, though Purdue wobbled off with a 29-22 win.
As he readied for the 1959 season George seemed perfect for Coach Joe Kuharich's plans for installing the pro-type T. Still, Notre Dame fans fretted about a tough schedule and a poor team. There was more to fret about when Izo injured a knee in a preseason practice. He sat out two games, then made his debut against California. Last week against Michigan State and before a nationwide television audience, George was plagued in the first half by in-rushing linemen. But in the second half he was sharper, leading the Irish on a long march that was stopped on the one-yard line and connecting for six out of 12 passes. So now the big question about George Izo no longer concerns his ability as a college quarterback but rather the durability of his leg.