There was a pep rally in South Bend on Friday night that began in bedlam and proceeded directly to hysteria, where it remained for several hours. On Saturday the Notre Dame Golden Dome, freshly gilded, flashed back the rays of the autumn sun until Our Lady danced in the air like some celestial vision. On the cover of the game program, wearing his old magical, twisted grin, was Knute Rockne, back to haunt Notre Dame opponents once again. The only thing missing was George Gipp.
After the band swung into the most famous college fight song ever written, and 55,000 people swallowed the lumps in their throats long enough to shake down the thunder from the sky, Oklahoma didn't have a chance. Notre Dame won the ball game 19-6, and if the luck of the Irish hadn't called a brief time out, figuring perhaps that it had accomplished enough for one day, the score could have gone much higher.
A 165-pound halfback from Donora, Pa., Angelo Dabiero, ran through Oklahoma like a berserk water bug and a 200-pound junior fullback from Chicago named Mike Lind spread havoc in Dabiero's wake, but the Oklahomans, although frequently close to destruction, retained enough presence of mind to recover two Irish fumbles and intercept two passes. Notre Dame also lost a touchdown when Quarterback Daryle Lamonica's 15-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter was called back, and the Irish sophomores played like sophomores to blow a final chance.
The Irish had no passing attack worth mentioning—Lamonica and sophomore Frank Budka completed only three of eight attempts for 25 relatively useless yards—but Notre Dame didn't really need passes. It had Dabiero and Lind and that big line. Dabiero, a sandy-haired little assassin with a snaggle-tooth grin, led Notre Dame ball carriers in the disastrous 1960 season with 325 yards. He is well on the way to matching that total after one game. Dabiero raced through Oklahoma on his weaving runs for 176 yards in 11 carries, and one of these went 51 yards for his team's first touchdown. Lind scored twice, once from 23 yards out, again from the two, and he gained 121 yards in 18 tries. In all, Notre Dame gained 367 yards on the ground. Oklahoma had 125.
For much of the first half, the big crowd and a national audience watching ABC's weekly television effort saw a tight game. A good sophomore quarterback named Bill Van Burkleo, after limping for three weeks on an ankle injured in an early Oklahoma scrimmage, took over the ball club and led the Sooners down to Notre Dame's 10 late in the second quarter. There a penalty pushed Oklahoma back five yards, and Karl Milstead's field goal try was blocked.
From its own 41, Notre Dame scored in two plays. Lind went over left tackle for eight yards (Notre Dame picked on the left side most of the day), then Dabiero, taking a hand-off from Lamonica, swung around left end, faked a couple of Oklahoma tacklers onto their noseguards and cut loose on his long touchdown run.
Oklahoma came back almost immediately on a rather unusual maneuver. Joe Perkowski's kickoff—into a wind that sometimes came gusting over the stadium wall at 45 miles an hour—hung in the air so long that the Notre Dame tacklers ran past it. Gary Wylie, fielding the ball for Oklahoma on the 25, found hardly anyone in front of him and lumbered 47 yards to the Irish 28 before Frank Minik finally came scooting across to bang him out of bounds. Van Burkleo sent the Sooners on down to the six in six plays, and Jackie Cowan took a pitchout around right end from there. Milstead's kick was wide to the right, and Oklahoma was never to get closer than the Notre Dame 26 again.
The second Irish drive went 74 yards in seven plays. Dabiero ran for seven and 21, Lind for 21 more in three tries. Then, from the Oklahoma 23, Lamonica faked to Dabiero going right, and 10 Oklahoma defenders went that way, too. So Lamonica handed the ball off behind his back to Lind, who was proceeding toward left tackle. As it turned out, only the Oklahoma safety man, Mike McClellan, remained in Lind's way, but Les Traver went across from his end position to throw a block and that removed McClellan. Lind stepped neatly around the two bodies to score. Perkowski's kick was good.
Notre Dame's final touchdown drive covered 62 yards, very quickly. Dabiero contributed runs of 22 and 30 yards, while Lind got the rest by smashing for eight and two.
"We feel," said Notre Dame Coach Joe Kuharich, "that the men handled their offensive assignments well. Dabiero seems to have matured."