Welcome to the first edition of Touchdown Tuesdays. Every Tuesday this blog will aim to feature a historic football game that was played in Notre Dame Program history. With 127 years of history and hundreds upon hundreds of contests played in that time there are a ton of games in which to highlight, so with that let’s begin:
October 15, 2005: USC at Notre Dame
The Jeweled Shillelagh is awarded each year to the winner of the ND vs. USC football game.
USC traveled to Notre Dame Stadium to compete in one of the most famous College Football rivalries of the sport. The undefeated USC Trojan’s entered the game as the defending national champions and were ranked at the #1 spot in the country. The #9 ranked Irish of Notre Dame went into the contest with a 4-1 record on the season, under the direction of first year Head Coach Charlie Weis.
One very definitive characteristic about this game was the decision by Irish Head Coach Charlie Weis to have his players wear Notre Dame’s famous Green Jerseys, a special jersey that the team has only wore a very limited number of times and only for games of significant importance. Another memorable trait contained within this particular game was what became known as the “Bush Push,” so named for USC running back Reggie Bush, which became a very controversial play in the sports history.
After 4 quarters of play in what became known as a “Game of the Century,” the USC Trojans defeated the Irish with a one yard quarterback sneak that utilized the Bush Push play to win the game 34-31. The Trojans remained undefeated until losing the National Championship game to Texas later that season. Notre Dame would go on to win the rest of their match-ups and finish the 2005 season 9-2. They would then accept a bid to play in the Fiesta Bowl to play Ohio State where they lost 34-20.
An important note to make is that on June 10, 2010, after many years of investigations and lawsuits against The University of Southern California and Reggie Bush for breaches in athletic conduct, the NCAA announced major sanctions against the USC Trojans which forced them to vacate all of their wins during the 2005 season.
I personally love the USC rivalry and have had the honor of seeing it in person on a number of occasions. It’s a matchup unlike any other in the country and is anticipated every year as one of the most challenging and exciting games of the year for the Irish.
Last year the Trojan’s won the matchup on their home turf. This season the Irish will take on USC in South Bend in a game that looks to make-it or break-it for Notre Dame’s national championship hopes.
This is just one historic game in Notre Dame Program history. What are some other legendary football match-ups you can remember?
Image courtesy of Images Jewelers.