Friday, September 11, 2009

A Rivalry Renewed: September 23, 1978

This was the first meeting of the two schools on the gridiron in the modern era. The last meeting between Michigan and Notre Dame saw Fritz Crisler take on Frank Leahy, when football helmets were made of cowhide and there were no facemasks: October 9, 1943. Notre Dame won that game 35-12.

The 1978 game in South Bend featured senior Michigan quarterback, and Heisman candidate, Rick Leach, as well as senior Notre Dame quarterback Joe Montana. The Wolverine offensive attack included star fullback Russell Davis, lightning-fast tailback Harlan Huckleby, as well as junior wingback Ralph Clayton. Michigan also had two fine tight ends in senior Gene Johnson and junior Doug Marsh. The Wolverine defense features defensive tackles Curt Greer and Mike Trgovac, linebackers Ron Simpkins, Tom Seabron, Jerry Meter and Andy Cannavino, and defensive secondary stars like Mike Harden and Mike Jolly.

Michigan finished 10-2 in 1978 including a loss to USC 10-17 in the Rose Bowl. Notre Dame finished 9-3 including an electrifying Cotton Bowl win over Bill Yeoman's Houston Cougars 35-34.

"That boy is our last hope."

"No. There is another."

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