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October 25, 2012

Notre Dame crushed dreams on Statehood Day

NORMAN — Editor’s note: This item first appeared the The Transcript’s publication “Glory Days” on Sept. 3, 2010.

It was a cool, cloudy day that Nov. 16, 1957.

Notre Dame was here to play the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners were riding a 47-game winning streak that, ironically, began in South Bend with a big OU win over the Fighting Irish.

OU fans, sports writers, odds-makers all just knew that OU would win No. 48. Most were predicting a rout.

Notre Dame came to play and play they did — DEFENSE. The Sooners, too, came to play — DEFENSE.

Coach Wilkinson’s famous “Split T” got OU inside the Notre Dame 5-yard line on four separate occasions. The Sooner fans were straining with the team to punch it in.

Crowd noise was deafening.

OU failed all four “goal to go” times. Notre Dame had scouted OU’s option plays, and try as the Sooners did, Terry Brennan’s Irish did not yield.

Even today, that cold November Saturday is talked about. OU fans talk about how stunned they were at the outcome.

Both defenses were exhausted. Penalties cost OU one score, but that was not an excuse.

Time and again the Sooners outdistanced Notre Dame. As the game drew to a close, Notre Dame scored on a simple shovel pass to their running back from inside the 10-yard line. 

TD: Notre Dame.

With seconds left in the game, OU tried desperation passes, to no avail.

Final: Notre Dame, 7; OU, 0.

I still remember that; 65,000 fans stood in silence — you could have heard a pin drop. We could not believe what had happened.

Notre Dame stopped our win streak, dashed our third-straight National Championship and derailed Clendon Thomas’ first-team All-American hopes.

Yet the fans of the Crimson and Cream watched their beloved Sooners go the balance of the season victorious.

It is not surprising that OU just doesn’t like Notre Dame.

 

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