|Top 10 Miami-Notre Dame|
|Written by Stuart Wang|
|Thursday, 23 December 2010|
There was a time when Miami-Notre Dame was among the biggest rivalries in sports. The series started in 1955 and over the next 35 years, built up to a national event when the two programs met on the gridiron.
On New Year's Eve, the famous match-up will return when the 'Canes battle the Fighting Irish in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. The game will mark the first of four scheduled meetings between the two storied programs over the next seven years, renewing a rivalry full of some of college football's biggest names and games.
Over the next two weeks, HurricaneSports.com will provide fans with an inside look at the famous rivalry with exclusive content straight from the source.
Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 15, visit Miami's Bowl Central for daily features, video and photos from the rivalry's biggest moments, including a look into the Top 10 games in the series and other stories along the way.
From the 58-7 drubbing the 'Canes put on the Irish in 1987 to the famous meeting in Japan in 1979, HurricaneSports.com will have all the Miami-Notre Dame coverage a fan could ask for as we lead up to the big game.
#10 1955: Where it All Started
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The first game in the storied rivalry between Miami and Notre Dame didn't end in the Hurricanes' favor, but the 1955 meeting between the 'Canes and the Irish featured plenty of interesting storylines that helped start one of college football's best rivalries.
For the first time in its lengthy history, Notre Dame was entering the state of Florida to play a college football game with a Friday night match-up against the 'Canes on Oct. 7. The showdown featured two Top 20 teams, with No. 5 Notre Dame, firmly established as one the top teams in the country, visiting No.15 Miami, a growing program under head coach Andy Gustafson.
The Irish came in 2-0 - with shut-out wins over SMU and Indiana - while Miami entered 1-1, dropping its season-opener at No. 10 Georgia Tech, 14-6, before crushing Florida State at home, 34-0.
Notre Dame's visit, coupled with Miami's blowout win over the Seminoles the previous week, had South Florida brimming with anticipation. And while the fans were ready for the game and confident in their 'Canes, Gustafson made his best effort to contain some of the mounting confidence around town and in the locker room.
"Notre Dame always is one of the best in the country," Gustafson told the Miami Daily News the Sunday prior to the game. "They have great p_layer_s, great morale and great team spirit. It is a real challenge to meet them, and I'm glad we have the opportunity."
"We'll have to do a lot better than we did against FSU to have a chance with Notre Dame," Gustafson added.
Heading into the game, in was unclear whether the 'Canes would go with senior Mario Bonofiglio or sophomore Gene Reeves at quarterback. For the Irish, the decision came much easier as junior Paul Hornung was in the early stages of what would prove to be a Hall of Fame career.
By late in the week, ticket sales were through the roof and officials were anticipating a record crowd at the recently-expanded Orange Bowl.
The fans didn't disappoint. A record 75,685 packed the OB for what would prove to be the second-largest crowd over the next 30 years to witness a Hurricanes' game at their famous venue. The atmosphere and energy had never been quite like it was as this game, for good reason.
Unfortunately for most in attendance, however, the game didn't live up to the hype, at least on Miami's end of things.
Playing in just the second night game in its history, Notre Dame went on to beat Miami, 14-0, behind a pair of fourth-down touchdown passes from Hornung, who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy the following year. Bonofiglio earned the start for UM, but it was Reeves who played well under center, orchestrating a 70-yard drive - the Hurricanes' best opportunity for points - that was ultimately killed by a penalty.
Notre Dame and its stifling defense proved its worth in the end, holding its third straight opponent scoreless.
Miami would go on to finish the season 6-3, while Notre Dame went 8-2 with losses to Michigan State and USC.
That game on Oct. 7, 1955 had little impact on either team's season, but the significance of the meeting proved to be immense.
The fans showed up in droves that night and the rest of the country began to take notice. The two teams wouldn't meet again for five more years, but the foundation had been set that historic night at the Orange Bowl.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 December 2010 )|