clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Review the Rivalry: Notre Dame Fightin' Irish

In 1976, Tech defeated Notre Dame 23-14 without completing a pass.
In 1976, Tech defeated Notre Dame 23-14 without completing a pass.
Rivalry Overview: Notre Dame leads the series 27-6-1. The series is ultimately defined by two stretches: the World War II Era and Tech's run as an independent. Tech and Notre Dame met every year from 1938-1945. The seven year run was definitely a reflection of multiple universities cancelling their football programs due to lack of male students (as opposed to Tech being a military training school). Tech actually faced off with four of Notre Dame's national title teams and didn't fair to well. Tech was outscored 184-36 against the 1924, 1929, 1943, and 1977 Fightin' Irish.

The second prominent series with Notre Dame was during Tech's secession from the SEC. Tech played Notre Dame 12 times over a 15 year span running from 1967-1981 and sadly Tech only won one bout with the Irish in those 12 sordid affairs. In the average Tech fan's mind, there are three famous games from this stretch: the Rudy game, the victory in 1976, and the 1980 tie. The Rudy game had a whole movie dedicated to it. I don't think we need to really go into its gory details. The 1976 game was the perfect payback for the 1975 disaster.

Regular starter Mike Jolly was injured so Gary Lanier got the start in 1976's homecoming game in front of 50,079 Georgia Tech fans. Tech hadn't lost a homecoming contest in 17 years and proceeded to show the Irish a thing or two about running the football. Tech only attempted one pass but ran the ball 50 times for 368 yards over the Fightin' Irish machine. Bob Bowen, Lucius Sanford, and Mike Blanton led the way for the Tech D as they stifled a typically potent Irish offense holding the little green men to 178 yards of total offense. Despite trailing 14-3 early in the game, the Ramblin' Wreck ended up defeating the Irish on the legs of Gary Lanier 23-14.
"I could live to be a thousand years old and never be prouder of a group of players than I am of these today..." - November 6, 1976... Pepper Rogers
What Makes the Series a Rivalry: Cultural clash. The Irish hail from a Northern, Catholic private institution. Georgia Tech is a Southern, public school. A majority of the games were played during a period where Southern pride was taken to sometimes extreme levels. The most public incident involved a Dan Devine/Joe Montana-led squad running up the score on Pepper Rogers. The 1978 Tech student section felt like throwing fish (per tradition) and the story hit the national press like a hot tamale.

Rudy. Mentioning the movie Rudy is a surefire way to get any good Tech fan riled up. A bumbling fool stumbled his way into a walk-on role and has been sapping the story ever since. Tech's Rudy Allen (the guy that gets sacked in the movie) has a much better story of rising from the ashes to be one of Tech's first African American starting QB's and eventually becoming a successful Georgia Tech graduate.

Personal Rivalry: Four words: Pretty boy Brady Quinn. The following line from the 2006 home opener stat sheet is why I cannot stand Notre Dame:
QUINN, B. rush for 3 yards to the GT15 (Wheeler, P), PENALTY GT personal foul (Wheeler, P) 8 yards to the GT7, 1ST DOWN UND.
Notre Dame and the referees pulled a fast one on us. Little did we know that you aren't allowed to knock players out of bounds. This penalty setup the Irish game winning TD. Pat Nix and Reggie Ball ensured that GT's next three drives amounted to only 52 yards and zero points.

Anyone out there have any good stories from the old GT-ND games?