Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Great Notre Dame Moments: October 15, 1988

Say the date, October 15, 1988. Notre Dame fans will know what that signifies. As a matter of fact, in a poll taken on Notre Dame's official site,, the game versus Miami of Florida on that day was voted the greatest in Notre Dame Stadium history.

Let me set up what made it a great game. First, Miami came into Notre Dame Stadium, on that beautiful Fall day (it was 75 degrees and sunny as I recall. I should know - I was there!), ranked number 1. The Irish were ranked number 4. Imagine what could happen if the Fighting Irish could pull off the upset. It could vault the Irish near the top of the polls. It could also pave the way for their first National Championship since 1977.

Secondly, Miami had become a hated rival of Notre Dame. This was due to rising as a program in the 1980s as well as owning the Irish during a lot of that decade. To put it mildly, some of the games were not even close.

In 1983, Miami shut out a Gerry Faust coached team, 20-0. In 1987, in Lou Holtz's second season at Notre Dame, the Hurricanes blew out the Irish, 24-0. But, perhaps, more than any game that caused ill feelings on the part of the Irish towards Miami, was what happened in coach Gerry Faust's last game. In 1985, Miami blasted Notre Dame, 58-7. Many thought the Hurricanes ran up the score, needlessly, in the second half.

So, Miami came into Notre Dame Stadium on October 15, 1988 with all the confidence in the world. They had risen to one of the top programs in the entire country. They also had proven success against the Irish. But, Notre Dame had something to prove.

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