Friday, September 23, 2005

Dateline: 1949 | by Jay

Here's great story from about the first time ND played at Washington, and the special home cookin' the Huskies tried to whip up:

The 1949 Notre Dame team that arrived by train at Seattle’s King Street Station was one of the greatest in history. They had gone 29 games in a row without a loss. They were destined to win their fourth national championship of the 1940s. And they featured that season’s Heisman Trophy winner, Leon Hart. The Fighting Irish were arrogant and possessed a powerful aura of invincibility, much like today’s USC Trojans. They were also reputed for receiving preferential treatment from referees.

So the Huskies kind of cheated.

Washington coach Howie Odell compiled a film showing a montage of Notre Dame players holding their opponents with no flag being thrown. Right before kickoff, Odell and Washington athletic director Harvey Cassill secretly held a meeting with the referees. Odell showed the film. No representative from Notre Dame was present. The Fighting Irish would subsequently be flagged eleven times against the Huskies, mostly for holding infractions. Their legendary coach Frank Leahy would learn of the secret meeting during the game and afterwards erupted in fury...
ND actually ended up winning the game, 27-7, and out-rushed the Huskies to the tune of 297-17.
While speaking to reporters after the game, Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy went ballistic.

“How could that be a good game when we had to play four extra men?” he said with an enraged tone of voice. “The officials today, all four of them, tried their best to even up a football game… If it was intended to be an instructional clinic, a representative of Notre Dame should have been invited. I believe the entire procedure tended to send the officials into the game with a superficial attitude.”