Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 59 of 63

60 AUGUST 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI T he college football world was caught by surprise in early June when Bob Stoops abruptly an- nounced he was retiring from the University of Oklahoma after an outstanding 18-year run which featured a 190-48 record (.798 win- ning percentage), 11 Associated Press top-10 finishes, the 2000 national title and three other national title game appearances, plus a College Football Playoff showing in 2015. For many Notre Dame follow- ers, Stoops' reign with the Sooners evokes a memory of what might have been the Fighting Irish football team's single most impressive vic- tory in the 21st century, the 30-13 tri- umph at Norman on Oct. 27, 2012. Although Notre Dame was ranked No. 5 coming into the game while Oklahoma was No. 8, the Sooners were an 11- to 12-point favorite, partly because they held a glittering 79-4 record at home under Stoops. The victory improved the Fighting Irish to 8-0 on the season under third- year head coach Brian Kelly, and it legitimatized them throughout the country as a bona fide national title contender. Notre Dame elevated to No. 1 a month later, and that's where it remained before losing 42-14 to Alabama in the BCS National Cham- pionship Game. Notre Dame also defeated Stoops' Sooners 34-30 in his first season at Oklahoma in 1999, even though head coach Bob Davie's Irish would finish 5-7 that year. The third time became the charm for Stoops when OU won at Notre Dame 35-21 in 2013. Still, it's always noteworthy to post a winning record (2-1) against some- one who will be recognized as one of the game's all-time great coaches. It is not the norm when you've faced them several times. For example, the Irish were 4-5 ver- sus Michigan's Lloyd Carr, 2-4 versus Florida State's Bobby Bowden and 6-9 against Penn State's Joe Paterno. Going back farther, Notre Dame was 6-8-2 and 3-8-1 against the USC tandem of John McKay and John Robinson, respectively, which still didn't match the 1-8 ledger versus Pete Carroll's Trojans from 2002-09. The Irish also are 0-4 against Al- abama's Nick Saban (three of the losses came while he was at Michi- gan State in the late 1990s) — just like they were 0-4 against Northwestern's Ara Parseghian from 1959-62 before Parseghian was hired by the Irish. That prompted us to look at what were Notre Dame's most impressive football records against college foot- ball coaching icons they have faced more than the three meetings against Stoops. Here is our top five, going from bottom to top: Notre Dame posted a 4-0 mark against college football legend Bear Bryant (left) and Alabama from 1973-80, with Ara Parseghian (right) at the helm for the Irish in the first two wins. Making that achievement even more impressive is the fact that the Crimson Tide finished 41-3 against everyone else in the four sea- sons the Irish defeated them. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS MATCHING UP AGAINST THE ICONS Notre Dame's most impressive records against revered coaches

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