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January 6, 2013

Notre Dame leads all-time series against Alabama

As steeped in history as the two programs are, Alabama and Notre Dame have only played six times. Here is a look at those games:

Notre Dame 24, Alabama 23
When:
Dec. 31, 1973
Where: Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
AP Rankings: Alabama No. 1, Notre Dame No. 3
What you've heard: Fighting Irish kicker Bob Thomas made a chip-shot field goal for the winning points, and the Notre Dame offense hung on by converting a third-and-8 from its own 3-yard line in the closing minutes. A 35-yard play-action pass to Robin Weber, his only catch of that season, sealed the win.
What you might not have heard: The Fighting Irish turned momentum when Al Hunter returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, and Tom Clements connected with Pete Demmerle on a two-point conversion for a 14-7 Notre Dame lead.
Key stats: Notre Dame rushed 59 times for 252 yards. ... Future NFL All-Pro tight end Dave Casper caught three passes for 75 yards for the Fighting Irish. ... UA running back Wilbur Jackson ran 11 times for 62 yards and a score.
Quotable: "When we had them backed up like that, if I had been a betting man, I would have bet anything we were going to win." - Alabama coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant on Alabama's inability to force a punt with Notre Dame facing third-and-8 from its own 3

Notre Dame 13, Alabama 11
When:
Jan. 1, 1975
Where: Orange Bowl, Miami
AP Rankings: Alabama No. 2, Notre Dame No. 9
What you've heard: Alabama quarterback Richard Todd led a late comeback to pull Ala bama within 13-11 and drove the Crimson Tide inside the Notre Dame 40 in the final minutes for a potential game-winning field goal. Notre Dame's Reggie Barnett intercepted Todd to kill the drive and Alabama's chance of winning.
What you might not have heard: The game marked the third time in four years that Alabama lost a bowl game with an 11-0 record and a national title at stake. ... Alabama's Mike Washington was ruled offsides after he blocked a field goal attempt, and the resulting first down led to a Fighting Irish touchdown. Tuscaloosa News reports indicate the Alabama coaching staff argued the call vehemently.
Key stats: Notre Dame outrushed Alabama 185-62, but Alabama outpassed the Fighting Irish 223-19. ... Notre Dame's rush defense allowed less than 2 yards per carry for the game. ... Washington made eight tackles and intercepted a pass.
Quotable: "I've been chasing that national championship diamond ring for five years, and now I'm never going to get it." - Alabama lineman John Rogers

Notre Dame 21, Alabama 18
When:
Nov. 13, 1976
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
AP Rankings: Alabama No. 10, Notre Dame No. 18
What you've heard: Jim Browner's interception of Jeff Rutledge in the Notre Dame end zone in the closing minutes sealed a victory for the Fighting Irish. Halfback Pete Cavan slipped out of the pocket and was wide open in the flat after finding nobody to block in pass protection, but Rutledge threw elsewhere because Cavan's assignment was to block.
What you might not have heard: Notre Dame rolled to a 21-7 halftime lead but could not score the entire second half as Alabama rallied. ... Notre Dame was led by fullback Vargas Ferguson, making his first career start as the sixth player to start at fullback for the Fighting Irish that season, led all rushers with 107 yards on 24 carries.
Key stats: Notre Dame quarterback Rick Slager completed 15 of 23 passes for 235 yards. ... Ozzie Newzome had a game-high 156 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown, 145 receiving and 11 rushing.
Quotable: "We had them. We had them, and they knew it." - Alabama's Mike Kramer

Notre Dame 7, Alabama 0
When:
Nov. 15, 1980
Where: Legion Field, Birmingham
AP Rankings: Alabama No. 5, Notre Dame No. 6
What you've heard: Alabama quarterback Don Jacobs lost a fumble at his own 4-yard line, and Notre Dame running back Phil Carter accounted for the game's only points two plays later with a short touchdown run over left guard. Alabama defensive end E.J. Junior blocked a fourth-quarter field goal to keep Alabama within one score, but Alabama's offense turned the ball over on downs in the final minutes.
What you might not have heard: Had Alabama's Peter Kim made a 37-yard field goal in the second half, Alabama's first four games against Notre Dame would have resulted in consecutive losses by one, two, three and four points.
Key stats: Alabama attempted just 15 passes, completing six for 54 yards. ... Notre Dame's Carter rushed 31 times for 84 yards. ... Alabama converted only 10 first downs.
Quotable: "Maybe we are a little more talented than Alabama, but if so, by only a tad. If we played 10 times, I bet we would split the series down the middle." - Notre Dame defensive end Scott Zettek

Alabama 28, Notre Dame 10
When:
Oct. 4, 1986
Where: Legion Field, Birmingham
AP Rankings: Alabama No. 2, Notre Dame unranked
What you've heard: Mike Shula threw three touchdown passes, two of which went to receiver Al Bell, and Greg Richardson added a punt return for a score as the Crimson Tide notched its first victory over the Fighting Irish. It was also the game in which Cornelius Bennett made his fabled sack of Fighting Irish quarterback Steve Beuerlein.
What you might not have heard: Alabama senior linebacker Desmond Holoman caused and recovered a fumble by Notre Dame star Tim Brown on the second-half kickoff.
Key stats: Bell caught five passes for 99 yards, while Brown managed just three receptions for 63 yards. ... Bobby Humphrey ran 17 times for 73 yards. ... The Fighting Irish outgained Alabama 324 to 318 in total offense but committed five turnovers.
Quotable: "When I got up, I saw mouths moving, but I heard no voices." - Beuerlein, to the Chicago Tribune, on Bennett's sack

Notre Dame 37, Alabama 6
When:
Nov. 14, 1987
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
AP Rankings: Alabama No. 11, Notre Dame No. 7.
What you've heard: Three consecutive scoring drives for 17 points in the first half put the game away early for Notre Dame, led by quarterback Tony Rice and running back Mark Green. Rice scored on a 12-yard run and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to future NFL tight end Andy Heck.
What you might not have heard: The Crimson Tide actually held a brief lead in the blowout loss on a 34-yard field goal by Philip Doyle to open the scoring. ... Notre Dame freshman Ricky Watters, who would later go on to attain seven 1,000-yard seasons in a 10-year NFL career, broke a 75-yard touchdown to complete the scoring.
Key stats: The Fighting Irish tallied 465 yards in total offense. ... Green (18 carries, 149 yards) outpaced UA's Bobby Humphrey (14 carries, 94 yards) on the ground. ... Alabama managed just 50 passing yards.
Quotable: "There is only one thing to say about a loss like that. We were whipped by a vastly superior team." - UA coach Bill Curry


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