September 26, 1953 - Oklahoma's last loss before the streak

Notre Dame Oklahoma ProgramEntering the 1953 season, Frank Leahy's Notre Dame squad was ranked the preseason #1. The defending champs, Michigan State, were ranked #2 followed by Georgia Tech, UCLA, Alabama and Oklahoma. In the season opener for both teams, #1 Notre Dame would head down to Norman and meet up with #6 Oklahoma. The two teams met for the first time ever the year prior in which then #10 Notre Dame beat #4 Oklahoma 27-21 in South Bend. Notre Dame looked to match last year's win on the away field.

The game started off rough for Notre Dame. All-American and future Heisman winner Johnny Lattner would fumble the opening kick and eventually fall on it at the 4 yard line. This early set back led to a fumble by Neil Worden at the 23 which Oklahoma wasted no time converting into a touchdown and took the lead 7-0. Notre Dame would come to match the score in the first quarter and after fifteen minutes it was 7-7. In the second quarter Oklahoma would retake the lead on a second touchdown and Notre Dame would once again match the Sooners touchdown. After one half, the score was tied 14-14. The two touchdowns for the Irish would be scored on the ground by quarterback Ralph Guglielmi (not to be confused with Don F. Guglielmino of the Guglielmino Athletics Complex) and on a pass to Joe Heap.

Ralph GuglielmiAs the third quarter went on, Notre Dame had been pinned deep and once again forced to punt. The ball sailed to the Sooners's 20 yard line where Oklahoma took over. Oklahoma's quarterback threw a pass which Guglielmi intercepted at the 40 yard line. On the following play, Guglielmi threw a 36 yard pass to Heap for his second touchdown and the Irish had their first lead of the day at 21-14. On the Irish's next possession, Neil "The Bull" Worden would score on a 9 yard run to increase Notre Dame's lead to 28-14. Late in the fourth quarter Oklahoma would score on a 60 yard run to make the final score 28-21. Just as Notre Dame had done the year before in South Bend, they had beaten the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman.

Notre Dame would finish the season 9-0-1 and ranked #2 behind Maryland, in the AP poll. Ten other polls would crown Notre Dame the national champions. However, Notre Dame only recognizes AP Poll championships and hence does not count 1953 as the would be 12th national championship season. In addition, the polls came out before the bowl games and Maryland would lose the Orange Bowl to Oklahoma. Oklahoma would tie Pitt the week after Notre Dame and then began on their infamous streak. They finished the season 9-1-1 and would not lose again until November 16, 1957, to a familiar foe. Oklahoma would remember that the last loss prior to their record streak came to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Keywords: football, oklahoma, frank leahy, johnny lattner, heisman, ralph guglielmi, joe heap, neil worden, gugliemino, streak

Posted On: 2011-09-26 03:15:00 by IrishTrpt07


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