November 9, 1946 - Game of the Century II: Army

1946 Army Notre Dame Yankee Stadium TicketIn the 1943 contest, #1 Notre Dame defeated #3 Army 26-0. After the 1943 season, coach Frank Leahy and many of the star players left Notre Dame to join the war effort. Needless to say, 1944 and 1945 were down years for Irish football. Conversely, many of the service academies were flourishing during this time. #5 Notre Dame would lose to #1 Army 59-0 in 1944 and lose to #1 Army 48-0 in 1945 as the #2 ranked team, the two worst defeats in Notre Dame history. After losing by a combined 107-0 over the last two season, Frank Leahy and the stars would return to Notre Dame in 1946 following the war. This would be the twenty-first game in Yankee Stadium played between Army and Notre Dame and the fourth consecutive with one team ranked #1.

"Fifty-nine and forty-eight
This is the year we retaliate!"

-Notre Dame cheer, 1946

On the field that day were two Hall of Fame coaches and three Heisman winners. Army had coach Earl Blaik and Heisman winners Doc Blanchard (1945) and Glenn Davis (1946). Across the field stood Frank Leahy and Heisman winner Johnny Lujack (1947). Tickets sold at face value for $5 but scalpers collected $200 a piece as an overflow crowd gathered in Yankee Stadium. Everyone was treated to a defensive battle coupled with two conservative stubborn coaches. Both coaches were playing not to lose and Notre Dame would come the closest to scoring.

In the second quarter, Lujack would orchestrate an 84 yard drive down to the Army 4 yard line. On fourth-and-two at the four, Notre Dame would go for it rushing to the left side but the Army defense would force Notre Dame out of bounds short of the first down and end zone. Leahy did not believe in field goals as it would be an insult to such a tough team. Either you force it in the end zone or don't score at all. Years later, Leahy would question this decision to not kick the field goal.

After halftime, Doc Blanchard would break away for a thirty-six yard gain until Lujack made an open field game saving tackle. The two teams would continue to trade punts and turnovers. The game would end in a 0-0 tie. Even by looking at the box score, a clear winner could not be determined:

                ND     Army 
1st Downs       10       9
Yds Gain       219     224
Pass-Att-Int  5-17-2  4-16-2
Passing Yds     52      52
Rushing Yds    167     172

            1  2  3  4       
Notre Dame  0  0  0  0 - 0   
Army        0  0  0  0 - 0   

Besides the video recap above, the full radio broadcast is available here in four parts: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV. This game would be billed as the Game of the Century (again) and despite the tie, Notre Dame would go on to win the 1946 National Championship with an 8-0-1 record. That season, Notre Dame would become one of four schools ever to finish number one nationally in offense (441.3 yards/game) and defense (141.7 yards/game, a school record). Further, the 24 total points yielded (2.7 points/game) was the fewest nationally.

Keywords: football, army, tie, one versus two, game of the century, frank leahy, yankee stadium, world war ii, heisman, record, baseball stadium

Posted On: 2011-11-09 03:15:00 by IrishTrpt07
Edited On: 2013-11-19 19:19:30 by IrishTrpt07


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