November 11, 1944 - A loss for the war effort

Previously we looked at how the 1944 season started with Frank Leahy and many of the Notre Dame star players going to war. While Notre Dame was understaffed compared to 1943, Army and the other military schools were an All-Star Squad. Army could more or less recruit the best college players, enroll them at the academy for training, and have them play football at the same time. This gives some incite into how Army won the National Championship in 1944 and 1945, having a 25 game win streak, and outscoring opponents 916-81. In 1944 Notre Dame finished with an 8-2-0 record. The first loss came a week prior when #2 Notre Dame lost 32-12 to #6 Navy. The second loss would come today, when now #5 Notre Dame faced #1 Army.

Over the last twelve years, Notre Dame had a 10-0-2 record against Army. Every game had been played at Yankee Stadium as it was the only venue that was large enough to meet the demand for the game. Army made up for years of losses in a single game. The Irish actually stopped the Cadets short of the goal on 4th down in their initial possession, until a penalty flag flew and Army was given a 5th chance and scored. By the end of the first quarter, Army led 20-0. The final score would be a devastating 59-0 blowout. The Irish were unable to keep up with many of the star Army players, including future Heisman winners Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis. This would be the worst loss in Notre Dame history punctuated by Notre Dame's inability to put any points on the board. ND threw 6 interceptions and Glenn Davis scored 3 TDs for the Cadets and Doug Kenna ran for a TD, passed for another and returned an INT for a 3rd TD.

This game would have a far greater affect than the W/L for each team. The Americans fighting in the European theater had a way to determine friend from foe. During the Battle of the Bulge, American troops were in Belgium and surrounded by many English-speaking German spies dressed as American soldiers. Whenever the Allies would encounter an unfamiliar face they would simply ask them:

"What was the score in the 1944 Army verse Notre Dame game?"

Every G.I. knew that Army was victorious 59-0 in the game played on Armistice Day, 1944. There was no bigger venue than Yankee Stadium and no bigger rivalry than Army-Notre Dame.

Keywords: football, army, yankee stadium, frank leahy, world war ii, navy, battle of the bulge, armistice day

Posted On: 2011-11-11 03:15:00 by IrishTrpt07
Edited On: 2014-09-04 18:56:18 by IrishTrpt07


      Were you there? Have more to add? Leave a comment and let us know!

   Posted By: Seņor Chops at 2011-11-11 13:35:58[#2]
That last bit about using the score as friend-or-foe code is REALLY fascinating. Great insight on Veteran's Day!
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   Posted By: Titus at 2011-11-11 07:13:54[#1]
The sports-as-pass-phrase routine had a lot of variations in the Bulge. Brigadier General Bruce Clark got put in shackles for saying the Cubs played in the American League. But I bet nobody missed on the ND-Army score.
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