December 2, 1944 - Revenge against Great Lakes

By Olson

The home finale was a revenge game. Great Lakes had upset the Irish the previous season.

This season, Great Lakes had only lost one game (to Ohio St) and had tied Illinois.

The Sailors entered the game at 9-1-1

Great Lakes Head Coach was Paul Brown-soon to be famous as HC at Ohio St/Cleveland Browns and finally the Cincinnati Bengals

The projected starting Fullback for the Great Lake's team, one Ara Parseghian, was injured and watched the game from the sidelines.

Former (and future) ND player Jim Mello led Great Lakes down the field early on for a go ahead TD. GL's jumped all over the Irish-getting 8 first downs and holding the Irish with 0.

Finally, late in the 2nd Q ND's Dancewicz got the Irish moving-hitting HB Kelly with a 15 yd scoring toss.

After a 7-7 halftime score, the Irish scored on a blocked punt; a Dancewicz pass and a short run by Boley.

The ND defense shutdown the Sailors the final three quarters. Notre Dame would win by the final score of 28-7 and finish the season with a 8-2 record.

This would be HB Bob Kelly's last game in an ND uniform. He would play for Navy in 1945(playing against the Irish). In '46, he returned to ND but didn't make the great team. A few months into the semester, Bob quit school and enlisted in the Army....this didn't stop the NFL from drafting him in 1947.

POSTSCRIPT on the Irish players of '44

Most of the Irish players from the '44 team went off to war themselves after the season. Very few from the '44 squad returned to play on the postwar Irish squads:

  • Irish players Zeke O'Connor E; Wendell FB/LB and Chandler HB would play vs the Irish the next season as part of the Great Lakes team that handed Notre Dame its very last loss of the decade of the 1940s
  • HB Chick Miggioli would transfer to Illinois and play in the Rose Bowl before heading to the NFL
  • QB Ed Clasby would transfer to Boston College before being drafted by the Chicago Bears
  • End Mike Davlin - who was only 16 when he played on an Irish varsity squad in '44, would play at Great Lakes in '46 (against the Irish 'B' team) and then with Joe Kuharich at U San Francisco before the NFL
  • HB Art Fitzgerald would transfer to Yale and become a 3 sport star-replacing George Bush as captain of the Yale baseball team
  • C Johnny Ray would transfer to Olivet but later return to coach the defense for Ara's great '60s Irish teams
  • QB/DB Johnny Dee had a great game as DB vs Great Lakes in '44. He would return to ND in '46 on the 'B' team(JV). Later Dee became the Head Basketball Coach of the Irish
  • C Ralph Stewart would transfer to Missouri and then the NFL
  • FB John Corbisiero transferred to Middlebury and was drafted in the NFL
  • End George Benigni from Chicago Mt Carmel transferred to Georgetown where he starred in both basketball and football
  • HB Ted Tannehill was a frosh in '44, who transferred to USC and led the Trojans in rushing in '45 and played in the Rose Bowl
  • G Joe Westenkircher transferred to U San Fran and played for Joe Kuharich
  • FB Rudy Krall transferred to New Mexico and is now in their HOF -then off to the NFL
  • And two members of the '44 Irish squad (Emil Ladyko E and Walt Krodratovich HB) teamed up with yet another ND transfer - Ron Cestery at Columbia. All 3 ND transfers played for a Columbia team that pulled off what may just be the greatest upset in College Football History - the 21-20 upset of Army in 1947 to end the Cadets 32 game winning streak.....a major disappointment to the '47 Irish squad (who wanted to be the team to end the Cadets winning streak themselves).
  • Ted Dorash was a high school star from Clifton Htgs, PA who showed up for spring practice in '44 and appeared to win a starting job. The College Football Magazine Street & Smith of 1944 had projected Dorash would be a starting end for ND that season. But Dorash turned 18 that summer and was drafted...Ted was killed in action in Belgium in Feb. '45

Keywords: football, great lakes naval training school, ara parseghian, jim mello, boley dancewicz, bob kelly, navy, zeke oconnor, marty wendell, bill chandler, achille miggioli, ed clasby, mike davlin, art fitzgerald, johnny ray, johnny dee, ralph stewart, john corbisiero, george benigni, ted tannehill, joe westenkircher, rudy krall, emil ladyko, walt krodratovich, ted dorash

Posted On: 2014-09-14 00:15:03 by Olson


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

Be the first to comment!

   Post New Comment

Name: *

Comment: *

Reload Image

Enter Captcha (case sensitive):