October 3, 1914 - Without Rockne and Dorais, the team still wins

By Olson

Notre Dame entered the 1914 season on a roll. ND had not lost a game since 1910.

It was Jesse Harper's second season as Head Coach. His team was coming off a 7-0 season highlighted by the already legendary win at West Point (35-13), as well as 'lesser' (but important) victories at Texas and Penn St.

For the first time in 4 year period, ND would be without QB Gus Dorais in 1914 (Gus had graduated). Dorais' favorite target, end Knute Rockne, had also received his diploma.

Luckily for Notre Dame, Rockne had agreed to stay on as assistant football coach to Harper.

However the famous 'Dorais to Rockne' passes weren't quite history as yet. Joe Dorais (Gus' little brother) was a freshman QB that '14 season. One evening in practice, assistant coach Rockne, playing end with the Freshmen squad and with Joe at QB, piled up 24 points on the varsity.

This was the second season that ND had fielded a Freshmen team.

According to the 'ND Scholastic Football Review of 1914', Freshmen Co-coach Joe Gargan searched 'coast to coast' trying to schedule games for the frosh team. Only one was played: a 12-0 victory over Culver Military.

Later Gargan, a former Irish QB, became better known when he married Rose Kennedy's sister and thus became the uncle to JFK, RFK and Ted.

Without a schedule of games Gargan's frosh team dedicated themselves to preparing the varsity for their contests.

Up to the varsity from that very first ND Frosh squad of '13 were stars HB Stan Cofall(frosh capt) and FB Charlie Bachman. Interestingly, Bachman also played tackle for Corby in the Interhall league as a frosh. Bachman would play in the line during his varsity career at ND.

Harper also returned 12 lettermen in 1914-among them team captain Deak Jones T from Montana, FB Ray Eichenlaub from Columbus O., and QB Dutch Bergman (ND's first 4 sport letterman).

Trying to capitalize on the momentum created by the victory over Army the previous season, Harper scheduled 3 eastern games for the coming season: powerhouse Yale; a return to West Point and a very strong Syracuse team.

The first game of the season would be against Harper's former school, Alma. I have a good friend (now over 80) who played football at Alma. I have always accused him of playing in this game vs ND.

Soph Cofall's debut with the varsity included 2 TDs while playing QB. Regular QB Dutch Bergman only played briefly in this opener - having just arrived on campus 3 days before. HB Joe Pliska from Chicago scored 3 TDs. Notre Dame would win 56-0.

Keywords: football, alma, jesse harper, army, texas, penn state, gus dorais, knute rockne, joe dorais, joe gargan, culver, stan cofall, charlie bachman, deak jones, ray eichenlaub, dutch bergman, joe pliska

Posted On: 2014-09-25 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):