Page 1O -0The Michigan Daily- Monday, September 15, 1986
Blue finally gets lucky...
...as Irish luck runs out
Lou Holtz almost pulled off The Big One.
Almost. Luck had other ideas.
"We never seemed to have anything bounce
our way the entire game," said Notre Dame's
head coach Saturday after Michigan had
beaten Notre Dame, 24-23. "Fumbles were
down, (or) just barely missing on this or on
"It was a great thrill to represent the
University of Notre Dame; a great thrill to be
with our football players here today. But Notre
Dame doesn't have moral victories."
Perhaps they don't count victories of spirit
in South Bend. If a few things had been
different, then it would have been an Irish
Things happened to Notre Dame against
Michigan that usually happen over the course
of a season, but in eleven different games. A
Michigan kickoff bounced backwards into
Doug Mallory's arms. There were three
turnovers inside the Michigan 15-yard line.
Notre Dame receivers dropped several key
passes late in the game, including one in the
end zone. Notre Dame was on the recieving
end of several controversial calls, including
Joel Williams' touchdown that wasn't.
Such fortunes are a day's work for
Northwestern, but the Wildcats usually lose by
scores of around 106-0. Needless to say, the
Notre Dame locker room wasn't a pleasant
"I think the referees sometimes look not to
give Notre Dame a break," said Notre Dame's
brilliant flanker Tim Brown.
"I believe that we truly and honestly beat
Michigan, but we also beat ourselves," said
As it were, it would be easy to feel sorry for
Holtz, who concieved a brilliant offensive plan
and executed it to perfection against a
supposedly terrorfying defense. Unprepared
for Holtz's wizardry, the Wolverine defenders
looked about as scary as a dollar steak but not
quite as tough.
So feel pity for Holtz, yes. But for Notre
Dame and their fans, no. Laughter might be
appropriate. Laugh because the Fighting Irish
finally got their due. Ha ha ha. Irish luck
finally ran out.
In 1980, Michigan dominated Notre Dame
but lost on a 51-yard field goal at the gun. The
year before, Bob Grable blocked a last second
Michigan field goal attempt to seal a 12-10
Notre Dame victory. In both contests,
Michigan pushed Notre Dame around like a
blocking sled, but mistakes gave the Irish the
game. It was as if an unbeknown Force,
heavenly or otherwise, was rooting for Notre
And it appeared Saturday that an
anonymous power would create the three
millionth Irish Sports Miracle. With Notre
Dame behind by a point, John Carney, who
already had missed an extra point, lined up
with seventeen seconds left in the game to play
hero; to carve his name into Notre Dame lore.
But the Force was not with him.
His 45-yard field goal attempt fell
harmlessly short and to the left. The stadium
was praying for another Miracle. Sometimes
prayers are not enough.
If one rationalizes such things, the roles
were reversed; it was Notre Dame who
deserved to win because they outplayed the
opposition and the breaks went the other way.
The Fighting Irish lost a game because the
other team was lucky.
Michigan left with a victory, however
tainted, however controversial, however
lucky. Any under circumstance, a win
doesn't bother Bo Schembechler.
"I think somebody's telling us we ought to
have a good season this year," he said,
Holtz, for his part, eschewed any
connections with the supernatural. If there is
such a thing as the luck of the Irish, Holtz was
asked, what happened Saturday?
"I believe there's a god and that he's
Catholic," Holtz said, somberly.
Whether you believe Holtz or not depends on
your religious preference. But one thing is for
sure, however. Last Saturday on a storied field
-in Indiana, the Lord wasn't looking kindly on
Daily Photo by DAN HABIB
Michigan coach Bo Schembechler consoles Lou Holtz after the
Wolverines spoiled Holtz's Fighting Irish debut. The Irish coach had
trouble shaking hands because of a broken finger he suffered fielding a
punt in practice earlier in the week.
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