COUNTDOWN TO SHOWDOWN
In the 25 days leading up to college football's championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is counting down the traditions and memorable moments involving the Irish and the Crimson Tide. Today is No. 10.
Alabama and Notre Dame both have rich traditions filled with All-Americans and national titles.
They also share the one-time trait of blowing 24-point leads against their biggest rivals.
Just two seasons ago, Alabama pounced on Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium, grabbing a 24-0 lead and taking a 24-7 advantage into halftime. The Tigers, who were 11-0 with eventual Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton at quarterback, scored two plays into the second half and rallied for a 28-27 triumph on their way to the national championship.
Notre Dame lost its 24-point lead to Southern Cal in 1974. The Irish, who entered the Los Angeles Coliseum with the nation's No. 1 defense, allowed the Trojans to score 10 seconds before halftime on a 7-yard pass from Pat Haden to Anthony Davis to pull within 24-6. Davis opened the second half with a 102-yard kickoff return, opening the floodgates to a 35-point third quarter and an eventual 55-24 rout for the Trojans.
"I can't understand it," said USC receiver Johnny McKay, the son of USC coach John McKay. "I'm going to sit down tonight and have a beer and think about it. Against Notre Dame? Maybe against Kent State, but Notre Dame?"
Said Davis: "We turned into madmen."
The Trojans won the national title by topping Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...