COUNTDOWN TO SHOWDOWNIn 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. 23.
Notre Dame's Heisman Trophy drought is at a quarter century after linebacker Manti Te'o finished runner-up last Saturday, but there was a time when college football's top individual award was delivered frequently to South Bend.
The Heisman Trophy was first awarded in 1935 to the University of Chicago's Jay Berwanger, and Notre Dame's first Heisman came in 1943 when quarterback Angelo Bertelli won it after finishing second in the '41 balloting. Beginning with Bertelli, the Irish reeled off five Heisman winners in a 14-year stretch.
Quarterback John Lujack won it in 1947, right end Leon Hart in '49, right halfback John Lattner in '53 and quarterback Paul Hornung in '56. Quarterback John Huarte collected a sixth Heisman Trophy for the Irish in 1964, with receiver Tim Brown providing a seventh in 1987.
Notre Dame's seven trophies were matched by Southern Cal, which produced running backs Mike Garrett (1965), O.J. Simpson ('68), Charles White ('79), Marcus Allen ('81) and Reggie Bush (2005), along with quarterbacks Carson Palmer ('02) and Matt Leinart ('04). Bush, however, has had to vacate and return his trophy, leaving the Irish alone at the top again.
Alabama, for all its success with bowl games and national championships, never produced a Heisman winner until tailback Mark Ingram in 2009.