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. 15.
For Alabama to win a second consecutive national championship and a third in four years, the Crimson Tide must defeat a team with a history of slashing streaks.
Notre Dame had been battered by the Miami Hurricanes by a combined 133-20 in four meetings during the 1980s. Yet in 1988, Lou Holtz's Irish ended Miami's streak of 36 consecutive regular-season victories with a 31-30 upset in South Bend that was sealed when safety Pat Terrell batted away Steve Walsh's pass on a two-point conversion with 45 seconds remaining.
"Coach Holtz worked us so hard this week," Irish quarterback Tony Rice said afterward. "We were all wanting to get to the game."
Notre Dame's history of breaking streaks began at Yankee Stadium in 1946, when the Irish contained Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis in a 0-0 tie with Army, which had won 25 games in a row and had defeated Notre Dame 59-0 in '44 and 48-0 in '45. In 1953, Georgia Tech traveled to South Bend on a 31-game unbeaten streak and left with a 27-14 defeat.
The biggest one of all occurred in 1957, when Notre Dame went to Oklahoma and ended the Sooners' 47-game winning streak. Irish fullback Dick Lynch had the only score in a 7-0 triumph, and Oklahoma's streak remains the longest in college football history.
Notre Dame halted a 30-game Texas win streak with a 24-11 win in the 1971 Cotton Bowl.