Notre Dame vs Alabama/Sugar Bowl 1973

by Greg Gentry
(Moulton, AL)

Still hurts...3rd & 8 from the ND 2 Yd Line w/2 Mins Left

Still hurts...3rd & 8 from the ND 2 Yd Line w/2 Mins Left

Although my Bama team did not win, in my 35+ years of going to Bama games, I have never been around one that had the electricity of this game.

It was the first ever meeting between these two storied programs, and the lead swapped back and forth until the Irish took home a 24-23 classic win, and the '73 AP National Title.

I heard ESPN's Beano Cooke say that this game was probably the most hyped HE had ever seen...and despite what you may say about him, he does know his history of college football.

Probably the only two things that would have made this game bigger would have been if the Irish had been ranked #2(Oklahoma was #2 with a tie); and had it not rained most of the afternoon and right before kickoff--which contributed to a few more turnovers.

I have always thought that Bama would have fared better had the turf conditions been more favorable. The backbreakers for the Tide were an Irish 93 yard KO return right after Bama had taken a 7-6 lead.

Then there was a missed extra point following Bama's last TD, which still put them up 23-21.

Finally, a long Clements-to-(Dave)Casper pass on 3rd down during the Irish's final drive to the winning 19 yard FG. Two defensive backs smothered Casper, but he came down with a remarkable catch to keep the ND drive alive.
It was one of those games you "had to be there" to understand how big it really was. I do not think I will ever see any bigger game (the '93 Miami win even lacked the electricity the '73 game had).

I will go to my grave thinking that that may have been one of the best Bama teams we ever had. It was a marvelous season for this-then 12 year old boy who dreamed of wearing that jersey one day.



Editor's Note: Greg, thanks so much for sharing that story. A great one! I almost felt I was there. Nice picture too.

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Feb 15, 2009
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First Meeting?
by: tarponfan

Forgive me, but my memory must be screwed up. Wasn't the first meeting between these two held in Birmingham? And did it not end in a 10 - 10 tie?

Jul 10, 2009
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1980
by: Anonymous

The first meeting between the two teams in Birmingham came in 1980, with ND winning 7-0.

Nov 23, 2009
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I agree
by: Mike H

I was there in fact the picture of Clements throwing that 3rd down to TE Robin Weber was close to the view we had (endzone seats). My first trip to NOLA later on lived there 1975-1977.

Apr 19, 2010
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Wrong
by: Anonymous

Robin Weber made the catch

Apr 20, 2010
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3rd down
by: Anonymous

Of course he did

Apr 20, 2010
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Casper
by: Anonymous

I believe he is talking about the winning drive. Weber's catch was the drive to run out the clock.

Aug 03, 2010
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Weber's catch
by: Mike H

Weber made the catch to run out the clock.

Nov 25, 2010
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It was the first meeting
by: Anonymous

This was the first meeting between the two teams and they met again the next year with N.D. winning 31-11 in a bowl which was Alabama's only loss. They played at N.D. in 1976 with a late Alabama drive stopped by an interception in the end zone with the Tide losing by 3. The 1980 game was the fourth meeting. After being badly beaten again in the 80s Alabama finally defeated N.D. 28-10 at Alabama in 1986 if I remember correctly.

Jul 11, 2012
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Rammer Jammer
by: Anonymous

I remember a song that was recorded before that game. Some of the words were:

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer give 'em hell Alabama
Notre Dame get on your knees cause the Bear's walking on New Year's Eve.

Does anyone else remeber it?

Nov 23, 2012
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2greatest IN the HISTORY of CF
by: PKRhmwood

i was 10 years old and rememembered the game, was the first year i really followed ALAbama football and was endeared for life to being a fan. the thing i never forgot was that pass in the last two minutes which at the time seemed like 60 seconds.We hold on that 4th down and we certainly win. With the change in the way i see football today and the few clips i have witnessed from 1973:i am saying to my self where was the defense on that open reciever.and that 97 yard return. it seems antiquated.undoubtedly the best two coaches of all time went head to head.
that being said this years game 40 years later would if these teams meet again which i beleive will happen, unless we play our way out of that destiny, will be the bestgame ever i truly believe that. Nick Saban has truly began dynasty at ALabama and with his full release of his dynamic powers he can will the next win by allowing his players the reach their full potential without knowing it.that is true enjoyment and Honor! GO bama just one day .. i know i will enjoy "the game" like nothing else forgetting the result. this is the beginning of a new life of its on in college football. THAT is how great this game is. To me for example ALA/AUB DOESNT EVEN EXIST compared to the relevance of a NOTRE DAME/ALABAMA MATCHUP TO ME ITS THE ULTIMATE OPPONENT IN A 1VS 2 MATCHUP!

Nov 23, 2012
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seewhatimean
by: PKRhmwood

commented earlier. after some careful reveiew ing of those games .JUst go out and kik their bbtttttss. made it bigger than it was . but this will be an _honor for Notre dame to play the greatest tradition in college football .

Nov 24, 2012
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The Bear's Walkin'
by: Anonymous

I remember the song... as I remember it said,

"It's kick off time down in Miami Beach.
The crowd of fifty thousand on their feet.
Culliver's kickin' high, Lonnie's runnin' wild,
the Goose Egg Gang's inflictin' pain,
it's the Tide by a mile.

Rammer Jammer Yellow hammer, give 'em hell Alabama.
The Pope ain't our speed we got the Bear and we believe.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, give em hell Alabama,
Notre Dame get on your knees, the Bear's walkin' New Year's Eve.

(The name of the song is The Bear's Walkin')

Does anyone have a copy? Please submit it, if you do. Thanks

Nov 27, 2012
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ND/Alabama
by: Mike healy

I sincerely hope Alabama can take care of business Saturday. The Irish look forward to a rematch of 1973.

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