Notre Dame vs Alabama/Sugar Bowl 1973
by Greg Gentry
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.