Thursday, December 23, 2010

Throwback Thursday ... Catholics vs. Convicts

In light of the upcoming Notre Dame/Miami rematch at the Sun Bowl, my Throwback Thursday will be a look back at the 1988 Notre Dame vs. Miami football game, known to most as the "Catholics vs. Convicts" game. Both teams were undefeated when they met in South Bend, and Notre Dame won the fiercely battled game by a final score of 31-30.

The name "Catholics vs. Convicts" was created by an enterprising Notre Dame student, Patrick Walsh, who printed t-shirts carrying the slogan prior to the legendary match up between the two teams in 1988.

The two teams met on October 15, 1988, at Notre Dame stadium, with both teams being undefeated. Miami, the defending national champion, came in ranked #1 holding a 36-game regular season winning streak while the Irish were ranked #4. The game, which started out with a pregame fight between the two teams in the entrance tunnel, was named by USA Today as one of the greatest college football games of the period 1982-2002.

Near the end of this tight scoring game, Miami scored a touchdown with 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter to pull within one point of Notre Dame, 31-30. Instead of kicking the extra point and likely ending the game in a 31-31 tie, Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson decided go for the two-point conversion, later explaining that "We always play to win." However, Steve Walsh's pass on the play was knocked down by Pat Terrell, and Notre Dame snapped Miami's winning streak and won 31-30.

Notre Dame would finish the 1988 season 12-0, beating #2 Southern California 27-10 on November 26 in the last game of the season and #3 West Virginia in the 1989 Fiesta Bowl 34-21 on January 2, 1989 to win their 11th National Title. Miami would win the rest of its games and finish #2 behind Notre Dame in the polls.

And if you haven't gotten enough yet, check out some video highlights of the game here!

Comments (and memories) on the game are always welcome!


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