Members of 1957 Notre Dame team recall ending Oklahoma's 47-game streak Print
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Friday, 16 November 2007 01:40
NCAAF Headline News

 SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Left guard Jim Schaaf best remembers the look on Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson's face when Notre Dame scored with 3:50 left to shock the Sooners 7-0 50 years ago.
``The look he had is his mouth opened up and I'd say it was a look of shock. It was a look of, 'What happened?''' Schaaf said.
A year after Oklahoma beat the Irish 40-0 at Notre Dame Stadium, handing the Irish what is still the worst home loss in school history, the Irish rebounded with a shocking upset at Oklahoma on Nov. 16, 1957.
The Fighting Irish were 18-point underdogs that game and the two-time defending national champion Sooners had scored in 123 straight games. The Irish won after Dick Lynch scored on a pitch wide right on fourth-and-3 to end the Sooners' NCAA-record winning streak at 47 games.
Several members of the 1957 team said the thing they remember best about the victory was how quiet the stadium got after Lynch scored.
``The silence was deafening,'' then Irish coach Terry Brennan said last week.
They also recalled how thousands of Sooners fans stayed in the stands long after the game was over.
``After we dressed and came out to leave the stadium, half the stadium was full,'' Schaaf said. ``I think they just couldn't believe it happened. That's a big memory, all those people still there. I remember that very clearly.''
Left end Dick Prendergast said Sooner fans helped inspire the victory.
``When we got down there, there was a lot of graffiti on the walls and signs up saying, 'Don't feel bad, you're going to lose,''' he recalled. ``It really got the team turned up.''
Brennan, who is 79, said the Irish were so young when they lost to the Sooners in 1956 that he took some chances that didn't work out. He felt more confident of his team's ability in 1957 so he played the game more conservatively. He also said he got ``lucky.''
``In a game like that, you guess you right,'' he said.
It wasn't all guessing, though. Brennan described Wilkinson as ``predictable.''
``So I thought, 'Here's our shot,''' he said.
Brennan also admits he had assistant coaches signaling in defenses even though it wasn't allowed at the time. He said everyone did it, though, and officials knew it. Players still played both offense and defense in 1957, and the play on defense was key, Brennan said.
``You never play a perfect game, but I don't think the guys made a lot of mistakes,'' he said. ``There were very few, if any, and that was the key.''
The Irish gained confidence early when they stopped the Sooners on the 13-yard line on the opening drive, Prendergast said.
``As the game progressed. They marched down and we made some stops in the red zone and each time we felt stronger and stronger,'' he said.
The Irish held the Sooners to 98 yards rushing and 47 yards passing.
Notre Dame drove 80 yards for the game-winning score. Brennan said he never thought about attempting a field goal on fourth-and-3.
``Because we felt we could score. If you kick the field goal, they could still get you 7-3,'' he said.
When the Irish returned to South Bend there were thousands of waiting.
``The students were going bananas. It was a long night, but it was a fun night,'' Brennan said.
Members of the team say they still talk about the game regularly.
``It seems like a long, long time ago, yet it's something you never forget,'' Schaaf said. ``So you remember it and think about it from time to time.''
 

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