Army and Notre Dame could play again

Army and Notre Dame are two of the proudest college football programs in the nation, filled with history and tradition. So it seems like a natural that the Black Knights and Fighting Irish meet on the field. It looks like that is going to happen. Army and Notre Dame are reportedly discussing several neutral site games for, possibly, as early as 2010.

Army and Notre Dame have played 49 times, but just three times over the last 20 seasons (1995, 1998, 2006). Led by Brady Quinn, the Fighting Irish beat Army 41-9 in South Bend, Ind. in November of '06. The Black Knights opened the scoring with a 27-yard field goal by Austin Miller with 1:46 left in the first quarter. Notre Dame scored the next 41 points to run its record to 10-1.

Let's hope the next time Army and Notre Dame beat it's a closer game. With the Black Knights watering-their schedule down in future years, which is a good thing, it would be great if Notre Dame can be on the docket every season. The Fighting Irish, which went just 3-9 last season, has played Navy for 81 straight seasons. The Midshipmen beat Notre Dame 46-44 in triple overtime last year, ending the Fighting Irish's NCAA-record winning streak against Navy at 43 games. Let's hope Notre Dame's streak against the Black Knights never gets that long.

Army and Notre Dame played from 1913-47, except in 1918, when the game was cancelled due to World War I. The Fighting Irish lead the all-time series 37-8-4. Army has lost 12 in a row to Notre Dame, its last win coming in 1958. But the '06 blowout aside, the Black Knights have given Notre Dame all it could handle in their '95 and '98 games.

In '95, The Fighting Irish entered the game ranked 17th and favored by 23 points. But Army found itself down only 28-27 with 39 seconds left. Army coach Bob Sutton made a gutsy call and went for a two-point conversion.

Army quarterback Ronnie McAda rolled out right and hit tight end Ron Leshinski in stride. But Notre Dame cornerback Ivory Covington, giving up five inches and 80 pounds, hit Leshinski almost simultaneously, stopping him a foot from the end zone. One foot from glory, Notre Dame held on for the win.

In '98, it took a career-best 48-yard field goal with 1:06 remaining by Jim Sanson to give Notre Dame, a 25-point favorite, a 20-17 win. Army tied the game 17-17 on a 19-yard run by Craig Stucker five minutes into the fourth quarter. Army held Notre Dame to 123 rushing yards, 107 below its per game average.

Of course, Army kept both games close with the wishbone in both games. The wishbone was nowhere to be found in Notre Dame's '06 shakedown of Army. See what we are getting at.

Anyway, it's great to see Army and Notre Dame talking about playing again. Let's hope next time the two storied programs meet, the Black Knights' unbottle some of their '95 and '98 magic for a win.

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