Army- Notre Dame, 1958: a look back

Long before Touchdown Jesus,long before Ara Paraseghian, long before Lou Holtz, long before 80,000 football fans at Notre Dame Stadium and long before Coach Ty, the Black Knights of the Hudson played a football game against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame at venerable Notre Dame Stadium in the shadow of the Golden Dome. The year--1958.

Only once before in the long, proud history of the great intersectional rivalry between Army and Notre Dame had the game been held at the South Bend campus-- that being in 1947 where the Irish toppled Army, 27-7. Usually the game was played at Yankee Stadium in New York City but this time the game, the final one after a ten year hiatus, was being played at Our Lady's school. This was the second game of a home and home series. The year before, the Irish has beaten the cadets in Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia on a Monty Stickles last period field goal, 23-21. It was considered Armys home game that year.

But this was Army's turn to turn the tide. It was Earl Blaik's last chance to beat his old nemisis since Coach Blaik was to retire at the end of the season. No one knew it at the time but the Old Master was stepping down at the conclusion of that most memorable season of 1958 when Army produced its last undefeated (but once tied) team in history.

Len Elliott, the sports editor on the now defunct Newark Evening News, covered the game at South Bend the day before exclusively for his paper with the dateline of October 12,1958. Here is that storyline----


by Len Elliott

Sports Editor--Newark Evening News

NOTRE DAME, IND. - Army's inspired football team scored early,saw a precarious 6-point lead shrink to 6-2 in the third period and then drove 65 yards for the clinching touchdown with seven seconds to play, thus did the West Point forces defeat Notre Dame, 14-2, before a roaring and record throng of 60,564 in the Irish stadium here yesterday afternoon. Their first drive thwarted by an inteerception on on the Notre Dame 4, the Cadets quickly cashed in an Irish' fumble that to give them the ball on the 22. On third down from the 15 Jack Morrison, Army's shortside end (not the lonely one) found him self alone over the middle, caught Joe Caldwell's pass on the 5 and went over standing up. Jim Kennedy missed it to the left. These events took place 14:58 of the first period, and there Army hung until early in the third. The six points dwindled to four then, when Caldwell, deep in the end zone to punt, got a high pass from center, tried to run the ball and was tackled by Monty Stickles and Myron Pottios.


These four points looked anything but safe as Notre Dame surged twice to the 19-yard line, first from the free kick following the safety and again in a smashing 61-yard onslaught over the turn into the fourth quarter. Scenting victory now, the embattled Cadets stopped one more brief charge on their 35, and then rammed home the clincher. Here Pete Dawkins, the Army captain and a great halfback all day, reached his greatest heights. He took a pass from Caldwell for 22 yards to keep the drive moving, circled end for nine yards on the next play, slashed eight more for a first down on the Irish 7 from a fourth-and-three situation, and cut for six and the touchdown. As icing on the cake, Dawkins threw the running pass to Bob Anderson for the 13th and 14th points.


This was a game fiercely if not bitterly fought, the boys hitting as savagely as the law allows. It was marred, however, by fumbles on both sides and, what seemed like officious occiciating. At times in white all but played the game game themselves. The victory preserved Army's spotless record, was the first defeat of the season for Notre Dame and gave the West Pointers an even break in the home and home series that was resumed last year after a 10-season lapse. It was, though, only the eighth Army triumph, against 24 for Notre Dame and four ties in the relationship that began in 1913. It was also , by coincidence, only the 100th Irish defeat in their 70 years of intercollegiate football.

Dawkins' was voted the outstanding player of the afternoon. He made 75 yards in 17 carries, exactly the total that Anderson picked up in 23. Both were surpassd by Nick Pietrosante, the powerful Notre Dame fullback, who powered his way 87 yards in 21 charges.


Players on both sides performed Herculean feats, though. The tackling of Bob Novogratz and his recovery of two fumbles, tremendous defensive paly by Harry Walters and Pietrosante save by Don White on a Army pass, terrific blocking by Al Ecuyer, all deserve more than passing notice. The game, which ended football contact between the schools for an indefinite time, began under cloudy skies in 48-degree temperature, a fresh northwest wind whipping the stadium flag and tension as tight as you could wind it. Notre Dame won the toss and took the ball instead of the wind. Maurice Hilliard's kickoff unleashed the combatants and the battle was on. The Irish attacked, and did so nearly all afternoon, with a back wide to one side, an end wide on the other and the other end in a slot position. They promptly dove to three first downs before Novogratz recovered Pietrosante's fumble on the Army 33. With Anderson and Dawkins running tackle the Soldiers swept to a first down on the Irish 17. On third and six, though, Williams intercepted Andersons running pass and took the ball on the 4. This only delayed Armys charge. Four plays later a bad pitchout got away from Jim Just and the omnipresent Novogratz again covered the ball on the irish 22. Here Army got the benefit of a forward fumble when Anderson let go of the ball he was tackled and Bill Rowe, Cadet center, recovered for a six-yard gain. On third and four, with Army strong to the right, Morrison, the hitherto unpublicized end, went down short, cut in over center and took Caldwells pass for the touchdown.


Armys next drive, in the second period, looked as if it would go all the way. The Cadets started from their own 31, after a clipping penalty, and in 12 plays had a first down on the ND 9. Dawkins ran for 10 and 11 in this sequence and Caldwell hit the "Lonely End", Bill Carpenter, for the first time, for 14. Here the Army stalled though, as Dawkins was piled up for a yard loss and White knocked down Caldwells rollout pass to the left.

Notre Dame took over on its 4, again, but three plays later Army was knocking once more when Don Usry fell on Ron Toths fumble on the Irish 24. A five-yard penalty caused Army to go to the pass and Caldwell fired three times. Twice Carpenter dropped the ball as he was hit and on last down the Army flinger underthrew Anderson. Armys six points looked meager indeed as the second half began and they very soon looked smaller. Like Notre Dame, Army scorned the wind and took the kickoff, which Caldwell fumbled and Dawkins ran out to the Army 17. Two penalties set the Soldiers back to their 1 and then came the high pass from the center and Caldwells safety. It was 6-2. Late in the third quarter Notre Dame mounted the march that looked as tho it would go all the way. Starting from their own 10, the Irish ground steadily. Twice the powerful Pietrosante ran on last down and each down he made it. When Norman Odyniec swept Armys right end for 15 and a first down on the Cadet 21, the stage was seemed set. But Bob Williams overthrew Gary Myers, who was clear in the end zone, and on last down George Izo fumbled the exchange from center.


With 5:55 to go Army started its last triumpant drive from its own 35. All the Cadets had to do was to hold onto the ball. Dawkins twice made sure of this. He took a pass for 22 at one stage and later, Non fourth and three, he took a pitchout around the short side for eight and a first down on the 7.

Two plays later he ran the identical play, cut in sharply,ran through Myers and Pietrosante and went into the end zone. Seven seconds later the delerious 450 West Point first classmen at the game spilled down out of the east stands and bore their happy heroes from the field on their shoulders.

          NOTRE DAME
    LE-- Royer, Stickles
    LT-- Geremia, Puntillo
    LG-- Schaag, Shulsen
     C-- Scholtz, Pottios
    RG-- Ecuyer, Adamson
    RT-- Nagurski, lawrence
    RE-- Myers, Wetoska
    QB-- Williams, White, Dugan, Izo
    LH-- Doyle, Mack
    RH-- Just, Odyniec
    FB-- Pietrosante, Toth

    LE-- Usry, Morrison
    LT-- Bagdonnas, Greene
    LG-- Novopgratz, Jezior
     C-- Rowe, Oswandel
    RG-- Vanderbush, Lytle
    RT-- Hilliard, Yost
    RE-- Carpenter, Waters, Everbach
    QB-- Gibson, Caldwell, Adams, Blanda
    LH-- Anderson, Roesler
    RH-- Dawkins, Waldrop
    FB-- Walters, Kennedy, Bonko

    ARMY   6  0  0  8-- 14
    ND     0  0  2  0--  2

    ARMY-- Morrison, 16, pass from Caldwell (kick failed)
    ARMY-- Dawkins, 6, run (Anderson pass from Dawkins) 

    ND---- Safety (Caldwell tackled by Stickles and Pottios)

    OFFICIALS--  Hamilton, Herbet, Chrisman, Dollings and Baur.

                  ARMY   NOTRE DAME

    first downs    16         15
    Rushing       175        203
    passing       100         11
    passes        7-16       4-9  
    passes int. by  1          1
    punts         2-36.5    1-44
    fumbles lost    0          3
    yds. penalized 97         20 Top Stories