Our Steve Truog thinks back on the parallels between that first game of 1995, and last Saturday's big loss at the big house...
I'm a bit surprised our 1995 win in South Bend wasn't mentioned.
I guess I wasn't surprised Musburger failed to mention it while yakking up the ASU game during Cal-Rocky Top ... but still, there were a lot of similarities. ND was top 10, at home and in an opener where they were huge, mega-huge favorites over a team just about everyone considered a cupcake. ASU had come off two I-AA titles at least, where NU was coming off decades of nothingness.
Plus, looking back it was a pretty major turning point in two programs. NU went on to capture 3 Big Ten titles in six years and launched an era where Wildcat football is no longer irrelevant and where fans expect victory or at least to be able to compete in the Big Ten.
And it remains a turning point where Notre Dame has become somewhat irrelevant by their standards. In 1993, the Irish were essentially national champions, having beaten champ FSU but fallen to BC and to the "let's give po' ole Bobby a title" sympathy ... but that 1995 opener marked the end of Lou Holtz' glory years and the Irish have been struggling ever since.
Sure, their name and kind schedule have earned them a few BCS bowls, but they have been soundly spanked in those bowls and out of the title hunt by early October pretty much every year.
Yesterday was a huge upset, but I wouldn't vault it to the top right away. It reminded me a lot of Boise State's win last year - a big upset to be sure and a monumental win, but also a sense that this unbeaten WAC team or two-time I-AA champ wasn't getting the respect it felt it had earned.
Northwestern had earned absolutely nothing heading in to the land of Touchdown Jesus and the Golden Dome to face a top 10 Notre Dame team on their network. But the result, and the way we led wire to wire, was something that absolutely astounded the rest of America. It certainly deserves a place right up there with ASU-UM.
Stephen J. Truog, former NU Marching Band member and now educator in Arizona, comments on the Wildcats from both the sidelines and his couch. He has his own NU oriented Web Site - Visit SjTonline
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