WeAreSC readers have voted over the past few weeks, narrowing down 16 of the greatest USC football games of all time. Today, the winner is announced, in what might not come as a surprise to many.
In the 1974 edition of the USC – Notre Dame rivalry, the Fighting Irish raced out to a 24-0 lead. That set the stage for one of the all-time great comebacks in college football history.
Two WeAreSC columnists were there that day, in different capacities, as Greg Katz watched from the stands and Kevin Bruce performed on the field. They share their thoughts about arguably the most well-known game in Trojans history.
Memories of the 1974 USC/Notre Dame
I was 24 years-old when the Trojans hosted the Irish in 1974. I was sitting with a friend in Section 5, Row 23. It was always intense when Notre Dame visited the Coliseum, and I remember how ND just dominated the Trojans through the majority of the first half. It was very deflating that the Irish were in such command heading towards halftime. Except for the Irish turnout, there wasn’t a lot of cardinal and gold noise.
There was a sense that Notre Dame was going to name the score and be convincing doing it. As the half came to a close with ND up 24-0, the Trojans mounted a drive and finally scored when quarterback Pat Haden hit tailback Anthony Davis on a 7-yard catch and run swing pass yet flunked the extra point.
The half ended with the Irish up 24-6, but there was remote optimism at best and no sense that there would be an historic USC comeback and an Irish complete collapse.
Everybody remembers that Anthony Davis seemed to have Notre Dame’s number two seasons ago in the Coliseum when AD scored six touchdowns against the South Benders, so you rooted with your heart and not with your head when the Irish kicked off to start the second half. I remember Davis catching the ball right below where we were sitting, and things seemed to go in slow motion as AD traversed the field for a 102-yard kickoff return. Suddenly, the Coliseum just erupted.
Now, I’ve heard the Coli break eardrums on occasion over the years, but NEVER have I heard it non-stop, sustained for an entire half! It was wild. It was crazy. It was ultra-intense. Never heard the Coli like that since the 1974 “The Comeback.” It was a Trojans offensive tsunami and a Trojans defensive suffocation. It was insane.
Nobody in the Grand Old Lady seemed to sit down for the entire second half, as the Men of Troy scored time after time after time, and the Irish bench below and to my left was absolutely stunned and helpless to make it stop. The Trojans played like madmen.
At the end of the game, chants of “We are…SC” were absolutely intimating. For those that weren’t born yet or didn’t see the game, do yourself a favor and watch the game on YouTube. It was truly unbelievable.
Former USC linebacker Kevin Bruce was an integral part of USC’s come back against Notre Dame, as he recovered two fumbles. He shared his memories of the game.