The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on January 3, 1971 · Page 46
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 46

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 3, 1971
Page 46
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SUNDAY, JANUARY 3, 1971 Till: INDIANAPOLIS STAR SEC. 3 PAGE 3 Irish Feel They're Truly No. 1 Grid Team Ry JOHN RANSCII Assistant Sports Editor Dallas The multitude had thinned, the noise level was nearly back to normal when someone noticed the change that had been made on the blackboard in the Notre Dame coaches' dressing room. Gone were the drawings that represented the wishbone defense responsible for the Irish's masterful 24-11 victory over Texas in Friday's Cotton Bowl. In their place were five words penned by an unkown author. "We may never lose again." Across the hall in the players' quarters, someone else was scrawling on a blackboard. This message read, "11 and none in 71." Both statements aptly described the mood. The men of Notre Dame had soundly whipped ( what was supposed to be the nation's top ; college football team. In their minds they felt they were now No. 1 and those who wit-' tiesscd the bruising struggle found it hard to doubt the claim. Even though Nebraska Coach Bob De-vanney declared "I can't see how the Pope himself could vote for Notre Dame," after his club edged LSU in the Orange Bowl, there is strong sentiment here in the hotbed of football that the No. 1 team now resides in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame's performance was nearly flawless. The Irish worked hard to gain their date with destiny scrimmaging for more than an hour three days in a row here to gain confidence in an untested defense. The new look, which mirrored the Texas wishbone offense, throttled the Longhorns. On 19 occasions the Irish defenders stopped Texas' runners with no more than a 1-yard gain. Four times in succession in the third quarter Texas quarterback Eddie Phillips was thrown for losses as the Steers battled futilely to overhaul the Irish. nil. ,, There are those who say Texas beat itself because of the five lost fumbles, but the Irish caused several of the bobbles. Steve Worstcr, Texas' great fullback, lost the bull three times and afterwards he said, "They tackled the ball the best of any team I can remember . . . They took away all my plays . . . They were hitting well." A key spokesman for the Irish defense was Greg Marx, the massive tackle. "We knew that if we could control Worster (he gained only 42 yards) we could win. If we couldn't contain him, they'd control the game," he said. Marx labled Texas "the toughest team we've faced all year," and attributed much of Notre Dame's success to the "psychological factor." He told reporters, "Last year we were 8-1-1 and while there wasn't any dissension on the club there was a different feeling. We don't have any stars this year . . . They're all stars." Perhaps the most spectacular player was Irish back Clarence Ellis, named the game's outstanding defensive performer. Three times he gave super efforts to knock down passes that appeared to already be in the hands of Texas' Danny Lester. This is the same Ellis who allowed Cotton Speyrer to catch a crucial fourth-down pass deep in Notre Dame territory a year ago that set up Texas' winning touchdown in the first meeting between the clubs. Ellis also was an offensive hero as he caught a 37-yard pass from Jim Bulger in his first collegiate appearance with the attacking unit. "I wasn't anxious to try that play but when Tom (split end Tom Gatewood) got hurt I knew there was a chance," he said of the catch that set up Scott Hempel's 36-yard field goal. Quarterback Joe Theismann, Notre Dame's offensive hero with two touchdown scampers and a TD pass, was elated with the outcome. Joshing with writers, the lithe signal-caller said, "I haven't been so happy since I was married and that was only three weeks ago." While iiuct of the Irish were tense before the game Theismann relaxed and sought to loosen up his teammates by "throwing some gum and shoes." lie was spilled five times (or losses attempting to pass and declared, "I had lots of pressure . . . those Texas ends and tackles are real quick. I think I visited with more defensive linemen today than I have in all three years at Notre Dame." The 26-yard Theismann-to-Gatcwood touchdown pass on a lourth-and-2 situation was accomplished with a play inserted into the offense lor this game. The Irish lined up with two tight ends and they crossed alwut 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Gatewood lost his defender in the shuffle and was wide open. He suffered his pulled hamstring on the play. "My weight was going one way, my leg the other as I cut and I could feel the muscle, tear," he said. Theismann called timeout before the play and went to the sidelines hoping to talk Irish Coach Ara Parseghian into using the maneuver. "When I arrived, I discovered he had the same thing in mind, so I didn't have any doubts about it working," the quarterback asserted. There were few doubts about anything in the Irish camp. "You could feel the intensity the day before the game," linebacker Eric Patton said. "Every man felt it. It was strictly a case of individual preparation and we were confident. There wasn't any of that win one for the Gip-per." Now the Irish must wait a day for the final poll. They probably won't receive many first-place votes, but they have the satisfaction of knowing they were the first team in history to snap the Texas wishbone and they did it with a wishbone defense. Maybe eher should have been one more saying posted in the locker room ... one that read "mirror, mirror on the wall, who who has the best wishbone of them all?" it i t , fir J A w ml ,. v " ' it ' VV ' !. DARRELL ROYAL (LEFT) AND ARA PARSEGHIAN Moments After Cotton Rowl Battle Vatican For Nebraska? Miami (AP)-"I trust that the Associated Press poll you astute writers handle has more authority than the one we coaches have," shouted a jubilant Bob Devaney as he claimed college football's national championship for 1970 after his Nebraska Cornhuskers dumped Louisiana State, 17-12, in the Orange Bowl game. Devaney, shedding a maroon blazer which was drenched after his poll-conscious players tossed him into a shower, left no doubt that he believed his j unbeaten team should be No. 1 in the final AP poll next week. "Hell yes, we should be No. 1," Devaney said Friday night. "I can't see how they could go any other way. I couldn't even see how the Pope could vote for Notre Dame." "It was a dream come true," said quarterback Jerry Tagge, after everything went right for the Cornhuskers on New Year's Day, as top-ranked Texas bowed to Notre Dame in tht Cotton Bowl and Stanford upset second-ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. "There's no doubt about it," said Devaney, "those two games certainly gave our team a little more motivation tonight, but 1 must say this bunch motivated themselves pretty well all year. "This is definitely the biggest victory of my career," he said. "It didn't come easy." 1? ... i ,u iw,u wB'iuri mm AS LOW AS WINTER TREADS RETREADS ON SOUND TIRE BODIES OR ON YOUR OWN TIRES m IV 7.35-14 7.35-15 0 J ( ) Closeout- 66 WHITEWALLS or BLACKWALLS 7.75-1 4 or 7.75-15 ICE SCRAPER No cost or obligation Lube & Oil 8.25-14 or 8.25-15 8.55-14 or 8.55-15 8.85-14 or 8.85-15 for Plus 43C to 67C per tire Fed. Ex. 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