Thanksgiving Week in Heisman History

Thanksgiving weekend 1964, undefeated Notre Dame came to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ranked No. 1 and led by eventual 1964 Heisman winner John Huarte. USC entered the game unranked at 7-3 (AP only ranked the top 10 teams in ’64) led by captain Craig Fertig and 1965 Heisman winner Mike Garrett.

Notre Dame took a quick 17-0 lead and maintained it until the break but USC coach John Mckay prophetically said to his troops in his halftime speech: “Keep playing your game, you’ll score”.

The Trojans came out roaring in the second half as Garrett scored on USC’s first possession. Notre Dame would score again in the fourth but have the touchdown nullified by a holding call. Trojan quarterback Craig Fertig would throw for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter including the game winning touchdown to Rod Sherman (on a play called 84 Z-delay) with just 1:33 to go in the game. USC beat Notre Dame 20-17, ruining the Irish’ bid for a perfect season.

First year Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian was photographed just as USC scored to take the lead in the fourth quarter, leading to this classic shot:

 

 

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