The Top 75 Worst Losses in Notre Dame Football History: #65-61

Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sport

Payback from the Seminoles, a rough one in Knoxville, and more.

Welcome back to the Top 75 Losses in Notre Dame History.

The Rating System:

Champion: 10 points max

Bad Loss: 8 points max

Big Stage: 5 points max

Pain: 3 points max

Rivalry: 2 points max

The Countdown:

#75-71

#70-66

~~~

#65

1995, Northwestern (17-15 L)

Image_medium

1995 was supposed to be a comeback year for Notre Dame, a return to national prominence following a disappointing 1994 campaign. Beginning the year with lowly Northwestern--whom Notre Dame had won 14 straight games against--didn't appear to be much of a challenge as the Irish entered Rock's House as 28-point favorites.

When Irish running back Randy Kinder fumbled on the first series that sinking feeling of an upset began to grip Notre Dame fans. Northwestern jumped out to a lead and had Notre Dame chasing for the entire first half.


Notre Dame tried to keep pace and finally scored a touchdown late in the first half but missed the PAT and trailed 10-9 going into the break. Northwestern scored a TD in the third quarter and really put the Irish in trouble, especially after a fumble on the next series. With just over 6 minutes left Notre Dame got a much needed touchdown but a linemen stepped on quarterback Ron Powlus after the snap killing the 2-point chance to tie the game. The Irish got the ball back again but failed on a 4th and 2 attempt sealing their fate. Northwestern would go on to have a miracle 10-2 Rose Bowl winning season but at the time this was one of the most shocking upsets in Irish history.

#64

2004, Purdue (41-16 L)

Image__1__medium

The heat really turned up on Tyrone Willingham following a disastrous 2003 season and a season opening loss at BYU to begin 2004 (which just missed the cut for this list), however, the Irish rallied and won three straight before hosting Purdue in early October. The Boilers came into this game ranked No. 15 in the country and were undefeated at 3-0.


A handful of first half bad breaks truly buried the Irish. After tying the game at 3-3, Purdue took the kickoff back for a score. Notre Dame then missed a field goal and later lost a fumble at Purdue's 1-yard line. Purdue responded with a 97-yard touchdown drive to take a 20-3 lead into halftime. Despite out-gaining the Boilers 536-512 and a career high 432 passing yards from sophomore QB Brady Quinn, the Irish never came close to contending in this game.

The Boilers closed the first half with a 97-yard drive and opened the scoring in the second half with a 97-yard touchdown pass. This loss remains the second worst home loss to Purdue for the Notre Dame program. It also remains the lone loss to Purdue in South Bend since 1974.

#63

2003, Florida State (37-0 L)

Image__2__medium

When the final whistle blew for this game it might have been one of the lowest moments in school history. The Irish would fall to 2-6 on the season and already endured a pair of 3-game losing streaks. Despite Florida State quarterback Chris Rix throwing 3 interceptions and Notre Dame gaining a somewhat respectable 321 yards this game was never in doubt as FSU looked for revenge following the prior year's loss at home to the Irish.


Irish quarterback Brady Quinn only completed 20 of his 52 passes and tossed 3 interceptions of his own. While Rix turned the ball over 3 times he also completed 17 passes for an astonishing 327 yards and 4 touchdowns. Florida State wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe went off hauling in 7 receptions for 217 yards and 2 scores. When the Seminoles led 23-0 at the half they simply cruised the rest of the way. This loss remains the third worst loss for the Irish inside Notre Dame Stadium.

#62

1982, Arizona (16-13 L)

Image__3__medium

Gerry Faust's first season in South Bend was a huge disappointment but 1982 started off really well with wins over Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, and a last-minute game-winning field goal over Miami. Unfortunately, a last-minute field goal would do the Irish in against the 1-2-1 Wildcats from out west.

Things started off great as Notre Dame led 10-0 before the first quarter ended following running back Allen Pinkett's first career touchdown run. The Irish defense was stingy limiting Arizona to just 75 yards and 4 first downs in the first half but a couple of interceptions by quarterback Blair Kiel kept Notre Dame from scoring any further points before the break.

In the second half Arizona ate up nearly 20 minutes of game clock and kicked a pair of field goals in the third quarter to close the gap to 10-6. Notre Dame rebounded with a field goal but Arizona rallied to score their only touchdown of the game and tie things up at 13-13. The Irish were able to drive down to the Wildcat 39-yard line but punted from there and gave Arizona the ball back. Arizona then started a drive, moved the ball, and lined up for a 48-yard field goal into the wind with 6 seconds left. Freshman kicker Max Zendejas nailed the kick to finish off the upset as time expired.

#61

1979, @ Tennessee (40-18 L)

Image__4__medium

Late in the 1979 season Notre Dame stood at 6-2 and was still looking at a chance to receive a bid to the Sugar Bowl. The previous season the Irish had welcomed Tennessee to South Bend and beat the Vols in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. A trip down South to play the 4-3 Volunteers didn't seem too daunting. Notre Dame was ranked 13th in the country and Tennessee unranked.

The Fighting Irish did manage to score first on the road taking a 6-0 lead but a specially designed 3-4 defense meant to stop Tennessee's outside run game completely backfired on Notre Dame. The Vols piled up 352 rushing yards and fullback Hubert Simpson continually crashed through the middle of the line for 117 yards and a school record 4 touchdowns.

Tennessee led 30-12 at the half, out-scored Notre Dame 10-0 in the third quarter and left the Irish completely stunned inside the massive Neyland Stadium. This loss would be the worst suffered by Notre Dame under head coach Dan Devine.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join One Foot Down

You must be a member of One Foot Down to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at One Foot Down. You should read them.

Join One Foot Down

You must be a member of One Foot Down to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at One Foot Down. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker