You know what the great thing is about doing these Notre Dame Throwback Thursdays? It’s that I can basically do whatever I want. No, I don’t have to do just one game — or even a game at all. There are enough events surrounding the games themselves that have created stories that would take me years to tell to its fullest (but maybe won’t because I’m not a lawyer and am unsure about statute of limitations in the state of Indiana).
Having said all that, today we are going to dive into an entire series.
I kept running across West Virginia as I did some research for a few stories, and for some reason, I fully believed the two programs had faced one another at least half a dozen times. NOPE... it was only 4 times, and the Irish won all four by an average score of 33-22.
So let’s get right into it.
I believe some of you may remember this game. Notre Dame completed a perfect 12-0 season with a win over West Virginia to claim the national championship. I really don’t have to say much more than that — so I won’t.
First off... the NBC team of Charlie Jones, Bob Trumpy, and John Dockery was about as insufferable as any combination NBC has ever had for Notre Dame games.
And then there was Amos Zereoue. The Mountaineer tailback was incredible and ran for 234 yards on 32 carries. After going into halftime tied at 14, the Irish were able to put one good touchdown drive together to make it 21-14, and kept WV out of the endzone all together (for a good portion of the game WV was their own worst enemy).
It was a huge victory for the Irish as they started the season 2-5 but rattled off 5 straight wins (WV included) to end the regular season.
The Irish made their first trip to Morgantown a worthwhile effort with a 42-28 win. This was Don Nehlen’s third loss in the row to the Irish, and 2000 was the last year he would coach the Mountaineers. He fully believed that WV lost because of their freshman quarterback while possibly forgetting Matt Lovechio was a freshman too.
I honestly don’t remember much of this game at all, and there is no video I could find online. What I do know is that it was the Dick Rod’s first year as the head coach, and the Mountaineers were leading the Irish 24-17 with a little over 5 minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when Tony Fisher took over with a 25 yard TD run in the third quarter, and then a 55 yard TD run in the fourth. Nick Setta squeezed in a field goal between those two scores to help the Irish win 34-24.
I have come to find a special kind of hate towards Notre Dame from West Virginia. It’s a hate that can only come from a fanbase that continually sees failure against a certain team. It’s been 18 years since the Irish last played West Virginia, and there’s no game in sight for the future.