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Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS UCLA Bruins

Irish magic, baby. Magic.

UCLA v Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: Ambrose Wooden #22, Brady Quinn #10 and Sergio Brown #31 of Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate after singing the alma mater following Notre Dame beating UCLA Bruins 20-17 in the final minute of the game at Notre Dame Stadium on October 21, 2006 in South Bend, Indiana.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As I’m preparing (California dreaming) for my trip to California next week for my high school reunion (don’t ask how many years), I thought I’d use this Throwback Thursday post to look at a California school: the UCLA Bruins. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the UCLA Bruins have faced each other four times, with Notre Dame beating UCLA all four times.

2007: ND 20 – UCLA 6

2006: ND 20 – UCLA 17

1964: ND 24 – UCLA 0

1963: ND 27 – UCLA 12

Here are some fun info-graphics from showing the records of the two teams:

Record (winning%) from

And another one comparing the overall stats of each team:

Teams stats from


Let’s take a look at the 2006 Notre Dame vs. UCLA game, as it was the closest game out of the four, as well as a memorable comeback for the Irish. On October 21st, 2006, the UCLA Bruins arrived at Notre Dame stadium looking to upset the No. 10 Irish, and for a while it looked like that might actually happen. However, Notre Dame did not disappoint the Irish faithful. (Want to know what the BCS standings were on this October weekend - Week 7? Here they are: 1. Ohio State, 2. USC, 3. Michigan, 4. Auburn, 5. West Virginia, 6. Florida, 7. Louisville, 8. Notre Dame, 9. Texas, 10. California)

UCLA Bruins v Notre Dame Fighting Irish Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Notre Dame got points on the board first, when Brady Quinn connected with Jeff Samardzija for a two yard touchdown, followed by a successful extra point kicked by Carl Gioia. The drive consisted of 7 plays for 44 yards and took 3:40. (7-0 Notre Dame)

Then in the second quarter, UCLA evened up the score on a Patrick Cowan 54 yard touchdown pass completed to Marcus Everett. The UCLA drive was much longer covering 87 yards and 10 plays in 3:31. (7-7) Following that, UCLA scored once more in the second quarter, when Cowan connected a pass with William Snead for 36 yards, for a UCLA touchdown, which put them ahead 14-7.

Notre Dame got points on the board at the end of the second quarter, and the beginning of the third quarter, both of which were Carl Gioia field goals, closing the gap to within one point (14-13 UCLA)

In the fourth quarter, UCLA answered with a field goal of their own, kicked by Justin Medlock, to put the Bruins even further ahead. (17-13 UCLA) And then with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter, with UCLA up by four points, UCLA took over on downs, and Irish fans weren’t sure if Notre Dame was going to be able to pull off a miracle or not.

But somehow the Irish defense stepped up and stopped the UCLA drive, and UCLA punted the ball back to the Irish with 1:06 left on the clock (and no timeouts remaining). And that’s when the magic happened.

According to David Grimes, the first play called was “339 - Max - Squirrel.” Brady Quinn ran back, rolled right, and hit Jeff Samardzija just shy of the 40 yard line. The next play (again, according to Grimes) was “trips left” and the call was “Max - Pin - XQ.” Grimes caught the Quinn pass just past the 50 yard line, at about the 45. Then, they ran the exact same play on the next down, which was caught by Samardzija this time, and he found his way into the end zone for the touchdown and the win. (20-17 Notre Dame)

Three Brady Quinn passes for the win. Magic.

Want to watch that last two minutes? ... here you go!

Cheers & GO IRISH!


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