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Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame VS Georgia Tech, 1977

The Irish would overwhelm the Yellow Jackets, who contributed to their own downfall

Notre Dame’s Joe Montana tries to brush off Reggie Wilkes of Georgia Tech during his six-yard gain in first quarter of Nov. 7, 1977 game at South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame took the game 69-14.
AP Photo/Stf/FHJ

This week, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish head to Atlanta, Georgia to play the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, I am going to throwback to the 1977 match-up between the two teams. But before I delve into the game, here are a few stats on the history of this match-up. Notre Dame and Georgia Tech have faced each other a total of 35 times with the Irish winning 28 times, the Yellow Jackets winning 6 times, and the two teams tying once. Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory was in 1977 (69-14), and Georgia Tech’s largest margin of victory was in 2007 (33-3). Notre Dame’s longest win streak is 6 (1922-1927), and Georgia Tech’s longest win streak is one (2007).

On November 5th, 1977, Notre Dame hosted Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Stadium. Irish Quarterback Joe Montana threw three touchdown passes and ran one in on the way to a 69-14 victory over the Yellow Jackets. The game got off to a slow start, with no scoring by either team in the first quarter, but the Irish made up for lost time in the subsequent three quarters.

In the second quarter, Notre Dame quarterback, Joe Montana, ran in a touchdown from the one-yard line, and he threw two touchdown passes: one to running back Terry Eurick, and one to wide receiver Kris Haines. In the third quarter, Montana threw his third touchdown pass to wide receiver Dave Waymer, which was followed by two running touchdowns: one by running back Jerome Heavens, and one by running back Vagas Ferguson. In the fourth quarter, Ferguson had another running touchdown. This was followed by Irish quarterback, Rusty Lisch, throwing a touchdown pass to running back Jim Stone. On the next drive Stone ran in a touchdown from the 21-yard line. The Irish would wrap up the game on a Kevin Hart (tight end) touchdown reception thrown by freshmen quarterback, Tim Koegel.

What you might not see, just by looking at the score, is that Georgia Tech actually had the lead over Notre Dame in the second quarter. The Irish missed the point after kick on Montana’s one-yard touchdown run, and the Yellow Jackets responded with a 97-yard kickoff return by Johnny Smith to go up 7-6; but this lead didn’t last long. The Irish would overwhelm the Yellow Jackets, who “contributed to their own downfall by losing the ball three times on fumbles and three times on pass interceptions. The Irish scoring after five of the (six) turnovers.” (NY Times)

The five Notre Dame touchdown passes thrown by Montana, Lisch and Koegel tied the Notre Dame record for number of touchdown passes in a game, originally set in 1944 against the University of Pittsburgh. And the win over the Yellow Jackets took the Irish one step closer to their 10th national championship title.

What say you? Will the Irish win easily on Saturday? Or will they trip themselves up by prematurely looking towards Clemson? What will the margin of victory be on Saturday?

Cheers & GO IRISH!

1977 Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech program