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Notre Dame Football Throwback Thursday: Syracuse, 1914

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But in the Syracuse game the ends played in such a way as to show the results of a season of “Rock’s” truly remarkable coaching.

Matt Cashore

As we head into the last regular season home game, the Irish host the Syracuse Orange at Notre Dame stadium. The two teams have faced each other nine times previously with Notre Dame winning six and Syracuse winning three. The largest margin of victory for Notre Dame was 36-3 (2018), and the largest margin of victory for Syracuse was 38-12 (2003). Notre Dame’s longest win streak is three (2014-2018) and Syracuse’s longest win streak is two (1963-2003).

Here are some fun facts about the two teams. Notre Dame’s bowl record is .500 (18-18-0, 42nd of 131), and Syracuse’s bowl record is .635 (16-9-1, 9th of 131). Notre Dame has had 102 consensus All-Americans (1st of 131) to Syracuse’s 20 (35th of 131). Notre Dame has had 511 NFL draft picks (2nd of 131) to Syracuse’s 198 (45th of 131).

This week I’m going to throwback to the 1914 meeting between the two teams which took place on November 26th, 1914, in Syracuse, New York. While I could not find a play-by-play review of the game, per se, I did find some fun anecdotes in the 1914 The Notre Dame Scholastic:

1914 Football Review

When four hundred of the Notre Dame students and 12,000 Chicagoans thronged into Comiskey Park on last November 14th (vs. the Carlisle Indians), they little knew the wonderful exhibition of football that lay ahead of them. A seemingly regenerated Notre Dame team smeared the Indians so badly that ten years of their past history doesn’t show another defeat like it. With Eich back in the game again, and determined to show that he had lost none of the ability of former years, with the whole team in fine physical shape and playing as they had not played during the whole season, almost better than their best, the Redmen never had a chance. Their line was shattered, their wings turned and their defense simply demoralized by a succession of terrible drives by the redoubtable Eich, wonderfully spectacular rushes by Cofall and Kelleher, and long twisting, dodging runs by the little speed marvel at quarterback. Forward passes were used with great effect, “Mal” Elward gathering in several beautiful long heaves. The line men completely outplayed their opponents, Calac being the only Indian to gain. Altogether it was the finest exhibition of football seen in the West this year, and the 48-6 score will go down in Notre Dame history.

After this contest King Winter gave the men an enforced rest—two feet of snow isn’t conducive to good football. The gym was utilized, however, and when, after ten days’ time, the Gold and Blue took the field against the conquerors of Michigan, it was with a confident hope in the result. This confidence was not misplaced. The Saltines were unable to check the ravages of the Notre Dame backs led by Eichenlaub, who played what was perhaps the greatest game of his career. Cofall; Bergman, and Kelleher again starred on long runs, while the Notre Dame ends, Mills and Elward, checked most of the Orange attempts in that, direction. The line played a remarkable game, holding their, opponents safe at all times, and holding them for downs on the two yard line, at the very end of the game. It was a fitting finale, to what was on the whole, with fair consideration of all the adverse circumstances, a successful season.

The season is over, the games are past, the scores are a matter of history, but the memory of the men who in victory and in defeat always gave the best they could, will not pass.

To the men who coached the team we owe the highest measure of thanks. Coach Harper this year gave Notre Dame a schedule second to none in the country; he worked untiringly to produce the best results, and these results speak for him. He had a tremendous amount of work on his shoulders and to the students and those who know him, his ability needs no remark.

In Rockne, Coach Harper had an assistant than whom no better could be found anywhere in the country. “Rock,” himself one of the best men who ever donned the canvas, is not only a fine coach in a technical sense, he has a power, of personal magnetism that attracts his men and makes them willingly do their best. Before the first game, Notre Dame looked up against it at the wing positions— Elward was very light, and there was a big hole at the other end. But in the Syracuse game the ends played in such a way as to show the results of a season of “Rock’s” truly remarkable coaching. One more thing about “Rock;” though he may not be aware of it, he is about the finest satirical humorist at Notre Dame— an afternoon on the sidelines, with Rockne putting the line men through a hard drill, is easily worth three performances at the Orpheum. Nineteen-fourteen is past, but Notre Dame will long remember the men who made it successful, the men who, even in defeat; stood out as among the finest examples of her fighting spirit Notre Dame has ever had.

There is so much more fantastic football content in this issue of The Notre Dame Scholastic. If you have some time, definitely check it out.

So, what say you? Will the game this weekend be a walk in the park, or with the Syracuse Orange put up a fight against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish?

Cheers & GO IRISH!