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Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS Wisconsin Badgers, 1964

Huarte to Snow!

John Huarte hands the ball off during Notre Dame’s 1964 game at Wisconsin.
University of Notre Dame Archive

I don’t know about you but this is one of the games I’ve had circled on this year’s schedule for quite some time, and I’m so excited that the game is now upon us. Here is a little history of the Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin series.

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame have played the Wisconsin Badgers a total of 16 times with Wisconsin winning 6 (.438), Notre Dame winning 8 (.563), and two games ending in a tie. The current win streak (of one game) is held by Notre Dame, and the last time the two teams played each other was in 1964.

Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin Win/Loss History:

Date: Location: Score (Wisc-ND):

9/26/1964 Madison, WI 7-31

9/28/1963 South Bend, IN 14-9

10/13/1962 Madison, WI 17-8

10/21/1944 South Bend, IN 13-28

10/16/1943 Madison, WI 0-50

9/26/1942 Madison, WI 7-7

10/17/1936 South Bend, IN 0-27

10/12/1935 Madison, WI 0-27

10/27/1934 South Bend, IN 0-19

10/19/1929 Chicago, IL 0-19

10/6/1928 Madison, WI 22-6

11/8/1924 Madison, WI 3-38

10/13/1917 Madison, WI 0-0

10/14/1905 Milwaukee, WI 21-0

10/15/1904 Milwaukee, WI 58-0

11/10/1900 Madison, WI 54-0

A few other stats about the two teams:

  • Notre Dame has 11 National Titles to Wisconsin’s 0.
  • Notre Dame has been to 37 bowl games to Wisconsin’s 32.
  • Notre Dame has 921 wins overall to Wisconsin’s 720.
  • Notre Dame has had 104 Consensus All-Americans to Wisconsin’s 32.
  • Notre Dame has had 520 NFL Draft picks to Wisconsin’s 289.
  • Notre Dame has had 69 first round NFL Draft picks to Wisconsin’s 30.
  • Notre Dame has spent 98 weeks at AP No. 1 to Wisconsin’s 1.

Below is an article from the New York Times summarizing the September 26, 1964, matchup in which the “Era of Ara” began in Madison, Wisconsin. With Notre Dame having finished 2-7 in ‘63, Irish fans had no idea what to expect from their new head coach, Ara Parseghian. (Attendance—64,393.)

MADISON, Wis., Sept. 26 (AP)Notre Dame began its bid to regain national football prestige under Ara Parseghian, its new coach, by crushing Wisconsin, 31—7, in the rain today.

A hard‐hitting defense and the snapshooting of John Huarte, an unheralded quarterback, marked the triumph.

The Irish, who lured Parseghian from Northwestern, had a 2‐7 record last season. They took a 13‐0 half‐time lead on Huarte’s 61‐yard scoring pass to Jack Snow and Ken Ivan’s field goals from 31 and 30 yards.

Wisconsin mounted its lone scoring surge at the start of the second half, as Hal Brandt broke away from a tremendous rush and passed 45 yards to Jimmy Jones.

Notre Dame, which held the Badgers to minus 51 yards rushing, promptly took charge again.

Starting on the Wisconsin 29, the Irish swept to a touchdown, with Joe Kantor bulling over from a yard out on the first play of the final quarter.

Huarte, a senior who saw only 46 minutes of action last year, directed a 45‐yard touchdown drive the next time his mates had the ball. Bill Wolski capped the advance by diving over his right side from two yards out.

After a pass interception, its fourth in the game, Notre Dame moved 89 yards for another touchdown in the closing minutes. Huarte, who passed overhand and sidearm, threw to Snow for the final 42 yards.

The wet ball did not bother Huarte, who put on an impressive show.

Snow, a senior from Long Beach, Calif., hauled down nine passes for 217 yards, breaking the Notre Dame record of 208 yards by Jim Morse against Southern California in 1955.

Notre Dame’s offensive and defensive lines outplayed Wisconsin’s by a wide margin, as the Badgers suffered their first defeat after an opening 17‐7 victory over Kansas State.

And here is some video footage from the 1964 game, courtesy of the University of Notre Dame:

So what say you? How do you think the Irish will fare against the Badgers on Saturday? I’m ready for a convincing win!

Cheers & GO IRISH!