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Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS Cincinnati Bearcats, 1900

In its first season with Pat O’Dea as coach, the Fighting Irish compiled a 6–3–1 record, shut out seven opponents, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 261 to 73.

Photo: Lisa Kelly

I must admit that I was a little surprised to see that Notre Dame had indeed played the Cincinnati Bearcats once before, and even more surprised to see that the match-up was in 1900. Here’s a little history about the Fighting Irish and the Bearcats.

  • Notre Dame played Cincinnati on October 20th, 1900. The Irish prevailed in the meeting by a score of 57-0.
  • Cincinnati has an overall record of 639-592-50 (.518), and Notre Dame has an overall record of 922-329-42 (.729).
  • Cincinnati has zero National Championships, to Notre Dame’s 11.
  • Cincinnati has played in 19 Bowl Games, to Notre Dame’s 37 Bowl Games.
  • Cincinnati’s Bowl Game record is 9-10-0 (.474), and Notre Dame’s Bowl Game record is 18-19-0 (.486)
  • The Bearcats have had 3 consensus All-Americans, to Notre Dame’s 104 consensus All-Americans.
  • The Bearcats have had 121 NFL Draft picks, to Notre Dame’s 520 NFL Draft picks.
  • The Bearcats have had 2 first round NFL picks, to Notre Dame’s 69 first round NFL picks.

Here is Notre Dame’s record in the year 1900:

Image: Wikipedia

Here is Cincinnati’s record in the year 1900:

Image: Wikipedia

I not only found a game summary in Notre Dame Archives for the ND-Cincinnati game in 1900, I also found this brief summary of the 1900 season:

The season of 1900 started off wrong. In one of the hardest fought battles ever seen in the state we lost to Indiana (6-0), and gloom settled over the camp of loyal rooters. With Captain Farley playing sensationally at half-back, and Farragher doing gilt-edged work at tackle, Notre Dame at first seemed sure of victory, but both men were injured early in the game and our hopes dwindled away.

At Madison we were completely outclassed. The line failed to hold on defense, and as we seldom had the ball in our possession we had little opportunity to show what we could do on offense—54-0 sums up the dismal story. Some of the gloom lifted when we held Michigan down to seven points. Sammon at full-back and Glynn at end were the stars, but every man gave a good account of himself, forcing the Wolverines to fight hard for every foot gained. In the first half a fumble gave Michigan the ball on our 9-yard line, and from there the oval was carried over for a touchdown. The two additional points were gained by forcing Sammon back for a safety. In the second half we put Michigan on the defensive, once pushing her back within three yards of the goal, but a mighty defense held us from going further.

Cincinnati also Our Victims

Before a throng of enthusiastic rooters and admirers decked in a gala array of colors our football heroes overwhelmingly defeated the eleven sent up from the University of Cincinnati to cope with them on last Saturday. The short time the Cincinnati boys had the pigskin in their possession gave them small opportunity to make any headway. Not once during the entire game was our goal threatened. During the second half, when the Cincinnati boys began to look a little dangerous, our fellows forced them to try a drop kick from the thirty yard line which they missed. Many times Cincinnati strove to advance the ball into our territory, but at each attempt one or more Notre Dame men proved to be an insurmountable obstacle. The men from the Ohio institution were outclassed in nearly all the departments of the game.

Our fellows delighted the rooters by their excellent playing, and elicited from even our opponents expressions of praise. There was not a man on the eleven who did not play his game. Farley’s long runs and his line bucking, and Lins plunges through opposing line, with the tackling of Kuppler, and Sammon, make up the features of the game. Diebold’s work at quarterback was all that could be asked of him. His passes were frequently interfered with, and no more than one, and at most two fumbles, can be charged against him. Diebold’s defensive work was excellent. Staudt who took Farragher’s position at tackle played a very strong game. Staudt had an awfully hard man to take care of. Gilmore, Winter and the other men gave a good account of themselves

Of the Cincinnati men Fritch, the big guard. Marsh, at left tackle, Shayer at quarterback, and Van Morte at left halfback did some clever playing.

The Game

Farley kicked forty yards to Greenbaum, and Cincinnati’s end came back five. Van Cunningham and Smedley could advance the ball only four yards, and Notre Dame took possession of it. Kuppler made two yards through tackle. Fritch interfered with the ball and it was fumbled. Diebold grabbed the ball and gained ten yards. The oval was fumbled on the next play and Cincinnati got it. Smedley and Van Moter made four yards at tackle. Cunningham broke through centre for two more, but lost a yard on the next play. Cincinnati tried a double pass, but Sammon put Smedley down for a loss of five yards. Van tried tackle but failed to gain and Notre Dame took the ball. Farley skirted left end for seven yards. Lins plunged through guard for four. Cincinnati lost ten yards for offside play. Fortin charged through tackle for five yards. Kuppler ran through right tackle for a touchdown. Winter kicked an easy goal. Notre Dame 6 - Cincinnati 0.

Cunningham kicked twenty yards to Diebold who lost the ball after making seven-yards. Cincinnati got the ball, but Notre Dame held for downs. Kuppler, Lins and Farley failed to make the necessary gain, and the ball went over. Farley stopped Loughry for a loss. Cunningham wiggled through tackle for three yards. Van ran into Kuppler and Notre Dame took the oval. Farley, Lins, Kuppler and Fortin carried the ball to Cincinnati’s forty yard line when they lost it on a fumble. Cincinnati failed to make five yards’ gain; and the ball went to Notre Dame. Lins and Farley put the ball on the twenty-five yard line. Farley circled the end for twenty-three yards, and Lins was pushed over the line for the second touchdown. Winter missed goal. Score, II-0.

Cunningham rolled the ball to Winter who punted it. Cincinnati pushed on for ten yards and lost the ball on a fumble. Farley took the bail on the next play and ran around left end for forty yards before he met Shayer. Lins and Kuppler hammered into the line for twenty yards. Kuppler ran over Greenbaum for six, and Farley got through guard for the third touchdown. Winter kicked goal. Notre Dame 17 - Cincinnati 0.

The first-half ended with the ball on Cincinnati forty-five yard line. The second half consisted merely of touchdowns. Before the game ended our fellows had made seven more downs, and Winter had kicked four more goals. The final score was 57-0.

Cheers & GO IRISH!