clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football VS Duke, 1966

Debacle Out of the Depth

Clarkson NCAA Archive
Photo of the 1966 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. (Head Coach Ara Parseghian of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish prepares to take on the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on November 19, 1966 in East Lansing, Michigan. Notre Dame and Michigan State played to a 10-10 tie.)
Photo by Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Notre Dame Fighting Irish football plays the Duke Blue Devils this weekend, and today I am going to look back at the match-up between the two teams in 1966.

Notre Dame and Duke have played each other a total of seven times, with Notre Dame winning five, and Duke winning two. The largest margin of victory for Notre Dame was 64-0 in 1966, and the largest margin of victory for Duke was 37-13 in 1961. Notre Dame’s longest win streak is two (2019-2020), and Duke’s longest win streak is one (2016). Notre Dame has an all-time record of 942-336-42 (.730), and Duke has an all-time record of 533-551-31 (.492).

The below excerpt is from the December 9th, 1966 issue of the Scholastic Magazine, and it’s 1966 Notre Dame Football Review.

Debacle Out of the Depth

Sixty-four players got into the act for Notre Dame, and for outmanned Duke their performance was hot comedy. Joe Doyle conducts the postmortem for the “South Bend Tribune.”

EXPLOSIVE NOTRE DAME, leading the nation in scoring, defense and the rating polls, added to its 1966 football prestige Saturday with a 64-0 rout of intersectional rival Duke and set the stage for next Saturday’s titanic clash with Michigan State.

Nick Eddy, the dazzling senior halfback, ignited a 43-point first half explosion when he sped 77 yards untouched by human hands on the second play of the game. And either offensively or defensively, the error-prone Blue Devils were outclassed thereafter.

Six times the Irish crashed across the goal-line in the first 30 minutes, enabling Coach Ara Parseghian to empty his bench in the second half. He used 64 players in all — one for each point. Many were seniors, playing for the last time at home.

Hardly had the 59,075 fans settled in their seats when the Irish were off and running. Rocky Bleier gathered in the kickoff in the end zone and ran it out to the 19. Larry Conjar hammered for four yards at left guard and on the next play Eddy took a handoff from Terry Hanratty, started left and then cut through a gaping hole at tackle.

Five plays later the defense scored touchdown No. 2. Duke’s Larry Davis completed two passes to Dave Dunaway for a first down at the 45. After two plays gained only three yards, Davis took to the air again, but John Horney leaped to intercept at the Irish 45 and raced toward Duke’s goal.

When he seemed to be fenced in at the 30, he lateraled off to a surprised Tom O’Leary and the Columbus speedster rocketed into the end zone. Busy Joe Azzaro then kicked the first of eight straight conversions for a 15-0 lead with only 3:35 elapsed in the game.

Thereafter, the touchdowns came at a slower pace, but enough to rack up the widest margin since a similar 64-0 count against Dartmouth in 1944.

On defense, the Irish intercepted four passes to give them 21 interceptions for the year. They blocked a punt and time after time threw Duke’s two quarterbacks for losses. Most of Duke’s yardage came on a time-killing ground march paced by substitute fullback Page Wilson in the final seven minutes.

Duke managed 15 first downs to only 17 for the Irish, but N.D, rolled up 425 yards in offense to the Blue Devils 185. And the second half was played strictly against second or lower units in both offense and defense.

So devastating was the Irish attack when helped along by Duke mistakes that there was only one N.D. punt in the game. Just before halftime, a clipping penalty on a punt return forced the Irish back to the 12 and the No. 2 unit couldn’t move the ball. Gladieux punted out past midfield and two losses later, Duke had to punt from its own 30.

The seniors playing for the final time included 12 starters — seven on offense. In all, 29 of the 64 players used were seniors competing for the last time at home.

In the offensive line, the Irish lose regulars Don emitter, Tom Regner, Paul Seller, George Goeddeke and Dick Swatland, plus Eddy and Conjar from the backfield. On the defense, frontline Alan Page, Pete Duranko and Tom Rhoads graduate, as do Jim Lynch and John Horney, linebackers.

Reserves who played for the final time at home included Tim Wengierski, Pete Lamantia, Dave Zurowski, Bob Hagerty, Jim Kelly, Hugh O’Malley and kickers Jim Ryan and Joe Azzaro. Linemen indude Fred Schnurr, Joe Marsico, Tim Gorman, Rocco Schiralli, Gerald Kelly, John Lium, Vic Patemostro, Leo Collins, Allen Sack, Ron Jeziorski and Harry Alexander.

The Fighting Irish get to play in a College Game Day attended game once again this week, only this time on the road. How do you think the Irish will fare this week against Duke? Leave your predictions in the comments below!

Cheers & GO IRISH!