It was 4 AM, on Saturday morning. I walked from my apartment to the USC Library, to meet fellow student Don Collins. We were engineering students, and we were going to work together on our homework assignments until noon. Then we were going to store our books, get a sandwich at the Kite, and walk over to the Coliseum.
The game between the number one ranked, undefeated Fighting Irish from Notre Dame, and the USC Trojan’s would start at 1 PM. We had tickets in the student section, and this was a game that we could not miss. We arrived about 30 minutes early, which was a good thing because the Coliseum was sold out. The world famous USC Song Girls were entertaining the crowd, and Traveler, the noble steed, who was the USC mascot was prancing around the ﬁeld. We were sitting on the northern side of the ﬁeld, We could look across it and see the Dreaded Fightin’. Irish from Notre Dame. It may have been an optical illusion, but their players seemed to be larger than ours.
After what seemed like an eternity, the game started. The cool, conﬁdent Fightin’ Irish moved right down the ﬁeld and immediately scored a touchdown. That was a horrible thing to witness! However, we were still hoping that our team would make a comeback. At halftime, Notre Dame was leading by a score of 17-0, and Don had big tears rolling down his cheeks. This was bad, very bad!
The second half started and Iron Mike Garrett carried the ball like a man possessed. He, along with fullback Ben Wilson, led the team to its ﬁrst score. So now, it was 7 to 17, with a quarter and a half to go. As I recall, Big Ben scored a touchdown, and now USC was behind only 3 points, 17-14.
The teams were slugging it out on the ﬁeld, and there were only about two minutes left. The entire world was waiting for an answer. Then we ﬁnally got our miracle, Craig Fertig threw “SPORTS” a touchdown pass to Rod Sherman to give the Trojans a lead that they would not relinquish.
Suddenly, the game was over! USC had actually upset the undefeated, number 1 ranked football team in the world. That had happened, and I was there to witness it! We were happy but confused, and we did not know what we were supposed to do next, so we stayed in our seats. The band went back onto the ﬁeld and played “Fight On”, over and over.
Then the players came out and one by one, and many of them spoke to the crowd. Traveler displayed some new Horse Steps that he had learned. The Song Girls did some new routines. Simultaneously, a long procession of the Notre Dame Team and their followers, including many Priests and Nuns had to walk across the ﬁeld to get to their dressing rooms, and to the exits. It was not a happy procession, and we did not enjoy seeing that.
As far as we were concerned, we had received a heavenly gift. Finally, my classmate and I returned to the library. We had to ﬁnish homework assignments that were due Monday morning. However, we had to calm down, or we would not have been able to study. However, we did know that we had seen The greatest football game in the history of the world.
[John Randolph Rogers Sports Editor, Phone: 310-673-6133 Phone: 626-798-3972 Email: Jorrogers@Aol.Com]