Catholics vs. Smart Kids from 1973 as Notre Dame heads down to West U to take on those lovable Rice Owls. A matchup of the top 10 Irish and...well...Rice.
Give me some mismatch Bullets!
- Ara Parseghian's Irish were a dominant group from the mid 60s to the mid 70s. In that time Ara's Irish won 83% of their games and two national titles. In nine of his eleven years the Irish finished in the top 10 of the final AP Poll Rankings. The other two years they finished in the top 15.
- 1973 would be Parseghian's second to last season at the helm and perhaps his best squad. The Irish finished 11-0 and won the national title.
- The Irish were led by the two headed rushing monster of Wayne Bullock and Art Best. Not enough people named Art anymore. They each ran for 700 yards in 1973.
- The Irish quarterback was one Tom Clements. Clements is the current Assistant Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers. Or is it Assistant to the Head Coach? We don't know.
- Clements big year was actually 1974 when he would finish fourth in the Heisman voting and was named an All-America.
- The Irish ran the table in 1973, beating the previously unbeaten Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in one of the great games in college football history, 24-23.
- Rice was coached by the easily quotable Al Conover. Conover coached four years at Rice, winning 14 games and losing 28.
- Conover was an interesting guy, he brought a coffin to practice to "bury" the previous season's mistakes. He also lit firecrackers in the shower before a game. He even threw a chair through a window to punctuate a pregame speech. Perhaps his best pregame stunt never came to fruition as he wanted to put a leash on a pig before a game at Arkansas. He couldn't find a pig.
- Conover had big dreams for his 1973 team, he announced to the press at a preseason junket that the Owls were going to the Cotton Bowl and that he would either parachute into the stadium or being carried onto the field by his players while he sat on a throne. The Owls went 5-6 in '73 so sadly, neither happened.
- Rice started 1973's season 1-6 before reeling of four straight wins to end the season.
- Conover was named the SWC coach of the year in 73, but the season would be the last shot out of Conover's roman candle, his next two seasons the Owls were 4-17-1. He was fired after the 1975 season.
- Rice's quarterback in 1973 was the great Tommy Kramer. Kramer led San Antonio Lee to the State title in 1971 and a runner-up finish in 1972.
- The 1971 State Final was the first high school game played in old Texas Stadium in Irving.
- Kramer was a freshman in 1973 and it showed, He completed just 41% of his passes for the Owl's in '73. He would go on to an All-American season in 1976, one of only two quarterbacks to do so on a sub .500 team. Kramer was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
- Kramer was drafted by the Vikings and eventually replaced the great Fran Tarkington as the starter. He made the Pro-Bowl in 1986.
Enjoy some 1973 Rice/Notre Dame greatness.