OU vs Notre Dame — 1957

My dad was a OU graduate. He was also a huge football fan.

In 1957 Oklahoma had built-up a huge string of wins (47, I just looked). Bud Wilkinson had a historic team on his hands.

Dad decided to make this game as he was also pretty keen on Notre Dame because of their football history. One of our favorite movies was “Knute Rockne All American” (1940). Rockne came up with the forward pass & introduced the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame. Of course there was the “Gipper” (George Gipp) and the “win one for the Gipper” speech.

As we rode south (from Ponca City) we talked about this game & all the history. Dad was convinced his beloved OU would wipe the field with the Irishmen.

To say I was stoked for the game, to be in Norman and watching this thing live would be a gross understatement.

In the stadium we saw half the people we knew from Ponca & half our kinfolk from Idabel. Kinda like a reunion of sorts it just added to excitement.

I wish I could remember that whole game…sadly it is lost in the fog. In a stunning upset Notre Dame ended the OU winning steak with a 7-0 victory. Pandemonium was the result in the stadium followed by the long walk to the car & that sad drive home.

From then on dad would always get me to take Notre Dame while he rooted for OU. It was fun mainly because till dad died I was mostly the winner. In 1968 when I was in Vietnam dad wrote me that Chuck Fairbanks badly needed the win and the Sooners were headed for a huge win. Wrong again pop I wrote later.

That was the last OU-ND game we shared as they went until 1999 before playing again. Dad died in 1981 leaving me with a huge appreciation for both the Sooners & the Fighting Irish.

I relish these games between the old foes with such long great football histories. And, they remind me of pop every time.

Little note: South from OKC to Norman was one long wheat field with only a single stop light at the turn-off to Moore. No I-35; OKC ended not far south of the current I-40; and very few buildings between there & the Norman turn-off. On the way down there was probably 2 miles of cars backed up waiting to get through. On the was back there was a huge OHP trooper standing under the stop light waving the crowd on through.

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