The score says it all. Notre Dame 49- Southern Cal 14. I have been a Notre Dame fan for as far back as I can remember. And I have hated USC since the early evening of November 28, 1964 when Southern Cal scored a touchdown in the 4th quarter of the final game of the season to hand its only loss and deny the Irish the National Championship. The memories of that game have stayed with me ever since. I was in my Senior Year at St. Francis College working full time on the 4:00 PM - Midnight shift at the Railway Express West Side Freight Yards on 33rd Street and 10th Avenue in the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan.
Under first year Coach Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame was 9-0 and on the verge of completing a miracle comeback season after 5 consecutive non-winning years. All that remained was to beat Southern Cal in the season finale at the Los Angeles Coliseum. After unloading a few trucks, I faked going over to load a freight car and ducked upstairs to the locker room and turned on the radio to listen to the Notre Dame game. Great news: Notre Dame was winning 17-0 at the half. All was well and I went back down to work, giving the foreman some lame excuse for my disappearance that I'm sure he didn't believe. Keeping an eye on the clock, I timed my meal break to listen to the final minutes of what I knew would be a Fighting Irish Victory Celebration. Turning the radio back on, I got a little concerned when I heard the score was 17-13 and Notre Dame had to punt with a few minutes to go. (I learned later it should have been 24-13 but Notre Dame had a touchdown called back on a terrible hometown holding call.) Then as the clock wound down, USC quarterback Rod Sherman threw a 4th & 10 touchdown pass to Craig Fertig with only 1:33 on the clock. The game was soon over and so was Notre Dame's National Championship dream. I finished my shift and went out to Queens to meet some friends and commiserate in a bar in Middle Village. I spent the next three years at Notre Dame Law School (actually met Rosemary on the day of the 1965 USC game) and became even more of a fanatical Fighting Irish fan and USC hater.
So each year's Notre Dame-USC game is for me a battle for Western Civilization. And last night's overwhelming victory was just phenomenal as the Irish dominated and destroyed Southern Cal on offense and defense. Particularly brilliant was running back Josh Adams who rushed for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns.
So right now for me all is well. All the stars are properly aligned as Notre Dame has a path to the National Championship game if they run the table. Tomorrow morning of course I'm back to the reality of Washington, DC and fighting to retain the state and local property tax deductions and dealing with issues of Iran, North Korea and the Obama Administration's Uranium deal and Russia. But at least I will be heading back rejuvenated and in great spirits. Go Irish!!