40 years ago, Irish-Tide played game for the ages
“I knew he was going to be throwing the ball out of the end zone. If he slips and falls, or he’s sacked, that’s a safety and we lose the game,” Parseghian recalled. “Yeah, it was high risk. But that’s what we had to do. I didn’t want to punt it back to them out of our own end zone.”
Big tight end Dave Casper, who went on to star in the NFL, was the intended target. The Tide had him well covered. But Weber, who was mainly known for blocking, ran right by the cornerback and found himself all alone far heading toward the sideline. Clements delivered the ball perfectly. Weber juggled it briefly before tucking it away and getting knocked out of bounds.
“An over-the-shoulder, pure hands catch, on a play I had never before practiced, thrown by a quarterback who had never thrown me the ball, not even in warm-ups in practice,” Weber said. “From my perspective, quite simply a sandlot play between two good athletes.”
Notre Dame ran out the clock and celebrated its championship.
Parseghian and Bryant spoke briefly on the field afterward. Later, the Notre Dame coach sent off a letter to his larger-than-life rival, who would pass away 10 years later, about a month after his final game.
“We had great respect for one another,” Parseghian said. “Basically, I just told him there were no losers in that game.”
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