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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Rockne, Irish win one for the late Gipper
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Nov. 10, 1928

Scoreless at halftime against unbeaten and favored Army, it's the perfect time for Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne to invoke the death-bed wish of the late George Gipp, the Irish's All-American halfback in 1920. Gipp had asked Rockne that someday, when things looked tough for Notre Dame, for the coach to ask the team "to win one for the Gipper."

Rockne does. But more than his speech, it is a substitution that turns the game in Notre Dame's favor before some 85,000 fans at Yankee Stadium. With the game tied 6-6 in the fourth quarter and the Irish facing a fourth down on Army's 32-yard line, Rockne inserts Johnny O'Brien into the game. O'Brien goes long and when Johnny Niemiec hurls the pass, O'Brien catches it and falls into the end zone to give Notre Dame a 12-6 lead.

But Army isn't through, and All-American Chris Cagle leads the Cadets to the Notre Dame one-yard line with time running out. But the Irish, perhaps bolstered by the spirit of Gipp, hold the line, preserving the 12-6 upset. From somewhere up high, it is presumed that the Gipper nods his head in approval.

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