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Nebraska - Notre Dame Rivalry
story image 1 The 1917 Cornhusker Team

1917: Nebraska Shuts Out Notre Dame
Curnhuskers Humble Notre Dame 7-0

by Mark Fricke
July 13, 2000

Nebraska - Notre Dame Rivalry
1948: Nebraska Proves No Contest For Powerful Irish
1973 Orange Bowl: Ending An Era With A Classic
1947: Renewed Rivalry Brings Irish Rout
1925: Husker Victory, Hostilities Temporarily Ends Series
1924: Notre Dame Regains Control

Once again, both Nebraska and Notre Dame entered their matchup with impressive wins already under their belt. Nebraska had vanquished Wesleyan by an amazing 100-0 score and followed that up with a 47-0 trouncing of Iowa. The boys from Indiana scored a 55-0 win over Kalamazoo but settled for a 0-0 tie against Wisconsin. Notre Dame assistant coach Knute Rockne had the duty of scouting the Cornhuskers for the weeks prior to the game and returned to coach Jesse Harper a frightening tale of a powerful team that was much improved over the squads the Notre Dame boys had faced in the past.

Nebraska put their victory hopes in the experienced hands of Paul Dobson, Hugo Otoupalik and John Cook. Dobson was a powerhouse performer on both sides of the ball and is the chief kicking asset for the team. Cook was the real brains of the Cornhuskers and proved a worthy marshal on the field. Otoupalik had three years of varsity duty and was able to combine his height and weight for successful line plunges.

The Notre Dame starting squad featured only quarterback Jim Phelan and center Frank Rydzewski with any previous tests against Nebraska. The Hoosiers did have a rising young star in their lineup. Freshman halfback George Gipp was making his first appearance in Lincoln. Gipp would soon move on to become one of the many legendary figures in Notre Dame football history.

In the first quarter both teams battled furiously but neither team gained a foothold. It appeared as if the teams would both put up defenses that couldn't be penetrated. In the second quarter Nebraska twice had scoring threats, only to see both of them turned back. Quarterback John Cook provided one threat when he scrambled 45 yards deep into Notre Dame territory. The Catholic defense held Nebraska on downs and took the ball over. Later in the quarter, after an exchange of punts, Nebraska threatened again behind a 12 yard gain by Paul Dobson. Hugo Otoupalik later provided the scoring run with a plunge through the middle of the line. Shaw kicked the goal and Nebraska had a 7-0 lead at the half.

Battling desperately to tie things up in the third period, Phelan marshaled his troops as best he could. The light and inexperienced Catholics couldn't muster up the needed attack and were constantly shut down by the bigger and more experienced Cornhuskers.. Notre Dame's best scoring chance came when the Hoosiers had the ball down to the Nebraska 8 yard line. The Notre Dame hopes ended when Otoupalik intercepted a pass and killing the drive.

Both team's defenses took control for the rest of the game and Nebraska was able to walk away with a hard-fought 7-0 victory.

Nebraska went on to capture their eighth straight Missouri Valley Conference crown with a 5-2 record. Losses to Michigan and Syracuse proved to be the only blemishes on coach E.J. Stewart's final year at the Nebraska helm. Notre Dame would also undergo a coaching change as Jesse Harper retired after five seasons. His successor would be assistant coach Knute Rockne, a man would would single-handedly usher in the legend of Notre Dame football.

The shape of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and college football in general would change after the 1917 season as the United States found themselves fully engulfed in the "Big War" in Europe.



Starting Lineup

NebraskaNotre Dame
Roscoe RhodesLeft EndDave Hayes
Al DuteauLeft TackleFrank Andrews
Ed KostizkyLeft GuardClyde Zoia
Bill DayCenterFrank Rydzewski
Harold WilderRight GuardEdward Madigan
Edson ShawRight TackleDave Philbin
Ted Riddell Right EndTom King
Elmer SchellenbergerQuarterbackJim Phelan
John CookLeft HalfbackGeorge Gipp
Paul DobsonRight HalfbackLeonard Bahan
Hugo OtoupalikFullbackWalter Miller
 end of article dingbat

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