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Beano: Best Miami-Penn St. game
College Football schedule
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
A subtle rivalry between two giants
By Beano Cook
Special to ESPN.com
Nebraska and Notre Dame are two of the more storied programs in the history of college football. Since the end of WWII, they have 12 national titles between them -- Nebraska with five, in 1970, '71, '94, '95 and '97; Notre Dame with seven, in 1946, '47, '49, '66, '73, '77 and '88. They haven't played each other often enough to establish a true bitter rivalry, but the games they have played have always been significant.
Nebraska was a power program in the 1920s, yet Notre Dame beat the Huskers 34-6 in 1924. In 1922 and '23, Nebraska has the distinction of beating Knute Rockne's Irish two years in a row, while the Four Horsemen (Harry Stuhldreher, Elmer Layden, Jim Crowley and Don Miller) were on the team. Back-to-back victories were rarely notched against a Rockne team, especially in those days.
The accomplishment is even more impressive when one considers that the Huskers beat the famed Four Horsemen in 1923. The Four Horsemen were on the '22 team, but they didn't all start. The Four Horseman did start -- and began to establish dominance -- in 1923, yet the Huskers still managed a 14-7 win.
The "Four Horsemen" weren't given the moniker until '24, after the Army game. But neither the lack of a nickname nor the absence of the legend shouldn't take any of the shine off of the Huskers back-to-back victories.
Even though they haven't played that often, there is no doubt these two teams always get fired up to play one another. It's never going to be the rivalry that Notre Dame-USC is, or Nebraska-Oklahoma, but that hasn't made their games against each other any less dramatic.
Notre Dame's 27-24 overtime loss to Nebraska last year was one of the best games of the season. Down 21-7, the Irish came back to tie the game at 21. They kicked a field goal in OT, but the Eric Crouch-led Huskers answered with a touchdown.
Everything in the Irish-Husker matchup this weekend favors Nebraska, which is exactly why the Huskers should be wary of Notre Dame. I like Nebraska, 28-21, but it won't shock me if Notre Dame squeaks out a victory.
Either way, this game could have national title implications. It's too bad Nebraska and Notre Dame don't have one another on their schedule in the coming years to help the rivalry grow.
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