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USC Athletics

15. Trojan Force

Craig Fertig and Rod Sherman spoil ND's unbeaten mark

Nov. 14, 1964: Ara Parseghian arrived at Notre Dame from Northwestern for the 1964 season and worked a miracle. The Irish, 2-7 the year before, won their first nine games. They led archrival USC 17-0 at the half. But the Trojans found a way. On fourth-and-8 with 1:35 to play, quarterback Craig Fertig threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Rod Sherman, and USC escaped with a 20-17 victory. Parseghian used to say Notre Dame finished not 9-1 but 9¾-¼. Notre Dame's first national title since 1949 would have to wait two more seasons.

-- Ivan Maisel