Need help verifying a ND v UM story from the 90s.

Submitted by blueinwinston on August 23rd, 2010 at 10:32 AM

So, I've been wanting to ask the board about a story I heard back in the 90s when I was a kid.  A friend of mine and I were discussing how ND got all the calls and seemed to have a lot of luck whenever they played anyone, including UM.  He recounted a story to me about how we were playing ND and went for it on 4th down.  We ran it and should have been across the sticks for a first down.  However, the ref went as far as to place a 3x5 note card between the tip of the ball and the stick to show we didn't get the first down. 

Can anyone ever recall that happening?  I know I never saw it, but I think the guy was referring to a game in the early 90s.  I think he said we received a piling on penalty in that game as well.  

I realize that is pretty vague, but the note card thing has always stuck with me and that's why I wanted to ask about it.


oriental andrew

August 23rd, 2010 at 10:44 AM ^

 I was in school from 94-99 (woo  5 year plan) and never heard that.  My freshman year was teh epic Remy Hamilton FG and I'm sure I would've heard the note card story if it had happened.  Something like that can't be true and not be a big part of Michigan lore.


August 23rd, 2010 at 10:45 AM ^

A ref did, in fact, use a 3x5 card to check the nose of the ball.  Bo went absolutely ape shit.  I can't recall if it was against ND or in the Rose Bowl.  Every time I picture that image in my head, the very next image is Bo taking off his headset and throwing it to the ground so violently, he lost his balance and almost fell over.  In reality, I don't think the 2 episodes are related. 


August 23rd, 2010 at 1:22 PM ^

Coincidentally, I emailed the video clip of the fake punt to Chris Stapleton's cousin last week.  One with Keith Jackson doing the call and one with Frank Beckman doing the same. 

If anyone else wants to see it, give me your email address and I'll send it to you.  I refuse to upload it to my account because that's obviously only dedicated to happy moments.


August 23rd, 2010 at 11:18 AM ^

You got this game confused with the Rose Bowl (Bo's final game) from 8 months earlier.

It was in the Rose Bowl that Bo threw the headphones and almost fell after complaining about the phantom holding call on Chris Stapleton's fake punt. 

Direct your hate mail to Jim Kemberline who made the bogus call.  He hated Bo.  When he retired in 1998, I cheered.

ND Sux

August 23rd, 2010 at 10:58 AM ^

Mike Stonebreaker's interception of Grbac in the end zone which would have sealed a game in front of thousands of disappointed Irish fans.  They also converted a 4th-and-forever from the shadow of their own goalpost, IIRC.  That ALSO would have sealed the game for us.  They snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and it's still burns my arse to think about it. 


August 23rd, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

The pain.  Driving all the way to the 5 yard line, with a chance to go up 31-14 on the #1 team in the country in their own stadium.  Not even Lou's squad was going to come back from that.

It was another ND miracle in which they were outplayed and outgained - not won until the final minutes.  A 4 point win with Irish players parading around the field like they had just beat us by 6 touchdowns.

This game was one of ESPN Classic's favorites.


August 23rd, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

That was the 1990 game in South Bend; Garry Moeller's first game as head coach.  This loss was crushing so it's harder to remember the little details.  But I think I remember mostof it.It was the second quarter and we were trailing 14-3.  We were driving around mid-field when we came up with a 4th and 1.  We were stopped but it looked close.  That's when the ref pulled out the card to see how close we were.  My dad remarked, "Only in South Bend would you see a ref do that." ND fumbled the ball back to us a couple plays later and then Grbac hit Desmond with a beautiful 44 yard TD strike. But the ref pulling out the 3 x 5 card is the most infamous thing about this game.

skunk bear

August 23rd, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

I have a question for you, WolverineHistorian. I remember a Rose Bowl with John Navarre as quarterback, against UCLA. Late in the game a UofM defender makes a clear inbounds interception that is ruled out of bounds. UCLA then pulls out the win. I've never been able to find a replay.

Is my memory accurate?


August 23rd, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

It was a nonconference game versus UCLA, in the Rose Bowl but not "The" Rose Bowl.  It was when Henson was hurt and young Navarre started the non-conference games.  Sep 16, 2000.  I remember that it looked like an inbounds INT on TV, but was called out.


August 23rd, 2010 at 2:59 PM ^

The INT occurred when we were up 20-10 in the second half, either late in the third or early in the fourth quarter.  Julius Curry clearly intercepted a pass but the refs mistakenly called it out, and there was no replay to overturn it.  Naturally, UCLA scored a TD on that possession.  They later kicked two field goals to go up 23-20.  We then drove inside their 10, but got stuffed on 3rd and inches . . . and then Epstein missed a chippy. 


August 23rd, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

Moeller's first year. Our offense looked great and moderized, Jon Vaughn went crazy, and we still lost.  And they absolutely brought out a 3x5 card to show we were a paper sheet width away from a first down I mean, there's more variance than that in how they spot it....and it wasn't a good spot. Absolute apeshit Leprechaun craziness. And being the last of losing to them 4 straight years, it grated even more.  

But Desmond next year was all the sweeter for it...


August 23rd, 2010 at 11:13 AM ^

During a Rose Bowl loss against, I believe, USC. My guess is it happened in the 80s (probably late 80s because I remember it), though I guess it may have been early 90s. We had won the Rose Bowl against USC the year before, I think.

Ike Pond

August 23rd, 2010 at 11:26 AM ^

I do remember the index card incident.  It was Moeller's first game -- 1990 in South Bend.  I actually thought Jarrod Bunch had it the first down by at least a yard.  It appeared to be a bad spot and the nose of the ball was right there.  Never say the index card used for measuring for a first down before or since.


September 7th, 2013 at 8:13 PM ^

I know this is late, but in thinking about tonight's game, I asked my husband if he remembered the index card measurement. He said he has watched all the games and does not recall that happening. It sure did. 1990 v Notre Dame. I couldn't believe it. And haven't seen it since. So I googled it and this forum was all that came up. It absolutely happened. I am surprised there are not more google hits on this subject.