Notre Dame

Fighting Irish ©

Alabama

Crimson Tide

The Sugar Bowl

Played December 31, 1973

at Tulane Stadium
New Orleans, Louisiana

  

Teams' Belt Records

Team

Belt

Reigns

Overall

Record

Home

Record

Away

Record

Neutral

Record

W

L

T

PCT

W

L

T

PCT

W

L

T

PCT

W

L

T

PCT

Notre Dame © 1 5 0 0 1.000 2 0 0 1.000 3 0 0 1.000        
Alabama 0                                

                            Previous Belt Meetings:       None

 

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

Final

Notre Dame

6

8

7

3

24

Alabama

0

10

7

6

23

Bear Bryant’s top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide came to the Sugar Bowl with an 11-0 record & the UPI National Championship in hand.  Before 1974, the UPI Coaches’ poll was voted prior to the bowl games.  The Crimson Tide's defense featured All-SEC LB Woodrow Lowe & All-SEC DB Mike Washington while the offense had All-American OT Buddy Brown, QB Gary Rutledge, & QB Richard Todd.  In the first meeting between these two storied programs, the 3rd ranked, 10-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish of coach Ara Parseghian were happy to defend The Belt to decide the true champion.  The game featured six lead changes with a missed extra point by Alabama's PK Bill Davis the difference in a 24-23 Notre Dame win.  The Fighting Irish got the only points of the 1st quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by RB Wayne Bullock after QB Tom Clements completed 3 straight passes to WR Pete Demmerle for 59 yards.  The missed extra-point left the score at Notre Dame 6 Alabama 0.  The Crimson Tide took the lead when RB Randy Billingsley scored on a 6-yard touchdown run to put Alabama ahead 7-6.  Fighting Irish's RB Al Hunter returned the ensuing kick-off 93 yards for a touchdown to put Notre Dame back in front 14-7 after the successful 2-point conversion.  Alabama got a 39-yard field goal from Davis to cut the lead to 14-10 at the half.  Alabama's All-SEC RB Wilbur Jackson scored on a 5-yard touchdown run capping an 11-play, 92-yard drive that put the Crimson Tide back ahead by a score of 17-14.  Notre Dame responded with a 12-yard touchdown run by RB Eric Penick for a 21-17 Fighting Irish lead.  Alabama got the lead back on a trick play when RB Mike Stock connected with Todd for a 25-yard touchdown on a halfback throw-back pass to the quarterback but the missed extra-point kept the score Alabama 23 Notre Dame 21.  After Clements carried 3 times for 25 yards & completed a 30-yard pass to All-American TE Dave Casper, Notre Dame's PK Bob Thomas hit a 19-yard field goal with 4:26 left for a 24-23 lead but the game was not yet in hand for the Fighting Irish.  After a 69-yard punt by Alabama's All-SEC P Greg Gantt pinned the Fighting Irish at their own 1-yard line, Coach Bryant declined a roughing the kicker penalty that would have allowed the Tide to retain the ball.  Bryant hoped his defense could hold Notre Dame & get the Tide better field position.  Clements sealed the win with a 36-yard pass to WR Robin Weber on 3rd down play that got Notre Dame out of danger.  Clements threw for 169 yards while Casper finished with 3 catches for 75 yards for the Fighting Irish.  Rutledge threw for 88 yards with an interception in the loss.  Notre Dame finished 11-0 & claimed the National Championship while the Crimson Tide finished 11-1; SEC Champions & ranked 4th nationally.  Alabama would play for The Belt again in 1978.

Notre Dame Game Stats Alabama Game Stats
 

Rushing

Att

Yards

TDs

Rushing

Att

Yards

TDs

Wayne Bullock 19 79 1 Wilbur Jackson 11 62 1
Tom Clements 15 74 0 Randy Billingsley 7 54 1
Art Best 12 45 0 Paul Spivey 11 44 0
Eric Penick 9 28 1 Richard Todd 3 32 0
Al Hunter 4 26 0        
 
Passing Att Comp Int Yards TDs Passing Att Comp Int Yards TDs
Tom Clements 12 7 0 169 0 Gary Rutledge 12 7 1 88 0
            Mike Stock 1 1 0 25 1
            Richard Todd 2 2 0 14 0
 

Receiving

Catches

Yards

TDs

Receiving

Catches

Yards

TDs

Dave Casper 3 75 0 George Pugh 2 28 0
Pete Demmerle 3 59 0 Richard Todd 1 25 1
Robin Weber 1 35 0 Wilbur Jackson 2 22 0
        John Sharpless 2 22 0

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