Saturday's contest will be the 50th meeting between Notre Dame and Army, and the first game to bring the gridiron to the new Yankee Stadium.
The series has generally been very one sided, with the Irish holding a decisive 37-8-4 record against the men from West Point. Army has not beaten Notre Dame in over half a century.
But when both teams were good, they were both very good. An in-season match-up of the top two ranked teams is extremely rare, but it happened consecutive years with these teams. Those two games comprise two of the top 10 best Notre Dame-Army games ever played.
This game marks the last time the Black Knights beat the Irish, over 50 years ago. It is also the only time Army has beaten Notre Dame in South Bend.
The Black Knights kept the game close late, but Irish kicker Jim Sanson redeemed himself from two earlier missed field goals to boot the game winner with just over one minute remaining.
Army scored a late fourth-quarter touchdown to tie the game, but again fell short on an opportunity to win on the Irish home field.
This game played at Yankee Stadium still remains the worst loss ever suffered by the Irish. The game was a highly anticipated match-up, as Cadets entered the game as the top ranked team and the defending champion Irish ranked No. 5.
Notre Dame simply had no answer for Army, which used the game to propel them to the team to 1944 national championship.
The Yankee Stadium crowd had big expectations as the No. 1 Irish invaded the Bronx to battle No. 3 Army. Despite playing without quarterback Angelo Bertelli who would win the Heisman that year, the Irish defense stifled Army's offense.
The win would be a capstone victory en route to Frank Leahy's first national championship at Notre Dame.
In an evenly played game, Notre Dame led 28-21 and looked to run out the clock with the ball on its own 42-yard line with just over two minutes remaining. The Irish elected to go for it on fourth-and-short, but Army stuffed a quarterback sneak by Ron Powlus to take over on downs.
The Black Knights marched down for a score, but the game-winning two-point conversion attempt was stuffed when Irish cornerback Ivory Covington stopped the Army receiver on the one-yard line.
This game derives most of its greatness by the fact that it was the first No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup between the Irish and the Cadets. But there was never much question about the actual result.
Army rode tailback Doc Blanchard, who would go on to win the Heisman that year, to follow its 59-0 drubbing of the Irish the previous year with a 48-0 uncontested shutout. Army was truly dominant for the second consecutive year, winning back-to-back national championships.
This first-ever match-up between Army and Notre Dame happened only because Yale dropped its game against Army at the last minute and the Fighting Irish, then a relative football unknown, offered to come play at West Point.
Many regard this as the game in which Notre Dame invented the forward pass, and while this is exaggerated, it was such an unexpected victory using such an unconventional technique that Irish receive credit for making it mainstream.
This is the game that put the Irish on the national football stage where they still remain today.
"Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below."
- Grantland Rice, New York Herald Tribune, October 18, 1924
This game is only ranked as the second best game because a 0-0 tie is such an unsatisfying outcome for a game that deserved so much more.
For the second consecutive year, the Cadets entered the game as the No. 1 ranked defending national champions against the No. 2 ranked Irish. But there would be no blowout this time.
The unstoppable force of Army's running back tandem of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, who would win the Heisman that year, met the immovable object of Notre Dame's defense, which allowed only 24 points all season. Blanchard almost broke the game open with a long run in the third quarter, but Irish defender John Lujack (who would win his own Heisman the next year) chased down Blanchard to save a touchdown and the game.
This is the game during which legendary Notre Dame head coach Knute Rockne gave his famous "win one for the Gipper" speech, recounting a deathbed conversation he had with former star Irish running back George Gipp. The speech had its intended effect as the Irish held on to beat an undefeated Army squad at Yankee Stadium.
"I've got to go, Rock. It's all right. I'm not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy."
-attributed to George Gipp, 1920