Sun Bowl: Notre Dame and Its 5 Best Bowl Game Performances of All Time

Frank FittipaldiCorrespondent IIDecember 28, 2010

Sun Bowl: Notre Dame and Its 5 Best Bowl Game Performances of All Time

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    Notre Dame has produced great players over the years and have taken pride in their Fighting Irish tradition.

    The Fighting Irish have played in some historic Bowl Games in the past involving players such as NFL legend Joe Montana.

    We have seen many great Bowl Games in College Football but here are the top five Bowl Game performances by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

1989 Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame 34, West Virginia 21

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    The BCS National Championship was yet to be created, but the 1989 Fiesta Bowl was played between Notre Dame and West Virginia, the top two teams in the nation.

    The Fighting Irish were 12-0 heading into this game and had a very impressive season.

    Led by coach Lou Holtz, the Irish continued their great season with a 34-21 victory over the Mountaineers.

    Quarterback Tony Rice hit receivers such as Raghib "Rocket" Ismail to secure this 13-point victory.

    The win would wrap up a perfect 13-0 season.

1978 Cotton Bowl: Notre Dame 38, Texas 10

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    The Texas Longhorns were ranked No. 1 led by bruising running back Earl Campbell, who was the Heisman Trophy winner.

    The Longhorns were favorites to defeat the Irish in the 1978 Cotton Bowl.

    Earl Campbell and the Longhorns were difficult to stop all season, but Bob Golic and the Notre Dame defense did just that in the 1978 Cotton Bowl.

    Bob Golic's 17 tackles helped the Notre Dame defense force six Texas turnovers leading the Irish to a 38-10 upset victory over Texas.

1925 Rose Bowl: Notre Dame 27, Stanford 10

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    The 1925 Rose Bowl was played between Notre Dame and Stanford.

    This 11th Rose Bowl game featured legendary coaches Knute Rockne of Notre Dame and Glen "Pop" Warner of Stanford.

    Notre Dame's backfield consisted of Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley and Elmer Layden who were also known as "The Four Horseman"

    The Notre Dame defense was the difference in this Rose Bowl as Layden returned two interceptions for touchdowns of 78 and 70 yards.

    Notre Dame would go on to win 27-10. 

1973 Sugar Bowl: Notre Dame 24, Alabama 23

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    led by Bear Bryant, the Alabama Crimson Tide were ranked No. 1 in the nation but had Notre Dame standing in their way in the 1973 Sugar Bowl.

    When the Tide scored late in the game to make it 23-21, the missed extra point would be crucial in the outcome of this game.

    Notre Dame than went 79 yards down the field to hit a short field goal to make it 24-23.

    The key play on the drive was a 30-yard pass to tight end Dave Casper.

    The Crimson Tide did not have enough to come back and fell short to the Fighting Irish 24-23.

     

    Above: Dave Casper

1979 Cotton Bowl: Notre Dame 35, Houston 34

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    While the 1979 Cotton Bowl did not result in a National Championship, this still remains one of the greatest performances of all-time by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

    This game was known as the "Chicken Soup Game" 

    Houston was down to an early 12-0 deficit, but scored 34 unanswered points to go into halftime leading 34-12.

    Joe Montana, quarterback of Notre Dame spent halftime eating plenty of Chicken Soup due to suffering from the flu.

    Montana returned in the fourth quarter for the Irish leading one of the greatest comebacks in Notre Dame history.

    Down 34-28 in the final minutes of the game, Montana hit receiver Kris Haines which would tie the game. The extra point would gave Notre Dame the lead and the victory.

Looking Ahead

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    Putting the past behind them, it is time to focus on what is ahead.

    The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the Miami Hurricanes in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on December 31st in El Paso, Texas.

    Both teams went 7-5 this season and did struggle somewhat. Despite the struggles, they did make it to the Sun Bowl.

    Notre Dame might have the advantage winning their last three games of the season while the Hurricanes dropped two straight.

Quarterback Matchup: Tommy Rees Vs. Jacory Harris

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    Neither team has had great play at the quarterback position but they both must make plays if they want to come out on top in the Sun Bowl.

    Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist has thrown for 2,033 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but he is out with an injury so Tommy Rees will be the starter.

    Rees threw for just over 900 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions

    Miami's Jacory Harris threw for less than 2,000 yards with just 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

    Both quarterbacks must make plays in the Sun Bowl, but Reese has the luxury of wide receiver Michael Floyd.

    With that on his side, it is likely that Reese can connect with Floyd for big plays down the field.

Running Back Matchup: Cierre Wood Vs. Damien Berry

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    Running the football is always a key factor which is bad news for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame's rushing attack ranked 96th in the nation will Miami ranked 26th.

    Cierre Wood of Notre Dame ran just over 500 yards with two touchdowns.

    Miami Hurricane's Damien Berry ran for 865 yards and five touchdowns.

    Miami's rushing attack also included Lamar Miller who tacked on over 600 yards and six touchdowns.

    Miami has the edge in the running game.

Wide Receiver Matchup: Michael Floyd Vs. Leonard Hankerson

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    The Sun Bowl is going to be fun to watch due to the outstanding play of the wide receivers.

    Notre Dame's Michael Floyd caught for over 900 yards with 10 touchdowns while Miami's Leonard Hankerson caught over 1,000 yards with 12 touchdowns.

    Both receivers have big play ability with Floyd's longest receptions going for 80 yards and Hankerson's longest going for 79 yards.

    It will be interesting to see which receiver makes the game-changing play.

Overview

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    We know Notre Dame's past but is time for them to worry about the Miami Hurricanes and the Sun Bowl.

    The great Joe Montana led Notre Dame to many victories including the 1979 Cotton Bowl.

    Now, quarterback Tommy Rees must do the same on December 31st.

    There are play makers on both teams but which one will make the game-changing play?

    It should be a great matchup on December 31st for the Sun Bowl.