USC Picture Of The Night

Here’s the famous Craig Fertig-to-Rod Sherman touchdown catch that provided the winning points as USC upset No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, 20-17, in 1964 at the Coliseum.

Notre Dame led 17-0 and 17-7 entering the fourth quarter.

The winning touchdown pass came with 1:43 left, and more importantly, on fourth down and 8.

“I studied the Notre Dame-Stanford film for six hours last night and I have reached one conclusion: Notre Dame can’t be beaten,” John McKay said the Monday before the game.

In a strange incident largely forgotten, USC linebacker Ernie Pye walked through a plate-glass window at the team hotel dining room, cut his heel and missed the game.

“O.K., fellows. Ernie’s given us the idea for today,” McKay said. “We’ve got to crash their glass.”

Also forgotten: Notre Dame fumbled in the third quarter at the USC 9-yard line and then had a holding penalty on a 1-yard TD run.

Those plays kept USC within striking distance and set up one of the most memorable plays in USC history.

The celebration was muted later that night when USC found out the faculty representatives of the Athletic Association of Western Universities curiously voted for co-champion Oregon State to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.

USC was 7-3. Oregon State was 8-2. The USC argument was it played a tougher schedule. The Trojans defeated then-No. 2 Oklahoma, lost to then-No. 2 Ohio State and beat No. 1 Notre Dame.

The Beavers had beaten then-No. 8 Syracuse and No. 10 Oregon.

“So far as I am concerned, this is one of the rankest injustices ever perpetrated in the field of intercollegiate athletics,” USC athletic director Jess Hill said.

(Photo courtesy USC Digital Library)

22 thoughts on “USC Picture Of The Night

  1. Since Helton is not a good enough coach to create new memories and moments for USC football, it looks like we will just have to remember the good old days.

    Hey Blogger, maybe your next post can ask fans “What has been the most epic, earth – shattering and memorable moment from the Clay Helton era?



    Liked by 4 people

    1. Happy New Year everyone!

      Since we are strolling down memory lane…

      On this date: Jan. 4, 2006, USC played in the greatest college game ever played!



  2. That game was one for the ages. Trojan win kept ND from finishing #1.

    Scottie, the historical posts are truly great. If only there was someone in the administration who had any sense of the historical significance of football for understanding the soul of the university.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Scott doing what Scott does best: Reminding us of another time……

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I still remember the 14-13 Halloween trick or treat loss to Washington that season and how upset the fans around us were. It ended up costing us the Rose Bowl.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember my parents being livid upon hearing the bowl news. There was also something about repeating the rose bowl. But those were the days that limited teams to the conference bowl and no other. The decision ended the season for the team.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Correct…B10 and PCC/AAWU/PAC8 rule for Rose Bowl was a no repeat , it was from the 40’s…and the only Conf Champs went to a bowl or any ncaa playoffs, included Bsktbl, and that was into the 70’s. BOB BOYDS 28-2 SC TEAM was finished at seasons end …no ncaa tourney for them,only ucla went.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. My brother and I were sitting in the closed end of the Coliseum which is where the TD pass was caught….the place exploded with cheering…Coliseum was always full for SC vs ND and ucla…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, gt.
        As for me, I was a grammar school kid .. ..listening to my transistor radio….and saying prayers for USC


      1. Yes…and do you know who called it, tebow? None other than Monte’s little boy, Lane. He told Carroll that Notre Dame’s defensive back kept inching toward scrimmage on every snap.


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