A Famous Field Goal You May Be Waiting For

The 1978 USC-Notre Dame game is remembered for a field goal.

But so much more happened. USC led 24-6 with 14 minutes left and then almost had a reverse repeat of the 1974 classic vs. the Irish.

Joe Montana threw a 57-yard TD pass to Kris Haines with 13:26 left. Then Pete Buchanan scored on a 1-yard TD with 3:01 remaining. With 46 seconds left, Montana hit Pete Holohan on a 2-yard TD pass and No. 8-ranked Notre Dame led No. 3-ranked USC, 25-24.

“I don’t know if there were many believers after Notre Dame scored,” John Robinson said. “Except for the guys in the red jerseys.”

With 40 seconds left, Paul McDonald threw a 10-yard pass to Vik Rakhshani (in motion). On the next play, controversy erupted as McDonald was hit and fumbled. Notre Dame recovered but the officials said it was an incomplete pass.

“If it was a bad decision then that was the ball game,” Notre Dame coach Dan Devine said.

With 19 seconds left, McDonald completed a 35-yard pass to Calvin Sweeney. Charles White then took a handoff and ran to the middle of the field to set up a field goal.

With six seconds left, Frank Jordan kicked a 37-yard FG and was mobbed by his teammates. Jordan was the hero but he could have easily been the goat before the kick because he missed an extra point and 20-yard FG.

“I was looking to redeem myself,” Jordan said. “I was more nervous for the offense to get the ball downfield than I was kicking it.”

Montana also had a big mistake, fumbling on the USC 1-yard line. Herb Ward recovered the loose ball. Charles White gained 205 yards in 35 carries.

Marv Goux embraced many USC players by placing their heads in his hands and congratulating them

“It’s the greatest football game I’ve ever seen, but maybe every USC-Notre Dame is,” USC coach John Robinson said.

The field goal preserved USC’s chances for a national title, which the Trojans shared that season.

USC players celebrate after Frank Jordan (3) kicks a field goal in the final six seconds to give the Trojans a 27-25 victory over Notre Dame in 1978.
USC celebrates its 27-25 victory over Notre Dame

11 thoughts on “A Famous Field Goal You May Be Waiting For

  1. Famous field? Huh?
    Who is your editor?
    Take a deep breath and just let Owns do a quick review.
    He’s got nothing else to do in your basement anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Owns would have given anything to have been there that day, in a Trojan uniform, and to have placed his head in Coach Goux’s powerful hands for a congratulatory face hug….

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The one and only Frank Jordan!

    And you see the difference between the two coaches:

    JRob: “The guys in the red shirts believed in themselves, even if no one else did. Andy they came through at the end.”

    Dan Devine: “If that McDonald incomplete pass should have been ruled a fumble, then that cost us the ball game.”

    Dan, whatever happened to the luck of the irish?

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Greatest “Luck of the Irish” scene in movie history? In “Dodge Ball”
        Irishman Rip Torn is celebrating a dodge ball victory in his pub while standing under a 2 ton sign with “Luck of the Irish” written in big green letters on it —when it collapses on him.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Couldn’t agree more, 67. Check out Torn in the last episode of The Larry Sanders Show —best acting job ever on television. The way he pulled off his father/son relationship with the late/great Garry Shandling was right up there with Edward G. Robinson’s performance as Fred MacMurray’s mentor in Double Indemnity.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Michael, yes indeed, and perhaps that was the era that was the end of TV as an art form. We were lucky to have Rip for as long as we did. Shandling was taken way too soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Garry had said that he wanted a boxing referee to stand over the casket at his funeral —start the count —get to five —and then wave the fight off, saying “he’s not getting up.”
        Ya gotta love that guy!

        Liked by 1 person

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