Sept. 29, 1999
Perhaps the biggest worry for Irish head coach Terry Brennan going into the 1957 was to avoid repeating the disaster of the previous season.
Brennan had watched his coaching record slide downward tremendously in his third season. The Irish began the season ranked third in country but by the end of the season, Brennan’s crew finished with just two wins and eight losses.
Brennan appeared to have corrected the problems as the Irish won their first four games of the 1957 season. Then Notre Dame dropped two to Navy and Michigan State. Heading into the Oklahoma contest, the Irish appeared somewhat bruised after a 34-6 loss to the Spartans.
On the other hand, Oklahoma appeared as strong as ever. Sooner head coach Bud Wilkinson’s team set out for its eighth straight victory. In fact, Oklahoma had not lost since 1953. The last loss came at the hands of the Irish, 28-21.
Brennan’s crew wanted nothing more than revenge after last year’s trouncing when Oklahoma steamrolled over Notre Dame, 40-0.
The November 16 contest brought a lot of hoopla with it. While the game was played in Norman, Notre Dame campus remained a buzz about the football game.
Perhaps the strongest testimony of the game’s hype came in the Student Senate meeting on campus. The Student Senate initially approved the idea of broadcasting the cheers of the student body on the sidelines of the game in Norman. Yet, the administration rejected the proposal saying that it was not in the spirit of the game.
The unranked Irish went play-for-play with the second-ranked Sooners. Notre Dame repeatedly found itself battling to get out of its own territory and being forced to punt time and again..
Oklahoma had its share of problems with the Irish defense. Notre Dame silenced the powerful all-American Sooner halfback Clendon Thomas.
The hard fought battle all came down to a single play with less than four minutes to play. On fourth down, Irish halfback Dick Lynch got the handoff from Irish quarterback Carl Hebert and scored the only touchdown of the game on a three-yard run.
The unranked Irish edged the second-ranked Sooners, 7-0 in the storied battle. The Notre Dame victory halted Oklahoma’s four-year winning streak at 47 games.
Brennan found himself so overwhelmed with the school spirit that he thanked the Notre Dame student body for its show of support. He wrote a note addressing the students and thanking them for all the school spirit, which they had shown in the campus publication.
Notre Dame finished the 1957 season with a record of 7-3.