There’s a great tradition of football in the Bronx and Notre Dame continued it with a 36-3 thumping of Syracuse, putting the Fighting Irish one win away from the College Football Playoff.
The third-ranked Irish defeated the number 12 team in the country in the highest-ranked matchup in the city since fifth-ranked Army tied against number six Illinois in 1947 at Yankee Stadium.
Bob Sheppard’s favorite Yankee Stadium moment was Pat Sunmerall’s field goal against the Browns in 1958, a few weeks before the Giants lost to the Colts in the NFL championship game that is considered to be the greatest game ever played. There were other classic games in the House that Ruth Built. The Giants beat the Bears 47-7 to win the 1956 NFL title. And Vince Lombardi led the Packers to their second straight title with a 16-7 win in 1962.
The 1946 game between number one Army and number two Notre Dame is the only college game to fester four Heisman trophy winners.
The new Yankee Stadium hosts the Pinstripe Bowl each year. Saturday’s win was the third for Brian Kelly at Yankee Stadium.
“Three-and-oh at Yankee Stadium. I love it,” Kelly said. “We’ve been here three times and each time we come back it’s been a really great experience for our football.”
Notre Dame beat Army in 2010 and defeated Rutgers in the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl.
Kelly thanked the Yankees organization and added, “We hold up our end of it by playing and winning so we’ll keep coming back.”
Notre Dame held a Syracuse offense averaging 44.4 points per game to a field goal with 10 seconds left.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead which could have been ever bigger if they came away with more than six points on three trips to the red zone.
Ian Book, who missed the previous game against Florida State with an injury, threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’ll probably never forget that picture of just walking into the stadium tonight,” he said. “It’s such a historical ballpark with two historical brands so just being able to make this happen tonight is awesome and I’ll never forget this night, ever.”
Chase Claypool caught six passes for a team-high 98 yards and one touchdown.
“It was awesome,” Claypool said of the Stadium. “Back home in Canada, we’re not too big on baseball so I wasn’t as pumped as some of the other guys, especially who are baseball fans but stepping in, it’s crazy when I didn’t know anything about baseball and I still got that feeling so I can only imagine if I was a huge baseball fan what it would feel like for these other guys, so it was cool.”
With the Jets and Giants having gone to New Jersey, this was probably the biggest game in the five boroughs since the Jets lost in the 1981 playoffs at Shea Stadium.
Of more importance to Notre Dame, the only thing standing between them and a trip to the CFP is 5-6 USC.
The game at Rose Bowl shouldn’t rattle them. At Yankee Stadium they showed they can handle the big stage.