How It All Started
The LSU-Notre Dame Rivalry
Notre Dame 3
November 21, 1970
by Bryan Follins
Article first printed in December of 2006 on sincitytigers.com
South Bend, IN---LSU and Notre Dame met for the first time on a football field on this late Fall Saturday. The Fighting Irish came into the game ranked second in the country, and leading the nation in total offense, averaging 540 yards a game.
However an undersized LSU defense was up to the task, limiting the Irish to 224 yards of total offense in the meeting. The contest was a hard hitting defensive struggle. The Tiger front seven led by the likes of Ronnie Estay, Art Davis, Bobbie Joe King, and John Sage harassed Notre Dame All-American quarterback Joe Theismann the entire afternoon. LSU sacked Theismann a total of four times. The Tigers caught Notre Dame running backs for 53 yards in losses in the game.
The Irish defense behind lineman Walt Patulski was just as ferocious, stopping LSU runners for 87 yards behind the line of scrimmage in the encounter.
The Tiger secondary, led by All-American Tommy Casanova, held Notre Dame All-American wide receiver Tom Gatewood to four catches for 21 yards on the day.
Both teams did have scoring opportunities during the game. The Tigers turned away the Irish in the first quarter when Lloyd Fry cracked Notre Dame running back Daryl Dewan at the LSU four, causing a fumble which the Bengals recovered.
Dewan, Notre Dame’s leading rusher, was held to a minus one yard rushing in the game.
LSU running back Art Cantrelle led all runners with 94 yards in the contest.
The Tigers had two scoring opportunities in the game, but Mark Lumpkin missed a 49-yard field goal in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter LSU recovered a fumble on the Notre Dame 34-yard line. However the Irish defense held and Lumpkin had a 31-yard field goal blocked.
In the final stanza with the Tigers pinned in their own territory, LSU punter Wayne Dickinson lofted a kick to Notre Dame returner Mike Crotty at the LSU 42-yard line. Crotty returned the kick to the LSU thirty six. On the first offensive play Theismann threw a pass to teammate Ed Gulyas. The pass was incomplete but Tiger defensive back James Earley was flagged for pass interference. This led to a 24-yard field goal by Notre Dame kicker Scott Hempel with 2:54 left in the game, giving the Irish a 3-0 win.
The pass interference call was suspect, and it led to a Notre Dame win that lit the fuse to a very intense rivalry between the two schools. The loss left Tigers fans seething until the rematch the next season.
Notes: LSU had two defensive players on the 1970 squad who were Associated Press (AP) All-Americans. One was Tommy Casanova. Click the link below to read more on Casanova.
The other player was linebacker Mike Anderson. If the name sounds familiar click the link below.
Notre Dame quarterback Joe Theismann went on to have a productive career as a pro quarterback. Click the link below:
Notre Dame offensive lineman Larry DiNardo was also an AP All-American in 1970. His brother Gerry DiNardo, would be an All-American offensive lineman for Notre Dame later in the 1970s. The younger DiNardo would eventually become the head football coach at LSU.
Despite the loss: LSU would play in the Orange Bowl against Nebraska: coming up on the wrong end of a 17-12 score.