November 15, 1969 - The Michigan Rivalry Resumes

By Olson

Editor's Note: With the ND-Michigan series ending for the foreseeable future, let's take a look back at what led to the series starting back up in the 70s.

Irish AD Moose Krause had worked for a number of years to renew the football rivalry with Michigan. Finally a series of Freshmen Football contests between the two schools was arranged-beginning in 1969 (these scheduled contests would turn to JV games by the early 70s).

The Irish had not played Michigan since the varsity squads had clashed in 1943 (Notre Dame won that one 35-12 on their way to a National Championship)

This was a small beginning that afternoon 45 years ago -having the Freshmen squads of the two schools met.

This Frosh game was held in Notre Dame Stadium on a snowy (and windy) Saturday afternoon. The ND Varsity was in Atlanta for a night game later that same evening on National TV vs Georgia Tech.

The ND Observer reported that only 500 'chilled partisans' were in attendance in the Stadium (I told you it was a small beginning).

AD Moose was with the varsity in Atlanta and missed the results of his hard work.

The Game:

The Irish frosh started poorly- fumbling in Wolverine territory at the 41. Michigan got one first down and on 4th and 9 from the 29, tried a FG. ND frosh DB Dan O'Toole (Oklahoma City, OK) blocked the kick.

Neither team did much until midway through the second quarter when the Irish started a drive. ND QB Jim Bulger (Pittsburgh, PA) took off on a 30 yd scamper to the Mich 28.

On the very next play Bulger added 15 more. Irish HB Larry Parker (Cincinnati,OH) then gained 8 to the 5. Irish FB Mike Webb (New Castle, DE & later twice the Bengal Bouts Hwyt champ) took a hand off to the one foot line.

From there the Irish went backwards. An offside put the ball on the 5. Bulger gained 2. A Bulger pass to Willie Townsend SE (Hamilton,OH) was incomplete in the end zone. On 4th the Irish went for it but Parker was stopped at the 2.

No points for the Irish as they surrendered possession- still 0-0

The Michigan Frosh punched the ball out to their own 32 and decided to go for it on 4th down. ND DE Tyrone Robinson (Philadelphia,PA) stuffed the Wolverine running back for no gain and the Irish took over with 1:13 left in the half.

The Irish didn't need to use much of the clock. On the first play, QB Bulger hit SE Willie Townsend with a 32 yd TD strike. Mike Creaney (Towson, MD) kicked the XP 7-0 Irish

ND received the second half kickoff and returned it to their 35. After two incomplete passes, on 3rd & 10, HB Parker took off on a 62 yd run-barely caught from behind on a diving shoestring tackle.

Irish HB Dennis Gutowski (Hobart, IN) then carried the ball twice-the second for a TD, and after Creaney's XP it was ND Frosh 14 Michigan Frosh 0

Michigan responded by attempting a pass on their first play after the kickoff. Irish LB Pat McGraw (Ft Collins, CO) intercepted the ball and returned it to the Wolverine 8.

However once gain the Irish went backwards from there: an illegal procedure penalty was followed by a 9 yd loss on a QB sack. Creaney attempted a 38 yd FG in what was said to be a 20 mph cross wind-it was wide left.

The Wolverines continued to be bottled up by a strong Irish defense-led by LBs McGraw, Jim Musuraca (E Liverpool,OH), and Eric Bottcher (Chicago-Gordon Tech) and DL Tom Freistroffer (Ft Wayne, IN), Ty Robinson and DBs O'Toole and Ken Schlezes (Sioux City, IA)

After a short Wolverine punt from their own endzone, ND took over at the 29. The ND offense failed to move the ball, but Creaney came in to kick a 42 yd FG (the winds were said to be stronger than at the time of Mike's earlier miss).

ND Frosh 17 Michigan Frosh 0

Finally, with 3:37 left in the contest Michigan scored-but it wasn't the tough Irish defense that gave up the points.

ND's Pat McGraw had his punt blocked by Wolverine Gerry Schumaker with teammate Clint Spearman scooping the ball up at the 15 and strolling into the endzone.

FINAL Notre Dame Frosh 17 Michigan Frosh 7

The Irish varsity also won over GT later that evening 38-20; and afterwards voted to go to the Cotton Bowl(ending a 45 year ban on bowl contests for ND football teams)

All in all, Moose had a pretty good day.

1969 Freshmen Roster

  • Tom Beecher T Glen Mills Pa Salesianum(Del)
  • Marty Best HB Peoria, Ill Bergan - became one of ND's all time best golfers
  • Joe Borbely G Akron, O Garfield
  • Eric Bottcher LB Chicago Gordon Tech - transferred to Kansas
  • Jim Brady QB Tempe,Az Coronado - transferred to Arizona St
  • Herb Briick T Hinsdale, Il Hinsdale Twsp
  • Jim Bulger QB Pittsburgh Central Catholic
  • Tony Caridi T Niagara Falls NY Niagara Falls
  • Mike Creaney DE-K Towson Md (listed as 'Bob') Loyola
  • Darryll Dewan QB/HB Danbury,CT Danbury
  • Dave Drew C-LB Vestal NY Vestal - was the starting C for the '72 Irish
  • Mike Escalante LB Sherman Oaks, Cal N Dame - transferred to San Diego ST
  • Ed Fiber HB Fremont, O St Joes
  • Tom Freistroffer DE Ft Wayne Ind Central Catholic - was a starting DE in '72...after having to sit behind Patulski and Swendsen for a couple of years waiting his turn
  • Terry Garner DB/SE Canton O Central Catholic
  • Dennis Gutowski HB Hobart Ind Andrean - was a 10 flat 100 man who got hurt on his very first carry in his varsity career
  • Gary Hagan E Alton Ill Alton Senior
  • Joe Haggar CB TX Dallas Jesuit
  • Walker Holloway T Merced, Cal Our Lady of Mercy
  • Bob Johnson C Lathrup Village Mich U of Detroit HS
  • Tom Knight TE St Louis Mo Christian Bros
  • Dick Maciag DT Buffalo NY HC Technical
  • John Kondrk OT/G Hopelawn NJ Woodbridge - was a starting guard in '71-also ran afoul of ND rules
  • Pat McGraw LB Ft Collins Col Shattuck
  • Vernon Miller HB N Olmsted OH N Olmstead HS - transferred
  • Jim Musuraca LB E Liverpool,OH E Liverpool HS
  • Jim O'Malley LB Youngstown,OH Chaney - was pretty good (2 yr starter) and played in the NFL for the Broncos
  • Dan O'Toole DB Oklahoma City OK Casadt
  • Larry Parker HB Cincinnati O Elder - took his first varsity handoff 60+ yds for a td vs Purdue...later kicked out of school
  • Tyrone Robinson DE/DT Philadelphia,Pa Olney
  • Bob Roemer QB S Holland Ill thornridge - was a great catcher on the Irish baseball team
  • Jim Roolf SE-S-P Leetsdale Pa Quaker Valley
  • Ken Schlezes S Sioux City Ia Heelan
  • Scott Smith K Dallas Jesuit
  • Pat Steenberge QB Erie Pa Cathedral Prep
  • Doug Stombaugh DE Rolling Prairie Ind New Praire
  • John Tereschuk TE Long Beach Cal Pius X
  • Willie Townsend SE Hamilton, O Garfield
  • Mike Webb FB New Castle, Del Salesianum - was always on the verge of being a great LB (converted from Fullback) but was injured a lot
  • Tom Wright HB Sparta NJ Sparta

Original Post:

1969 vs Michigan Frosh (H) WON 17-7

This game was the pride and joy of Irish AD Moose Krause who had been working for years to reestablish a football rivalry between the Notre Dame and Michigan. The Irish had not played the Wolverines since 1943, and only twice since 1909. This freshmen football game would be the first in a series of meetings (frosh teams and then later JV teams) between the two schools that eventually led to the varsity squads renewing a series in the late 70s.

Irish frosh Mike Creaney was the star of the game (as a kicker)-at least according to the 'Scholastic Football Review' write-up:

Playing with a badly bruised foot, no less, Creaney just missed a 47 yard attempt (it had the distance but was wide right).....he split the uprights with a 42 harder in a 20 mile per hour gale. Also on note was the fact that not one of his kickoffs was shorter than the Wolverines 5 yard line.

Jim Bulger played QB for the Irish and hit SE Willie Townsend with a td pass. HB Larry Parker was the leading rusher for ND.

Keywords: michigan, freshman football, moose krause, georgia tech, observer, dan otoole, jim bulger, larry parker, mike webb, bengal bouts, willie townsend, tyrone robinson, mike creaneydennis gutowski, pat mcgraw, jim musuraca, eric bottcher, tom freistroffer, ken schlezes

Posted On: 2014-09-05 00:15:01 by Olson
Edited On: 2014-11-15 05:10:14 by IrishTrpt07


      Were you there? Have more to add? Leave a comment and let us know!

   Posted By: Rodrick at 2017-03-03 11:44:21[#3]
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Reply To
   Posted By: olson at 2015-05-17 08:14:08[#2]

Gary Hagen from Alton, Ill was not on the 1969 ND frosh football team. Hagen had signed a letter of intent with ND but signed a MLB contract with the Braves. Hagen had been drafted by the Braves in the 12th rd of the 1969 MLB draft
Reply To
   Posted By: Tyrone Robinson at 2014-09-08 05:08:12[#1]
Yes, I played in that game. I played linebacker that day. I remember the score as 10 - 7. I intercepted a pass in the 4th QTR.\r
Tyrone Robinson
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