It's the year 2000, and #1 ranked Nebraska has come into South Bend to face the then-unranked Fighting Irish. ESPN Gameday has set up shop in front of Touchdown Jesus, and the campus is positively electric. Nebraska fans show up in droves and envelop the stadium in a sea of red, to the chagrin of many Notre Dame supporters, but the game proves completely compelling, as a Joey Getherall punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter brought the game to a stalemate. Following a stop of the explosive Nebraska offense lead by impending Heisman winner Eric Crouch, the Notre Dame offense takes the ball back at their own 30 with 1:07 to go – and promptly plays for overtime.
What if Bob Davie had anything resembling male gonads, and had gone for the win against Nebraska?
Only Bob Davie could find a way to create boos in Notre Dame stadium when an unranked Irish team was tied against the #1 team in the country in the fourth quarter with the ball. In a move that showed no faith in the team that experts said had no business against big bad Nebraska, in a move that threw a giant bucket of cold water on a home crowd that was buzzing with electricity, and in a move that showed complete disregard for the Notre Dame magic that dictated before this game that no team came to South Bend ranked #1 and left the same, that son of a bitch Bob Davie ran it up the middle twice to run out the clock and play for overtime.
In the then-new overtime system, Notre Dame was forced to settle for a field goal, and on Nebraska’s first possession, Crouch skittered into the end zone on a 7-yard run for the win. Rather than going with the overwhelming momentum and energy, Bob Davie decided he was better off giving Nebraska another chance to score points in exchange for 55 yards.
Make no mistake: Notre Dame was competitive in that game in spite of Bob Davie. Like the 2005 USC game, you could feel that the energy around the stadium was going to dictate something special. The game went to overtime thanks to the explosive returns of Julius Jones and Getherall, the gritty play of the defense that walked the tight rope all game of containing the violent Cornhusker offense, and the Herculean effort of Arnaz Battle, who broke his wrist on the first play of the game but still rushed for 107 yards. The legacy of Notre Dame football was simply not going to allow a loss, and it was poised to write another proud chapter in our history. And then Bob Davie stuck his big dumb fat head into the picture, spilling ink all over the page and ruining everything.
Naturally, doomed Nebraska coach Frank Solich agreed with the moron.
“I agree with Coach Davie on letting the clock run out,” said Husker coach Solich. “The last thing you want in that situation is a turnover.”If Bob Davie was anything resembling a bold and courageous human being, he would have recognized the epic moment before him, huddled the offense together before that final possession, and told them that they were meant to win this game. As mentioned before, every time Nebraska’s superior athletes took the lead, the Notre Dame magic lit a spark and brought the game back into grasp. Notre Dame would have needed to drive 50 yards in a minute to get into kicker Nick Setta’s range. While not a gimme, it's certainly not a gargantuan task, and it's certainly a risk worth taking considering the situation.
Again, when Bob Davie decided to play it safe, to play not to lose, to play to put on a good show to appease the detractors after his 5-7 season the year prior, he robbed Notre Dame of what should have been a rightful heir to the moments that make people say, “It’s Notre Dame.”
It’s no guarantee that Notre Dame would have been able to kick the winning field goal, and it’s possible a fumble or interception (despite giving up only one turnover all game on a tipped pass) could have occurred and given Nebraska the win. But being in that stadium, seeing the players make big plays to keep the team in grasp of the win, and feeling that we were in “the moment,” the worst thing that could be done was remove any possibility of victory.
In short, Notre Dame had done everything necessary and was poised to add another legend to the lore, and I’m a firm believer that it would have happened.
In conclusion, this is why Bob Davie is worthy of nothing better than your perpetual scorn. Thank you.