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This date in IU football history: The Hoosiers stun defending national champion Notre Dame

October 21, 1950, Bloomington, Ind. —

Coming into the 1950 college football season, Notre Dame hadn’t lost a game since 1945, and the Fighting Irish were the defending national champions and ranked No. 1 in the country.

In 1949 the Irish dismantled Indiana in South Bend, 49-6.  That 1949 IU squad finished the season 1-8, and there was little reason to expect that they would put up much of a challenge when Notre Dame made the return trip to Bloomington in 1950.

Indiana made a statement in the game from the outset in front of 34,000 fans at the old Memorial Stadium.

After the IU defense forced a three-and-out on the game’s first series, punt returner Gene Gedman brought the kick back 61 yards to the Notre Dame 19.  Indiana quarterback Lou D’Achille found Don Luft in the end zone for a touchdown pass and a quick 6-0 Hoosiers lead.

South Bend native Bobby Robertson wore out Notre Dame on Indiana’s second drive as the Hoosiers marched 80 yards for a second touchdown and a 13-0 lead, a margin that held up until halftime.

The Hoosiers made a huge statement coming out of the halftime locker rooms and put the game out of reach.

On the first play from scrimmage Robertson dashed through a gaping opening created by the offensive line, used his quick feet to avoid a tackler, and then turned on the burners for an 83-yard run that both dazzled and stunned the home crowd.

Robertson gained 185 total yards in the game, more than the entire Notre Dame backfield.  Indiana’s defense limited the Fighting Irish to just 93 yards rushing and delivered an interception as well.

Indiana head coach Clyde B. Smith was just 8-27-1 in his four seasons leading the program in the footsteps of the legendary Bo McMillin.  But on this day he got the best of Hall of Fame coach Frank Leahy and the Irish 20-7.

The Hoosiers finished that 1950 campaign with a 3-5-1 mark, and they would lose again to Notre Dame in 1951 48-6.  The Irish went on to struggle through the 1950 season with a 4-4-1 mark.

The win was Indiana’s first in the series since 1906 and also the last.  The programs have met just six times since with the last meeting coming in 1991.  Indiana and Notre Dame will play a home-and-home series beginning in 2030.


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