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EXCERPT | October 31, 1977

Dressed to Thrill

Notre Dame donned green jerseys and blitzed USC

The Fighting Irish were ranked 11th, while the Trojans, led by tailback Charles White, were No. 5. Douglas S. Looney reported for SI.

Dan Devine is not considered to be cut from the same oratorical bolt as those coaches who have preceded him at Notre Dame. His propensity for incomplete sentences often leaves interviewers in shock. His idea of a pregame speech would be "Don't forget your helmets, men." Up there Rockne has been groaning.

But Devine found a different way to pump up his team before its meeting with USC. He ordered green jerseys for the wearin' on Saturday—the first time the Fighting Irish had donned such shirts since 1963. The players, who warmed up in their usual dark blue jerseys, didn't know of the ploy until they were handed their game shirts back in the locker room moments before kickoff. When Notre Dame came onto the field, the crowd of 59,075 erupted into startled cheers.

The result was that, outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Fighting Irish throttled USC 49--19. The victory came at an opportune moment. The Irish, a No. 1 preseason pick by many, had been unimpressive against mediocre opposition (they hadn't faced a top 20 team except for Pitt) and were even beat by Mississippi. But with this win and a 5--1 record, most of the major bowls are lusting after Notre Dame. Up there Rockne is smiling.

Notre Dame finished the regular season 10--1 and won the national title by beating No. 1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl 38--10.

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Photograph by TONY TOMSIC

EMERALD STYLE Joe Montana began his junior season as a third-string quarterback but was the starter by the time Notre Dame met USC. Against the Trojans, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer rushed for a pair of touchdowns and threw for two more.