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College Football Ghosts Rattle Around 85-year old Yankee Stadium
College football ghosts at Yankee Stadium are among the oldest, and most familiar, of any that are rattling around the 85-year-old sports shrine.
It was at Yankee Stadium that Knute Rockne gave his “Win one for the Gipper” halftime speech, which supposedly motivated a struggling Notre Dame team to a 12-6 victory over undefeated Army in 1928.
It was at Yankee Stadium that Vince Lombardi played his final game as a member of Fordham University’s storied “Seven Blocks of Granite” offensive line in 1936. (Fordham lost to rival NYU, 7-6, before 50,000 fans.)
It was at Yankee Stadium that Army and Notre Dame, meeting for a 22nd consecutive season there in 1946, stymied each other in a scoreless tie - the least expected result for a crowd of 74,000 gathered to watch the November duel between two unbeaten juggenauts each averaging more than 30 points a game. Army would play Notre Dame at the Stadium only once more after that, a 45-0 Notre Dame blowout in 1969.
The first college game played in Babe Ruth’s house closely followed the inaugural baseball season there - Syracuse edged Pittsburgh, 3-0, on Oct. 20, 1923 and NYU soon made the stadium its home, playing at least one game (and, most years, a full home schedule) there every season through 1948. NYU discontinued football in 1953.
There even was a bowl game in The Bronx in 1962 - the ill-fated Gotham Bowl - when 14-degree cold in mid-December and a publicity-killing New York newspaper strike combined to produce only 6,166 people to watch Nebraska beat Miami. The last of the Stadium’s college grid ghosts were provided by the Whitney M. Young Urban League Classic, which featured historically black colleges - most often Grambling - but left for Giants Stadium in 1988 after a 17-year run.
Irish won one for the Gipper
By John Jeansonne, New York Newsday