Turn Back the Clock: Nov. 7, 1953

A Comeback Falls Short against Notre Dame, 28-20
November 7, 1953

You don’t hear about the Quakers playing Notre Dame much these days ... or at all.

In 1953, however, Penn football was still big time, and they came very close to taking down the Fighting Irish.

But it was also a fighting effort for the Red and Blue.

That year, Penn played teams such as Michigan, Army and Ohio State, which included wins against Penn State, Navy and Vanderbilt.

As part of this extremely tough schedule, the Quakers scheduled No. 1 Notre Dame at Franklin Field.

The Fighting Irish quickly took a lead, and by the end of the first half, they were up 21-7, which included a 92-yard run by Notre Dame running back Johnny Lattner — who rushed 651 yards for the Irish that year— for a touchdown in the first quarter.

But the Mungermen made a major transition during the half and came back onto the field to outscore Notre Dame in the latter part of the game, 13-7.

The Quakers were unable to complete the comeback, though, even with a strong effort in the fourth quarter.

Penn quarterback Ed Gramigna attempted to end a drive down the field in a touchdown, but ultimately could not get the team into the end zone after Lattner intercepted a pass, ending the Quakers hopes of getting back into game contention.

Lattner was a tough obstacle for the Quakers. The RB won the Heisman Trophy that year and the Maxwell Award that year and the year before and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1954.

The Quakers would finish the season 3-5-1 and go 0-9 the next two years before some rebuilding, but this was the end of an era for the Red and Blue and Coach Munger’s final season.

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