Not a dream? Notre Dame in Hyundai Sun Bowl


Donít anybody wake me up. Iím still dreaming.

Notre Dame coming to El Paso to play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl? The UTEP football

team playing in a bowl game? Tim Floyd coaching the Miners basketball team? All

at the same time?  Incredible!


The most amazing part of the dream is Notre Dame playing in the Hyundai Sun

Bowl. I mean, weíre talking hallowed ground here. Weíre talking about the most

famous, most revered, most honored school in the history of college football.

Sun Bowl officials had been trying to get the Irish here for decades Ė all to no



WHEN WE TALK Notre Dame weíre also talking about 11 national championships, more

All-Americans than any other college (99), seven Heisman Trophy winners.

For goodness sake, weíre talking about national championship coaches Knute

Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, Lou Holtz and Heisman winners

Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack, Leon Hart, Johnny Lattner, Golden Boy Paul

Hornung, John Huarte and Tim Brown and other greats like The Four Horsemen, Joe

Theismann and my all-time favorite, Joe Montana.


AH, JOE MONTANA.   He will forever be remembered for his four Super Bowl victories

and his last-minute win over the Dallas Cowboys in January 1982 when he passed

to Dwight Clark for the winning score in the conference title game.  He was just as dramatic in college. He first came to notice at Notre Dame with two consecutive come from behind victories as a freshman sub in 1975. He entered the game against North Carolina with 5:11 to play and the Irish behind 14-6. In

one minute and two seconds of playing time, he had 129 passing yards and Notre

Dame won 21-14.In the next game, against Air Force, Montana was sent into the game in the

fourth quarter with Notre Dame trailing 30-10. In what has been described as one

of footballís greatest comebacks, Montana led the Irish to a 31-30 victory.


AND WHO CAN forget his performances against Texas teams? He led the Irish to a

38-10 thumping of the No. 1 ranked Longhorns in the 1978 Cotton Bowl to earn

Notre Dame the national championship,  The next year Notre Dame returned to the Cotton Bowl to face University of Houston. Montana's performance in that game is one of the most celebrated of his

football career. Itís been called the "Chicken Soup Game.Ē  Montana became ill during the game, received intravenous fluids at halftime, during which he also drank chicken soup, then returned in the fourth quarter. The Irish scored a touchdown with four seconds remaining and won 35-34.


THEREíS SO much other wonderful history about Notre Dame that we couldnít begin

to list even a tenth of it here. But you get the idea, and now you know why I

say Iím still dreaming. 


My family says itís true that Notre Dame is really coming to play in the Hyundai

Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, and against University of Miami, no less.  My friends also tell me itís true. And so does the media. And they tell me UTEP is really going to play Brigham Young in the New Mexico

Bowl in Albuquerque next Saturday, Dec. 18.  And they say Tim Floyd is really coaching the UTEP basketball team and already has a winning record.


WELL, OKAY.   Iíve seen men and women flying around in space, watched men walk on

the moon, seen incredible technological advances that boggle the mind so I guess

it is possible that Notre Dame will finally play in El Paso in the Hyundai Sun

Bowl.  But Iíll have to be there to see it actually happen before I believe Iím awake.


Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626,

by e-mail at or online at