Parseghian Upset By Fumble Call
DALLAS -- Amid the rubble of the Notre Dame dressing room, suddenly there was former President Lyndon B. Johnson congratulating head coach Ara Parseghian after his Irish had lost to No. 1 ranked Texas 21-17 in the Cotton Bowl Thursday, "Do you have a plaque for Darrell, too?" Parseghian said, breaking into a grin for the first time since entering the dressing room with his defeated team. President Nixon already has presented the Longhorns with a plaque declaring them national champions.
"I was proud of every man on that field today," Johnson told Parseghian. Up to that point, Parseghian had been understandably glum in recapping the loss. Parseghian was particularly upset about a controversial call in the second quarter when Texas had 10 men on the field. "I am mystified by the whole thing," Parseghian said. "I asked the official how in the name of heaven can they keep from being penalized." A Texas substitute was entering the game just as the play started but the official ruled there was no play. James Street fumbled and Notre Dame recovered on the Texas 6. It was disallowed.
Parseghian also commented on another call against Irish quarterback Joe Theismann, who was ruled down while trying to pass. "Theismann was ready to throw the ball and the guy blew the whistle and said he was down," Parseghian said. "But things happen. I'm not criticizing the officials." Theismann had his own version of what happened. "I still don't understand that," Theismann said. "I was hit by one man, got away and another man hit me and was hanging on when I tried to throw. "He (the official) said "You were standing still."