1949 College Football Recap
The 1940's came to a close with Notre Dame winning its third national title in four years. If coach Frank Leahy still wasn't being mentioned in the same breath with Knute Rockne, he was getting mighty close. ND hadn't lost a game since Leahy's return from the war in 1946.
The Irish reclaimed the summit of the AP poll in early October and were challenged only by unranked SMU in the last game of the season. Trailing 13–0 at the half, the Mustang's junior halfback Kyle Rote thrilled the home fans in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns to tie the score at 20–all. Notre Dame responded with a 57–yard scoring drive to win 27–20 and extend its unbeaten string to 38 games.
Irish end Leon Hart received nearly all of the postseason player awards, including ND's third Heisman of the decade (Hart was only the second lineman in 15 years to win the prize).
Bud Wilkinson, whose teams would dominate the 1950's much as Leahy's Irish ruled the '40s, directed 2nd-ranked Oklahoma to 10 straight regular season wins and a Sugar Bowl rout of No.9 LSU.
No.3 California went 10–0 for the second season in a row, but lost its second consecutive Rose Bowl. Army (9–0) and College of the Pacific (11–0) were the other major undefeated teams. Pacific, with 5–foot 8–inch Eddie LeBaron at quarterback, outscored its opponents 575–66.