Location: The Coliseum (Los Angeles)
Result: 27-25, USC
Given how spectacular he was with the San Francisco 49ers, it's easy to forget that Joe Montana did have to play in college at some point too. For those who aren't familiar, when Joe Cool was a college boy, he suited up for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And even in school Montana was still a big-time winner, leading Notre Dame to national title during his junior season in 1977, after they defeated the Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl, 38-10.
However, the following season wasn't as kind to the Golden Domers, who opened the year with two straight losses before they ripped off an eight-game win streak leading up to their annual rivalry game against USC. The Trojans, ranked no. 3 at the time, presented a stiff challenge to Montana and his Irish, as the two sides came together to play one of the best games that the rivalry has ever seen. Though USC dominated for most of the game, and led 24-6 to start the fourth quarter, Montana came alive in the final period of play, carrying Notre Dame on his back and giving them a 25-24 lead with just 45 seconds left to play. Unfortunately for Joe, that would prove to be just enough time for the Trojans to take the game back from the Irish, as their QB, Paul McDonald, brought the team into field goal range to regain the win. Southern Cal would go on to win the national title that year after they defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl, while Montana was able to redeem himself in the Cotton Bowl after a come-from-behind victory over Houston.