Lujack was considered one of the greatest T-formation collegiate quarterbacks of all times. Filling in for Angelo Bertelli, who went into the Marines in 1943, he quarterbacked a 26-0 victory over the previously unbeaten Army Cadets. Johnny Lujack threw for two scores, ran for another and intercepted a pass during his first victory against the Cadets.
The 1947 Heisman Trophy winner gained 2,080 yards for the Irish in three years and achieved a marvelous passing record of 144 completions out of 282 throws. His accurate arm accounted for many of Notre Dame's 24 victories while at the Golden Dome. Lujack ended up helping the Irish to three national titles and establishing a reputation as one of the great T-formation signalcallers in college football history.
Lujack earned consensus All-America honors as a junior and senior on Notre Dame teams in 1946 and '47 that did not lose a game. No slouch as a runner (he also played halfback as a sophomore), Lujack also punted and probably made his greatest individual play on defense. He preserved a scoreless tie in '46 between the second ranked Irish and top-ranked Army by making a touchdown-saving tackle of Cadet fullback Doc Blanchard from his defensive back position. As a junior, he finished third in the Heisman voting behind Army's Glenn Davis. As a senior, he earned the Associated Press male athlete of the year award. Lujack played four years with the Chicago Bears, leading the team in scoring each year, tying a record with eight interceptions as a rookie, throwing for a record 468 yards in one game in '49 and playing in the NFL Pro Bowl his last two seasons.
An Irish backfield coach for two years following his retirement in '52, Lujack then ran an automobile dealership in Davenport, Iowa, until he retired in 1988. He was elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1960. Lujack recently gave $200,000 to Notre Dame to establish an academic scholarship endowment.
1947 Heiman Voting
1. John Lujack, Notre Dame (742)
2. Bob Chappuis, Michigan (555)
3. Doak Walker, SMU (196)
4. Charley Conerly, Mississippi (186)
5. Harry Gilmer, Alabama (115)
6. Bobby Layne, Texas (74)
7. Chuck Bednarik, Penn (65)
8. Bill Swiacki, Columbia (61)
Tom Harmon | Bruce Smith | Frank Sinkwich | Angelo Bertelli | Les Horvath | Doc Blanchard | Glenn Davis | Johnny Lujack | Doak Walker | Leon Hart
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