Sophomore John Lujack, from Connellsville (PA) High School, stepped in to fill the quarterbacking shoes when Angelo Bertelli left Notre Dame in 1943 to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. Lujak led the Irish (525 yards passing and four touchdown passes) to victory in three of the four remaining games. He starred in the 26-0 win over Army, throwing for two TDs, running for another and intercepting a pass. In the 1943-44 academic year, Lujack also lettered in basketball, baseball, and track, making him Notre Dame’s first four-sport letterman since 1912.
After his stint with the Navy during the war, Lujack returned for the 1946 season (8-0-1) in which he may be most remembered for a stellar defensive play. Lujack’s tackle, from his defensive back position, of Army fullback Doc Blanchard, preserved a scoreless tie and allowed the Irish to remain undefeated for the season and secure Notre Dame’s fifth national title. Lujack, 6-0, 180, earned unanimous All-American honors that year.
His Heisman 1947 year included leading Notre Dame to another national championship with a 9-0-0 record. His individual stats included a .559 completion percentage and nine touchdown passes. His combined Notre Dame passing totals included 14 touchdowns and 1569 passing yards. In addition to the Heisman, Lujack garnered unanimous All-American honors again, and the Associated Press male athlete of the year award.
Lujack went on to play for the Chicago Bears and served as an assistant coach with Notre Dame in 1953-54. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1960.