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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

History of the matchup: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State

Notre Dame running back Chris Tyree (25) pushes through Ohio State defenders during the game between Notre Dame and Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

Notre Dame and Ohio State are undoubtedly two historic football programs. 

The Buckeyes boast a total of eight national championships, with their most recent coming in the 2014-15 season. This was a team which had dominant players like running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Cardale Jones.   

The Fighting Irish have won 11 national championships, but their most recent title was back in 1988, under legendary head coach Lou Holtz. 

Although the programs are historic, both teams are current national powerhouses. Both teams have made the College Football Playoff. However, Ohio State has had much more recent success than the Irish, who have yet to win a playoff game. Despite this, the Irish and Buckeyes are both more than relevant this year. Notre Dame and OSU are both in the AP Poll top ten for the upcoming matchup. Notre Dame has finally found their missing piece — a quarterback — and Ohio State has continued their consistent play under Ryan Day.

Despite a distance of fewer than 300 miles between South Bend and Columbus, the teams have only met a total of seven times, two of which were bowl games. The Irish do not have a good track record against the Buckeyes. They have only won twice, while Ohio State has won all five of the last meetings. 

The two sides met in an entertaining game last year in week one. It was Ryan Day and Marcus Freeman’s first meeting. The Horseshoe had an amazing atmosphere which proved difficult for the Irish. The stagnant Irish offense and the Buckeyes’ firepower was too much for Notre Dame to overcome in the second half.  Notre Dame went on to lose 10-21. 

The previous matchup before that saw Brian Kelly and Urban Meyer square up in the Fiesta Bowl. Notre Dame was riddled with injuries that game, including Jaylon Smith’s costly leg injury from an unnecessary push after J.T. Barrett was already down. The Irish dropped that game 28-44. 

The last time the Irish beat the Buckeyes in 1936, before World War II and at the tail end of the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president. Lou Holtz wasn’t even born yet. 

This Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Notre Dame Stadium, Marcus Freeman has a chance to do what no Irish coach has done since 1936 — beat Ohio State. If history tells us anything, it's that the Buckeyes have a leg up. But maybe the Irish are due. Sam Hartman has looked great this year and Audric Estime leads all rushers in college football with 521 total yards. If the Irish are ever going to beat Ohio State, this Saturday could be it.

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