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Days Of Future Past: How Does Ohio St. - Notre Dame Rank With Past Games Held at Notre Dame Stadium?

Written by: Cade Harper|Contributor|Twitter: CadeHarperIT

Photo by ON3

Now we all know Ohio St. - Notre Dame is a humungous game for this program and the fans with so much at stake and so much on the line for this season despite us only being 4 games into the season. Does it make it a must win? Possibly. Does it determine our only hope of making into the College Football Playoff? It could. However, back in late 80's all the way to early 2000's there was a very tough stretch of make it or break it games for the Irish, but how close does this coming Saturday's matchup rank up against those big games?

Photo by Rivals

Let's begin with a game that we all have a decently good memory of. In 1988 the Miami Hurricanes traveled to South Bend coming in as defending national champions and were undefeated at the time ranked at number one in the country, 4-0 to be exact, coincidence? I think not! This game was extremely entertaining to watch, but unfortunately for me I had to live it through by watching a replay on YouTube. From big pregame scuffles and a bunch of pushes and shoves, this game had the ultimate hype built around it to what we all know it as, "Catholics vs Convicts". Jimmy Johnson had multiple great seasons with the Hurricanes building them into one of the country's biggest brands back in the 90's - 2000's. Unfortunately for them, Lou Holtz had other plans and decided to crush their dreams of a repeat by not only beating the Hurricanes, but by going onto win the national championship in 1988. The stakes between this game to the Ohio State game aren't very different as I personally think any top 10 matchup where you are an underdog, is a pretty big game.

Photo by The Score

Forgive me for putting this in here as I'm sure we all wish we could forget this horrible night. The 2005 USC - Notre Dame game, otherwise known as "The Bush Push" was another one that comes to mind in recent memory that ranks up against this upcoming Saturday's game. As much as I truly hate to say it, this USC team was a force to be reckon with and were stacked on both sides of the ball. Heisman finalists Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush led their team to victory quite literally and illegally, in this top 10 showdown. As the year went on, Irish were 4-2 after this game, USC went on to lose in the national championship and all was well, thank you Vince Young. It really makes you wonder, what if the outcome were different? It felt like the hatred and rivalry grew an exponential amount after this game making it one of college football's biggest rivalries. Again, in correlation to the Ohio State game, this matchup went onto be one of the most memorable games held at Notre Dame Stadium despite the outcome being what it was by giving it its' own nickname.

2017 Georgia - Notre Dame was and still to this day is a nightmare for some fans. For me, it was one of those, "I'm just glad we aren't in the SEC." It was the second game of the season and Georgia was the first SEC opponent to travel to South Bend since 2005 when Tennessee came to town which was a fun 40 point win. For Georgia, that was not the case. This team flat out took over Notre Dame Stadium as if it was a home game in Athens. This was a big test for the Irish as it was the two programs first time meeting outside a bowl game. They dropped this one 20-19 but it was a fun experience, as some thought we would get curb stomped. Both teams finished the 2017 season ranked except like USC, Georgia went onto lose in the national championship. In a season where it felt like this team could really make it into the college football playoff, the run was cut short when we traveled to the Hurricanes and Stanford where we would fall to 10-3. How it ranks next to Ohio state you may ask? Their fanbases travel extremely well. Home field advantage is real and is something the Irish have seemed to lack when it comes to big games such as these. It is crucial to make sure the fans do their part for this and show up and show out to support the Irish in what is one of their biggest games this year.

Photo by The Observer

The biggest game that comes to mind the most recent I believe is 2022 Clemson. In what felt like a nightmare season, the unranked Irish hosted the number 4 ranked tigers and suddenly became a nightmare season for Clemson. Dropping games to Ohio state in the opening game, then the following game getting upset at home by Marshall, yes I said Marshall, was not the ideal start to Marcus Freeman's career as head coach. We suddenly found a spark in this game where we utterly just flat out dominated Dabo and his squad. This felt like a must win because if we didn't, it would demoralize the whole program especially after beating this team back in 2020. It felt like we were one of the top teams in the country despite being unranked, it almost didn't feel like an upset the way the Irish played that night. We finished the year strong dropping one more game to Stanford at home but tacking on wins against other ranked opponents such as BYU at the time. In ways to compare this game to Ohio state, they had a great team the year before. Now they have a new QB in Kyle McCord, like D.J. Uiagalelei, a good defensive unit, multiple talents at Wide Receiver. It almost matches up perfectly like the 2022 Clemson team, in this case, we have a top 10 match as the underdog again, this time? In our house.

Photo by Online Athens

"The Game of The Century." This game was saw by the world as one of the greatest football games of all time. Number 1 versus number 2, the Seminoles were naturally heavy favorites coming into this game. To get straight to the point, the Irish were unbelievably doubted coming into this match but turned out to shock the world by taking down one of the greatest college football coaches of all time in just so what happened to be one of the most entertaining college football games at this time. Like Ohio State, this team was one of the top 5 favorite's to win the national championship. While Notre Dame, despite having amazing talent on both sides of the ball and a highly ranked team, not so much favored to win much after this game. You can kind of see where this is going, great coach with a big squad who is in the hunt for a national championship year in and year out marches into South Bend not knowing what to expect. Now there's a ton of more games out there played in Notre Dame Stadium you can name such as 2000 Nebraska taking over Notre Dame. However, none of them truly stand that well next to these showdowns listed and what these games had at stake and how much it affected Notre Dame's season after these games were played. Could we have another national championship under our belt soon if we get past Ohio State and USC? Absolutely. In my personal opinion, the Irish looking phenomenal to start the year, we have potentially two Heisman finalists on our offense going against a well coached defense. While on the other side of the ball, the Irish defense has to contain the top Wide Receivers in the country. This should be a fun one to watch. To the fans, cherish this one no matter what, I'm looking forward to this weekend's game against the Buckeyes to be nothing short of amazing and packed out with green and hopefully not that ugly scarlet color.


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