Sep 2, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Sam Hartman (10) throws in the second quarter against the Tennessee State Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Notre Dame, NC State bring experienced QBs into battle

Back in the top 10 of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the first time in nearly a year, No. 10 Notre Dame plays its first true road game of the season on Saturday when it takes on NC State in Raleigh, N.C.

For the Fighting Irish (2-0), this matchup with the Wolfpack (1-0) marks the first of six games they will play against opponents in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Notre Dame, of course, still maintains its independence in football, but plays all of its other sports in the ACC and has a scheduling agreement with the league for games on the gridiron.

Saturday’s game is also noteworthy because it marks Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman’s return to North Carolina. Before joining the Irish this past offseason, Hartman spent five seasons at Wake Forest. He went 1-2 against NC State, losing both of his road starts.

In three games against the Wolfpack over his career, Hartman has thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions, rushed for a score and averaged 307.7 passing yards per game.

“I don’t know what happened when (Hartman) was at Wake Forest, but I bet you he’ll probably look at it, right? I don’t know how much we’ll study that as much as we’ll study what they did versus UConn,” second-year Irish coach Marcus Freeman said this week. “Not many quarterbacks have been very successful against (NC State’s) defense.”

Hartman has gotten off to a strong start this season, though, throwing six touchdowns to no interceptions while completing 82.5 percent of his passes in the Irish’s dominant wins over Navy and Tennessee State. So far, the Irish have outscored their opponents 98-6.

Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren called Hartman an “exceptional” quarterback this week.

“He’s been a really good player for a long time,” Doeren said of Hartman. “You can see his confidence and how he manages their offense. He gets the ball to the right people, makes plays with his feet when he needs to.”

Notre Dame might not have that same sort of offensive success against NC State. The Wolfpack tied for 11th in FBS in points allowed last season, giving up just 19.2 per game to opponents.

NC State opened this season with a 24-14 road win at UConn last Thursday. The Wolfpack tallied two sacks, an interception and six pass breakups. Still, fifth-year linebacker Payton Wilson knows NC State can be better on his side of the ball.

“We had a lot of busted plays and a lot of rushing yards. That’s not our identity,” Wilson said. “Our identity is to come down and hit rushers in the mouth.”

Like Notre Dame, NC State brings an experienced quarterback into the matchup with sixth-year senior Brennan Armstrong under center. He spent the previous five seasons at Virginia but has never faced Notre Dame before in his career.

In his debut for the Wolfpack, Armstrong threw for 155 yards and rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns against UConn.

“We can’t give him vertical lanes to step up and escape from,” Freeman said of Armstrong. “We’re going to have to keep him in the pocket.”

Notre Dame is 28-0 against ACC opponents in the regular season since 2018. It hasn’t lost to NC State since 2016.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) acknowledges the crowd after a sack in the second quarter against the Boston College Eagles. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

DE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame’s career sacks leader, enters draft

Notre Dame defensive end Isaiah Foskey announced Thursday that he is entering the 2023 NFL Draft and will not play in the Gator Bowl.

“I will always love and respect Notre Dame for helping me grow over the last 3.5 years of my life,” Foskey wrote in a social media post. “I have matured as a football player and as a man here in South Bend. Thank you to the entire athletic and coaching staff here at Notre Dame as well as every instructor, mentor and peer.

“After much thought and prayer I’ve decided to enter the 2023 NFL Draft!”

Foskey had 26.5 sacks in his time at Notre Dame, breaking Justin Tuck’s previous school record of 24.5 sacks by collecting 2.5 over the final two games of the regular season.

Foskey recorded 44 tackles (13.5 for loss) and 10.5 sacks in 2022 after putting up 52 tackles (9.5 for loss) and 10 sacks in 2021. He is projected as a potential first-round pick in the draft.

No. 21 Notre Dame (8-4) is facing No. 19 South Carolina in the Gator Bowl on Dec. 30.

–Field Level Media

Notre Dame safety Xavier Watts (26), safety Brandon Joseph (16) and safety Houston Griffith (3) celebrate during the Notre Dame vs. Stanford NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

Notre Dame Vs Stanford Football

First-ever meeting between Notre Dame, UNLV set for South Bend

Depending on the perspective, this is either the best time or the worst time for UNLV to travel to South Bend, Ind., to get its first chance to play Notre Dame.

On the plus side for the Rebels, the Fighting Irish (3-3) have lost two of their three home games this season, including last week’s 16-14 stunner to Stanford.

(To put those two home losses into context — and just how much of an outrage it has inspired — former head coach Brian Kelly won 30 of his last 31 games at Notre Dame Stadium dating back to September 2017.)

“It’s been a long 48 hours trying to figure out what the heck happened on Saturday, and why we didn’t execute the way we have been previously and what we have to do to fix it,” first-year Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman said Monday.

“You’re evaluating everything. Why haven’t we played as well at home? Why haven’t we played as well, really, versus maybe opponents that haven’t been ranked as high? And it starts from the top-down and looking at everything we do. The way we prepare. The way we motivate. What we do on game days. What we do at home versus what we do away. There is not just one answer because if there was, we would fix it.”

On the minus side for UNLV (4-3, 2-2 Mountain West), the Irish have lost two of their three home games this season, and that has inspired them to dig in and try to grow throughout this week’s practices.

“It’s a lot easier to do that, maybe, when you’re down,” Freeman said. “Because nobody wants to lose.”

UNLV should have the same mindset because it heads to Indiana after suffering a 42-7 loss to Air Force and a 40-7 loss to San Jose State.

The Rebels didn’t have starting quarterback Doug Brumfield (68.4 completion percentage, 1,231 yards, eight touchdowns) last week against Air Force due to a concussion, then top running back Aidan Robbins (591 yards, eight touchdowns) went out early in the second quarter with a knee injury.

UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo announced Monday that Brumfield is day-to-day with his concussion. He did not offer an update on Robbins.

“We need to get healthy as a team, that’s obvious,” Arroyo said. “We’ve got a lot of new guys in starting, contributing roles that we need to get developed as quickly as we can.”

–Field Level Media

Co-host Josh Landon speaks with former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr during 2019 Michigan Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at MotorCity Casino Hotel, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.

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QB CJ Carr, grandson of Lloyd Carr, picks Notre Dame over Michigan

Notre Dame landed a commitment from a five-star quarterback in the Class of 2024 — and it also allowed the Fighting Irish to score a win over one of their biggest rivals.

CJ Carr, the grandson of longtime Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr, committed to Notre Dame Thursday.

Carr also listed Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia, LSU and Wisconsin as finalists.

He plays at Saline High School in Saline, Michigan, outside Ann Arbor, but he told ESPN that South Bend always left him impressed.

“I’ve been telling my family I’m going to Notre Dame since this last spring,” Carr said, per ESPN.

Carr even said his father asked him to hold off a little longer to consider his other options.

“After the last camp at Notre Dame, we were supposed to go down south and I was like, ‘Dad, I know where I want to go,’ and he let me commit,” Carr said.

Listed at 6-foot-2 1/2, 195 pounds, Carr is the No. 20 overall prospect and the fifth-best quarterback in the Class of 2024, per the 247Sports composite.

Lloyd Carr coached the Wolverines from 1995-2007. He led Michigan to a national title in 1997 and he retired with a 122-40 record with victories in the Rose, Citrus and Orange Bowls.

The elder Carr’s Michigan teams went 5-4 against Notre Dame.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman stands on the sideline during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Freeman to debut in Fiesta Bowl after Notre Dame’s CFP miss

Looks like Notre Dame has turned into the ultimate bubble team for the College Football Playoff.

The Irish were the first team left out of the four-team playoff when the committee placed them at No. 5 on Sunday.

Last year, Notre Dame gained the last playoff spot.

Notre Dame (11-1) will take on the Big 12’s Oklahoma State (11-2), which was ranked No. 9 after losing Saturday’s league championship game to Baylor, in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 in Glendale, Ariz. It will mark the first matchup between the programs.

But if the Irish feel jilted by Sunday’s decision, they should be rather accustomed to it. After all, during the past week their coach bolted for LSU, with Brian Kelly leaving behind a program that he had forged into a regular contender for a CFP spot.

So newly named coach Marcus Freeman, promoted from defensive coordinator, will take Notre Dame to the Fiesta Bowl.

This is a chance for Freeman to make an immediate impression. Notre Dame hasn’t won a major bowl game since 1993, so Kelly departed without having accomplished that. The Irish have a nine-game losing streak in the “New Year’s Six” bowls and the Bowl Championship Series clashes that preceded the current format to determine a national champion.

“It’s a great opportunity to win 12 games, to kind of right some of the wrongs of the past that we haven’t been so successful in these New Year’s Day bowls,” Freeman said in an ESPN interview. “It’ll be a motivated team, a motivated coaching staff and we’re excited for the opportunity.”

Earlier Sunday, Notre Dame released statements from players regarding their support for Freeman, the defensive coordinator who was promoted Friday.

“Coach Freeman will bring a new energy to this program that it hasn’t seen in a long time,” senior linebacker Drew White said. “Everybody in the country needs to be aware. ND is coming for a national championship.”

Just not this season, as it turns out.

There really wasn’t much of a debate to include Notre Dame in the four-team bracket. The team’s lone loss was to undefeated Cincinnati at home, an Oct. 2 setback that ended up costly.

Cincinnati was placed at No. 4 by the committee, so there wasn’t a chance that Notre Dame could pull ahead of an unbeaten team that had won the head-to-head matchup in South Bend, Ind.

Even with a fifth consecutive season with a double-digit win total, Notre Dame needed help as conferences held championship games Saturday. If Alabama had been whipped by Georgia in the Southeastern Conference, it’s possible the Crimson Tide could have dipped below Notre Dame. A Michigan loss to Iowa in the Big Ten title game could have allowed Notre Dame to move up.

Or, perhaps, if Cincinnati had slipped up against Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship game, there was a chance the Irish could have moved ahead of the Bearcats.

Notre Dame shed its independent status because of the pandemic in 2020, playing as an Atlantic Coast Conference member on a one-season basis. The Irish won the regular-season title, then lost in the ACC championship game to Clemson.

That nearly cost Notre Dame a spot in the CFP, but the Irish was tabbed No. 4. The No. 5 team was Texas A&M.

So the CFP bubble worked out for Notre Dame a year ago, largely because of its regular-season victory against Clemson and a late-season road win at North Carolina.

Notre Dame ended the 2015 season in the Fiesta Bowl, where it lost to Ohio State. This will mark Notre Dame’s 21st appearance in a bowl on New Year’s Day.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly leads players onto the field before the game against the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 Notre Dame cautious of upset potential vs. rival Stanford

Stanford will attempt to end its season by denying No. 6 Notre Dame an opportunity to reach the College Football Playoff when the host Cardinal bid to upset the Fighting Irish on Saturday night.

Coming off a 41-11 drubbing at home in its annual Big Game against rival California, the Cardinal (3-8) will be seeking a seventh win over a ranked Notre Dame team in the 35th edition of the rivalry.

Stanford was in a similar situation, albeit it as the 13th-ranked team in the country, when it knocked the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish out of the national championship picture with a 38-36 win on the Cardinal’s field in 2015.

Surely, a Stanford upset would be a much more surprising outcome six years later, with Notre Dame (10-1) possibly a win away from landing one of the four coveted spots in the playoff.

Notre Dame’s chances of moving up from sixth are equally dependent upon at least two teams ahead of it losing, and that’s assured before season’s end.

No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan also duel on Saturday eight hours before Notre Dame-Stanford. Then, next week, No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 Alabama are set to meet in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

The Notre Dame game plan remains the same — win convincingly and let the chips fall where they may.

Senior cornerback TaRiq Bracy, who grew up just east of Stanford in Milpitas, Calif., is fully aware of the Cardinal’s history against Notre Dame and the significance of what a season-ending headline-grabber would mean to the Stanford program.

“I’ve got a bunch of family and friends texting me excited,” Bracy said. “You have to take each week as a new opponent and a new challenge. You know I have the utmost respect for Stanford and I’m just getting ready to play.”

Notre Dame has solidified its position in the playoff chase with six straight wins, the last three by 34-6, 28-3 and 55-0 counts.

Stanford, on the other hand, has lost six straight and been on the wrong end of similar scores in its last three outings — losing 52-7, 35-14 and 41-11.

Cardinal coach David Shaw believes Notre Dame is coming to town at just the right time for his team, which could use an injection of energy at the end of a losing season.

“Hopefully the Golden Domers bring out the best in our football team, and for the first time in over a month we see the best of Stanford football,” he noted. “Notre Dame is a rival, and we’ve fared well against them over the last decade-plus. I don’t need to have any rah-rah speeches this week.”

Stanford returned quarterback Tanner McKee from injury last week, and while his 239 yards on 26-for-44 might have looked impressive, it was outweighed by a 2-to-0 interception-to-touchdown ratio.

The Cardinal are already assured of a third consecutive season without a bowl. They had gotten invitations in each of the previous 10 years under Shaw and Jim Harbaugh, winning six of those games.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) looks to hand off to running back Kyren Williams (23) in the third quarter against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame-Navy game moved to Dublin for 2023

The annual rivalry game between Notre Dame and Navy will return to Dublin, Ireland, on Aug. 26, 2023, the programs announced Friday.

The Fighting Irish and Midshipmen were scheduled to play in Dublin in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to scrap the trip and, ultimately, the game. It was the first year the two teams didn’t meet on the gridiron since the rivalry began in 1927.

It will mark the third time Notre Dame and Navy play in Ireland. Aviva Stadium, a rugby and soccer stadium in Dublin, will host the game. It previously hosted in 2012, and prior to that they faced off at Croke Park in 1996.

Notre Dame gave up a scheduled home game in order to reschedule the Dublin showdown. Typically, the Fighting Irish host Navy in South Bend, Ind., in odd-numbered years while the teams play at neutral sites around the country in even-numbered years.

Navy and Notre Dame also announced the extension of their series contract through 2032.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide another opportunity for our team and fans to experience the culture and hospitality of Ireland,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “This trip overseas continues to strengthen our academic and athletic presence around the globe. Bringing a Notre Dame football home game atmosphere to Ireland has been a goal of ours and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Naval Academy to make it happen.”

“The Navy fan-based support and enthusiasm for this game in Ireland is already overwhelming and with the ongoing support of the Prime Minister and the Irish government, it will again be an extraordinary experience,” Navy AD Chet Gladchuk said in a statement. “We look forward to our visit and a competitive contest against Notre Dame in a country that knows no bounds for hospitality.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr. (21) runs the ball as USC Trojans safety Xavion Alford (29) attempts to tackle in the second quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No. 13 Notre Dame too much for USC, 31-16

Kyren Williams established season highs of 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 13 Notre Dame to a 31-16 victory over Southern California on Saturday night at South Bend, Ind.

Jack Coan completed 20 of 28 passes for 189 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Fighting Irish (6-1). Backup quarterback Tyler Buchner rushed for a touchdown, Avery Davis caught a scoring pass and Bo Bauer had a key interception for Notre Dame.

Keaontay Ingram rushed for a season-best 138 yards and one touchdown, and Drake London caught 15 passes for 171 yards for USC (3-4). Kedon Slovis completed 27 of 37 passes for 299 yards and lost a fumble in addition to the interception.

The Trojans have lost each of their last five visits to South Bend, their longest such skid since dropping seven in a row from 1983-95.

Notre Dame standout safety Kyle Hamilton injured his right leg in the first quarter and didn’t return. He was seen sporting a brace and crutches as he walked off the field at halftime.

Isaiah Foskey recorded two sacks and forced Slovis to fumble on the latter one as the Irish won despite being outgained 424-383.

The Trojans trailed by 21 points entering the fourth quarter before staging a comeback to narrow the gap.

Ingram scored on a 4-yard run on the second play of the final stanza. Just over six minutes later, Darwin Barlow scored on a 3-yard run but Parker Lewis was wide left on the extra point to leave USC behind by eight points.

But Notre Dame responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive. Buchner capped it with a 3-yard scoring run to give the Irish a 31-16 advantage with 4:52 remaining.

Foskey’s sack and forced fumble was recovered by TaRiq Bracy at the USC 17-yard line with 2:45 left as Notre Dame finished off the victory.

Notre Dame led 17-3 at halftime despite the fact London had nine receptions for 109 yards.

The Fighting Irish struck first when Coan tossed a 4-yard scoring pass to Davis with 4:09 left in the first quarter.

The Notre Dame defense set up the team’s next three points as Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa blocked Slovis’ pass and it was intercepted by Bauer, who returned it 79 yards to the Trojans’ 4-yard line. The Irish settled for a 21-yard field goal by Jonathan Doerer early in the second quarter to hold a 10-0 lead.

USC got on the scoreboard when Lewis booted a 33-yard field goal with 7:29 left in the half. Williams ran in from the 5 three-plus minutes later to give Notre Dame the 14-point edge.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Kyren Williams (23) runs the ball toward Virginia Tech Hokies defensive back Jermaine Waller (2) during the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Notre Dame scores 11 late points to edge Virginia Tech

Jonathan Doerer made a 48-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining to lift No. 14 Notre Dame to a 32-29 win over host Virginia Tech on Saturday evening in Blacksburg, Va.

Tyler Buchner passed for one touchdown and rushed for another for Notre Dame (5-1). Kyren Williams had one rushing touchdown and one receiving TD for the Fighting Irish.

Raheem Blackshear had one rushing touchdown for Virginia Tech (3-2), which fell to 1-3 in the all-time series. Hokies quarterback Braxton Burmeister completed 14 of 29 passes for 171 yards and an interception.

Virginia Tech jumped to a 7-0 lead with 3:21 remaining in the first quarter. Blackshear scored on a 7-yard run that marked his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.

The Hokies made it 10-0 early in the second quarter on a 19-yard field goal by John Parker Romo.

Notre Dame cut the deficit to 10-7 on Buchner’s 3-yard rushing touchdown with 6:51 left in the first half. A 46-yard pass from Buchner to Kevin Austin helped set up the score.

Buchner struck again to put the Fighting Irish on top 14-10 with 32 seconds remaining in the first half, completing an 8-yard pass into the end zone to Williams.

Virginia Tech pulled within 14-13 in the waning seconds of the half on a 52-yard field goal by Romo.

The Hokies grabbed a 16-14 lead midway through the third quarter on Romo’s third field goal, this time from 26 yards.

Notre Dame answered later in the third quarter to grab a 21-16 advantage. Williams scored on a 10-yard run that gave him four rushing touchdowns on the season to go along with three receiving touchdowns.

The back-and-forth battle continued as Virginia Tech grabbed a 22-21 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Jermaine Waller picked off a pass from Buchner and sprinted 26 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead defensive touchdown.

Virginia Tech made it 29-21 with 3:55 remaining. Burmeister scored on a 19-yard run to cap off an eight-play, 56-yard drive.

Notre Dame stormed back to tie the game at 29-all with a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 2:26 to go. Avery Davis caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Jack Coan, and Austin hauled in another pass from Coan for the two-point conversion.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) signals in the fourth quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Coan faces former team when Notre Dame meets Wisconsin

Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan will go up against his former program when the No. 12 Fighting Irish square off against No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon in Chicago.

Coan is in his first season as a graduate transfer at Notre Dame (3-0). He came from Wisconsin, where he went 12-6 as a starter and earned the admiration of coaches and teammates alike.

This weekend, however, Coan wants to deal a setback to the Badgers (1-1).

“It’s definitely going to be weird,” Coan said. “It’s going to be a lot of my friends I’m going to be playing against, guys I still talk to today. But at the end of the day, it’s just another football game, and I like to think I won’t get more excited for one game than the next.”

A neutral-site venue, Soldier Field, should feature a mixed-allegiance crowd. The campuses for Notre Dame and Wisconsin are each within a couple hours of Chicago, and the city boasts large alumni bases from both institutions.

Fighting Irish fans are feeling better after Notre Dame pulled away for a 27-13 win over Purdue one week ago. That followed a pair of nail-biting victories for the Fighting Irish, which held on for a 41-38 overtime win over Florida State and a 32-29 win over Toledo in its first two contests.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin is coming off a dominant 34-7 win over Eastern Michigan. That followed a 16-10 loss against then-No. 19 Penn State in the Badgers’ season opener.

This is the first meeting between Notre Dame and Wisconsin since Sept. 26, 1964. That marked Ara Parseghian’s first game as Fighting Irish head coach, and his team won 31-7.

More than a few head coaches have come and gone since then, and now Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly is on the precipice of making history. He needs one more win to pass Knute Rockne for sole possession of first place with 106 coaching victories with the program.

It won’t be easy against Wisconsin, which boasts strength on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Badgers rely on a dominant rushing attack that is supplemented by quarterback Graham Mertz, who has completed two-thirds of his passes this season but continues to search for his first passing touchdown.

Badgers running backs Chez Mellusi (265 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Isaac Guerendo (148 rushing yards, one TD) have led the team’s ground attack.

Notre Dame has reaped early benefits from Coan, who has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 828 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions in his first three games. Kyren Williams has been a difference-maker on the ground with 211 rushing yards and two scores.

The Badgers could key in on Williams this weekend. Wisconsin has allowed only 33 rushing yards per game, which is the best mark in FBS so far this season.

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst praised Coan but said he was focused on his team this week.

“Obviously, we have respect for Jack and appreciate who he is as a person and player here,” Chryst said. “But it’s Wisconsin versus Notre Dame.”

–Field Level Media