After just over eight months, Ohio State football is back. The second-ranked Buckeyes are set to take the field in primetime on Saturday night against No. 5 Notre Dame. It’s the marquee game of the opening weekend of the 2022 college football season as two of college football’s blueblood programs meet for only the seventh time in their history, and just the fifth time on either team’s campus.
The Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish met for the first time in 1935 and then again in 1936, first in Columbus, Ohio and then in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame won both of those games 18-13 and 7-2. The two teams then didn’t meet again until 1995 when they again had a home-and-home series. The Scarlet and Gray won both of those games 45-26 at Ohio Stadium and 29-16 at Notre Dame Stadium.
Since those four meetings in the regular season, Ohio State and Notre Dame have met twice, both coming in the Fiesta Bowl. Following the 2005 season, the Buckeyes defeated the Irish 34-20 in Tempe, Arizona. After the 2015 season, the Scarlet and Gray earned a 44-28 win against the Irish in Glendale.
This year’s game marks a new home-and-home series between the two. Ohio State is a 17-point favorite heading into the game at Ohio Stadium. As we have in past seasons, we’re asking the Bucknuts readers if they’re taking the Buckeyes against the spread in this contest.
What you need to know
Notre Dame comes into this game as underdogs but has plenty of talent on its roster. Some of it is just relatively inexperienced.
On the offensive side of the ball, sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner will make his first start on Saturday in front of 105,000 fans at the Horseshoe. Buchner has 35 total pass attempts, all of which came in his 10 games played last year, all in relief duty. Of those passes, Buchner has completed 21, throwing for 298 yards and three touchdowns to three interceptions. He also has rushed for 336 yards and three more scores.
Buchner will be looking at relatively green options at wide receiver. The three starters listed on the Irish’s depth chart have a combined 690 receiving yards and four touchdowns. This group includes sophomore Lorenzo Styles, the older brother of Ohio State freshman safety Sonny Styles.
The Irish also have a new starting running back stepping in, or possibly three starting running backs. Junior Chris Tyree, sophomore Logan Diggs and sophomore Audric Estime were all listed as co-starters at the position on Notre Dame’s depth chart. The trio combined for 512 yards and four touchdowns as reserves last year.
Defensively, Marcus Freeman moves from defensive coordinator to head coach and Al Golden steps into the vacated role. After finishing just outside the top 40 in total defense last year, Notre Dame hopes that these two minds combined will show improvement.
The Irish have more returning experience on the defensive side of the ball. Fourth-year junior “Vyper” end Isaiah Foskey is the most notable name on the defense, but he leads a deep defensive line after registering 52 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Will linebacker Marist Liufau missed all of last season with an injury but is back for 2022. Mike linebacker JD Bertrand led Notre Dame in tackles last year with 102. Cornerback Clarence Lewis had 53 total tackles, four passes defended and one interception in 2021. He helps lead the Irish secondary into the Horseshoe along with corner Cam Hart and safeties Brandon Joseph (formerly of Northwestern) and DJ Brown.
Now that you know a little bit more about Notre Dame, are you taking the Buckeyes and Irish against the spread?
Ohio State and Notre Dame are scheduled to kick off shortly after 7-30 p.m. ET on Saturday night on ABC.