Notre Dame has added it’s 12th and presumably final opponent to its 2023 schedule, and will break a couple of barriers in the process.
The Tennessee State University football program will visit the University of Notre Dame on Sept. 2, 2023 at Notre Dame Stadium.
The game will mark the first time in program history that the Irish will face a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Perhaps even more remarkable is that Tennessee State will be the first ever FCS school to play Notre Dame since the NCAA “Division One” split into subdivisions in 2008.
As of the end of the 2021 season only ND,USC and UCLA have yet to play an FCS opponent. In 2022, UCLA will fall off the exclusive list when it plays Alabama State, also a HBCU. In 2021, 115 out of 130 FBS teams had a game against a FCS program.
The Tigers are coached by former NFL stand out and Heisman trophy winning running back, Eddie George. George, played his college ball at Ohio State, and in 1995 ran for 207 yards and 2 TDs to lead the 7th ranked Buckeyes to a 45-26 win over ND in Columbus, ND came into that game ranked #15.
In the NFL, George was a first round draft pick and went on rush for over 10,000 yards and to score 78 TDs, over a 9 year career spent mostly with the Tennessee Titans. He took over the Tennessee State program in 2021 and led the Tigers to a 5-6 record.
The Fighting Irish will open the 2023 season on August 26, 2023 against Navy in Dublin, Ireland and thus will face the challenge of travel logistics by turning around seven days later to face the Tigers. Week three of the 2023 season is scheduled as a bye for the Irish.