(Fighting Irish Media)

Just who the Fighting Irish would play in 2023 has been known for quite some time, but exactly when those games would be played was not. The puzzle is now complete with the release of dates for ND’s five game ACC slate. The schedule begins and ends on near opposite ends of the earth, includes two first time ever opponents and a rarity: two bye weeks.

The Irish open against Navy on August 26 in Dublin, Ireland. It will be the third time the Irish have ventured to the Emerald Isle, each time matching up against the Midshipman. In 1995, the Irish defeated Navy 54-27 in a midseason tilt and in 2012, the Irish and Navel Academy opened their seasons with ND prevailing 50-10.

The game is a reschedule of a planned 2020 contest in Dublin that was cancelled due to the pandemic.

In week two the Irish will play the Tennessee State Tigers, a first time ever opponent. The game will also mark the first time that the Irish have played a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and the first time they will have faced a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team. The Tigers went 5-6 in 2022 and are led by College Football Hall of Famer and 10,000 yard NFL running back, Eddie George, who will be in his third season.

For game three on Sept 9, the Irish will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack. NC State leads the all-time series 2-1.

The Irish will then return home for game four to take on another first time ever opponent Central Michigan. The Chippewas finished 2022 at 4-8.

ND remains at home the next week and will take on Ohio State. The game matches up the two blue blood programs for only the 8th time in history. It will be the Buckeye’s first appearance in South Bend since 1996.

The Irish will next take to the road for two games against ACC opponents, Duke and then Louisville. Duke is headed up by former ND defensive coordinator Mike Elko. Elko was a national coach of the year finalist in 2022, his first season ever as a head coach. The Irish will then travel to Louisville for just the second time in history. The Cardinals are now headed up by Jeff Brohm, who moved over from Purdue to his alma mater after the 2022 season.

ND returns home on October 14 to take on USC in a game sure to be full of intrigue as Lincoln Riley seems to have the Trojans knocking on the door of the national elite. The game will also mark a visit to ND Stadium by the defending Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams.

The Irish will have bye weeks October 21 and November 11. In between they will take on Pittsburgh at home on October 28 and travel to Clemson on November 4. The Irish have a long history with Pittsburgh and lead the series 50-21-1. It is likely that former ND player Phil Jurkovec will be leading the Panthers that day after recently transferring from Boston College. The trip to Clemson will be the first for ND since a 24-22 rain soaked loss in 2015.

After the second bye week, on November 18 the Irish return home to take on Wake Forest. The game will likely match up newly minted ND quarterback Sam Hartman against his alma mater where he was a four year starter, and set the conference all time career passing touchdown mark at 110.

ND will then close out the season over 5000 miles west of where they started against Stanford, in Palo Alto, California. The Irish no doubt will have revenge on their minds after their upset loss to the Cardinal in 2022. After a 12 year reign by David Shaw, Stanford will be led by the offensive minded Troy Taylor who moves over after a successful stint at Sacramento State.

The structure of the schedule at this early point in time looks promising for the Irish. Of particular benefit may be the four game ramp up to the clash with Ohio State. This will give the Irish time to break in a revamped offensive line which will feature two of the better tackles in the nation in Joe Alt and Blake Fisher, as well as the experienced Zeke Correll at center, but will also be featuring two new guards. Also notable about the schedule is that of the three games anticipated to be the toughest, Ohio State and USC are at home. Clemson is on the road.

Notre Dame season ticket information is available at https://und.com/fbgameday/ .

ByPhil Houk

For over 25 years, bringing you the glory of Notre Dame football.

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