2016 Season Preview

Author: Amy Marquez

Notre Dame Football


Notre Dame football is ranked in the Top 10 of the 2016 coaches polls. Amway USA Today Coaches Poll ranked the Irish in the Top 25 at number 9 and celebrating their 80th year, the AP Coaches Poll ranked the Irish in the Top 100 at number 3.  As Notre Dame prepares for the 2016 season, they will face six teams ranked in Top 25 across the AP Coaches Poll and the AmwayUSA Today Coaches Poll along with five ACC teams.

Notre Dame will open the season again with the Texas Longhorns (AP/8) at Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX on September 4th. In 2015, Malik Zaire threw for 313 yards, leading the Irish to a 38-3 victory over the Longhorns and starting the season off with a win.  On September 10th, the Irish will play their home season opener against the Nevada Wolf Pack, the second meeting between the two teams since 2009 when the Irish defeated the Wolf Pack 35-0. The home opener at Notre Dame Stadium will be the first of three back to back home games in South Bend. The Michigan State Spartans (AP/19-USA/11) will return to Notre Dame Stadium on September 17th. After the Irish defeated the Spartans 17-13 in 2013, the two teams took a 3 year hiatus from competing against one another and will continue right where they left off.  Notre Dame and Michigan State have a history that dates back to their first game played in 1897 and currently holds the lead against the Spartans 48-28-1. The Duke Blue Devils will also return to Notre Dame stadium on September 24th for the first time since 2007 when the Irish defeated them 28-7.

Starting off a busy month in October, the Irish will travel to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ for the third time in program history for a match up against Syracuse on the 1st.  The two programs last met in 2014 in the New York's College Classic at MetLife Stadium with a 31-15 win over the Orange.  On October 8th, the Irish will then travel to Raleigh, NC to take on North Carolina State for only the second time in program history. The two teams have not met since 2003 where the Irish faced a 28-6 loss to the Wolf Pack.

Coming back home on October 15th, the Irish will host Stanford (USA/7) for a rematch of the 2015 game in which the Irish were defeated by the Cardinals 38-36 in the final 30 seconds by a field goal.  Stanford and Notre Dame have met 30 times since the 1925 Rose Bowl and have met annually since 1988, except in 1995 and 1996. The Irish lead the series 19-11. After a bye week, the Irish will finish up the month on October 29th against the Miami Hurricanes (AP/13). The two programs last matchup in 2012 concluded with a 41-3 victory for the Irish.

November 5th begins with a matchup against the Navy Midshipmen, marking the 90th matchup between the Midshipmen and the Irish. Beginning in 1927 the Notre Dame vs. Navy game has been the longest uninterrupted series in the history of both programs.  The Irish played the Midshipmen at Notre Dame stadium in 2015, coming away with a 41-24 win over Navy.  The Irish will return to San Antonio, TX on November 12th for the annual Shamrock Series to take on Army at the Alamodome, the same location where they held their first Shamrock Series game in 2009.  Army fell to Notre Dame in their last matchup in 2010 at Yankee Stadium 27-3. Returning to South Bend for their final home game of the season, Notre Dame will play the Virginia Tech Hokies on November 19th for the first time in both programs history.  

To close out the season Notre Dame will travel to Los Angeles, CA to take on the USC Trojans (AP/5 - USA/17) on November 26th at the Memorial Coliseum. The two teams met last year in South Bend with the Irish defeating the Trojans 41-31. Notre Dame leads the series 45-36-5.

Stay tuned to gameday.nd.edu for updates and home game information throughout the season or follow us on Twitter @gamedayND, Instagram at gamedayND, or Facebook at notredamegameday.



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