Ohio State is headed to Notre Dame for the first time in nearly three decades Saturday.
Here are four things to know about the Fighting Irish this week:
1. They have looked good so far this season.
Notre Dame throttled Navy 42-3 to open the season in Dublin, Ire., then trounced head coach Eddie George’s Tennessee State squad 56-3 before winning at North Carolina State 45-24.
Last week, the Irish downed Central Michigan 41-17.
Quarterback Sam Hartman leads the nation with 13 touchdown passes.
He is third in the country with a passer efficiency rating of 217.8 while the Irish have the No. 1 pass efficiency defense in the land (84.7).
Notre Dame is ninth in the nation in scoring (46.0 points per game) and 14th in points allowed (11.8) while checking in 16th in total offense (508.8 yards per game) and fourth in total defense (234.2 ypg.).
Advanced stats also like the Irish as they rank fourth in the nation in SP+, a metric that measures efficiency among other things, with the No. 6 offense and No. 7 defense.
2. Ohio State has won five in a row in the series since Notre Dame won the first two matchups.
The Fighting Irish needed a miraculous comeback to win the first meeting in 1935.
Ohio State led 13-0 entering the fourth quarter, but Notre Dame halfback William Shakespeare threw a game-winning touchdown pass with no time left to complete an 18-13 victory.
Notre Dame also won the following year in South Bend by a score of 7-2, one of three one-score losses for the Buckeyes that season.
The teams did not play from 1937-94, but they have faced each other five times since ‘95.
In 1995, seventh-ranked Ohio State rallied from a 17-14 halftime deficit to win 45-26.
St. Henry’s Bobby Hoying threw four touchdown passes, including an iconic 83-yard catch-and-run by Terry Glenn in the third quarter, and Eddie George ran for 207 yards for the Buckeyes.
A year later, No. 4 Ohio State went to South Bend and topped No. 5 Notre Dame 29-16 as Pepe Pearson ran for 173 yards.
Ohio State handled Notre Dame twice in the Fiesta Bowl, a 34-20 decision to cap the 2005 season and a 44-28 victory to close the 2015 campaign, before beating the Irish 21-10 at Ohio Stadium last season in the season-opener for both teams.
4. The Notre Dame coaching staff has a heavy Ohio influence.
Second-year head coach Marcus Freeman is a Wayne High School graduate, as is cornerbacks coach/pass defensive coordinator Mike Mickens.
Running backs coach Deland McCullough is from Youngstown and was a star player at Miami University, while linebackers coach Al Washington is a Columbus native who coached linebackers at Ohio State from 2019-21.
Joe Rudolph, who is in his first season as offensive line coach in South Bend, was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2004-05 and part of the strength staff in 2006.
4. Notre Dame has 10 players from Ohio.
That includes starting center Zeke Correll of Cincinnati Anderson and a pair of players from area high schools.
Aamil Wagner, an offensive lineman from Yellow Springs who graduated from Wayne High School, is a redshirt freshman while safety Ben Minich is a true freshman from Lakota West.
Both saw action in Notre Dame’s 41-17 win over Central Michigan last week.