Notre Dame-Ohio State all-time series history
According to Google Maps, it’s a 270.8-mile drive from Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend to Ohio Stadium in Columbus. A drive that takes four hours and 19 minutes, which isn’t just down the street but it is nothing when it comes to a road trip for a college football team or its fans.
Especially when you consider those two college football squads are among the most historic in the game and have two of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports, not just college football.
But Notre Dame and Ohio State have met on the football field just seven times. Of those seven, two have been played at Notre Dame Stadium, three have been played at Ohio Stadium and two have taken place in the Fiesta Bowl.
Unless you live under a rock, you’re aware Notre Dame opened the 2022 season at Ohio State and the Buckeyes make the return trip to South Bend late this September.
Before this underplayed series resumes late this fall, here is a look back at the brief history Notre Dame and Ohio State have shared on the football field.
1935: Notre Dame's first "Game of the Century"
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Undefeated Notre Dame (5-0) hit the road to take on a 4-0 Ohio State squad for the Nov. 2 showdown, and the game didn’t disappoint. The Irish offense stalled early as Ohio State built a 13-0 halftime lead. After a scoreless third quarter, Andy Pilney returned a punt to the Ohio State 13-yard line to set up the first score of the day for the Irish.
Pilney connected on a 15-yard pass to Mike Layden to narrow the Ohio State lead to 13-12 before a forced fumble set up a short field for the Irish. Will Shakespeare found Wayne Millner for the eventual game-winning score.
Notre Dame finished 7-1-1 in Elmer Layden’s second season as head coach.
1936: First meeting in South Bend
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The first meeting between the two at Notre Dame Stadium didn’t feature the same hype as the 1935 battle. Notre Dame had lost to Pitt the week previous, and Ohio State was 2-2 going into the Halloween day showdown. It was a game that only a Midwesterner could love. The wind and rain howled in Notre Dame’s 7-2 victory in front of a then-record Notre Dame Stadium crowd of 50,000 fans.
Notre Dame has not beaten Ohio State since.
1995: Eddie George's huge day helps build Heisman resume
Photo by Fred Squillante
Sixty years after their first trip to Columbus, Notre Dame again headed slightly south and east to take on the scarlet and gray of Ohio State. Despite holding a 17-14 halftime lead, it wasn’t meant to be for the Irish.
Eddie George ran for 207 yards and two touchdowns as Ohio State erupted for 31 second-half points in their 45-26 victory over Notre Dame. George went on to win the Heisman Trophy that year.
1996: Last Regular Season Meeting
The good news is Notre Dame and Ohio State have waited only 26 years between regular-season meetings when the 2022 season kicks off in Ohio Stadium.
In a battle of unbeatens in late September 1996, Ohio State’s defense held Notre Dame in check. The Irish averaged 3.8 yards per play for the day compared to Ohio State’s 6.2.
Pepe Pearson ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ 29-16 victory that wasn’t really as close as the final score indicated.
2005 closes with Fiesta Bowl showdown
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Kids these days have trouble understanding that bowl games that don’t determine the national championship had big-time meaning not all that long ago. That all seemed to change with what happened in another Notre Dame-Ohio State bowl game, but more on that shortly.
2005 was Charlie Weis’s first season as Notre Dame head coach, and he helped guide Notre Dame to its second BCS appearance in program history after a 9-2 regular season.
Big plays were the story of the day in Tempe that afternoon. Ted Ginn, Jr., Santonio Holmes and Antonio Pittman scored touchdowns on plays of 56-yards or longer in the 34-20 Buckeyes triumph.
As for the photo chosen above – if you know, you know. More photos from the 2006 Fiesta Bowl can be found here.
Fiesta Bowl Part II
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State was the reigning national champion while Notre Dame had come within a last-second stop in their regular-season finale at Stanford of likely making the College Football Playoff.
Notre Dame star linebacker [autotag]Jaylon Smith[/autotag] suffered a torn ACL and MCL early in the Notre Dame-Ohio State showdown, and Buckeyes star defensive end Joey Bosa was ejected fairly early in the contest.
What resulted was a day of big plays for Ohio State as Notre Dame’s depleted linebackers were exposed, to put it nicely. Ezekiel Elliot scored a Fiesta Bowl record four touchdowns in the 44-28 Buckeyes win.
2022 Season Opener:
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Notre Dame’s defense held Ohio State in check for the majority of the season’s opening night but the Irish offense was non-existent as the Buckeyes won 21-10. Notre Dame held a 10-7 halftime lead in Marcus Freeman’s regular season debut but couldn’t get any offense going in the second half while the Buckeyes run game came alive.
2023: September Showdown
(Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP)
With Notre Dame likely a top-10 team this preseason and Ohio State probably getting a top-five preseason rank, a massive one awaits on September 23 when the Buckeyes make their first trip to South Bend since 1996.
Numbers of the Programs:
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Few programs can meet and have as much combined history as Notre Dame and Ohio State share. The two programs have combined to win/have:
19 claimed national championships (Notre Dame 11, Ohio State 8)
1,871 games (Ohio State 942, Notre Dame 929)
14 Heisman Trophies (Notre Dame 7, Ohio State 7)
1,001 players selected all-time in the NFL draft (Notre Dame 522, Ohio State 479)
157 players selected in first round of NFL draft (Ohio State 87, Notre Dame 70)
An extreme dislike for the Michigan Wolverines