No. 6 Ohio State looks to beat No. 9 Notre Dame for 6th time in a row. Last Irish win was in 1936
No. 6 Ohio State (3-0) at No. 9 Notre Dame (4-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Line: Ohio State by 3, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Ohio State 5-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The game is a resume-builder for the winner in the race for the College Football Playoff, though a loss wouldn’t necessarily eliminate either Ohio State (3-0) or Notre Dame (4-0).
The Buckeyes have won five straight in the series and the last four meetings, like this one, were top-10 showdowns. Coach Ryan Day’s team struggled to start the season, but the Buckeyes dismantled Western Kentucky 63-10 a week ago. The Ohio State defense leads the way, limiting opponents to 223.7 yards and 6.7 points per game.
Over the past 10 seasons, the Irish are 3-12 versus AP top-10 opponents but 3-1 at Notre Dame Stadium. Coach Marcus Freeman feels he has the quarterback to get his program over the hump in Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman, who’s completing 71.1% of passes for 1,061 yards and has 15 total touchdowns.
Ohio State QB Kyle McCord vs. the Notre Dame defense. McCord will make his second career road start. He struggled in his first against Indiana to open the season but has improved in the last two games against weaker competition, completing 76.7% of passes for 576 yards and six TDs. He’ll be going against the top-ranked pass-efficiency defense in the country, holding foes to a ,443 completion percentage (2nd) and 5.2 yards per attempt (13th). The Irish have 70 QB pressures and boast one of the top secondaries in the country, led by preseason second-team All-American cornerback Ben Morrison.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio State: DE JT Tuimoloau was an AP preseason second-team All-American selection. The junior registered seven tackles and has yet to record a sack this season, but he leads the Buckeyes with nine pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
Notre Dame: RB Audric Estimé’s 130.3 rush yards per game rank second in the FBS. He’s scored five TDs and caught five passes for 55 yards.
FACTS & FIGURES
Notre Dame’s last win against Ohio State came by a 7-2 score in 1936. …Ohio State ranks second all-time with 956 wins and first with a .733 win percentage. The Irish are fourth in both categories with 942 wins and a .730 win percentage. …Hartman has thrown for a program-best 13 TD passes through the first four games of the season. … The Irish and the Buckeyes have beaten each of their 2023 opponents by at least 20 points. … The game is the 37th between top-10 foes inside Notre Dame Stadium.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football