Dec. 6, 2015
For the fifth time in history, the University of Notre Dame football team is headed to the Fiesta Bowl.
Notre Dame (10-2) will meet Big Ten Conference representative Ohio State (11-1) at 1 p.m. EST (11 a.m. MST) on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in 63,400-seat University of Phoenix Stadium (home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals) in Glendale, Arizona, in the 45th annual BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl.
The Irish qualify for one of the New Year's Six games (as an at-large selection) under the auspices of the College Football Playoff.
It's the sixth bowl appearance in as many seasons under Irish coach Brian Kelly, the seventh appearance for the Irish in the last eight seasons and their 10th in the last 12 years. Kelly becomes the first coach in Notre Dame history to take teams to bowl games in each of his first six seasons.
ESPN will televise the game and ESPN Radio also will carry the game. The Notre Dame IMG Football Radio Network also will carry the game.
For Notre Dame it's a 35th postseason bowl appearance (17-17 record). It's the sixth straight season under Kelly the Irish have played in the postseason-following appearances in the 2010 Sun Bowl, the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl, the 2013 Bowl Championship Series title game, the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl and the 2014 Music City Bowl. After its Pinstripe Bowl triumph two years ago against Rutgers followed by the Music City win over LSU last year, Notre Dame will be looking to post bowl victories three consecutive seasons for the first time since doing that in three straight seasons from 1991 through 1993.
The Irish have played seven times previously in the Cotton Bowl (following 1969, 1970, 1977, 1978, 1987, 1992 and 1993 seasons), five times in the Orange Bowl (following 1972, 1974, 1989, 1990 and 1995 seasons), four times in the Sugar Bowl (1973, 1980, 1991, 2006), four times in the Fiesta Bowl (1988, 1994, 2000, 2005) and once in the Rose Bowl (1924). Additional bowl appearances sent the Irish to the Gator Bowl (1976, 1998, 2002), Liberty Bowl (1983), Aloha/Hawaii Bowl (1984, 2008), Independence Bowl (1997), Insight Bowl (2004), Sun Bowl (2010), Champs Sports Bowl (2011), BCS Championship Game (2012), Pinstripe Bowl (2013) and Music City Bowl (2014).
Previous Notre Dame postseason appearances have produced record numbers in terms of both attendance and television ratings:
-- Irish bowl games drew record crowds at Sun Life Stadium (80,120 for the 2013 BCS Championship Game vs. Alabama), the Sugar Bowl (85,161 in 1973 vs. Alabama), the Champs Sports Bowl (68,305 in 2011 vs. Florida State, tops among games played at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium), the Sun Bowl (54,021 in 2010 vs. Miami), the Hawaii Bowl (43,487 in 2008 vs. Hawaii), the Insight Bowl (45,971 in 2004 vs. Oregon State, tops among games at Chase Field), the Independence Bowl (50,459 in 1997 vs. LSU) and the Pinstripe Bowl (47,122 in 2013 vs. Rutgers).
-- Notre Dame bowl games garnered record television ratings at the Sugar Bowl (28.8 on NBC in 1973 vs. Alabama), the Hawaii Bowl (3.7 on ESPN in 2008 vs. Hawaii), the Independence Bowl (4.5 on ESPN in 1997 vs. LSU, best since game has been on ESPN/ESPN2 since 1992) and the Pinstripe Bowl (3.2 on ESPN in 2013).
Notre Dame and Ohio State will meet for the sixth time and the first time since the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. The programs first met in 1935 in Columbus (an 18-13 Irish victory) and most recently on Jan. 2, 2006, in Tempe, Ariz. (a 34-20 Buckeye win). Ohio State leads the overall series 3-2, including a 1-1 record in both Notre Dame Stadium and Columbus. The teams are scheduled to play a home-and-home series in 2022 and 2023. Notre Dame will take on Ohio State on Sept. 3, 2022, at Ohio Stadium with the Buckeyes travelling to South Bend on Sept. 23, 2023.
This marks the fourth time Notre Dame has faced a current Big Ten Conference member in a bowl game-following losses to Nebraska (40-6 in the Orange Bowl to finish the 1972 season) and Ohio State (34-20 in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2005 season) and a win over Rutgers (29-16 in the Pinstripe Bowl following the 2013 campaign).
Here are details of Notre Dame's four previous Fiesta Bowl appearances:
1988--#1 Notre Dame defeated #3 West Virginia 34-21
1994--#4 Colorado defeated unranked Notre Dame 41-24
2000--#5 Oregon State defeated #10 Notre Dame 41-9
2005--#4 Ohio State defeated #5 Notre Dame 34-20
The Irish have made three other appearances in the Phoenix area:
1998--#22 Notre Dame 28, Arizona State 9 at Sun Devil Stadium
2004-Oregon State 38, Notre Dame 21 at Bank One Ballpark in the Insight Bowl
2014--#11 Arizona State 55, #8 Notre Dame 31 at Sun Devil Stadium
Tickets for the Fiesta Bowl are now on sale by visiting www.und.com/buytickets. There is a $20 charge per order for FedEx delivery service to ensure receipt during the busy holiday season. Bowl ticket applications were sent via personalized emails to contributing alumni, benefactors, parents, season ticket holders and faculty/staff via email addresses on file at the Notre Dame ticket office. Those members of the Notre Dame family are encouraged to log in to their primary University account before Dec. 8 to ensure priority for seating. Public orders are subject to a first-come/first-served basis. For account assistance or questions please email the Notre Dame ticket office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 574-631-7356 beginning at 8:30 a.m. EST Monday (Dec. 7). Follow the Notre Dame ticket office on Twitter @NDTix for the latest news on Notre Dame athletics ticketed events, ticket releases, event updates and promotions.