A basic rundown of all the key facts related to Notre Dame’s season-opening game against Texas. All your quick questions about this weekend answered.
Who: No. 10 Notre Dame vs. Texas
Notre Dame is ranked 10th in the AP preseason poll, ninth in the coaches poll. Texas is unranked but received votes in both polls. The Irish are favorites in the matchup, with Odds Shark giving ND a three-point edge over the Longhorns. The all-time series is 9-2, in favor of Notre Dame.
When: Sunday, Sept. 4, 7:42 p.m. EDT, 6:42 p.m. local time
The game, originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3, was shifted to Sunday night primetime in early April. No other college game will be played at the same time. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT, but kickoff isn’t for another 12 minutes if you need to make a bathroom run or something.
Where: Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
Since the departure of Lou Holtz, Notre Dame is 5-14 in true road openers, but 3-1 in the past four. The last time the Irish started the season with a true road game was 2006, against Georgia Tech.
Texas, meanwhile, has not lost a home opener since 2000.
Joe Tessitore and Todd Blackledge will be calling the game, with Holly Rowe reporting from the sidelines. For what it’s worth, Rowe has a very inspiring story. Check out this excellent feature from USA Today for all the details.
Stats: CBSSports’s Gametracker App will have live updates once the game starts.
Three storylines to watch for:
- Quarterbacks, quarterbacks and more quarterbacks. Both Notre Dame and Texas plan to play multiple QBs throughout the course of the game, dragging a months-long competition into the season and under the eyes of millions.
- How will Notre Dame’s young defense look? With plenty of key cogs on the defensive side gone for the Irish, as well as the recent dismissal of senior safety Max Redfield, there’s plenty of reason to doubt Brian VanGorder’s crew. On the road in primetime, this game will be a huge test.
- Charlie Strong is beginning his third season at Texas, and in the ultra-competitive world of college football, three years is just about the upper limit for head coaches to produce results. Brian Kelly reached the national championship in his third year. Strong won’t have to do that to keep his job, but he will have to improve upon last year’s 38-3 drubbing in South Bend.
Notre Dame’s key players: DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire
I wanted to be clever and interesting with this one, but there’s just no way around it: Kizer and Zaire are going to have to figure out a way to make this balancing act of a 2-QB system work. They may not be the best players on the field for Notre Dame come Sunday, but they have the greatest potential to turn this game into either a blowout or a nail-biter.
Texas’s key players: The Smash Brothers
Texas has its own issues at QB, but the Longhorns are all set at running back, and that might be all they need. Junior D’Onta Foreman and sophomore Chris Warren are known as the Smash Brothers because they both weigh in around 250 pounds and can explode at any time. If and when the passing game falters Sunday, Strong can turn to his two-headed monster and put a great deal of the load on them, and if the Irish defense isn’t ready, they could be steamrolled.