Ohio State-Notre Dame: A History

Eddie George

Despite being just a few hours up the road, Notre Dame will be playing Ohio State for just the fifth time on January 2 when the teams meet in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. Despite only having played four times, the two teams have had memorable meetings when they have faced off. Check out a look at the history of these two programs.

Ohio State and Notre Dame.

All you have to do is say the names and images of football greats and championships won pop into your head.

These two Midwest college football powers – who view themselves as national icons, truly – will collide in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2 in Tempe, Ariz.

On any scale you want to compare them, these two schools have to be among the top five or 10 college football programs out there.

Lou Holtz and John Cooper

This will mark the fifth time these two schools will hook up on the gridiron. The all-time series is tied at 2-2. Notre Dame won back-to-back games in 1935-36, while Ohio State returned the favor in 1995-96. This week, we will look back at each of those games. Below, we have a few details on them as well.

But first, we wanted to share some comparisons between these two great football powerhouses. Here are some categories where they stack up:

* All-Time Winning Percentage -- Michigan remains the Division I-A winning percentage leader at .745 (849-279-36). But Notre Dame comes in second at .736 (811-265-42). Ohio State stands in at No. 6 at .707 (773-298-53). Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama are third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

* Bowl Records -- ND is 13-13 all-time in bowl action, while OSU is 17-19.

* National Championships -- Notre Dame claims 11 consensus national title and also has been mentioned as a "splinter" champion on 19 other occasions. Since the inception of The Associated Press poll in 1936, ND has claimed eight AP poll titles (1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977 and 1988).

Ohio State claims five consensus national titles and two other "splinter" championships. OSU has won the AP poll title four times (1942, 1954, 1968 and 2002).

* Heisman Trophy Winners -- Notre Dame has had seven different Heisman Trophy winners, with Tim Brown (1987) the most recent one. Ohio State has had five players claim six Heismans, with Eddie George (1995) the most recent one and Archie Griffin (1974-75) the only player to ever win the award twice.

* Consensus All-Americans -- Coming into this season, ND had 78 players selected a total of 94 times as consensus All-Americans. OSU had 57 players tabbed 72 times.

* College Football Hall of Fame -- ND has had 41 players and five coaches selected for the College Hall, which is now located in South Bend, Ind. Ohio State has had 20 players and eight coaches honored with Hall induction.

* Coaching Icons -- Each side boasts its share of coaching legends. ND has Knute Rockne, Elmer Layden, Frank Leahy, Dan Devine, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz. OSU boasts John Wilce, Francis Schmidt, Paul Brown, Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce.

Andy Katzenmoyer eyes QB Ron Powlus in 1996

Previous Meetings

As noted, we will go back over more of the finer points in the four previous Ohio State-Notre Dame games as we prepare for the Fiesta Bowl. Here is a quick look at some notables from these four previous meetings.

* Nov. 2, 1935 at Columbus: Notre Dame 18, Ohio State 13 -- A then-record crowd of 81,018 jammed into 14-year-old Ohio Stadium to witness what was billed as The Game of the Century, the first ever meeting between Ohio State and Notre Dame.

And they saw a great one. Ohio State led 13-0 heading into the fourth, but ND rallied with three fourth-quarter touchdowns and fed off several OSU miscues to pull out the win. ND's Bill Shakespeare, a Cincinnati native, threw the game-winning 19-yard pass to Wayne Millner with 32 seconds left.

Tickets for this game sold for $50 each and there were widespread reports of counterfeit tickets. OSU officials said they could have sold 200,000 tickets for the game if they had room.

* Oct. 31, 1936 at South Bend: Notre Dame 7, Ohio State 2 -- Few remember this rematch a year later at Notre Dame Stadium, where a sellout crowd of 50,017 was on hand. OSU's Charles Hamrick blocked an ND punt for a safety. The Irish had the game's only touchdown on a 4-yard run by Nevin "Bunny" McCormick.

* Sept. 30, 1995 at Columbus: Ohio State 45, Notre Dame 26 -- After six decades of waiting, football fans got their wish as these two teams met again in Columbus. Ohio State rolled up 535 yards total offense to win going away. George carried 32 times for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Bobby Hoying threw for 272 yards and four touchdowns, while Terry Glenn caught four passes for 128 yards including a memorable 82-yard touchdown.

ND coach Lou Holtz, a former OSU assistant, coached the game on the sidelines wearing a neck brace just weeks after undergoing spinal surgery. Randy Kinder ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns for Notre Dame.

An Ohio Stadium-record crowd of 95,537 attended the game. Scalpers commanded $150 and up for $25 face value tickets.


Eddie George against ND in 1995

* Sept. 28, 1996 at South Bend: Ohio State 29, Notre Dame 16 -- Ohio State drew even with Notre Dame in the all-time series before a sellout crowd of 59,075 at Notre Dame Stadium. OSU's Dimitrious Stanley returned the opening kickoff 85 yards to set up a touchdown, while tailback Pepe Pearson rolled for 173 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

The Buckeyes got after ND quarterback Ron Powlus, who was 13 of 30 passing for 154 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted twice and was sacked four times. (Current OSU assistant Luke Fickell had one interception and one sack in the game.)


Pepe Pearson follows Orlando Pace's block

* Future Meetings? -- Notre Dame typically plays Michigan every year. The Irish did not play UM, though, in 1995-96 when they fit Ohio State onto the schedule.

But new OSU athletic director Gene Smith, an ND alum and former Irish player, said he had some preliminary talks with his ND counterpart, Kevin White, about possible meetings in the future.

Now, though, it seems like we will not have to wait that long for the rubber match in this series.

* Other Installments -- Click the links below for a look at the previous OSU-ND meetings.

Look Back At 1935 "Game Of The Century"

Look Back At 1936 Rematch In South Bend"

The Long Awaited 1995 Game At OSU

OSU Evens Score With 1996 Win

BuckeyeSports.com Recommended Stories