1 Two Irish freshman will not forget their first career touches from the

Navy game last week. Jaden Greathouse caught a 35-yard touchdown on his first reception, while Jadarian Price burst through the

line for a 19-yard touchdown on his first career carry.

2 Freshman Jaden Greathouse became the first Irish freshman wide

receiver to catch two touchdown passes in his Notre Dame debut

against Navy last week, nabbing 35- and 20-yard receptions from

Sam Hartman.

3 Only three Irish signal callers have thrown four touchdown passes in

their Notre Dame debut – current Senior Associate Athletics Director

for Football Ron Powlus in 1994 against Northwestern, Jack Coan in

2021 versus Florida State and Sam Hartman last Saturday against


4 In Marcus Freeman’s debut season in 2022, Notre Dame defeated

four Associated Press ranked teams: No. 5 Clemson, No. 16 BYU, No.

16 Syracuse and No. 20 South Carolina, which matched Terry Brennan

(1954) for the most ranked wins in a coaching debut season at Notre

Dame and was most in one single season for the program since 2018.

6 Benjamin Morrison intercepted six passes during his rookie season

in 2022 and was one of two Power 5 defensive backs to reach that

mark (Miami’s Kamren Kinchens also had six).

11 There were 11 Irish players that made their college footall debuts in

last weekend’s game against Navy: LB Jaiden Ausberry, LB Drayk

Bowen, OL Ashton Craig, HLD Dylan Devezin, DB Christian Gray, WR

Jaden Greathouse, TE Cooper Flanagan, WR Rico Flores Jr., RB Jadarian Price, OL Billy Schrauth, OL Aamil Wagner.

35.3 Not only did Notre Dame improve to 3-9 all-time against Navy in Ireland last weekend, but it pushed its average margin of victory over

the Midshipmen on the Emerald Isle to 35.3 ppg.

48 Fifth-year senior DJ Brown is the most experienced returning player

to the Irish roster this season, having appeared in 48 career games

with 12 starts. JD Bertrand has the most starts of any returning player with 24 in his career. The two of the most experienced players, in

terms of games played in a career, are new to the roster this season

– Sam Hartman (49) and Javontae Jean-Baptiste (48).

81 Irish quarterback Sam Hartman has thrown 81 touchdown passes

since 2021 – the most of any Power 5 quarterback.

95 Notre Dame begins its 95th season at Notre Dame Stadium in 2023

and will be playing their 500th game in ‘The House that Rockne Built’

in the season finale against Wake Forest.

100 When an Irish running back reaches the 100-yard plateau, that typically coincides with a Notre Dame victory. Since 2021, the Irish are

16-2 (.889) when at least one ND player reaches 100 rushing yards.

231.7 Sam Hartman’s 231.7 passer rating from the victory over Navy ranks

as the ninth-best in Notre Dame history and the third-best in a season

opener. Malik Zaire (250.9 vs. Texas in 2015) and Tommy Rees (239.0

vs. Temple in 2013) were the only other two openers rated above Hartman’s performance against the Midshipmen.

NOTRE DAME – TENNESSEE STATE SERIES HISTORY • Notre Dame and Tennessee State will be meeting for the first time on Saturday afternoon. The matchup marks the first time the Irish will face a Football Championship Series (FCS) team since the NCAA split its football divisions in 1978. After Saturday afternoon’s game, Southern Cal will be the only FBS school that will not have played an FCS team. • The Irish have taken the field against current members of FCS before the NCAA football divisions split in ‘78. Notre Dame has played (number of games played) Butler (3), Dartmouth (2), Drake (8), Penn (6), Princeton (2), South Dakota (5) and Valparaiso (1) with their most recent game against a current FCS team against Penn in 1955. • The matchup with Tennessee State also marks the first time Notre Dame will face one of the country’s Historically Black Colleges or Universities.

NOTRE DAME HOME OPENERS • Notre Dame opens its 95th season at Notre Dame Stadium in 2023. The facility opened in 1930 and the Irish own an all-time record of 372-117-5 (.759) in “The House That Rockne Built.” • The Irish are 109-19-4 (.841) in home openers (the team did not have a home opener in 1889 or 1929) with a mark of 75-16-2 (.817) at Notre Dame Stadium. • Notre Dame saw its 10-game win streak in home openers end last season, which matched the program record for consecutive home-opener victories from 1964- 73.

TWO-DEEP TIDBITS – OFFENSE Jayden Thomas, the leading returning receiver for the Irish in 2023, led the team with four catches for 63 yards against Navy, including a 14-yard touchdown reception. Deion Colzie continued his penchant for key third down conversions against Navy last weekend and also turned a short pass to the outside into a 25-yard touchdown reception. Chris Tyree has shifted to wide receiver after three years as a running back with the Irish. He caught three passes for 36 yards against Navy. True freshman Jaden Greathouse nabbed a 35-yard touchdown pass on his first career touch last week against Navy. He followed up with a 20-yard scoring catch later in the game. Joe Alt, the son of former NFL All-Pro John Alt, is one of four team captains for the Irish this season, has been selected as a consensus preseason All-American and is on the Outland, Lombardi and Walter Camp Award watch lists. See page 7 for more on Alt. Pat Coogan made his first career start in just his second game played last weekend against Navy. He helped the Irish OL clear the way for 191 yards rushing (6.0 average). Zeke Correll has played guard and center during his career and now enters the season as one of the top snappers in the nation. He will make his 23rd-career start on the Irish offensive line against Tennessee State and is on the Rimington Award watch list. Rocco Spindler joined Coogan to make his first career start at guard for the Irish against Navy. Blake Fisher combines with Joe Alt to give the Irish offensive line two of the top tackles in the nation. See page 7 for more on Alt and Fisher. Mitchell Evan’s last reception of 2022 was the game-winning touchdown against South Carolina in the Gator Bowl. Evans also plays a key role in some of Notre Dame’s short yardage packages by taking direct snaps. He rushed for five first downs and a touchdown from under center last season. Tobias Merriweather made one catch as a rookie for a key touchdown against Stanford last season and was poised for a surge in playing time, but an injury before last year’s Navy contest slowed his progress. He has the length and athleticism to be one of Hartman’s top targets. Rico Flores Jr. has shown a penchant for getting open in the preseason and is one of Notre Dame’s true freshmen expected to contribute to the Irish offense. Sam Hartman posted a near-perfect debut in an Irish uniform against Navy, completing 19 of 23 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns. See page 6 for more on Hartman as he continues his climb up the career quarterback statistical charts. Audric Estimé paced the Irish run game against Navy with 95 yards on 16 carries while also catching two passes for 26 yards. Gi’Bran Payne posted an early-career-best performance against Navy with six rushes for 31 yards. Jadarian Price burst through the middle and broke a tackle on his first career carry, eventually finding himself in the end zone 19 yards later in his Irish debut against Navy. He finished the game with four carries for 25 yards. Devyn Ford brings experience (three years at Penn State) and leadership to the group. His key blitz pick up in the second quarter played a key role in Jaden Greathouse’s 35- yard touchdown reception. Jeremiyah Love flashed his game breaking potential in his first career game against Navy, rushing four times for 40 yards which included Notre Dame’s longest rush of the day (21 yards). Spencer Shrader decided to play his final year at Notre Dame, claimed the starting kicker duties and has not looked back. A former professional soccer player, Shrader has rushed twice in his career (once for a 22-yard touchdown), caught a pass for seven yards, made two tackles on kick offs, punted once for 36 yards and has converted 28 career field goals. Bryce McFerson has a booming leg and was slated to be the Irish kickoff specialist last season as a true freshman, before an injury kept him off the field. Michael Vinson is in his sixth year at Notre Dame and is one of the top long snappers in the nation. He has developed into a clear leader not only for the Irish special teams, but the entire roster.

TWO-DEEP TIDBITS – DEFENSE Jordan Botelho finished with three tackles and a QBH against Navy. His key third down stop in the second quarter forced Navy into a field goal attempt that they eventually missed. Junior Tuihalamaka started his career as a linebacker and has a nose for stopping the run. Joshua Burnham logged his first career sack in his the most extensive playing time of his young career against Navy. Rylie Mills is No. 10 on The Athletic’s Freak List for his work in the weight room and he is poised for a breakout season. Mills’ timely sack against Navy in the fourth quarter pushed the Midshipmen back from the four-yard line that eventually led to a field goal. Jason Onye’s motor never stops and he has been one of the talking points of the Irish preseason in his push for more playing time. Howard Cross III will appear in his 40th game for Notre Dame against Tennesse State and is a dependable force on the interior of the defensive line. Gabriel Rubio is in the same role as Onye and Burnham, talented younger defensive linemen who are hoping to level up their game in 2023. Javontae Jean-Baptiste single handedly ended a Navy drive with back-to-back tackles at the line in the second quarter. A graduate transfer from Ohio State, he finished his first game in an ND uniform with four tackles, including one TFL. Nana Osafo-Mensah is a leader in the defensive line group and a steady force against the run. Marist Liufau enters his second full season as a starter in 2023 and was all over the field agianst Navy, making seven stops and forcing a fumble that just trickled out of bounds before the Irish could recover the ball. JD Bertrand is the defacto leader of the Irish defense, and is one of the most prolific tackling linebackers of the last 20 years. See page 7 for more on Bertrand. Jack Kiser does a little bit of everything for the Irish defense, and can appear on the line or even as a spot safety if necessary. He led the team with eight tackles against Navy. Cam Hart was voted a captain by his teammates this season, and looks poised for a highly productive final season with the Irish. Among the most veteran defenders on the team (36 games played) Hart has 72 career tackles, 13 PBUs and two interceptions. DJ Brown returned for a fifth year and is the ‘quarterback’ of the back seven for Notre Dame’s defense. A solid and sure tackler, Brown has 107 career stops and three interceptions in his career. Xavier Watts has grown from a rookie wide receiver into one of Notre Dame’s starting safeties. He has appeared in 27 games and has 58 career tackles to his credit. Benjamin Morrison was a Freshman All-American last season, and is focused on taking his game to an even higher level in 2023. See page 7 for more on Morrison. The Irish defense is filled with talented younger players eager to make their mark with increased playing time in 2023. Jaylen Sneed loves to pressure the quarterback and get downhill on running situations. Christian Gray, a true freshman, has earned the trust of position coach Mike Mickens to be listed as a back up to Benjamin Morrison. While those talented younger players are ready for their moment, there are three key veterans in the back seven of the defense who will play key roles. Clarence Lewis has played in 38 games at Notre Dame and might be the team’s top choice as the nickel defender. Thomas Harper, a transfer from Oklahoma State, also is a top choice to defend slot receivers. Antonio Carter II jumps up a level from Rhode Island and will provide the Irish safeties depth and contribute across the Irish special teams. Dylan Devezin, a sophomore walk-on quarterback, has seized the team’s holder role and has earned Spencer Shrader’s – and special teams coordinator Marty Biagi’s –trust. Chris Tyree just needs one person to miss on a punt return to show off his burst. Matt Salerno has been a dependable punt returner throughout his five-year Notre Dame career. Devyn Ford returned kicks at Penn State and will be joined by Tyree, who Irish fans still remember for his key kick return for a touchdown against Wisconsin in 2021 that shifted the game’s momentum.


SERIES INFORMATION: This is the first meeting between Tennessee State and Notre Dame. WHERE TO WATCH & LISTEN: TSU Football can be heard on WNSR’s flagship network, 560 AM, 95.9 FM (Nashville), 107.9 FM (Smyrna), and WNSR.com. Globally, the broadcast can be heard on Sirius XM. Additionally, WNSR will offer in-depth pregame and postgame analysis, exclusive interviews with coaches and players, and behind-the-scenes content to engage fans on a deeper level. “The Voice of the Tigers” Greg Pogue returns for his 12th season behind the mic and will be joined by former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Chris Sanders. Nashville broadcasting legend Albert Dawson will fill-in for Sanders. The action can also be heard on the TSU Tigers app. TSU BY THE NUMBERS 356: The number of combined tackles between Josh and James Green. Josh Green is the current team leader with 225 career tackles, while James ranks third on the team with 131 tackles under his belt. 207: The number of yards head coach Eddie George rushed for against Notre Dame in 1995. George’s three touchdowns helped Ohio State defeat the Fighting Irish 45-25. 39: The number of players from Tennessee that are on the roster this year after having 35 in 2022. 26 of those players are local products that played their high school ball in Nashville. 17: The number of players on TSU’s roster who have already completed their bachelor’s degrees. 14: The number of FBS transfers on TSU’s roster. The Tigers picked up two SEC transfers this summer in defensive back Tyler Jones (Missouri) and wide receiver Lucien Brunetti (Tennessee). Former Michigan State product Trenton Gillison arrives from the Big Ten and is expected to contribute in big ways this season.

TSU IN SEASON OPENERS: TSU is 51-31-4 in season openers dating back to the 1933 season. The Tigers’ largest margin of victory in a season opener came in 1966 when they took down North Carolina A&T 58-0 to open the season. John Merritt’s team would finish that season 10-0 and take down Muskingum 34-7 in the Grantland Rice Bowl. TSU’s 55-19 loss to Middle Tennessee to open 1987 is the worst opening-day loss that the Tigers have suffered. TSU has posted 17 shutout wins in season openers since 1933, with the last one coming in the 2016 opener as the Tigers shutout Arkansas-Pine Bluff 44-0. THE BIG STAGE: Tennessee State is 1-5 against FBS teams dating back to 2006. The Tigers have taken on Vanderbilt twice, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee Twice, and Mississippi State in that span. The Tigers picked up their first-ever FBS victory in the 2017 season opener as they defeated Georgia State. The Tigers have dropped their last four games against FBS opponents including two in the Eddie George area, a 49-6 loss to MTSU last season, and a 55-10 loss in 2021. OUT EAST: The Tigers will play three games in the Eastern time zone this season. The last time TSU played in the Eastern Time Zone was in the 2021 season opener against Grambling State in Canton Ohio, as Eddie George made his coaching debut in a 16-10 loss. After opening up the season against Notre Dame in South Bend, the Tigers will also travel to Charleston S.C., and Kennesaw, Ga., for their others games in the Eastern Time Zone. KEEPING IT 100: The Tennessee State defense has four players with 100+ career tackles heading into 2023, with three more players on the brink of reaching the century mark. Josh Green leads the team with 225, followed by Monroe Beard III who transfers into TSU with 141 career tackles that he tallied at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. James Green has notched 131 tackles, while Jalen Bell made 113 stops at Mississippi Valley State before transferring to TSU for his final year. Terrell Allen (87), Kenyon Garlington (77), and Jeremiah Josephs (70) will all took hit the 100 mark this season. ELITE EIGHT: Eight true freshmen have made the travel roster for the season opener and will look to make their college debuts live on NBC against Notre Dame. Hadine Diaby (OL), Delanie Majors (WR), Jason Hoath Jr. (TE), and Ryder Hagan (QB) represent the offense, while Eriq George (DL), Terrence Carpenter (DL) and Sammy Taylor (LB) made the flight as defensive freshmen. Kicker Ahmed Mohammed will also travel as the backup kicker. OLD HEADS: With redshirt years, injury redshirts, and extra years of eligibility from Covid, teams across the country have an abundance old 5th, 6th, and even 7th-year players. TSU has a combined 25 guys that are in their 5th-7th year of playing college football. James Green leads the in years in college football as he enters his 7th season. When James was a freshman at TSU in 2017, the current TSU freshmen were in the 6th grade. The Tigers have 10 6th years guys and 14th players in their 5th season. OVC PRESEASON SELECTION: The Tigers received 57 points in the poll, a promising position for Eddie George as he enters his third year as head coach. Last season, TSU recorded a 4-7 overall record and a 2-3 standing in the OVC. Adding to the optimism, six players from George’s squad have been selected to the Conference’s Preseason Watch List. The players on the Preseason Watch List are as follows: Draylen Ellis – Senior 2021 2nd Team All-OVC 2020 OVC Freshman of the Year Terrell Allen – Senior 2022 1st Team All-OVC 2x All-Conference James Green – Graduate 2021 2nd Team All-OVC Josh Green – Senior 2019 Freshman All-American OVC All-Newcomer Bryce Phillips – Sophomore 2022 2nd Team All-OVC OVC All-Newcomer