• Notre Dame and California are meeting for the fifth time and the first time in 55 years.
• The Irish lead the all-time series 4-0, winning two games at Notre Dame Stadium in 1960 and 1967, while also earning two wins at California in 1959 and 1965.
• ‘Irish Wear Green’ is an annual game (created in 2018) when all Notre Dame fans are encouraged to wear green to support the Irish. Since the ‘Irish Wear Green’ initiative began in 2018 for the Notre Dame -Michigan game, the Irish have remained in their traditional blue uniforms for the contest.
• For this year’s event Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Marcus Freeman has already announced that the Irish will be in green uniforms for the game with California. Saturday will make the first time the Irish will wear green jerseys since 2018, which ironcially was not an ‘Irish Wear Green’ game but was Senior Day that year and Notre Dame earned a 42-13 victory over Florida State.
• Notre Dame has two traditional Pac-12 Conference rivals in Southern Cal and Stanford and are 41-18-1 against those to teams in Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish are 14-1 at home against all other Pac-12 teams, with the lone loss coming to Arizona in 1982.
• California is 2-0 this season with a 34-13 victory over UC Davis and and a 20-14 win over future 2022 Notre Dame opponent UNLV last weekend. Saturday marks Cal’s first road game of the season.
• The Irish will see a quarterback make a Notre Dame Stadium starting debut for the second consecutive week on Saturday. Sophomore Tyler Buchner made his first career start against Marshall last weekend, but was injured in the fourth quarter and will be out for the remainder of the season. Sophomore Drew Pyne will be making his first start in Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday against California.
• Notre Dame quarterbacks are 14-5 in their first career starts in Notre Dame Stadium since 1998.
NOTRE DAME GREEN JERSEY HISTORY • With a nickname like ‘The Fighting Irish,’ the color green has always played a part in Notre Dame football uniforms dating back to the Knute Rockne era in the 1920s. • The green jersey lore was enhanced in 1977, when Dan Devine warmed up in Notre Dame’s traditional blue jersey, changed into green jerseys in the locker room and utilized the momentum of the sudden changed to defeat No. 11 Southern Cal 49-19. Before that 1977 game, Notre Dame had not worn green jerseys since 1963. • The 1977 team remained in those green jerseys for the rest of the season and earned the National Championship with a 38-10 victory over No. 1 Texas in the 1978 Cotton Bowl (the jersey worn in the Cotton Bowl was white with green numbers). • Green remained the main color of the Notre Dame football uniform through the 1980 season. • Since 1983, when Gerry Faust uniformed his team in green for a victory with Southern Cal, Notre Dame is 8-7 while wearing jerseys that prominently feature the color green and have wore green six times since 2010 (5-1 in those games, four wins in a row).
IRISH ITEMS – BY THE NUMBERS
2 Two Irish freshmen made their debut for Notre Dame against Marshall – tight
ends Eli Raridon and Holden Staes.
3 Last year Michael Mayer joined Virginia’s Heath Miller (2003) and Rice’s
James Casey (2008) as the only FBS underclassman tight ends (freshman or
sophomore) in the last 25 years to have at least 70 receptions for 700 yards in
6 Six completions in eight attempts by Drew Pyne, helping the Irish rally against
Wisconsin in Soldier Field last season in his first siginficant action for Notre Dame
(he appeared briefly in two games in the 2020 season). The Irish trailed 10-13
when Pyne entered the contest and eventually won the game 41-13, boosted by
a Pyne touchdown pass and two interception returns for a touchdown.
7 Notre Dame has played seven times in its football history on September 17, with
six of those meetings coming against Michigan State. The Irish are 3-4 all-time
on September 17th and have not played on the date since 2016.
Howard Cross III led the Irish with 11 tackles against Marshall last weekend, far surpassing his previous career-high of five and becoming the first Notre
Dame defensive lineman to post double-digit tackles in a game since Kurt Hinish
against Navy last season.
14 Notre Dame is 14-1 all-time in Notre Dame Stadium against Pac-12 teams not
named Southern Cal or Stanford. Arizona claims the lone victory of those 15
contests in 1982.
15 Since Notre Dame moved away from green jerseys in 1980, the team has appeared 15 times in games where green was a central element of the team’s game
day uniform. Notre Dame is 8-7 in those games and has won four in a row.
44.9 With a 44.9 yards-per-punt average, senior Jon Sot is 24th in the country in
punt average. His efforts have allowed the Irish to rank 11th in the country in
net punting (44.83).
53 Career games played for graduate student linebacker Bo Bauer which is eight
games away from matching Kurt Hinish (now in his rookie season with the
Houston Texans) for the most games played in Notre Dame history.
120 Michael Mayer collected his 120th career reception against Marshall (he now
has 126) and is one of 11 Notre Dame players to reach that mark this century.
The only other one to reach that mark in the last five years was Chase Claypool.
213 Since 1980, Notre Dame is 213-24 (.899) when it scores 30 or more points.
ABOUT THE SERIES — This will be the fifth all-time meeting between California and Notre Dame, but first since 1967. — It will be the first game in 55 years between the two programs with the Fighting Irish having won all four of the previous matchups in 1959, 1960, 1965 and 1967 OTT-STANT IMPACT — Freshman running back Jaydn Ott has immediately made his presence known in the first two games of the season, rushing for 156 yards on 17 carries while adding five receptions for 42 yards and his first career touchdown. Ott was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive time on Monday, the first Bear to earn the honor in back-to-back weeks since its inception in 2019. Lu-Magia Hearns III is the only other Cal player to pick up the honor after the Golden Bears’ 2021 Big Game victory at Stanford. — Ott has proven to be a threat both running the ball and receiving out of the backfield, currently ranking eighth in the Pac-12 in all purpose yards through the first two weeks of the season. The Chino, California native is averaging 99 yards per game with 156 rushing and 42 receiving yards in two games. Ott is the only freshman to rank in the Top 10 of the conference in all purpose yards. — With 156 yards rushing in the first two games of the season, Ott ranks fourth in the Pac-12 Conference. Ott is the top freshman rusher in the Pac-12 and sixth overall in the conference. EASTERN TIME, NO PROBLEM — Cal has played a pair of games in the eastern time zone under current head coach Justin Wilcox and has returned to the west coast victorious both times. The Bears opened the 2017 season with a 35-30 triumph at North Carolina in Wilcox’s first game as head coach and won 28-20 at Ole Miss in 2019. ROAD OPENERS — The Bears have a 3-2 record in road openers under head coach Justin Wilcox. — Cal won 35-30 at North Carolina in 2017, 21-18 at BYU in 2018 and earned a 20-19 victory at No. 12 Washington in 2019. — The last two road openers have been defeats to UCLA in 2020 (34-10) and a back-and-forth loss at TCU to open last season (34-32). DEFENSIVE MINDED — California’s defense has been strong in several areas through the first two games of the season, ranking third in the Pac-12 and No. 23 nationally in scoring defense. The Bears have held six of their last eight opponents to 14 points or less dating back to last season. — The Bears are tied for second in the Pac-12 and tied for seventh in the country with one defensive touchdown. — Cal is second in the Pac-12 and No. 18 in the nation with three interceptions through the first two weeks. Craig Woodson, Jeremiah Earby and Isaiah Young have each grabbed a pick, with Young’s sealing the week two win over UNLV. — Woodson returned from an injury that cost him the entire 2021 season and took an interception back 39 yards for a touchdown, the first score of his career in Cal’s season-opening 34-13 win over UC Davis. — Cal’s starting inside linebacker duo of Jackson Sirmon (17) and Oluwafemi Oladejo (16) have been all over the field for the Bears, leading the team in tackles.