College football: Ohio State-Notre Dame rivalry built on only a few games

It’s a rivalry that has appeared less often than cicadas but more often than comets.

Ohio State and Notre Dame have played football against each other only seven times.There were two regular season games in 1935 and 1936. That was followed by 59 years of not scheduling each other before a home-and-home series in 1995 and 1996.

Since then there have been two match-ups in the Fiesta Bowl and last year’s regular-season game.

Every longtime Big Ten team from the Midwest except one has faced Notre Dame more times than OSU.

Notre Dame has played Purdue 87 times, Michigan State 77 times, Northwestern 49 times and Michigan 43 times. Indiana (29 games), Iowa (24 games), Wisconsin (17 games) and Illinois (12 games) also have more history with Notre Dame than OSU does.

Notre Dame won the first two games and Ohio State has won the last five. The 1935 game, which Notre Dame won 18-13 after being behind 13-0 after three quarters, was referred to as the game of the century at the time.

The classic of the five modern era games, at least for me, is the 1995 game, which Ohio State won 45-26 at Ohio Stadium.

The anticipation created by these two legendary college football programs getting together after 59 years of finding reasons not to do it ranked right up there with the No. 1 against No. 2 Michigan game in 2006 or a national championship game.

Once the game finally arrived, the atmosphere in Ohio Stadium was electric. Notre Dame led late in the third quarter before Ohio State made a huge comeback.

It’s always good to see this game on the schedule. Who knows how many years it will be until it happens again.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.