1935—Undefeated Notre Dame took on undefeated Ohio State on Nov. 2, 1935 in Ohio Stadium with their arrival greeted by “Catholics, go home” chants. Head coach Elmer Layden’s Irish were considered significant underdogs against the Buckeyes and head coach Francis “Close the Gates of Mercy” Schmidt.
Ohio State jumped to a 13-0 lead and led by the same score through three quarters. But Notre Dame quarterback Andy Pilney helped pull the Irish to within a point in the fourth quarter. Bill Shakespeare replaced an injured Pilney and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Wayne Millner with 32 seconds remaining in Notre Dame’s 18-13 victory.
5—Times Notre Dame and Ohio State have squared off on the gridiron with the Buckeyes winning each of the last three, including a home-and-home series in 1995-96 (45-26 at Ohio Stadium, 29-16 at Notre Dame Stadium), and the Jan. 1, 2006 Fiesta Bowl (34-20).
617—Total yards gained by the Buckeyes in Fiesta Bowl victory over the Irish as future Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith passed for 342 yards on just 19 completions, Antonio Pittman rushed for 136 yards, Ted Ginn, Jr. scored on a 56-yard pass and 68-yard run, and Antonio Holmes scored on an 85-yard pass.
And yet with 5:27 to play, the Irish were within seven points on Darius Walker’s three-yard touchdown run. Brady Quinn completed 29-of-45 passes for 286 yards, nine of which went to Maurice Stovall for 126 yards. Walker finished with three touchdowns and 90 yards rushing.
34—Number of bowl/playoff games in which the Irish have participated. Notre Dame is 17-17 in post-season play.
46—Number of bowl/playoff games in which the Buckeyes have participated, including last year’s two playoff victories en route to the 2014 national title. Ohio State is 22-24 in post-season play.
4—Fiesta Bowl appearances by Notre Dame prior to this bid against Ohio State.
Notre Dame defeated West Virginia for the 1988 national championship in its first trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Since then, the Irish are 0-3 at the Fiesta with an average margin of defeat of 21 points per game.
Notre Dame lost to Colorado, 41-24, in the 1995 Fiesta (1994 season), Oregon State, 41-9, in the 2001 Fiesta (2000 season), and Ohio State, 34-20, 10 seasons ago.
Ohio State is 3-2 in the Fiesta Bowl, including a one-sided loss to Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators for the 2006 national title.
153—Victories by Urban Meyer in 14 seasons as a head coach (10.92 per year), including 136 in the last 12 seasons (11.33 per year). Meyer has won 14 games in a season once, 13 three times and 12 three times. He’s lost two games or less in nine of the last 12 seasons.
3—Bowl victories by Brian Kelly in five seasons with the Irish, including last year’s 31-28 win over LSU in the Music City Bowl.
4—Number of Notre Dame coaches with at least three bowl victories: Kelly (3-2, Lou Holtz (5-4), Dan Devine (3-1), and Ara Parseghian (3-2).
9-2—Meyer’s record in 11 post-season games.
17—Number of turnovers by Ohio State during the 2015 regular season, one less than Notre Dame.
5—Times out of 12 games that Ohio State rushed for at least 281 yards in 2015. The Buckeyes had 281 yards rushing at Rutgers, 283 at Illinois, 315 versus Penn State, 359 at Virginia Tech, and 369 at Michigan.
3,550—Yards rushing by Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott in the last two seasons (27 games). That’s an average of 131.5 yards per game and 6.6 yards per his 535 carries.
86—Yards rushing by Ohio State against Michigan State in its 17-14 loss on Nov. 21. That’s the only time this season the Buckeyes were held under 162 yards rushing.
104—Ohio State’s passing ranking out of 128 FBS teams. The Buckeyes average 187.0 yards passing per game.