Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

Night Move: Irish kickoff in Austin set

The date might have been a surprise. The start time is not. On Tuesday, ESPN announced Notre Dame’s season-opener against Texas will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Notre Dame’s run of night moves just continued.

After NBC set home night dates for Notre Dame’s matchups with Michigan State and Stanford last week, today ESPN announced the season-opener at Texas would get primetime treatment as well. The Irish and Longhorns will kick off at 7:30 p.m. eastern on Sunday, Sept. 4 in Austin. ABC will televise the game.

There should be no surprise when Notre Dame gets a night date away from home considering the past two regular seasons. The Irish have played a dozen games away from Notre Dame Stadium during that time and eight have kicked off at night. That run ­– listed chronologically – includes Purdue, Syracuse, Florida State, Navy Clemson, Temple, Boston College and Stanford.

Those matchups against Purdue and Boston College were Shamrock Series tilts while games with Syracuse and Navy were road games played at neutral sites. The Irish went 1-3 in true road night games the past two years, with that subset of games all coming against ranked teams.

Notre Dame might get some night relief this year despite the Texas announcement paired with Michigan State and Stanford at home. The Shamrock Series against Army is already set for an afternoon kickoff while the neutral site matchup with Navy in Jacksonville is set for 11:30 a.m. That morning kickoff would seem to be a way for CBS to avoid the Alabama-LSU game later that day.

That leaves the neutral site against Syracuse (MetLife Stadium in New Jersey) and true road games against N.C. State and USC as the only possible road night kickoffs remaining. While it wouldn’t be a surprise to see two of those go to primetime, it doesn’t seem likely all three will, meaning the Irish could get just two or three night kickoffs on the road this year.

Considering Brian Kelly’s distaste for playing too many road night games, that’s a positive for Notre Dame. Even with the season-opener set for Sunday night in Austin, the Irish might get a break in night scheduling this fall.


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