Happy Friday everyone! I have access to thousands and thousands of Notre Dame Fighting Irish photos, and will never use a small fraction of those on this site. The thing is though — I want to, and I’m going to give it a solid shot as a way to bless the beginning of the weekend throughout the season.
Notre Dame travels to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles to open the 2021 college football season. So, obviously, let’s take a look at five other season openers on the road.
Editor’s Note: The irony of a couple of neutral site games listed below is not lost on me.
Starting the season on the road against your most hated rival is one of the great joys of college football — if you win. In 1987, the Irish traveled to Ann Arbor to take on the #9 ranked Michigan Wolverines — and then took the bus home as a 26-7 winner. It was enough for Terry Andrysiak to jump for joy.
Generally I try to use a lesser known image in these posts — but seriously — how can I NOT have Stephon Tuitt floating down a field in Dublin, Ireland. The Irish trounced the Navy Midshipmen, 50-10.
The 2002 season started off with a bang — and an ominous one at that. A 22-0 victory over the Maryland Terrapins saw 5 field goals and a Vontez Duff punt return for a touchdown. It would take the Irish 2 more games before they scored an offensive touchdown, but in the first two games of the season 4 touchdowns were scored on special teams or by the defense.
Perhaps the most successful road season opener of the last 20 years came in 2005 when the Irish opened up against the Pitt Panthers. Notre Dame racked up over 500 yards and it was a true coming out party for the Charlie Weis offense with Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, and Darius Walker — but never forget that Rashon Powers-Neil scored three touchdowns in a 42-21 win.
Ron Powlus had one of the greatest debuts at quarterback in Notre Dame history one night in Chicago in 1994. Powlus threw for 4 touchdowns against the Northwestern Wildcats in a 42-15 rout, and Beano’s “two Heisman” prediction for the then redshirt freshman wasn’t all that crazy.