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Notre Dame Football: Irish VS NC State History and Hype

Can Marcus Freeman’s Irish tie up the series?


As we await the new Notre Dame Fighting Irish football season, we get hyped for traditions and classic rivalries. However, the schedule shakeups are just as exciting.

I’ve cleaned up the way-back machine to take a look at the once-in-a-blue-moon matchups of 2023. First on the list is the Notre Dame-NC State game on Saturday, September 29. The two squads have faced off only three times, and the NC State Wolfpack leads the series 2-1.

What’s the Backstory?

The series started with a Wolfpack victory in the 2003 Gator Bowl. A shoulder injury for Irish QB Carlyle Holiday in the first quarter left room for NC State outside linebacker Manny Lawson to block Notre Dame’s Ryan Grant and set NC State up for success. Consistent Wolfpack defense led to a 28-6 Wolfpack win.

The Irish and the Wolfpack met for a second time in 2016, this time playing through Hurricane Matthew’s wind and rain. Lightning delayed the second half of this game, and a water-soaked field made for a slippery situation.

The teams stretched a 3-3 tie into the fourth quarter until NC State’s Pharoah McKever blocked an Irish punt, which Wolfpack safety Dexter Wright returned to take the lead with the only touchdown of the night and lock it in 10-3, NC State.

The following year, clean passing and a cool and collected Irish defense locked in the first Notre Dame win of the series.

A hungry Brandon Wimbush made a touchdown pass to Irish tight end Durham Smythe as the first quarter neared its end, and later scored on a 3-yard run early in the second. Wimbush later earned the lead for the Irish with a pass to Kevin Stepherson to chalk up a touchdown and bring it to 21-14, Irish as the game reached its halfway point.

Julian Love later returned an interception for 69 yards for Notre Dame’s third touchdown of the night and Josh Adams topped it all off with a 77-yard run to end it all 35-14, Irish.

This Irish victory broke a winning streak of six games for the Wolfpack.

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