How has Notre Dame football fared in Florida postseason games?
SOUTH BEND – Once again, the team will be getting out of the chilly weather of northern Indiana around the new year to play a game in the warmth of the Sunshine State.
In fact, Notre Dame has played more bowl games in the State of Florida than anywhere else in the country in their proud football history. When they take the field for the Gator Bowl against No. 19 South Carolina on December 30th, it will mark the 13th time they’ve played a bowl or postseason game in that state.
So how have the Irish done when they’ve played Florida?
Notre Dame is 5-7 in those contests, including a 1-2 mark in three previous apperances at the Gator Bowl. The Irish’s lone victory in that game came on December 27, 1976, a 20-9 triumph over Penn State.
They were defeated by NC State on January 1, 2003 and Georgia Tech on January 1, 1999.
Things have gotten better recently in postseason game in Florida as Notre Dame has won two-straight in the state. In their last appearance on December 28, 2019, the Irish defeated Iowa State 33-9 at the Camping World Bowl.
Two years earlier at the same venue, Notre Dame beat LSU in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day 2018 by a final of 21-17. Those are the last two bowl wins the Irish have, since they lost in the College Football Playoff in 2018 (Clemson) and 2020 (Alabama) along with the Fiesta Bowl earlier this year (Oklahoma State).
Before that, it was a bit rough for the Irish in the Sunshine State.
Notre Dame lost seven of their previous ten postseason games in Florida, including six-straight losses before winning the Citrus and Camping World Bowls.
The last one in that stretch was the BCS National Championship Game on January 7, 2013 when the Irish were dominated in a 42-14 loss to Alabama in Miami Gardens.
Here are the other losses in that stretch:
- Champs Sports Bowl – Orlando – Dec. 29, 2011 – Lost to Florida State 18-14
- Gator Bowl – Jacksonville – January 1, 2003 – Lost to NC State 28-6
- Gator Bowl – Jacksonville – January 1, 1999 – Lost to Georgia Tech 35-28
- Orange Bowl – Miami – January 1, 1996 – Lost to Florida State 31-26
- Orange Bowl – Miami – January 1, 1991 – Lost to Colorado 10-9
Two of the program’s best bowl wins came in Florida, each at the Orange Bowl.
On January 1, 1990, the Irish kept themselves alive for a national championship by knocking off No. 1 Colorado 21-6 to finish the season 11-1. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, they had to settle for second, finishing behing Miami, who defeated them at the Orange Bowl in the final regular season game of 1989.
Fifteen years earlier, on January 1, 1975, Ara Parseghian completed his celebrated coaching career in South Bend wiht a 13-11 win over No. 1 Alabama in the Orange Bowl. It was the coach’s 95th and final win of his career with the Irish as finished 10-2 and a No. 4 ranking.
Parseghian’s team lost their first Orange Bowl two years earlier to Nebraska 40-6 on January 1, 1973.
Overall, Notre Dame has a 19-21 overall record in bowl games.
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