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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Notre Dame chapter.

Whether you’re a rookie or a football pro, HCND’s Guide to Notre Dame Football will help you get ready for another season of Fighting Irish shenanigans. Study up, get “The Shirt”, and start practicing your stadium push-ups, because it’s going to be one heck of a fall semester!  

Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Mascot: A classy man dressed as a leprechaun, generally with red hair, a beard and a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm

Fun Fact: ND is the only team in the country to have every home game broadcast on national television. We’re that popular, folks.


2014 Season Recap

Record: 8-5

Wins: Rice, Michigan, Purdue, Syracuse, Stanford, North Carolina, Navy, and LSU

Losses: Florida State, Arizona State, Northwestern, Louisville, and USC

Some Stats (That You Should Probably Not Bother to Memorize):

  • Scoring: ND-427, Opponents-379
  • Rushing Yardage: ND-2073, Opponents-2225
  • Passing Yardage: ND-3711, Opponents-3029
  • Touchdowns Scored: ND-55, Opponents-49 

2015 Season Preview

Coach: Brian Kelly (6th year)

Offensive Coordinator: Mike Sanford (1st year)               

Defensive Coordinator: Brian Vangorder (2nd year)

Returning Starters: 8 Offense, 10 Defense 


Irish fans rejoice! An Irish roster this deep and experienced has rarely before been seen. The wide receivers are fast, explosive and incredibly talented, with the reliable Amir Carlisle (#3), Chris Brown (#2) and Corey Robinson (#88). The offensive line is bigger, more powerful and causing the opponents’ coaches more nightmares. You should expect to see a pair of patient, disciplined veteran running backs shaking up the offensive game. A young roster of tight ends trying to prove themselves, though unpredictable, could provide some much-needed versatility for the offensive coordinator, Mike Sanford.  And now for the quarterback…While I will not dwell on the treachery of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I must note the fact that Notre Dame’s annual quarterback controversy has been solved for us this time. Given Malik Zaire’s (#8) incredible breakout performance against LSU last season, however, I think it’s for the best. Look for big things from the junior, beginning with his first-ever home start against Texas.  

Other Players to Watch:   

  • Wide Receiver: Will Fuller  (#7)
  • Offensive Line: Ronnie Stanley (#78) and Alex Bars (#71)
  • Running Back: Tarean Folston (#25) and Greg Bryant (#1)
  • Tight End: Durham Smythe (#80)


Even though having ten returning starters should do a lot for team cohesion, consistency may be the biggest struggle for the Irish defense this year.  Though they started off the 2014 season strong, holding their first five opponents to only 60 total points (an average of 12.0 points per game), the defense faltered against the last eight opponents, giving up 319 points (39.8 points per game). The talent, strength, and willpower are definitely there, we’ll just have to wait and see which defensive line decides to come out on the field.  Keep an eye out for the dynamic duo of Sheldon Day (#91) and Isaac Rochell (#90) up the middle, Cole Luke (#36) and the prodigal son KeiVarae Russell (#6) on pass defense, and Romeo Okwara (#45) at pass rush.  

Other Players to Watch:

  • Defensive End: Andrew Trumbetti (#98)
  • Defensive Tackle: Sheldon Day (#91)
  • Linebacker: Jaylon Smith (#9) and Joe Schmidt (#38)
  • Safety: Elijah Shumate (#22) and Max Redfield (#10) 

Special Teams 

The Notre Dame family has finally said farewell to Kyle Brindza (what was he, like a seventh year senior?), who ended his college career with a walk-off field goal against LSU in the Music City Bowl. Ushering in a new (and rather inexperienced) roster of kickers. Top-recruit Justin Yoon (#00) will take over field goal and kickoff duties right away, but some worry that the primetime spotlight might be very bright for the freshman. Sophomore Tyler Newsome (#85) will start at punter and will back up Yoon as a field goal kicker.  On the other side of the yellow line, Greg Bryant, Amir Carlisle, C.J. Prosise, and others will hopefully gain the Irish some 100-yard kick returns. 

2015 Game Schedule 

Hindsight is always 20/20, and the future is anything but predictable. Though it’s important for the Irish not to play down to their competition, it would seem that they should walk confidently into games against UMass, Virginia, Wake Forest and Temple. Texas, Georgia Tech, and Clemson will be tougher opponents, but if the Irish defense can find their rhythm, they should gain three more W’s. The competition will heat up against USC and Stanford a little further down the line, and Malik Zaire and the Irish should be prepared for high-scoring, high-intensity matchups under the California sun. The only prediction I have right now for the Shamrock series is that it will be a cold night in Boston. Personally, I predict the toughest games to be against Navy and Pitt. Trouble comes calling when we take these teams for granted, and time has shown that these knockdown, drag-out brawls can make or break the entire season. Though the Irish may be the more talented team, it may ultimately come down to a battle of wills, and nothing would give the Midshipmen or the Panthers more pleasure than to knock Notre Dame out of playoff contention. 

While last season may not have gone as well as we all hoped, you live and you learn right? Well that’s what our Irish have done. We have an experienced, fit, and disciplined team ready to hit the ground running. If Zaire and the offense can capitalize on their enormous talents, and if the defense can play consistently, Coach Kelly should reasonably expect to see the playoffs. I don’t want to jinx it, but Grace Hall might just get to light up that little #1 again. Go Irish! 


The HCND application is now open! For more information contact Rebecca Rogalski at rebeccarogalski@hercampus.com or Katrina Linden at katrinalinden@hercampus.com

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MJ Jackson

Notre Dame

Meadow Jackson is a senior at the University of Notre Dame studying Political Science, Japanese, and the Art of Procrastination. Her goals in life are to work toward world peace, run a marathon, and somehow earn a lifetime supply of coffee (not necessarily in that order). She loves learning languages, traveling, eating copious amounts of vegetarian food, and finding hole-in-the-wall cafés in all corners of the world (where she can do all of these things at once). Feel free to email her at any time at mjacks12@nd.edu (especially if you have any information on how to win a lifetime supply of coffee ).