Notre Dame will play its first game under head coach Marcus Freeman when the Fighting Irish face Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day.
The first meeting between the Cowboys (11-2) and Irish (11-1) is set for noon Central time at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Oklahoma State’s College Football Playoff hopes ended with a 21-16 loss to Baylor on Saturday in the Big 12 Championship Game.
The Irish elevated Freeman from defensive coordinator/linebackers coach to head coach earlier this week after Brian Kelly left for the head coaching job at LSU. Notre Dame did not see a mass exodus from its coaching staff to join Kelly as offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and defensive line coach Mike Elston each said they’ll remain in South Bend. Elston will likely assume the defensive coordinator position.
The Irish were 5-5 in bowl games during Kelly’s 11-year tenure, with Notre Dame’s last bowl victory coming in the 2019 Camping World Bowl against Iowa State, 33-9.
Oklahoma State is 10-5 in bowl games under head coach Mike Gundy, including wins in four of the past years. The Cowboys defeated Stanford 41-38 in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl with Gundy at the helm.
Notre Dame is 1-4 in the Fiesta Bowl, with the Irish’s lone win a 34-21 victory over West Virginia to claim the 1988 national championship.
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