Jack Coan will face his former team when No. 12 Notre Dame plays No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday in a Shamrock Series game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Coan was Wisconsin's starter going into this past season, but a foot injury sidelined him and Graham Mertz took the reins. After the 2020 season, Coan transferred to Notre Dame (3-0). He has 828 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and two interceptions.
The Irish have also used freshman Tyler Buchner at quarterback to elevate the running game, but a hamstring injury limited his play last week against Purdue.
Mertz, meanwhile, has struggled in his sophomore season at Wisconsin (1-1). He has 326 passing yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. After a rough start in a season-opening loss to Penn State, the Badgers leaned on their running game (352 total rushing yards on 55 carries) in a 34-7 win against Eastern Michigan.
Notre Dame's offensive line hasn't made things easy for Buchner or Coan, allowing 14 sacks, which is tied for the second-most in the country. After replacing four linemen that were drafted, the Irish expected some growing pains up front but not to this level thanks, in part, to injuries. Three players have started at left tackle this season, including Michael Carmody who is a game-time decision for Saturday.
The Irish's offensive line will have its hands full against Wisconsin, who has allowed only 194.5 yards per game for the second fewest yards allowed in the country. The Badgers also have the nation's best run defense, allowing 33 yards per game.
Kelly Aims for 106
With a win Saturday for Notre Dame, head coach Brian Kelly will have 106 victories with the Irish and pass Knute Rockne for the most in program history. If the Irish lose, Kelly's next chance at setting the record will come against Cincinnati, the program he left to coach at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame and Wisconsin were scheduled to meet in 2020 at the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field, but the game was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. That game will be played Sept. 5, 2026.
The Irish are 8-6 in the series against the Badgers, but the two haven't played each other since 1964. Notre Dame beat Wisconsin 31-7 in Ara Parseghian's head coaching debut.
The teams have played at Soldier Field before back in 1929, when Notre Dame shut out Wisconsin 19-0 with Rockne at the helm.
Shamrock Series History
Notre Dame is 9-0 in Shamrock Series games, since the series began in 2009 with the then-No. 25 Irish’s 40-14 win against Washington State at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas
Favorites: Wisconsin -6.5
How to Watch
What: No. 12 Notre Dame vs. No. 18 Wisconsin
When: 11 AM CT, Saturday
Where: Soldier Field; Chicago, IL