The Last Big Notre Dame-Virginia Game
Saturday’s game between the Irish and Cavaliers has the biggest implications in the series’ short history.
The grandeur of Saturday Night Football hits Charlottesville, Virginia for the first time ever this Saturday when Virginia welcomes Notre Dame to town. Altogether, this is Virginia’s second appearance in ABC’s primetime slot, as they made their debut during the 2019 ACC Championship game.
These teams have met only three times before, in 1989, 2015, 2019. This may be the most important game in this young series as Notre Dame looks to continue their path to the New Years’ Six, while Virginia seeks a win to enter the CFP Top 25.
2019’s meeting has an argument for the biggest in the series, as both teams were ranked in the top 20. However, the meeting was early in the season and had little impact on both teams’ postseason destinations.
Notre Dame ended the year with a 10-2 record and a spot in the Camping World Bowl, while Virginia landed an Orange Bowl bid by way of being the ACC runner-up.
Hence, you’d have to go back at least 30 years to find a Notre Dame-Virginia game with as big of a feel as Saturday’s game. In 1989, Notre Dame last wore the title of defending national champions and began their defense at Giants Stadium for the Kickoff Classic.
Awaiting them was a Virginia team led by future-Hall of Fame coach George Welsh. The Cavaliers were in the midst of their renaissance and fresh off a solid 7-4 campaign.
Blue blood met new blood as Notre Dame dominated throughout in a 36-13 win. Both teams finished the year with elite seasons as Notre Dame went 12-1 with a win in the Orange Bowl over Colorado, while Virginia earned an appearance to their first New Years’ Day bowl in the Florida Citrus Bowl and third bowl overall.
So, here we are. Shades of 1989 descend upon Charlottesville as instead of Shawn Moore leading the Cavaliers against the Irish, Brennan Armstrong attempts to make history.
As it is we don’t get many Virginia-Notre Dame games. It is even rarer that we get games in this series with the magnitude of this one.