No. 5 Notre Dame (0-0) at No. 2 Ohio State (0-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Line: Ohio State by 17 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Ohio State leads 4-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Buckeyes have one of the most explosive offensive attacks in the nation. Coach Ryan Day is stressing a fast start. New Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles installed a new scheme and a salty attitude in the unit. Emotions will be running high for first-year Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman, who played linebacker at Ohio State in 2004-08 and coached at Cincinnati under Luke Fickell. There could also be some jitters for second-year Fighting Irish quarterback Tyler Buchner, who won the starting job in training camp. Notre Dame’s defensive line is its strength.
Ohio State’s passing game against Notre Dame’s defense. The Buckeyes, behind quarterback C.J. Stroud, lit up the scoreboard last year with receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba as his favorite target. They will have to operate against a secondary anchored by transfer safety Brandon Joseph.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Notre Dame: TE Michael Mayer is the best player on the team and an NFL talent. At 6-foot-4 1/2 and 265 pounds, he’ll make his share of catches Saturday. He led all Irish receivers with 71 catches last season and was a finalist for the John Mackey Award.
Ohio State: QB Stroud. The third-year player put up some phenomenal numbers in his first season as the Buckeyes starter in 2021. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist and is a favorite again this season. He’s got elite skill players around him and a massive and talented offensive line.
FACTS & FIGURES
Notre Dame hasn’t beaten Ohio State since 1936, dropping the last four meetings, including Fiesta Bowls in 2006 and 2016. … At No. 5, Notre Dame is tied with Penn State (1978) and Alabama (1986) as Ohio State’s highest-ranked season-opening opponent. … The Buckeyes open a season in the AP top 10 for the 10th consecutive time. … Ohio State has won 22 consecutive season openers going back to a loss to Miami in 1999. … The two teams will complete the home-and-home series on Sept. 23, 2023, in South Bend, Indiana. … Buchner completed 21 of 35 passes for 298 and three TDs last season. He also rushed for 336 yards and three scores. … Notre Dame defensive line coach Al Washington was linebackers coach at Ohio State in 2019-21.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25