Oct 30, 2012, 12:38 PM EST
After a rare game against Oklahoma in Norman, Notre Dame returns home on Saturday (3:30 pm ET on NBC) to take on a familiar foe – Pittsburgh. The Panthers are the Fighting Irish’s fifth-most common opponent, behind only Navy, Purdue, USC and Michigan State.
This weekend will mark the 68th meeting between the programs, with Notre Dame currently holding a commanding 46-20-1 lead, including 14 victories in the last 18 games. The programs have played 58 times in the last 70 years.
The series began in 1909 at Forbes Field, with the Irish taking the opener, 6-0. Two years later, the teams played to a scoreless tie, the lone draw in series history. After another Notre Dame victory in 1912, the young series took a hiatus until 1930, when the teams began an eight-year stretch of consecutive meetings.
The teams met again from 1943-54 and every year from 1956-78. Ara Parseghian holds the series longest winning streak, never losing to the Panthers during 11 seasons as head coach.
In 1999, Notre Dame visited the Steel City for the final game at Pitt Stadium. The following year, the Panthers played at Three Rivers Stadium, before moving to their current home, Heinz Field in 2001.
Four of the 10 largest victory margins in Notre Dame history have come at the Panthers’ expense, most recently a 60-6 crushing in 1996.
Notre Dame’s biggest win in the series, however, came in 1982, when an unranked Irish team went to Pittsburgh and came away with a 31-16 victory over Dan Marino and the #1 Panthers. Earlier this season, that game was featured as one of the first moments in the 125 project. Watch below, as Allen Pinkett recalls the memorable upset.
Notre Dame survived a scare against Pittsburgh on the way to its national championship in 1988. The Irish won 30-20, thanks in part to a couple of costly red zone fumbles by the Panthers.
In 2005, Notre Dame outscored Pittsburgh 28-3 in the second quarter on its way to a 42-21 rout. The game featured the first touchdown catch of Jeff Samardzija‘s career, a spectacular diving grab in the second quarter.
Last season, the Irish defeated Pittsburgh, 15-12. It certainly wasn’t one of the prettiest victories, but Jonas Gray did turn in a 79-yard touchdown. Check out Irish Connection #11 to relive the impressive run.
The Pittsburgh series doesn’t have the intensity of USC, Michigan, or even Michigan State, and it lacks the historical significance that Notre Dame shares with Navy. Still, the relationship between the Irish and Panthers dates back more than 100 years, and is certainly an important part of our storied football tradition.
About Strong and True
ND Football on YouTube
- SUPER BOWL SUNDAY🏈 16 years ago, DBs coach & ND All-American Todd Lyght won Super Bowl XXXIV w/ the St. Louis Rams https://t.co/Jm5YFnAvxj 10 minutes ago
- RT @CoachBrianKelly: Can we stop calling wins vs. top-ranked teams "upsets" for Coach Brey & his team? CROWD was amazing for us tonight! h… 11 hours ago
- Another ND guy to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. ('68) was elected tonight. https://t.co/dGJgL6IhBf 15 hours ago
- We hear our @CollegeGameDay friends visited our brothers at @NDmbb this morning. Can't wait for tonight vs #2 UNC. https://t.co/Vscc7pPzQt 1 day ago
- Plans tonight? Better reschedule! Don't miss Will Fuller in the All-Star Football Challenge. 📅TONIGHT ⏰7 ET 📺ESPN2 https://t.co/wmGBjGpgpY 1 day ago
- M. Basketball. Sunday Brunch: Golden Irish Motor Past Heels
- M. Basketball. Postgame Quotes
- M. Ice Hockey. Petersen Leads No. 10 Irish to 3-1 Win and Weekend Sweep at Vermont
- M. Basketball. Notre Dame takes down #2 North Carolina, 80-76
- W. Lacrosse. #7 Irish Earn Sweet Win at Jacksonville
- Track. Molly Seidel Breaks School and Meet Record on Day Two of Meyo Invite
- Fencing. No. 2 Irish Men Post 4-1 Mark On First Day of Duke Duals
- W. Basketball. #3 Irish On Road At #13 Louisville Sunday
- M. Lacrosse. Irish Wrap Up Preseason with Scrimmage Sunday
- W. Lacrosse. Attacking Fusion Sign of Bright Future