Notre Dame will always have a special appreciation for Sun Devil Stadium. It was in the stadium nestled beside the Arizona State campus in downtown Tempe that the Fighting Irish claimed their most recent national title with a 34-21 victory over West Virginia in the 1989 Fiesta Bowl.
They’ve returned to that stadium four times since that January afternoon 25 years ago—Fiesta Bowl losses to Colorado, Oregon State and Ohio State and a win at Arizona State in 1998. The number increases to five this November when the Irish return to the desert.
Before leaving for Texas last fall, Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson fought hard to keep the game with Notre Dame, despite the Irish needing to drop multiple games after joining the ACC. Patterson held his ground, and it was announced last summer that the game would be played as scheduled with Arizona State not having to make a return trip to South Bend.
Arizona State gave the Irish all they could handle last season in a Shamrock Series game at AT&T Stadium, a 37-34 Notre Dame victory. The defending Pac-12 South Champions are again dangerous behind third-year head coach Todd Graham and third-year starting quarterback Taylor Kelly.
The Sun Devils open spring practice Mar. 18 and will play their spring game Apr. 19. Let’s preview the challenge the Irish will have in store for them come November with an early look at Arizona State.
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