The No. 9 Cowboys are going bowling for the 16th-straight year under Mike Gundy, and will make their fifth New Year’s Six bowl when they face the No. 5 Fighting Irish in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
Oklahoma State (11-2) and Notre Dame (11-1) have never met.
The Fighting Irish looked on optimistically when OSU fell to Baylor on Saturday, but the results of the SEC Championship, and Michigan and Cincinnati taking care of business, meant Notre Dame were boxed out with no conference title game to add to its resume. The Irish went 11-1 with its one loss coming to playoff-bound Cincinnati.
Notre Dame will be led into the bowl game by new head coach Marcus Freeman, who has something in common with Mike Gundy. Both landed their first head coaching gigs when their boss headed off to Baton Rouge, and both had to take over for the bowl game.
Les Miles famously left for LSU at halftime during the Cowboys’ 2004 Alamo Bowl loss to Ohio State. Gundy was the offensive coordinator who fell into the interim position before being named head coach in the offseason. Freeman, the Fighting Irish’s DC, was named head coach moving forward after Brian Kelly’s departure to LSU. The difference is that Freeman heads into this postseason matchup knowing he’s got the head coaching gig in 2022.
Watch & When
The 51st Fiesta Bowl will be played Jan. 1 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. It will be televised on ESPN at 12 p.m. CT.
This will be the Cowboys’ third trip to the Fiesta Bowl. OSU won the 1974 Fiesta Bowl over BYU 16-6 and completed their first 12-win season with an overtime Fiesta Bowl win over Stanford in 2012, a mark they could equal again this year.
The Cowboys have played in 31 bowls in program history (37th in the FBS) and are 20-11 in bowl games all-time (the sixth-best bowl record in the FBS). OSU is 10-5 in bowl games under Mike Gundy, playing in the postseason in 16 of his 17 seasons at the helm. The Cowboys are 1-3 in NY6 bowls under Gundy.
The Fighting Irish have appeared in 37 bowls, ranking 25th among FBS teams. Notre Dame is 18-19 in bowl games all-time, a mark that ranks No. 49 in the FBS. But it’s been on a downward trends as of late. The Irish are 0-7 in BCS/NY6 bowls since 1998 and lost those games by an average of 23 points per game.
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