When Clemson and Notre Dame meet in the Cotton Bowl in the College Football Playoff on Saturday, it will be only the fourth meeting between the two programs. Below, find a summary of each game in the series.
However, despite the short history of head-to-head games, the showdowns have come during important seasons or a little before national championships.
Clemson-Notre Dame: All-time history, most recent meetings
Here are the three previous meetings between the Tigers and the Irish. Clemson leads the series, 2-1:
|Nov. 12, 1977||No. 5 Notre Dame||21-17||No. 15 Clemson||Clemson, S.C.|
|Nov. 17, 1979||No. 14 Clemson||16-10||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.|
|Oct. 3, 2015||No. 12 Clemson||24-22||No. 6 Notre Dame||Clemson, S.C.|
|Dec. 29, 2018
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No. 5 Notre Dame 21, No. 15 Clemson 17 (Nov. 12, 1977)
Joe Montana missed the 1976 season after separating his shoulder, but 1977 turned into a season to remember.
The Irish lost to Ole Miss earlier in the season, but moved up to No. 5 for the Clemson game. In front of a then-record crowd of 54,189, the Tigers took a 17-7 lead.
Then Montana worked his magic, leading the Irish on two touchdown drives to escape with a win.
Later, Notre Dame beat top-ranked Texas 38-10 in the Cotton Bowl to jump from No. 5 to No. 1 and win a national title.
Though the Tigers lost, they remained No. 15 in the country. It's the only time in program history Clemson didn't drop in the rankings after a loss.
No. 14 Clemson 16, Notre Dame 10 (Nov. 17, 1979)
This time, Clemson rallied from a double-digit deficit to win on the road.
Though the Irish led 10-0, Clemson scored on four consecutive possessions to win. The Tigers rushed for 241 yards on 74 attempts, a record for most carries by the visiting team in Notre Dame Stadium history.
Two years later, the Tigers were national champions.
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No. 12 Clemson 24, No. 6 Notre Dame 22 (Oct. 3, 2015)
The Tigers were coming off a 40-6 drubbing of Oklahoma to close out the 2014 season, but they were outside the top 10 to start the 2015 season.
This thrilling win helped Clemson start the current run its on of four consecutive College Football Playoff appearances and one national title.
With top-10 Notre Dame visiting rainy Death Valley, Clemson stopped the Irish on a two-point conversion attempt after Notre Dame scored a touchdown with only 7 seconds to play in the game.
Despite getting outgained 432 to 296, Tigers QB Deshaun Watson threw for two first-quarter touchdowns and the home Tigers finished plus-3 in turnovers.
The win vaulted the Tigers into the top 10. Later, after beating Florida State 23-13, Clemson moved to No. 1. It remained there until losing to Alabama 45-40 in the CFP National Championship Game.
The next year, Clemson got its national title — and revenge — on Alabama.