Marshall football inks 2022 matchup with Notre Dame

March 6, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON — In the not-so-distant future, a college football program from Almost Heaven will visit Touchdown Jesus.

On Monday morning, Marshall University athletic director Mike Hamrick announced the Thundering Herd entered into a one-game contract to play the University of Notre Dame.

The meeting between the teams is Sept. 10, 2022, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. The large Touchdown Jesus mural overlooks the home field of the Fighting Irish.“From the feedback I’ve gotten since the announcement, our fan base is extremely excited about this game,” Hamrick said. “If you look at Notre Dame, please tell me another program with the history, tradition, success that Notre Dame does. It’s always been a dream of mine to see if one day, Marshall would play Notre Dame.”

That dream will become reality in 2022 when the Thundering Herd serves as Notre Dame’s home opener for the season. The Fighting Irish open the season Sept. 3, 2022, at Ohio State. Hamrick was unable to disclose financial details, but said the contract with the Fighting Irish could be Marshall’s biggest one-game payday in program history.

“Potentially could be, yes,” Hamrick said. “South Carolina was $1.3 million, but it will be right there with anything that we’ve ever signed financially.”

The game will be televised nationally on NBC that is under contract to carry Notre Dame’s contests through the 2025 season, which provides additional exposure to Marshall.

Hamrick said the matchup brings together two schools with incredible tradition and unique storylines while offering Marshall fans a chance to experience the aura surrounding one of college football’s greatest programs in history.

“Notre Dame is very selective on who they play in football and, in the discussions I had, they were excited about playing Marshall,” Hamrick said. “I think that speaks volumes for our program, as well, that they would play us.”

The game will be Notre Dame’s first contest against a Mountain State opponent since the Fighting Irish topped West Virginia University, 34-24, in South Bend in 2001.

Marshall also becomes only the second Conference USA team to ever face Notre Dame. The other team is Rice, who has met the Irish on five occasions — the last of which was in 2014.

Hamrick said football scheduling is one of the hardest things he does as an athletic director, but he feels good about the direction that it is moving, and announcements such as Monday’s further cement his thoughts on his scheduling philosophy.

Marshall already has one other non-conference opponent for the 2022 season — a Sept. 17 home game against Appalachian State — and the Herd will likely open the season against an FCS opponent.

Monday’s announcement does offer Hamrick some leeway in terms of the direction he goes with the final non-conference game, however. Hamrick could attempt to sign a Power 5 school to a home-and-home series and start on the road or begin another series with a Group of Five school, which would give the Herd seven home games in 2022.

While all that is slated for the future, Hamrick said the excitement level of Marshall’s first-ever trip to South Bend to take on Notre Dame should be one fans relish.

“We’ve been working on this for a long, long time,” Hamrick said. “It’s the second game of the season, we make good money, play a great opponent, it’s nationally televised and it will help us in recruiting. This was a big win for us in scheduling.”