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Notre Dame football to meet LSU in Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day

One weekend after ending its regular season, Notre Dame football has its plan for bowl season.

The Irish will meet LSU in the Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day.

"We're super excited. I'm proud of our football team, to go from where we were, unranked," said head coach Brian Kelly. "[I'm] just really proud of our football team to be rewarded to play in the Citrus Bowl. One of the older, most prestigious games on New Year's Day, on national television."

The two teams both enter the bowl game with 9-3 records. Notre Dame was ranked 14th in the final College Football Playoff rankings and LSU was 17th, adding yet another ranked opponent to a tough 2017 slate for the Irish.

"It was a long year for our guys," said Kelly. "They persevered. We had a long schedule, a tough schedule. Finished our last six games with four nationally ranked teams. ... Then to play LSU. Another nationally ranked team, that will give us our seventh nationally ranked team to play on this schedule."

The Irish and Tigers will play for the 12th time, and for the fourth time in a bowl game. The last meeting between them was the 2014 Music City Bowl, which Notre Dame won 31-28 on a last-second field goal. They had previously played in the 1997 Independence Bowl and the 2006 Sugar Bowl, both of which were LSU victories.

"You don't need much motivation from your football team, he said. "Our guys are pretty motivated. They know what's in front of them in terms of playing LSU," said Kelly. "I know the type of athlete that they have on their football team. ... Their front seven is going to look like a Georgia SEC team. This is going to be an SEC-Georgia type football team."

With a victory, Notre Dame could claim double-digit wins for the second time in three seasons.

Kelly said that 2014 victory over LSU was a springboard into the next year, and he hopes that will happen again this time around.

"That victory helped with confidence going into '15, no question. The team changed a little bit, as you know, because we changed who the quarterback was because Malik [Zaire] got injured," he said. "That team was different. This team has changed so much from last year to this year that it will make it a special season to win ten games. But it's a really good change from where we were that we'll be able to build off of this season no matter what happens."

It will be Notre Dame's first appearance in the Citrus Bowl.

The game is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Jan. 1 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. It can be watched on ABC57.

The original story was updated to reflect comments from Irish head coach Brian Kelly.

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