The Fighting Irish will make history in their 2023 home opener facing an HBCU opponent

NOW: The Fighting Irish will make history in their 2023 home opener facing an HBCU opponent

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SOUTH BEND, Ind -- The Fighting Irish will make history next September when they face the Tennessee State Tigers to start their 2023 season.

For the first time ever the Notre Dame football program will face an HBCU and FCS opponent.

"It’s a huge honor in that I understand that I’m a representation for many others. I think this game represents opportunities for all individuals and so it’s a great honor and I couldn’t be more grateful for Jack and Father Jenkins for putting this thing together," said Notre Dame football head coach Marcus Freeman.

Notre Dame and Tennessee State have never shared the gridiron but Coach Freeman and Tennessee State’s Eddie George both share a history as two former Ohio State Buckeyes.

Both said next year’s game has nothing to do with their past and everything to do with the opportunity for both programs future.

"It’s all about the opportunity for us. The University of Notre Dame to get this chance to play an HBCU and that’s extremely, extremely exciting," said Freeman.

"This is the cathedral of sports venues relatively speaking and to expose them to this is going to be a wonderful environment," said George.

Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick says it was just the right time.

"It just felt right. This was a program in the right position at the right time to do it and we’re really excited about the additional programming we think we can do around this game," said Swarbrick.

The excitement even causing former Notre Dame player, and current student, Jerome Bettis to get in on the press conference.

Jokingly asking, longtime friend and Tigers head coach if he believes his team has a chance to win the game.

"Without a doubt. Without a shadow of a doubt.," said George.

The teams face off next September for Notre Dame’s first home game of the 2023 season.

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