Notre Dame announced the start time for all but one of its home football games in 2020 in August – the season finale against Syracuse. They announced the game would kickoff at the standard Notre Dame 2:30 last season kickoff time slot.
For Notre Dame this year, the season finale is a rare December regular-season game, but it’s not rare for the Irish to play the Orange late in the season. Of the nine meetings between the programs, all but two have taken place in late November, the most recent being Notre Dame’s blowout of the 12th ranked Orange in Yankee Stadium.
That game was supposed to be Notre Dame’s Senior Day before it was moved to Yankee Stadium for the Shamrock Series. Syracuse was Notre Dame’s opponent for Senior Day in 2008 as well when the Irish fell to a 3-win Orange squad as students threw snowballs on the field in one of the most embarrassing losses in program history. The Irish did end up securing the commitment of Manti Te’o following a visit for that game, so it wasn’t a total loss.
In 2003, Syracuse blew out the Irish in carrier dome to end Tyrone Willingham’s second season coaching the Irish. Justin Tuck tore his ACL in Notre Dame’s 38-12 loss that afternoon, which ended up limiting his effectiveness in 2004 as he recovered.
Hopefully, this year’s contest is more like the 2018 laugher in Yankee Stadium, where the Irish won 36-3 on their way to a perfect regular season and a playoff berth. The game was supposed to be the season finale, not just the home finale before the COVID-19 outbreak two weeks ago forced the postponement of the Wake Forest game, which is now set for December 12.