For those clamoring for a Lou Holtz Bowl, here ya go.
Both Arkansas and Notre Dame announced early Thursday afternoon that the two athletic departments had reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series. The Razorbacks will travel to South Bend on Sept. 12, 2020, to open the series while the Fighting Irish will head to Fayetteville Oct. 4, 2025. Both schools will receive an allotment of 7,500 tickets for their respective road trips.
The 2020 game will be the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.
“It’s remarkable to think our historic programs have never met, but we are excited that this will change in the near future as we add the University of Notre Dame to our football schedules in 2020 and 2025,” said UA athletic director Jeff Long in a statement. “This series will benefit our football program, our University and the Southeastern Conference, but more importantly it is an opportunity for our football student-athletes to compete against one of college football’s storied programs while providing a premier match-up for our fans. This series will provide a once-in-a-lifetime road trip and another memorable football Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“Whenever we have an opponent come to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, there’s another layer of interest in the game. The same is true for our program and fans when we play away from home at a first-time venue,”Long’s counterpart, Jack Swarbrick, said. “That is especially likely to be true of these games given the quality and tradition of the two programs.”
Provided it goes off as announced, the series with Arkansas would leave three SEC schools that have never played Notre Dame in football — Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State.
Notre Dame has three future games with two SEC schools scheduled, at home against Georgia this coming season as well as a home-and-home with Texas A&M (2014 at College Station, 2025 in South Bend). There most recent game against a team from that conference came against LSU in the 2014 Music City Bowl; the last regular season matchup was versus Tennessee in 2005.
“This two-game series will provide our program with another opportunity to play a top-caliber foe from the Southeastern Conference,” said Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly. “Coach (Bret) Bielema is a tremendous coach and his teams have always played a physical style of football. I know our team and fans will be excited to play the Razorbacks.”
“Ever since I became a head coach I’ve wanted to get Notre Dame on the schedule and when it became a possibility we were 100 percent in on getting a home-and-home done,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “I’m excited for our program, but I’m also excited for our fans to experience a game at Notre Dame and then come back and show what an amazing home atmosphere we have.”
Holtz was Arkansas’ head coach from 1977-83. From 1986-1996, Holtz held the same job at Notre Dame. His 1988 national championship was the last for the Fighting Irish.
His 60 wins are the third-most in Razorbacks history, while his 100 wins while with the Fighting Irish are second only to the legendary Knute Rockne’s 105.