This may elicit a yawn nationally — and maybe even in South Bend — but, for some areas in the state of Indiana, this is an absolutely huge announcement.
Monday afternoon, Ball State announced that it has agreed to a one-game “series” with Notre Dame in 2018. The in-state matchup will be played Sept. 8 and, of course, will take place at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
The meeting will mark the first-ever between the two football programs.
“The opportunity to play one of the most storied programs in college football in a historic stadium will be very special for our student-athletes and everyone else associated with Ball State football,” Cardinals head coach Pete Lembo said in a statement.
Going back to at least 1940, and outside of Indiana and Purdue (115 total between the two, with 86 belonging to the latter), Notre Dame has not played a team in football from the state of Indiana. Granted, Indiana, Purdue and Ball State are the only FBS programs in the state — ND, as well as UCLA and USC, has never scheduled a game against FCS/Div. 1-AA schools since the divisional split in 1978 — but this is still a pretty big deal for the fine folks in Muncie.
This will also mark just the second-ever meeting between Notre Dame and a team that was in the MAC at the time the game was played, with the first being Western Michigan in 2010. ND has also faced Miami of Ohio (1909), Akron (1910) and WMU (1919, 1920) prior to those programs joining the MAC.