Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football To Play Central Michigan In 2023
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Notre Dame To Play Central Michigan In 2023

The Brian Kelly reunion tour with former teams he coached will continue when Notre Dame hosts Central Michigan on Sept. 16, 2023, per a University of Notre Dame announcement on Thursday afternoon.

Kelly coached the Chippewas from 2004-06, improving each year from 4-7 to 6-5 — the school’s first winning season in seven years — and then to 9-4 and a MAC championship in 2006, another first in 12 years.

Central Michigan will play at Notre Dame on Sept. 16, 2023.
Central Michigan will play at Notre Dame on Sept. 16, 2023. (Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)

That success propelled Kelly to the head coaching job at Cincinnati, where he was 34-6 from 2007-09 and enabled him to become the Notre Dame head coach in December 2009. The Fighting Irish will play Cincinnati at home on Oct. 2 this year.

The matchup with Central Michigan will be the first ever between the two football programs and continues an almost yearly meeting with a Mid-American Conference representative. In 2017 it was Miami (Ohio), followed by Ball State (2018) and Bowling Green (2019).

This year Notre Dame will host Toledo on Sept. 11 and Northern Illinois already is on the docket for Sept. 7, 2024.

Last year it was supposed to be Western Michigan on Sept. 19 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a restructuring of the schedule that included nine ACC games. The MAC had originally announced cancelling their season in August but played an abbreviated one starting in November, with Central Michigan finishing 3-3.

Guiding the Chippewas is third-year head coach Jim McElwain, who was 22-16 at Colorado State from 2012-14 before accepting the head coaching post at the University of Florida.

McElwain was 10-4 and 9-4 his first two seasons, but then he and the Gators mutually agreed to a parting of ways after a 3-4 start in 2017. He coached the University of Michigan wide receivers in 2018 before accepting the head coaching position at CMU, where he debuted with an 8-6 record in 2019. McElwain had been the offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban from 2008-11 and helped win two national titles there.

Here is how the 2023 Notre Dame schedule looks so far:

Sept. 16 — Central Michigan

Sept. 23 — Ohio State

Oct. 14 — USC

Oct. 28 — Wake Forest

Nov. 4 — at Clemson

Nov. 11 — Navy

Nov. 25 — at Stanford

Four ACC opponents are scheduled, but the dates are still to be determined: at Duke, at Louisville, at North Carolina State and Pitt at home.

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