Saturday's top-five showdown between Clemson and Notre Dame marks the fifth meeting of the two programs and the first conference game between the schools since the Irish are playing in the SEC this season. The Tigers hold a 3-1 lead in the series and here is a brief history of it.
Notre Dame 21, Clemson 17
Nov. 12, 1977 — Clemson, S.C.
The 15th-ranked Tigers jumped out to a 17-7 third-quarter lead on the fifth-ranked Irish. Then Notre Dame quarterback Joe Montana led two fourth-quarter drives that were punctuated by one-yard touchdown runs to take a 21-17 lead and the win. Notre Dame would go on to win the national championship, while Clemson finished 8-3-1. When newly drafted receiver Dwight Clark, who was on the 1977 Clemson squad, arrived in San Francisco 49ers training camp and saw Montana up close for the first time, he was amazed this skinny guy was the one who led that comeback.
Clemson 16, Notre Dame 10
Nov. 17, 1979 — South Bend, Ind.
The 6-3 Irish took a 10-0 halftime lead, but then things got nasty. Clemson forced four turnovers and shut out the Irish in the second half. Meanwhile, the offense scored on a 26-yard touchdown run by quarterback Billy Lott and three field goals by Obed Ariri. The loss knocked Notre Dame out of bowl contention and handed the Irish their worst season in 16 years. Clemson went 8-4 and made a bowl (Peach) for the third straight season.
Clemson 24, Notre Dame 22
Oct. 3, 2015 — Clemson, S.C.
Notre Dame was ranked sixth and Clemson was ranked 12th and both teams were 4-0. After the Tigers took a 21-3 lead going into the fourth quarter, it seemed pretty clear that the Irish would be going home with their first loss of the season. Then Notre Dame roared back with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, the last coming with seven seconds left in the game to close Clemson’s lead to 24-22. On the two-point try, Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins stopped Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer to preserve the win. The Irish finished the season 10-3, while Clemson went 14-1, losing 45-41 to Alabama in the College Football National Championship.
Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3 (Cotton Bowl/College Football Playoff Semifinal)
Dec. 29, 2018 — Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium)
Clemson entered the Cotton Bowl/College Football Playoff Semifinal as an 11.5-point favorite over Notre Dame. If you bet on the Tigers, you came away richer. Trevor Lawrence threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns and Travis Etienne rushed for 109 yards and another score as Clemson never trailed and led 23-3 at halftime. The Tigers then throttled Alabama 44-16 to win the national title.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.