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Leftovers & Links: Notre Dame’s 2020 home kickoffs feature prime time

Notre Dame prime time

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: General view as a Notre Dame Fighting Irish player holds his helmet in the air in celebration following a game against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium on October 21, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame won 49-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

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After a lackluster home slate in 2019 led to Notre Dame’s first non-sellout since 1973, the Irish released kickoff times for Notre Dame’s 2020 home schedule that will include perhaps the hottest ticket since 2005, if not in all 30 years of the relationship with NBC.

Two games at Notre Dame Stadium will be in prime time this fall, with a third broadcast by NBC also in the 7:30 ET window. As much as facing Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., will draw attention, hosting Clemson on Nov. 7 will warrant even more headlines. Led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne, the Tigers have won 29 of their last 30 games and will quite likely be 8-0 when they arrive in South Bend.

The Irish will also play Stanford under the lights on Oct. 10, as has been the case with the annual mid-October, Pac-12 opponent since reinstating night games in 2013 (with a 2011 debut).

Otherwise, Notre Dame will enjoy a trio of 2:30 ET kickoffs and a 3:30 ET matchup with Duke.

Sept. 12 — Arkansas — 2:30 ETSept. 19 — Western Michigan — 2:30 ETOct. 3 — Wisconsin at Lambeau — 7:30 ETOct. 10 — Stanford — 7:30 ETOct. 31 — Duke — 3:30 ETNov. 7 — Clemson — 7:30 ETNov. 21 — Louisville — 2:30 ET

Sticking with the scheduling theme, the Irish will commence spring practices on March 5, slotting in 14 practices between then and the Blue-Gold Game on April 18.

Nine former Notre Dame players were invited to the NFL combine later this month (Feb. 23 — March 2) in Indianapolis. None of the nine are surprises, and a few should even excel in the drill showcase:

Receivers Chase Claypool and Chris Finke, tight end Cole Kmet, running back Tony Jones, defensive ends Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem, safeties Jalen Elliott and Alohi Gilman, and cornerback Troy Pride.

If anything is of distinct note in that list, it is the absences of linebacker Asmar Bilal and defensive end Jamir Jones. The latter, in particular, shined in an unexpected role in 2019, becoming a starter after injuries felled both Okwara and Daelin Hayes, finishing with 4.5 sacks among 6.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

The two will get their chance to impress in drills during Notre Dame’s annual Pro Day, expected to be in early April.

Now that all 2020 recruiting is officially concluded, this is the slowest part of the year until spring practices or the NFL combine. If football does ever stop, it is now, XFL notwithstanding.

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