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Notre Dame and Cal to meet in 2022

Chase Garbers Cal

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 30: Chase Garbers #7 of the California Golden Bears running with the ball fights off the tackle of Ayo Shogbonyo #52 of the Illinois Fighting Illini during the first half of the RedBox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium on December 30, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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In what should be the heyday of Notre Dame’s most-recent recruits, the Irish will face Cal in 2022, per a release from Berkeley on Monday.

The two programs have not met since four games between 1959 and 1967, of which Notre Dame won all four games.

“We are looking forward to visiting Notre Dame,” Golden Bears director of athletics Jim Knowlton said. “Notre Dame Stadium is an iconic venue, and this game provides another opportunity for our alumni to support their Bears on the road. We saw a great turnout for our game at Ole Miss this past season and again at the Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara. I expect we’ll have another large contingent follow us to Notre Dame for this exciting contest.”

By the time Cal arrives in South Bend on Sept. 17, the Irish will already be well-tested in 2022, beginning the season at Ohio State on Sept. 3 and then hosting Marshall on Sept. 9. For comparison’s sake, the Bears will have hosted UC Davis and visited North Texas.

In a year in which Notre Dame will face the Buckeyes, Clemson, USC and Stanford, a guarantee game against Cal might not warrant much notice, but that overlooks head coach Justin Wilcox’s progress in just three seasons. The Bears went 5-7 in 2016, the year before he arrived, and improved to 8-5 in 2019, a misleading record in its own right.

Cal went 7-0 with sophomore Chase Garbers healthy at quarterback, a shoulder injury twice plaguing him. When behind center, Garbers completed 60.9 percent of his passes while throwing 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

The Bears might not be a national title contender by 2022, especially with Garbers presumably out of eligibility by then, but they should be a much stiffer challenge than the usual opponent accompanied by a seven-figure check.

For nearer future scheduling purposes, Notre Dame announced its annual Blue-Gold Game will be April 18 at 12:30 ET, televised on NBCSN. Spring practices typically commence about six weeks beforehand.

The complete 2021 Irish schedule:Monday, Labor Day, Sept. 6 — at Florida StateSept. 11 — vs. ToledoSept. 18 — vs. PurdueSept. 25 — at Wisconsin at Soldier Field in ChicagoOct. 2 — vs. CincinnatiOct. 9 — at Virginia TechOct. 23 — vs. USCOct. 30 — vs. North CarolinaNov. 6 — vs. NavyNov. 13 — at VirginiaNov. 20 — vs. Georgia TechNov. 27 — at Stanford

The 2022 Notre Dame schedule as known thus far:Sept. 3 — at Ohio StateSept. 10 — vs. MarshallSept. 17 — vs. CalOct. 15 — vs. StanfordOct. 22 — at Navy but at a “neutral” location, most likelyNov. 5 — vs. ClemsonNov. 26 — at USCTBD — at North CarolinaTBD — at SyracuseTBD — vs. Boston College

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