Notre Dame and Navy football teams have officially touched down in Dublin, Ireland ahead of Saturday’s Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

Saturday's football game will be the 96th meeting between Notre Dame and Navy and the rivals' third time playing each other in Dublin. Some 40,000 fans are expected to attend the much-hyped event.

Notre Dame are the favorite to win Saturday's game with a record of 81-13-1 over Navy, which includes the Fighting Irish victories over the Midshipmen in Dublin in 1996 (54-27) and 2012 (50-10).

Here we go!! 👏

Both @ndfootball and @navyfb have arrived in Dublin, Ireland ahead of the 2023 Aer Lingus College Football Classic this Saturday, August 26th.🇮🇪☘️#MuchMoreThanAGame | #TouchdownIreland

— Aer Lingus College Football Classic (@cfbireland) August 24, 2023

Before Saturday’s game in Dublin between rivals The Fighting Irish and The Midshipmen, get to know the American college football teams here!

Notre Dame Football

Here come the Irish… ☘️

The @NDFootball squad have arrived at @DublinAirport via @AerLingus! 🏈✈️#MuchMoreThanAGame | #TouchdownIreland

— Aer Lingus College Football Classic (@cfbireland) August 24, 2023

The Fighting Irish

Notre Dame’s athletic teams are often referred to as The Fighting Irish, which was accepted as the official nickname of Notre Dame in 1927 by then-University President Rev. Matthew Walsh.

There are several different stories describing how this nickname first came about. The most popular explanation is that the term was first coined by the press, who characterized Notre Dame athletic teams as The Fighting Irish due to their never-say-die fighting spirit, along with their Irish qualities of grit, determination, and tenacity. 

Who is Notre Dame's mascot?

Fittingly, the Notre Dame Leprechaun is Notre Dame's mascot.

𝟏𝟎𝟎. 𝐃𝐀𝐘𝐒.

Let the countdown begin, see you in Dublin ☘️

— The Notre Dame Leprechaun (@NDTheLeprechaun) May 18, 2023

Where does Notre Dame play?

Notre Dame Football plays its home games at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. The stadium was built in 1930 and in 1997, it was expanded from a seating capacity of 59,079 seats to 80,795 seats.

The Fighting Irish play 12 games in their college football regular season. Seven of these games will be played at their home stadium.

The Notre Dame Stadium isn’t exclusive to American Football and has hosted events including the NHL Winter Classic, a soccer match between Liverpool FC and Borussia Dortmund, and concerts from country music star Garth Brooks.

What is Notre Dame's record?

Notre Dame finished last season with a 9-4 record. Notre Dame Football has an all-time record of 938–334–42

Who is Notre Dame's head coach?

Marcus Freeman is Notre Dame Football's Head Coach. He previously served as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach before becoming Head Coach in 2021.

Who are Notre Dame's most famous players?

Four-time Super Bowl Champion Joe Montana and Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis are both Notre Dame Football alumni.

Meanwhile, with seven winners, no college has more Heisman Trophy winners than Notre Dame. Notre Dame's Heisman winners are Angelo Bertelli (1943), John Lujack (1947), Leon Hart (1949), John Lattner (1953), Paul Hornung (1956), John Huarte (1964), and Tim Brown (1987). 

Has Notre Dame played in Ireland before?

Yes! Notre Dame has played twice in Ireland, both times against Navy. The first showdown was The Shamrock Classic at Croke Park in 1996, followed by the Emerald Isle Classic at Aviva Stadium in 2012. Notre Dame won both times.

In 2018, it was announced that the two teams would face off in Ireland again in 2020, but that event was canceled due to the pandemic. Notre Dame now faces Navy on August 26, 2023, for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

Navy Football

The @NavyFB squad have arrived at @DublinAirport via @AerLingus! ⚓️☘️#MuchMoreThanAGame | #TouchdownIreland

— Aer Lingus College Football Classic (@cfbireland) August 24, 2023

The Midshipmen

Students at the United States Naval Academy are midshipmen on active duty in the US Navy. Students attend the Naval Academy for four years, graduating with Bachelor of Science degrees and commissions as Ensigns (lowest rank of commissioned officer) in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Naval Academy graduates serve at least five years in the Navy or Marine Corps.

Initially, American football was prohibited on campus at the Naval Academy. In the 1870s, the sport was known as “mob football” and was incredibly dangerous to play as there were very few rules along with no protective equipment, so injuries were a common occurrence.

In 1879, two midshipmen first-classmen, J.H. Robinson and first-classman William Maxwell, added rules from other sports like rugby and soccer to make the game safer to participate in. On December 11, 1879, Navy Football played their first-ever American Football game against the Baltimore Athletic Club. Navy wore a sleeveless canvas jacket that laced down the front, which made it harder for their opponents to grab Navy's players. This design has often been referred to as American Football's first uniform. 

Who is Navy’s mascot?

Bill the Goat is the mascot for the Navy.

Bill the goat😍#GoNavy | #BuiltDifferent

— Navy Football (@NavyFB) October 23, 2021

Where does Navy play?

The Naval Academy plays its home football games at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium located in Annapolis, Maryland. The stadium has a seating capacity of 35,000 and has been the home of Navy Football for over six decades.

Each season, Navy Football will play 12 regular season football games, with a number of these fixtures played at their home stadium.

The Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium isn’t limited to hosting football matches. The stadium is also home to Navy’s lacrosse team and hosts several regional and state tournaments. Every August, the stadium transforms into the home of the Annapolis Crab Fest.

What is Navy’s record?

Navy’s 2022 football season came to a close with a 4-8 (win-loss) record. The Midshipmen have an all-time record of 733–593–57.

Who is Navy’s head coach?

Brian Newberry is Navy's newly-appointed Head Coach. The 2023 Aer Lingus College Football Classic against Notre Dame will be Newberry's first game as Head Coach. Newberry, who was a defensive back at Baylor University, previously coached at Southern Arkansas. He joined the Navy Midshipmen in 2019 as defensive coordinator.

Newberry recently said: “There really couldn’t be a better way to kick off the year than to do it in Dublin against Notre Dame Football."

Who are Navy’s most famous players?

The first Navy player to be drafted into the National Football League (NFL) was Jim Carrington in 1947.

A number of Navy Football players have followed in Carrington’s footsteps in their journey to the NFL, including quarterback Roger Staubach, defensive end Ed Sprinkle, and long-snapper Joe Cardona.

Has Navy played in Ireland before?

Yes! Navy has played Notre Dame twice in Ireland, once in 1996 for The Shamrock Classic at Croke Park, and again in 2012 for the Emerald Isle Classic in Aviva Stadium. 

In 2018, it was announced that the two teams would face off in Ireland again in 2020, but that event was canceled due to the pandemic. Navy now faces Notre Dame on August 26, 2023 for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

Where to watch the 2023 Aer Lingus College Football Classic

Tickets for Saturday's match have completely sold out. Viewers in the US can watch the Notre Dame v Navy Week Zero game on Saturday, August 26 on NBC, or stream it on Peacock.