Todd Graham knows all about facing Notre Dame. Saturday night, he'll go up against the Irish for the 3rd time in four years---all while coaching a different team.
Graham knows what a win over Notre Dame can mean for a program and its coach. He led Tulsa to a victory over the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium in 2010. He says it was the biggest win in Golden Hurricane's history.
The win jump started Graham's career. He became the head coach at Pitt the following season, where he again faced the Irish. Graham and the Panthers fell short in that 2011 meeting with Notre Dame prevailing 15-12 in one ugly afternoon of football.
Now Graham is his 2nd year with Arizona State where his team helped get Lane Kiffin get fired from USC when the Sun Devils embarrassed USC 62-41 Saturday night.
Arizona State is 3-1 and ranked 22nd in the country as Graham looks for a tiebreaking win over Notre Dame, this time in his home state of Texas--Saturday night in Dallas.
"This game is a national game for us, an opportunity for our players," Graham said Monday. "I talked to them yesterday about making history. They can be the first team in college football history to beat USC and Notre Dame in back-to-back weeks. That has never happened. I would say that is pretty significant."
Graham knows the task won't be easy, even if the Irish are coming off a 35-21 loss to Oklahoma that dropped ND's record to 3-2.
"This team we are playing is a very good football team, very well coached," Graham said. "They are going to do some things offensively that are very difficult. They do a lot of unbalanced and empty formations that we are going to work really hard on to prepare for. They have really good players. Their tailbacks are similar to the ones we faced this week. Very good and powerful guys. Big tight ends and big receivers.
"Obviously their defense is the strength of their team and their program. They are very big and very physical. It will be a big challenge for us."
Notre Dame and Arizona State will kickoff at 7:30 Saturday night at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. You can see the game live on WNDU-TV.