Excitement building in South Bend ahead of Ohio State-Notre Dame game

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - From the College GameDay set on Library Lawn to Eddy Street Commons, the buzz is building on Notre Dame’s campus.

We are just two days away from one of the most anticipated college football games in South Bend this decade. The matchup between the Fighting Irish and the Ohio State Buckeyes this Saturday is the talk of Michiana.

George Witwer is in town for business but is talking football.

“This is a huge game for Notre Dame. And, if you’re a fan like myself, you just can’t wait ‘til it comes,” he said. “I’ll bet you that place is really sold out. I wish I had a ticket.”

Anna Allen is a Notre Dame grad from Alabama with a Notre Dame daughter.

“We love coming anytime, but the big games are just so much more exciting with people going around and everyone excited and wearing green and rooting on the Irish,” she said.

Jim Allen didn’t go to Notre Dame but is eager to boost the South Bend economy.

“We’re trying to hang out with our daughter’s friends and her friends’ parents, because I think that’s just the relationships you build over time. And that part’s what’s so super exciting for us,” he explained. “So, local restaurants, touring around, few drinks here and there. All the good times.

16 News Now ran into another set of Notre Dame parents in James and Suzette McDonough. They came all the way from the South Carolina coast. They say it was a journey they had to make.

“It was no decision,” James said. “We had this marked on the calendar a long time ago. We’re just happy it’s two undefeated teams in the top 10, so it’s everything we hoped it would be.”

“This is going to be big. We’re excited,” Suzette said. “We know ESPN’s going to be there. We’re very excited. It’s going to be a big day.”

The fact is it doesn’t matter who you talk to. Out-of-towners or South Bend residents, the excitement building in this town is palpable.

Naire Little isn’t even a football fan, but this South Bend native is feeling the energy.

“You feel it wherever you go,” she explained. “Everybody around me is into football, so (I) definitely feel that energy all the time.”

Notre Dame law student Claire Schuler made a confession...

“I actually grew up in the Columbus area, so I was a Buckeye for most of my life,” she said. “But coming here, it’s infectious. I’ve never been to games like it is here.

Claire says she’s a Notre Dame convert now, but not to tell her family…

I think we might have just told her family.

Kickoff for Saturday’s top 10 showdown at Notre Dame Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. EDT. If you’re not going to the game, you can watch it right here on WNDU!

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