The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hosts its first home game of the 2021 season against the Toledo Rockets on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 2:30 p.m. Notre Dame is a tradition unto itself in college football, but it’s actually going to experience a couple of firsts with this week’s game.
The school known for Knute Rockne, Rudy and Touchdown Jesus has had an exclusive broadcast deal with NBC since 1991 (and will continue at least through 2025), but as the media landscape continues to change, so is how fans can watch Notre Dame football via NBC. The Fighting Irish will be available to stream this year on the NBCU-owned streaming service Peacock, including this weekend’s game exclusively airing on the platform.
Read on below to find out everything you need to know about this first for Notre Dame and NBC, including what you need to know about this week’s matchup against Toledo.
How to watch Notre Dame vs. Toledo
Peacock hosting the exclusive broadcast for the Notre Dame vs. Toledo game is a first for NBC during its 30-year deal with the university (of course Peacock has only been around for two years). What this means, however, is that Fighting Irish fans will need to work a little harder than usual to tune in, but they will have just as many, if not more, options to do so.
The Peacock streaming service has three available options for people to watch it. The first is a completely free version, but that primarily allows viewers to watch TV shows, movies and some sport-themed programming, not live sports. To watch the Notre Dame vs. Toledo game fans will need to make sure they are signed up for Peacock Premium, which is available for either $4.99 (ad-supported) or $9.99 (ad-free).
Notre Dame vs. Toledo is the only Fighting Irish college football game that will stream exclusively on Peacock this year. While NBC’s flagship network will take the lead for all games the rest of the season, simultaneous streams of those broadcasts will be available on Peacock.
Matchup preview: Notre Dame vs. Toledo
Now that you know how to watch the game, here is what you can expect from the matchup of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish against the Toledo Rockets.
Notre Dame started the season with a top 10 AP ranking, but had a scare in their first game against Florida State. Traveling down to Doak Stadium for the game, Notre Dame allowed Florida State to make a fourth quarter comeback to force overtime. The Fighting Irish were able to seal the deal with a field goal in the first period of OT, but it was a nail biter that not many saw coming. Post game, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly put his foot in his mouth when he attempted to make a joke about his team’s poor execution during the game.
But, it’s on to Toledo for Notre Dame, who enters week two of the college football season as the No. 8 ranked team in the country.
In the game, it is expected that Notre Dame will attempt to establish its run game better than it did against Florida State. What was billed as the focal point of the offense, Notre Dame’s lead running backs Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree were stifled by Florida State’s defense, netting just 65 yards on the ground for the first game. Thankfully for the Irish, their new quarterback Jack Coan (a transfer from Wisconsin) put up big numbers (366 pass yards and four touchdowns) to spark the offense. The Notre Dame defense will also look to back bounce after being unable to prevent Florida State from making its fourth quarter comeback.
Toledo will roll into South Bend hoping to prove they aren’t a cupcake Notre Dame can just assume they’ll get the win against. Hailing from the MAC, Toledo opened its season with a big win, 49-10, against Norfolk State and are one of the teams pundits’ believe are strong contenders to win their conference. As the 49 points should signify, this is a team that is capable of scoring, and if football games get into shootouts, you never know what can happen.
Another interesting tidbit for this game is that it is actually the first ever matchup between Notre Dame and Toledo. While Notre Dame has no history with Toledo, it has a good record against the MAC and other Group of Five conferences. The Fighting Irish has won their last five games against MAC teams (dating back to 2010), and 25 of 26 to non Power Five schools (lone loss to Navy in 2016). Can Toledo add another loss to those statistics?
Currently, Notre Dame is 17 point favorites over Toledo.
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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