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One of the many beautiful results of the start of the college football season is the rebirth of old rivalries between former players.
While college stars will either go on to successful NFL careers or take a path away from the game of football, one thing that never goes away is their allegiance to their schools.
School pride was on full display Tuesday night when two former college quarterbacks sparred on Twitter as their schools prepare to face off on Saturday to open the 2022 college football season.
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Malik Zaire, who appeared in 15 games for Notre Dame between 2014 and 2016, kicked off the chirping just a few days ahead of the Fighting Irish’s Week 1 game against the Buckeyes by tagging former Ohio State quarterbacks Cardale Jones, JT Barrett and Braxton Miller.
Zaire told the three former Buckeyes that Notre Dame was about to put a “whoopin” on Ohio State. Jones, the only Buckeye quarterback to respond, told Zaire that “talk is cheap” before proposing a bet and taking a shot at the Notre Dame fan base.
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“Bro I get it; you went to ND and had an amazing career there! Much respect but you know we about to light y’all up like a Christmas tree! But I get it, you gotta have fake hype and hopes because that’s your alumni, you know what it is deep down.” Jones posted to Twitter.
While the social media trash talk is mostly fun and games, Saturday night’s primetime matchup between the two traditional powers will be one of the biggest games of the 2022 season.
Ohio State comes in as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation and a heavy favorite to win the Big Ten. Quarterback C.J. Stroud is the Heisman favorite after throwing for 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 2021 while leading the top offense in the country (561.2 yards per game) to an 11-2 record. He finished fourth in the Heisman voting.
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While Ohio State lost wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave to the NFL, Jaxon Smith-Njigba slides in to become Stroud’s No. 1 target after catching 95 balls for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021.
Running back TreVeyon Henderson will be another weapon for the Buckeye offense after coming off a great freshman season in which he averaged nearly 7 yards a carry and scored 15 rushing touchdowns.
Notre Dame enters the 2022 season with lofty goals in Marcus Freeman's first season as head coach and a new quarterback in Tyler Buchner. The No. 5 Fighting Irish will be 17.5-point underdogs on Saturday, a line that Freeman says he will use as motivation.
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“We'll use that in the team meeting today – it's good to know,” Freeman said on Monday, according to ESPN. “I haven't paid much attention to the spread. But I remember the one time we were on College GameDay, I said just keep making it go up and up.”
Ohio State vs. Notre Dame will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.