1996 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame in the 1996 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by  Lou Holtz and played its home games at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.
Notre Dame participated in the
Emerald Isle Classic (Billed as the Shamrock Classic that year). The game was played in Dublin on November 2 at Croke Park, where Notre Dame beat Navy by a score of 54–27.
Despite finishing the regular season 8-3, Notre Dame did not play in a bowl game. The Fighting Irish turned down an invitation to play the
Auburn Tigers in the Independence Bowl, believing that Auburn was an unworthy opponent and that the Independence Bowl was an unworthy bowl destination.
In the Holy War match against Boston College, Notre Dame beat BC to claim the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl.
Notre Dame beat Purdue to claim the Shillelagh Trophy.
Notre Dame loses to USC in overtime, snapping a 13-game unbeaten streak against the Trojans.
Date Time Opponent Rank Site TV Result Attendance
September 5 8:00 p.m. at Vanderbilt No. 6 ESPN W 14–7 41,523
September 14 2:30 p.m. Purdue No. 9 NBC W 35–0 59,075
September 21 12:00 p.m. at No. 6 Texas No. 9 ABC W 27–24 83,312
September 28 2:30 p.m. No. 4 Ohio State No. 5 Notre Dame Stadium South Bend, IN NBC L 16–29 59,075
October 12 2:30 p.m. No. 16 Washington No. 11 Notre Dame Stadium South Bend, IN NBC W 54–20 59,075
October 19 2:30 p.m. Air Force No. 8 Notre Dame Stadium South Bend, IN NBC L 17–20 OT 59,075
November 2 8:00 a.m. at Navy No. 19 CBS W 54–27 38,651
November 9 3:30 p.m. at Boston College No. 17 CBS W 48–21 44,500
November 16 1:30 p.m. Pittsburgh No. 14 Notre Dame Stadium South Bend, IN ( rivalry) NBC W 60–6 59,075
November 23 1:30 p.m. Rutgers No. 10 Notre Dame Stadium South Bend, IN NBC W 62–0 59,075
November 30 8:00 p.m. at USC No. 10 ABC L 20–27 OT 90,296
Season summary Edit
30-yard field goal by Abrams
38-yard field goal by Abrams
Spencer 1-yard touchdown run, Sanson kick good
Champion 25-yard touchdown reception from Powlus, Sanson kick good
C. Miller 5-yard touchdown reception from Otton, 2-point pass failed
Denson 9-yard touchdown run, Sanson kick no good
Washington 15-yard touchdown run, 2-point run good
Sermons 5-yard touchdown reception from Otton, Abrams kick good
Time of Possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 20