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National Spotlight // NO. 4 OHIO STATE (2-0) at NO. 5 NOTRE DAME

WHEN/WHERE: 2:30 p.m., Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.

TV: Ch. 8.

LINE: Ohio State by 3.

COACHES: Ohio State _ John Cooper (67-28-4, ninth year); Notre Dame _ Lou Holtz (95-27-2, 11th year).

KEEPING PACE: If any interior offensive lineman is going to win the Heisman Trophy this year, it will surely be Orlando Pace. Holtz calls the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Buckeye "one of the best tackles in football today. I didn't say college football; I said football. . . . He's a wide body, a double-wide, twice as wide as I am."

DON'T LOOK, BACK: Notre Dame fullback Marc Edwards, a Norwood, Ohio, native, might have worn the red-and-gray of OSU. He was named Mr. Football in Ohio in 1992 by the AP and was recruited by the Buckeyes, but wanted to play fullback and figured he'd have a better chance at it with Holtz.

BACK TO BACK: This is the fourth time the Irish have played top 10 teams on successive Saturdays. They did it in 1941, '43 and, most recently, '89, when they beat No. 9 Southern Cal and No. 7 Pitt.

DOWN THE ROAD: This is the first legitimate test for OSU, which outscored Rice and Pitt 142-7. If the Buckeyes get past Notre Dame, they're hardly much closer to a national championship. They've got Penn State coming to Columbus in a week. The Irish are in the middle of a three-game run against ranked teams. They beat Texas; next in line is No. 21 Washington.

SAVOR IT: Last year's game, a 45-26 OSU romp, was the first between these two perennial powers in 50 years. It may be another 50 before the next one.

_BRUCE LOWITT

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