Before 1974, ND had opened in November only five times in its history -- 1935, 1939, 1940, 1941, and 1942. ND has opened in November every year since 1974, except for early December openers in 1978, 1979, and 1992, when the NCAA briefly reduced the maximum number of regular season games to 27 (excluding "exempt" in-season tournaments).
ND's first opener before Thanksgiving came in 1985, when Thanksgiving fell as late as possible (November 28) and teams were permitted to open their seasons the preceding weekend. ND also had pre-Thanksgiving openers in the Preseason NIT in 1986 and 1990, and opened before Thanksgiving in 1991 and 1996 when Thanksgiving again fell on November 28.
ND opened the 1997-1998 season on November 17. Since then, ND has opened before Thanksgiving every season, and it has opened at least 10 days before Thanksgiving every year since 2006-2007.