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Stanford anxious to avenge last year’s loss

Matt Lozar | Thursday, October 7, 2004

For the second time this year, the Irish are facing a Pac-10 team making its first road appearance.After four straight weeks on The Farm, Stanford comes to South Bend sitting at 3-1 with its only loss coming to No. 1 USC when the Trojans used a second half rally to pull out the 31-28 victory. “We’re looking forward to it. It will be good to play in a place as storied as Notre Dame and the guys have a sense of the history when it comes to playing there,” Cardinal coach Buddy Teevens said. “There’s a level of excitement around here. We’ve enjoyed playing at home for this stretch, but there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the trip.”Seeing the Cardinal on the schedule invokes memories of last year’s dominating 57-7 Irish win in Palo Alto, Calif. The Irish came into that game having won their last two games while the Cardinal were closing out their season having lost their last two.One could say Stanford just packed it in early on that Saturday night since it was its last game of the season, was 4-6 coming into the game and the previous week had lost the “Big Game” to California. Whatever the case was, Teevens said his team isn’t focusing on that Thanksgiving weekend embarrassment where the Cardinal suffered their worst home defeat ever. “Our team is full of forward-thinking people, and players that work towards their goals and ambitions. I think this is the same situation,” Teevens said. “Notre Dame is a very good football team and is very well coached. They do a great job offensively and defensively, and are solid on special teams. Our guys respect that and are aware that we need to play a good football game to beat them.”The Irish haven’t even looked at game film from last year’s contest.”They look like a team that’s really gelling. This is going to be a totally different team,” Irish defensive end Justin Tuck said. “It’s a total difference from what they look on film.”One player who has shown marked improvement this year is second-year starting quarterback Trent Edwards. Recruited by current coach Tyrone Willingham, Edwards came to Stanford as one of the top recruits in the country. USA Today ranked Edwards as the top passing quarterback in the nation in 2001.After being red-shirted during the 2002 season, Edwards started four games in 2003, playing in eight. This season, Edwards has started all four games, completing 61.1 percent of his passes for 921 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions.”When we recruited Trent, we thought he was one of the most accurate high school quarterbacks that we’d seen and it looks like he’s getting back to that level,” Willingham said. “I think he as a freshman had some very difficult times and was thrown into the fire and it’s very difficult when you’re in that situation. “But now he’s emerging and becoming a quarterback that we thought he could be. His delivery is very quick. He gets the ball to a lot of good and right positions for their receivers and he is impressive.”The Cardinal have the disadvantage of playing on the West Coast and not too many people realize they have done much more than almost upset the Trojans. Teevens appears to have this program going in the right direction in his third year at the helm at Stanford. That’s why Teevens knows Saturday’s game against the Irish is so important for his team. A win here would garner national prominence, regardless of Notre Dame’s 3-2 record.”It’s certainly an important game. Going out in front of a nation-wide audience and playing in a special place that is historic like Notre Dame is big,” Teevens said. “We want to play solid football and improve on areas that we were a little bit short on last Saturday. We want to put together a good game plan and execute this weekend.”