Predictions: Stanford vs. Notre Dame
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, October 2, 2014
Senior Sports Writer
After four games in five weeks, Notre Dame finally faces its first ranked opponent, kicking off a challenging stretch in its much-hyped, difficult schedule.
I’ve been leaning toward Notre Dame all week, thinking Everett Golson will be able to do too much offensively.
But Stanford’s defense has impressed against USC and Washington, in particular.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame has shown blemishes against Purdue and Syracuse with its offensive line, running game and, yes, quarterback turnovers. The Cardinal defense should do enough to contain Golson and the Irish, while Kevin Hogan, Ty Montgomery and the Stanford backfield will find ways — barely — to get by the young Irish defense that hasn’t faced a strong offense yet.
FINAL SCORE: Stanford 28, Notre Dame 24
Although Notre Dame averages 35 points per game, the Irish likely won’t reach that mark against Stanford, which hasn’t allowed 30 or more points in a game since October 2012.
But they won’t need that many points.
The Irish offensive line and running backs will continue their struggles, but Everett Golson has found success in every game, whether through screen passes or the deep ball, and there’s reason to believe he’ll keep it up.
And ultimately, the game will come down to the Irish defense.
An undermanned Notre Dame nearly upset Stanford last year, but the defense was gashed for 261 rushing yards. With a healthy and talented Irish defensive line in place, the Cardinal will find more trouble on the ground Saturday.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 17, Stanford 14
Assistant Managing Editor
Stanford has allowed only 74.0 passing yards per game, and opponents have scored an average of just 6.5 points per game. The Cardinal held USC (which averages 32.8 points per game) to 13 points in a 13-10 loss. Everett Golson will have his work cut out for him against this defense.
The Irish defense will have to be stingy, as Stanford will not allow Notre Dame to score freely. This game will be close with talented senior quarterback Kevin Hogan leading the Cardinal.
Both defenses consistently have stopped teams in the red zone, but Notre Dame earns the overall game edge with its better red-zone conversion rate on offense.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 24, Stanford 21
Assistant Managing Editor
Stanford will undoubtedly be the first true test for the Irish, both on offense and defense. We’ll see Notre Dame has gotten everything in order along the offensive line and in the secondary.
The Irish will need to establish some kind of run game, so the O-line will need to step up, as the only loss incurred by the Cardinal came to USC, who rushed for 156 yards. And even then, the final score was only 13-10. The Irish secondary will need to keep organized and not give up any big passing plays. Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan will be dangerous for a young secondary as he has completed over 65 percent of his passes in each of the first four games.
The game will come down to whether or not Everett Golson can out perform Hogan.
Edge to Golson and the Irish.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 27, Stanford 24
They say defense wins championships, and Stanford’s defense is one of the best in the country. The Cardinal have allowed 6.5 points per game, good for first among FBS schools, and have posted two shutouts.
However, Notre Dame’s defense isn’t far behind at fourth, giving up an average of 11.5 points. In their best performance of the season last week, the Irish allowed only nine points to Syracuse — an impressive number, especially considering the offense turned the ball over five times.
So if the defense comparison is too close to call, the result will boil down to which offense can outperform the other. With Everett Golson boosting himself into Heisman talk and leading the Irish to 35 points per game, Notre Dame will eke this one out.
FINAL SCORE : Notre Dame 20, Stanford 17