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Head to Head: Notre Dame vs. Stanford

, , , , and | Friday, November 26, 2021

Notre Dame Passing

In their 11 games this season, Stanford’s defense has allowed their opponents to walk all over them. The stats line: 185 completions on 305 attempts for 2246 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Irish will be no exception to this pattern, especially after the last few weeks. In five out of the last six games, Notre Dame has scored 30+ points. In every one of those games, Jack Coan and Tyler Buchner have combined for 200 passing yards or more. The offense has their feet underneath them steadily. Now that the Irish can rely on such a productive run game when they turn to the pass, it is effective. Stanford hasn’t really been able to make the big stops and Notre Dame will be able to take advantage of that. 

EDGE: Notre Dame

Notre Dame Rushing   

Running back Kyren Williams has been sensational for the Irish in the second half of the season, recording a sensational eight rushing touchdowns over the last five games. Williams is looking like a pro-style back as of late, and the Cardinal will surely have their hands full considering that they gave up over 350 rushing yards to Cal last week. To make matters worse for the Cardinal, Logan Diggs has looked fantastic as of late for the Irish as well and Chris Tyree appears to be healthy, which should prove to be too much for the Cardinal to handle. The offensive line has really helped open up the Irish run game lately as well and the Cardinal will almost definitely struggle to control the Irish in this one.

EDGE: Notre Dame

Notre Dame Offensive Coaching

Tommy Rees continues to improve as a play-caller and offensive coordinator, and he has the Irish offense peaking at the right time. He goes against an experienced coach in Lance Anderson, who has been at Stanford for 15 years, and the defensive coordinator since 2014. However, in the last three seasons, the Cardinal’s best defense was ranked 78th in the country. 2016 was the last time Anderson had a top-25 unit. Meanwhile, the Irish are ranked 7th in expected points per play over their past three games, with improved efforts from Rees paving the way. Advantage to the younger coach here. 

EDGE: Notre Dame

Notre Dame Offensive Special Teams

Doerer was perfect again when called upon against Georgia Tech, as he still has not missed a field goal since the opening drive of the USC game. Chris Tyree broke off a 51-yard kickoff return, showing he’s back to fully healthy and still an electric presence receiving kickoffs. Kyren Williams continues to battle out tough yards on punt returns with big-play ability as well. This remains an advantage for Notre Dame against most teams. 

EDGE: Notre Dame

Stanford Passing

The Stanford offense hasn’t done anything big this year. They haven’t had much passing capability. Tanner McKee is not a reliable quarterback. He’s got the depth at wide receiver. And, when he gets it to them, the receiving corps can make a play but he’s had 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season. That’s not a great stat line when you’re about to face a defense that is +8 on turnovers and opened their last game with a pick-six. 

EDGE: Notre Dame 

Stanford Rushing

Stanford has not been a rushing team either this year, as they have failed to reach 1,000 yards on the season and have no running backs with 500 rushing yards on the year so far. While some of this might be due to the Cardinal playing from behind, they have averaged an abysmal 3.3 yards per carry-on the year as well. They’ll face a Notre Dame defense that has been fantastic against the run as of late and has not surrendered a touchdown in its last three games. Stanford’s run game is significantly less talented than Navy and Georgia Tech, which the Irish had no problem handling. The Cardinal will have a tough time setting up a run game in this one.

EDGE: Notre Dame

Stanford Offensive Coaching

Tavita Pritchard has been the offensive coordinator for the Cardinal for four seasons now, but he has been at Stanford since 2006. After playing quarterback for four years, he joined the coaching staff in 2010. He’s got experience with the Cardinal and how it runs which may be his one leg up on Marcus Freeman and the Irish defensive coaching team. However, Pritchard does not have the offensive weapons to work with that Freeman has on defense. After three losing seasons, Pritchard’s capabilities will not threaten the Irish.

EDGE: Notre Dame

Stanford Offensive Special Teams

Nathaniel Peat averages about 20 yards per kick return. He is easily the highlight of this special teams squad. That being said, there isn’t much else to rely on. They have yet to settle on a consistent punt returner, mainly because they don’t face many punts. And, kicker Josh Karty isn’t exactly reliable, missing four of the few field goal attempts he’s had. So, if your most reliable Special Teams member is a kick returner, and Jonathan Doerer and the kickoff squad can either place it out of play or down it well, Notre Dame takes this edge easily.

EDGE: Notre Dame

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