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Observer sports staff predicts Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Aidan Thomas – Sports Editor

Three straight for the Irish, and now Notre Dame has a chance to turn this winning streak into a hurtling ball of momentum with arguably their two easiest games of the season upcoming. Barring a shocker, Notre Dame should be 5-2 heading into a two-week stretch of Syracuse and Clemson, games that could push the Irish back towards the top 15, maybe even the top 10. The Irish are big favorites this weekend, and their offense is rolling, going up against a Stanford defense that’s giving up 207 yards per game on the ground. They’ve also given up 40+ in three of four contests against Power-5 competition. That should work well for the Irish to be able to do what they want offensively. The Stanford offense is respectable, but it’s not groundbreaking. Notre Dame’s defense has held opposing offenses to 21 points or less in each game besides UNC, so anticipate that trend to continue. 

Notre Dame 38, Stanford 17

Mannion McGinley – Assistant Managing Editor

Since the upset from 15-point underdog, Marshall, the Irish are undefeated. 3-2 and on the upswing, not a bad place to be. There can be no lull in the Irish play because this game is “easy.” The Stanford game needs to be the statement win it is predicted to be. There needs to be the same amount of ferocity, the same intensity from every player and every coach headed into this week. The only way the Irish will continue on their positive trajectory is if they can continue to win out on the season and do so convincingly. The Cardinal has only snagged one win this season, and a four-game losing streak is not easy to build momentum from but it can’t fool the Irish. The Stanford offense has consistently put up 20 points against their opponents. The Irish defense has to be just as productive this week, if not more so, as they were in Vegas. The defense needs even bigger stops late in the game, just to prove they can do it but also to keep the Stanford offense down. With 12 Stanford turnovers in their existing five games, the turnover count has to just keep ticking up. The Irish need to make it happen. 

Notre Dame 35, Stanford 20

Nate Moller – Senior Sports Writer

I was as pessimistic as ever about Drew Pyne after his performance against Marshall and Cal, but I am slowly warming up to him. In Saturday’s season defining win against BYU, Drew Pyne showed why he is QB1. At times on Saturday, the play of Drew Pyne reminded me of former Irish quarterback Ian Book because of his accurate passing, ability to use his legs when needed and ability to generate offense when the play breaks down. If Pyne can continue to rely on Michael Mayer and the offensive line can continue to give Pyne time in the pocket, the Irish offense should roll against a Stanford team that has struggled defensively all year. The running game has been much improved for the Irish as well, which should be enough to give them a fairly comfortable win on Saturday night.

Notre Dame 41, Stanford 20

Madeline Ladd – Associate Sports Editor

With a three-game win streak and a big victory out in Vegas, the Irish will be looking to continue the momentum this weekend. The Notre Dame offense jived well against BYU, with Pyne coming into his own in the pocket and stars like Michael Mayer racking up the points for the Irish. Other players stepped up last weekend as well, and if they do it again the offense should be able to get in the same groove this weekend — especially against the struggling Stanford defense. As for Irish defense, they will need to continue to improve and limit defense breakdowns against Stanford QB and NFL draft prospect Tanner McKee.

Notre Dame, 42, Stanford 17

Emily DeFazio – Associate Sports Editor

With three wins under their belt and a fairly mild opponent in Stanford, I have high hopes for the Irish in their return to South Bend this weekend. Notre Dame in Vegas is the kind of play we need to see every game moving forward. Drew Pyne is really settling into his role as QB1, and I think this confidence can only yield big things for the Irish in the coming weeks. The offense is finally able to do some dynamic play calling, thanks in no small part to the O-line, and with strength on both facets of the offensive game play, I see players like Michael Mayer and Audric Estime continuing their upward trajectories on Saturday. The key in the next two games will be not resting on laurels and keeping the momentum going ahead of major opponents down the line (I’m looking at you, Clemson); the team cannot afford a Marshall repeat. Give me a blowout in an electric night game setting and this weekend will hopefully rocket the Irish to success for the remainder of the season.

Notre Dame 42, Stanford 13

Liam Coolican – Associate Sports Editor 

Two teams headed in opposite directions will meet in South Bend Saturday night. Notre Dame has as much momentum as any team in college football right now. Their offense has come into its own and the defense has continued to stand out against quality opponents. Stanford, meanwhile, is in the midst of a four game slide and has yet to defeat an FBS opponent. The Irish crowd, after two rough home games to start the year, will be out in full force for a night game after two impressive wins away from Notre Dame Stadium. The Cardinal will struggle to get anything going from the opening snap, and Notre Dame will get a statement, and lopsided, win. 

Notre Dame 45, Stanford 10.

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