Tale of the tape: Breaking down who has the edge when Stanford visits Notre Dame Saturday
When Notre Dame has the ball
Michael Mayer, who passed Tyler Eifert last week to become the career leader in receptions by an Irish tight end (146), is one touchdown catch behind Ken MacAfee (15 from 1974-77) for the all-time program mark. Mayer, who has 146 catches in 29 games, is second among active leaders for tight end receptions, trailing only Utah’s Brant Kuithe, who has 148 in 51 games but is out for the season with a torn ACL. Iowa’s Sam LaPorta is third with 125 catches in 40 games. … The Irish held the ball for nearly 41 minutes in the win over BYU and now rank ninth nationally in average time of possession (33:41). … After failing to produce touchdowns on three of four trips into the red zone last week, Notre Dame ranks 46th in red zone efficiency (69%). Stanford’s defense ranks 27th in that category, holding opponents out of the end zone on 10 of 19 red zone trips.
Edge: Notre Dame
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When Stanford has the ball
Junior quarterback Tanner McKee is tied for 44th in yards per attempt (8.1) but is the second-rated passer on routes of 20-plus yards. He has 10 big-time throws out of 18 attempts at that distance, accounting for six touchdowns and no interceptions. … Notre Dame’s defense, which could be without senior slot corner TaRiq Bracy (hamstring), is tied for ninth best with 11 pass plays allowed of 20-plus yards. The Irish, however, are tied for 92nd with three pass plays of 50-plus yards allowed. … The Cardinal, rated 92nd in pass-blocking efficiency, expect starting right tackle Myles Hinton to return after a three-game absence but two more starters (left tackle Walter Rouse and right guard Levi Rogers) are doubtful
Edge: Notre Dame
The Cardinal kickoff coverage unit leads the nation in fewest yards allowed (8.71). … Walk-on kickoff specialist Zac Yoakam, selected as his unit’s player of the game vs. BYU, improved to 39th national in touchback percentage after going 6 for 6 indoors last week at Allegiant Stadium. … Notre Dame ranks 48th in special teams efficiency, per PFF.com, while Stanford is 85th. The Irish allowed a season-long 42-yard punt return to BYU’s Hobbs Nyberg. … Brandon Joseph has climbed to 28th in average punt return yardage (9.56). C.J. Sanders (2015) had the last Notre Dame punt return for a touchdown with a 50-yarder against UMass.
Edge: Notre Dame
First-year coach Marcus Freeman evened his career coaching mark at 3-3 with last week’s Shamrock Series win in Las Vegas. He is 1-1 in true home games as Irish head coach. The Irish seek a fourth straight win in the series, which would be their longest streak against Stanford since taking seven in a row from 2002-2008. Cardinal coach David Shaw, now in his 12th season at his alma mater, is the longest-tenured Black coach in FBS history at one school and the winningest Power Five Black coach with a career mark of 94-49 (.657). The Cardinal, however, have gone 12-23 since the start of the 2019 season. This will be their first visit to Notre Dame Stadium since a 38-17 loss in 2018.
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TOM NOIE: Notre Dame 38, Stanford 13 — The Irish are good. The Cardinal are not good.
MIKE BERARDINO: Notre Dame 37, Stanford 13 —The pendulum has swung, in this rivalry and in this Irish season, and there’s no letting up now.
MICHAEL WANBAUGH: Notre Dame 34, Stanford 10 — Expect more of the same from the grind-it-out Irish offense. That would be a patient run game and safe passing game that keeps Stanford QB Tanner McKee off the field.
JUSTIN FROMMER: Notre Dame 41, Stanford 19 — Drew Pyne is playing with confidence, the run game is as strong as it’s been all year and a struggling Stanford team comes to town. This one could get ugly fast.
Stanford (1-4) vs. Notre Dame (3-2)
- When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EST
- Where: Notre Dame Stadium (77,660), South Bend Tribune
- TV/Radio: NBC/Peacock, WSBT Radio (960 AM), WNSN (101.5 FM)
- Line: Notre Dame favored by 15½ points
- Series: Notre Dame leads series 21-13
- Last meeting: ND 45, Stanford 14, Nov. 27, 2013 in Palo Alto, Calif.