Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 1, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 37 of 55

38 OCT. 1, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI POINTS AT A PREMIUM In Notre Dame's four most recent home wins, dating back to last year's Senior Day versus Navy the week be‑ fore traveling to Stanford, the Fight‑ ing Irish have been quite consistent with the score. They defeated the Midshipmen 24‑17 last season, opened 2018 by winning 24‑17 versus Michigan, and then followed up at home with simi‑ lar 24‑16 and 22‑17 conquests of Ball State and Vanderbilt, respectively. A pattern has developed with these type of relatively lower scoring matchups — and Stanford has this exact motif in Notre Dame Stadium this decade. Head coach Brian Kelly's Fighting Irish have faced the Cardinal four times at home, and in those contests they have averaged a meager 15.25 points per game while never eclips‑ ing 17 in the four quarters of regula‑ tion time. • In 2010, Notre Dame was trounced 37‑14 by Stanford to drop to 1‑3, while Stanford was on its way to a 12‑1 season in Jim Harbaugh's final season as head coach. • The 2012 game ended in a 13‑13 tie in regulation play, which required Irish sophomore kicker Kyle Brindza to boot a 22‑yard field goal in wet conditions with 20 seconds left to put the game into overtime. In that extra session, reserve quar‑ terback Tommy Rees connected with wide receiver TJ Jones for a touch‑ down, but the victory was not final‑ ized until a long wait while instant replay confirmed that the vaunted Irish defense had made a goal‑line stand on fourth down. This time it would be the Irish that finished 12‑1 (No. 4 in the country), although the Cardinal also would place No. 7 in the final Associated Press poll. • Trailing 14‑10 in 2014, Notre Dame faced fourth‑and‑11 from Stanford's 23‑yard line with just more than a min‑ ute remaining when Everett Golson rolled away from pressure and went for broke with a pass into the end zone to tight end Ben Koyack, who took ad‑ vantage of a busted coverage. Koyack hung on to the pass before falling out of bounds, while safety Jordan Richardson tried to break it up with 1:01 remaining. The Irish defense held on for the 17‑14 victory. • In 2016, after building a 10‑0 half‑ time lead, the Notre Dame offense scored zero points in the second half and ended up losing 17‑10 to a Stanford unit that the previous two weeks had been crushed 44‑6 and 42‑16 versus Washington and Wash‑ ington State, respectively. Entering the game at Wake Forest Sept. 22, Notre Dame had failed to eclipse 24 points in seven consecutive contests, beginning with the 41‑8 de‑ bacle at Miami on Nov. 11, 2017. That had not happened since the final two games of 2006 and the first eight dur‑ ing the 3‑9 meltdown in 2007. This has prompted Kelly, offensive coordinator Chip Long and the staff to reconsider its quarterback situa‑ tion (see pages 16‑19) … just in time for a Stanford defense that has, other than in its 38‑36 last‑second victory in 2015, had Notre Dame's offense pretty well figured out. That brings us to … DEFENSIVE DOINGS When it traveled to Oregon to face the Ducks Sept. 22, 3‑0 Stanford ranked No. 1 in scoring defense (7.7 points allowed per game), high‑ lighted by the 17‑3 victory versus USC Sept. 8. It also defeated a strong San Diego State team (31‑10) it had lost to a year earlier by a 20‑17 count. Under eighth‑year head coach Da‑ GAME PREVIEW: STANFORD Top STorylineS The Fighting Irish have averaged only 15.25 points per game in their last four home meetings with the Cardinal, which included a 17-10 defeat in 2016. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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