Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2016

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

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Page 38 of 55 OCT. 17, 2016 39 averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Sophomore running back Dexter Williams and senior running back Tarean Folston have added another 309 yards, while junior quarterback DeShone Kizer chipped in another 187 yards. Advantage: Even NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. STANFORD PASS DEFENSE Stanford has had some defensive struggles through the air, giving up 234.3 yards per game (72nd in the nation). The Cardinal has also given up 7.6 yards per pass attempt (82nd) and 12.5 yards per completion (71st), which puts it in the bottom half of the national standings. Defensive coordinator Lance Anderson's unit hasn't been overly disruptive against the pass, pick- ing off opposing quarterbacks just three times and registering a 132.43 pass efficiency defense rating. That ranked the Cardinal 75th in the country. One strong suit for Stanford has been its ability to rush the quarterback, with the Cardinal recording 11 sacks to rank 35th in the country through five weeks. Senior outside linebacker and team captain Peter Kalambayi led the way with 2.5 QB takedowns. Getting healthy on the back end is a must for Stanford. Cornerbacks Alijah Holder, a junior, and Quenton Meeks, a sophomore, started Stanford's first three games, but both missed the next two games, including its loss to Washington. Notre Dame's passing attack has been one of the nation's best. The Irish ranked 15th nationally in passing yards per game (327.8), 13th in pass efficiency rating (166.8) and passing touchdowns (14), and sixth in yards per pass attempt (9.9) and yards per completion (16.2). Junior quarterback DeShone Kizer has put up exceptional numbers through the first five games. He ranked sixth nationally in passing touchdowns (14) and 12th in passing yards (1,567). And despite throwing four interceptions, he was ninth nation- ally in passer efficiency (175.4). The emergence of sophomore wideout Equa- nimeous St. Brown has been big for Notre Dame. Through the first five games, St. Brown has hauled in 25 receptions for 541 yards and six touchdowns. He ranked 11th nationally in receiving yards per game (108.2) and receiving touchdowns. St. Brown is on pace for 1,407 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns. Those marks would rank him second and tied for first, respectively, in single-season history at Notre Dame. Only Golden Tate (1,496 yards in 2009) had more yards in a season than what St. Brown is on pace to achieve. Advantage: Notre Dame SPECIAL TEAMS Stanford's special teams have been a bit up and down. McCaffrey ranked 33rd nationally with 26.0 yards per kick return, but the rest of the Cardi- nal's return and coverage teams have struggled. Stanford was 55th in kick return defense (20.4 per return), 81st in punt returns (6.3 per return) and 103rd in punt coverage (12.1 per return). Its kicking has been quite good. Sophomore punter Jake Bailey ranked 28th in the land with an average of 43.9 yards per punt, while senior kicker Conrad Ukropina nailed all six of his field goal attempts, including three tries from more than 40 yards. Notre Dame return man C.J. Sanders has been Notre Dame's brightest spot on special teams, ranking 31st in the country for both punt return av- erage (16.0) and kick return average (26.2). He re- turned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown in Notre Dame's win over Syracuse and had a 96-yard kick return for a score negated by a holding penalty. The Irish coverage units have struggled, ranking 123rd in punt coverage and 77th in kick return defense. Advantage: Even COACHING Stanford's David Shaw and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly are two of the best head coaches in the coun- try. Kelly's 228 career wins are the most among all active coaches and Shaw has compiled an incred- ibly impressive 57-15 record in just more than six seasons. Shaw has won four Pac-12 titles at Stanford and led the Cardinal to a pair of Rose Bowl victories, including last season's 45-16 beat down of Iowa. Although Kelly has been Notre Dame's most suc- cessful head coach since Lou Holtz departed after the 1997 season — with a mark of 57-26 — he has not had the consistent success that Shaw has produced at Stanford. Notre Dame has two 10-win seasons under Kelly, while Stanford has four under Shaw. Shaw also has a 3-2 record against Notre Dame, which factors into Stanford's advantage in this matchup. Advantage: Stanford INTANGIBLES Notre Dame and Stanford are both flawed pro- grams that have a lot of work to do in order to im- prove as the season moves forward. Notre Dame has the more explosive offense while Stanford has the better defense. The biggest intangible in this game is location. In seven of the last eight meetings between the two schools — including each of the last four — the home team has come out on top. Advantage: Notre Dame GAME PREVIEW: STANFORD Offense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. WR 3 Michael Rector 6-1 187 5th-Sr. 19 JJ Arcega-Whiteside 6-3 219 So. TE 9 Dalton Schultz 6-6 241 Jr. 88 Greg Taboada 6-5 248 Sr. LT 75 A.T. Hall 6-5 295 Jr. 64 David Bright 6-5 296 Sr. LG 64 David Bright 6-5 296 Sr. 71 Brandon Fanaika 6-3 316 Jr. C 73 Jesse Burkett 6-4 303 Jr. 65 Brian Chaffin 6-2 290 So. RG 57 Johnny Caspers 6-4 297 5th-Sr. 54 Nick Wilson 6-3 287 So. RT 77 Casey Tucker 6-6 302 Jr. 76 Jack Dreyer 6-8 297 So. WR 2 Trenton Irwin 6-2 206 So. 4 Jay Tyler 5-8 170 So. WR 6 Francis Owusu 6-3 221 Sr. or 13 Taijuan Thomas 5-10 171 Sr. QB 17 Ryan Burns 6-5 233 Sr. 10 Keller Chryst 6-5 239 Jr. RB 5 Christian McCaffrey 6-0 200 Jr. 20 Bryce Love 5-10 187 So. FB 35 Daniel Marx 6-2 244 Jr. or 15 Reagan Williams 6-3 228 So. Defense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. DE 90 Solomon Thomas 6-3 273 Jr. 80 Eric Cotton 6-6 270 Sr. DT 66 Harrison Phillips 6-4 285 Jr. 75 Jordan Watkins 6-5 275 5th-Sr. DE 97 Dylan Jackson 6-6 261 So. 99 Luke Kaumatule 6-7 284 5th-Sr. OLB 32 Joey Alfieri 6-3 239 Jr. 33 Mike Tyler 6-5 236 Sr. ILB 44 Kevin Palma 6-2 252 Sr. 3 Noor Davis 6-4 244 5th-Sr. ILB 20 Bobby Okereke 6-3 233 Jr. 27 Sean Barton 6-3 222 So. OLB 34 Peter Kalambayi 6-3 246 Sr. 52 Casey Toohill 6-4 242 So. CB 24 Quenton Meeks 6-2 192 So. or 23 Alameen Murphy 5-11 194 Jr. S 8 Justin Reid 6-1 198 So. 9 Ben Edwards 6-0 193 So. S 29 Dallas Lloyd 6-3 215 5th-Sr. 10 Zach Hoffpauir 6-0 202 5th-Sr. CB 13 Alijah Holder 6-2 185 Jr. or 11 Terrence Alexander 5-10 181 Jr. STANFORD DEPTH CHART Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. PK 34 Conrad Ukropina 6-1 195 5th-Sr. 14 Jake Bailey 6-2 194 So. P 14 Jake Bailey 6-2 194 So. 47 Alex Robinson 6-0 209 Sr. LS 69 Richard McNitzky 6-1 210 Fr. 68 C.J. Keller 6-3 210 Jr. Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. SS 68 C.J. Keller 6-3 210 Jr. 69 Richard McNitzky 6-1 210 Fr. HLD 29 Dallas Lloyd 6-3 215 5th-Sr. KOR 5 Christian McCaffrey 6-0 200 Jr. 3 Michael Rector 6-1 187 5th-Sr. PR 5 Christian McCaffrey 6-0 200 Jr. 2 Trenton Irwin 6-2 206 So. Special Teams

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