Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 31, 2016

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

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Page 24 of 55 OCT. 31, 2016 25 STANFORD RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE Minus star junior running back Christian McCaffrey, who was sidelined with an undisclosed injury, Stanford turned to Bryce Love (23 carries for 129 yards) and mainly rode with him after Cameron Scarlett lost a fumble at the Notre Dame 26 on the Cardinal's second possession. Senior quarterback Ryan Burns was mixed in a little more effectively than usual. He entered the contest with only nine yards rushing but finished with 27 yards against the Irish. On the game-winning 67-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that took 11 plays, Stanford kept it mainly on the ground against an Irish defense that was wearing down. Eight of the plays were runs, with Burns carrying five times for 34 yards. Stanford entered the game averaging only 140.8 yards rushing and 4.1 yards per carry, so to finish with 176 and 4.4 per attempt was a form of victory. Still Notre Dame's defense yielded only eight points versus the Cardinal. ADVANTAGE: Even STANFORD PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE The Irish had as many sacks in this game (three) as they did in the first six contests combined, which had them ranked 125th among 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams entering the game. Junior linebacker Greer Martini had two, while fifth-year senior nose guard Jarron Jones recovered a fumble he caused with his sack. Burns was a modest 10-of-19 passing for 120 yards, with senior nickel Cole Luke recording an interception inside his 20. No significant damage was done here versus the Irish. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. STANFORD RUN DEFENSE The offense established the run on the game's second series where it rushed for 67 yards on five carries, mainly to the left, capped by junior quarterback DeShone Kizer's designed run for an eight-yard tally. Senior running back Tarean Folston (eight carries for 49 yards), sidelined the last two weeks, demonstrated how his inside running and navigable skills through traffic might have helped at North Carolina State, and it seemed he could have been a more consistent weapon in this contest. Kizer (11 carries for 83 yards) augmented the ground attack more effectively than he has most of this year. The Irish were near their average with 153 yards and 4.4 yards per carry, but the rushing total dropped from 67 in the first quar- ter to 41 in the second, 35 in the third and 10 in the fourth. Quality ground games usually get better as the game progresses rather than decelerate. ADVANTAGE: Even NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. STANFORD PASS DEFENSE After passing for only 79 yards in the first half while emphasizing a stronger ground attack, Notre Dame opened its first two series of the second half with interceptions, the first returned for a touchdown and the second returned to the Irish 47. Protection on the right side, where Stanford star lineman Solomon Thomas often was aligned and where injured Irish right guard Colin McGovern was out with an injury, was shaky. Kizer (14-of-26 passing for 154 yards) was sacked three times and off target on numerous other attempts where he was off balance. Senior Malik Zaire (0- of-2 passing with one sack) was unable to provide a spark in his two series, plus an errant snap out of the shotgun sailed past him for a safety. ADVANTAGE: Stanford SPECIAL TEAMS Stanford's opening possession ended with Conrad Ukropina's 45-yard field goal attempt hitting the top of the left upright on a miss. Notre Dame's Justin Yoon converted his lone field goal try (29 yards). A 44-yard Cardinal punt to the Irish 5-yard line with 1:20 remaining and the Irish leading 10-7 resulted in an errant Notre Dame snap out of the end zone for a safety to reduce the lead to 10-9. After Stanford went ahead 17-10, Irish sophomore return man C.J. Sanders was nailed at his 11-yard line. The Irish then flipped field position that resulted in a punt with a net gain of 65 yards. ADVANTAGE: Even THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS The Irish converted two third downs and one on fourth down during a 14- play march that ended with a field goal and a 10-0 lead. Stanford converted a third-and-three and third-and-one during its TD march that put it ahead 17-10. Overall, the Cardinal was 7 of 12 (58.3 percent), while Notre Dame was 5 of 14 (35.7 percent). ADVANTAGE: Stanford TURNOVERS The game's first turnover, a Scarlett fumble at the Irish 26, resulted in a 74- yard scoring march by Notre Dame and a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. With 42 seconds left in the first half and Stanford at the Irish 38, Luke intercepted a Burns pass at the Notre Dame 18. However, back-to-back interceptions by Kizer to open the third quarter, the former resulting in a TD return, evened out this area. The errant snap out of the end zone by junior center Sam Mustipher isn't categorized as a turnover but should be. Stanford had three turnovers to Notre Dame's two on the stat sheet, but the bad snap makes it more a wash. Advantage: Even ANALYSIS Notre Dame was in control most of the first half, but back-to-back intercep- tions by Kizer in the second half helped Stanford win the second half, 17-0. The ramifications of those miscues also led Kizer to get temporarily replaced. The Irish defense played well enough to win, but their offense was unable to generate any identity or momentum throughout the final 30 minutes. ON PAPER REVISITED BY LOU SOMOGYI Sophomore kicker Justin Yoon made his lone field goal try against Stanford. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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