Football Predictions: Stanford at Notre Dame

Oct. 2, 2014, 11:29 p.m.

No. 14 Stanford (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) vs. No. 9 Notre Dame (4-0)

Michael Peterson: Stanford 17, Notre Dame 16

This game might be the most difficult to predict of the season. Notre Dame is always a tough team to play in South Bend, and the Irish appear revitalized by the return of Everett Golson and a perpetually strong defense, reflected in their top-10 ranking. Yet, the Irish have played no one of note, so it’s hard to judge just what kind of game they’ll give the Card. However, this game will come entirely down to Stanford’s offense, because we know what we’re going to get from the defense — pretty darn near perfection. The Card don’t necessarily need to light up the scoreboard, as we saw in the win against Washington, but success in the red zone and sustained drives will be key to staying a step ahead of Notre Dame. A crucial defensive stop on fourth down with the Irish driving and just outside of field goal range will seal a tight, exhausting affair for the Card and could be enough to put Stanford back in top-10 consideration. With how good the Cardinal defense is, even predicting Notre Dame to score 16 points in the game seems slightly outrageous.

Do-Hyoung Park: Stanford 16, Notre Dame 9

No, Stanford and Notre Dame haven’t moved into the SEC of old. But that’s what you might think when this matchup happens on Saturday in South Bend. At this point, I’d feel confident that the Stanford defense could go up against a country’s military and come out unscathed — oh, right, it’s already done that. One blown coverage was all Stanford’s defense gave up against an explosive, talented Washington offense, and I think the front seven will again overwhelm with its pass rush and the secondary will play airtight coverage. On the other side of the ball, I think the Cardinal will continue to experience hiccups, especially in a hostile road environment — it’s looking like the sloppiness is the norm rather than the anomaly. Still, Stanford will muster up just enough to come away with a big road win that still somehow feels like a loss.

David Cohn: Stanford 31, Notre Dame 20

Our staff writers talked last week about Washington being a previously undefeated squad that hadn’t beaten anyone of note … well, dig out that talking point again for Notre Dame, because the Fighting Irish have played plenty of cupcakes so far this season. The Irish have had no true road games, and the combined record of their first four opponents is 10-13. However, we will all find out how good Notre Dame really is this week, when the Cardinal travel to South Bend. While Notre Dame’s offense has been explosive under an improved Everett Golson, Golson struggled mightily against the Card in 2012, and he will be matching up against arguably the best defense in the nation on Saturday. Stanford also managed to put up some points in last year’s 27-20 victory over ND on the Farm, with Devon Cajuste having a particularly strong game for the Cardinal. As such, I think Stanford will utilize its playmakers in Montgomery and Cajuste to great effect, with the defense containing Golson to allow the Card to pull away in the fourth quarter.

Ashley Westhem: Stanford 14, Notre Dame 13

I was already going to coin this weekend’s game as “Sloppy Saturday,” and after finding out that it’s supposed to rain, I am now having disturbing flashbacks to that sad Saturday two years ago in South Bend. While the Stanford defense has been dominant in each of its four games, the offense has obviously left more to be desired. Turnovers, penalties and missed field goals (4 out of 8 for Williamson) have plagued Stanford this season — a phenomenon that was almost entirely a non-issue last season. Shaw says that these issues are correctable, but creeping up on the fifth game of the season, why have they not been corrected? But Notre Dame is not without its flaws, either. Notre Dame had five turnovers against Syracuse and hasn’t played a schedule strong enough to prepare it for the brute force and intensity that is the Stanford defense. It’s going to be a low-scoring game, with both teams struggling a bit offensively before Stanford finds a glimmer of a rhythm in the fourth quarter like it did against Washington. The defense has been saving the team’s back side, so as long as it plays close to flawlessly, the Cardiac Card will pull it out in the end, because that’s what Stanford does best. Let’s hope this is the last time I have to make that kind of generalization.

Ashley Westhem was Editor in Chief of Vol. 248 after serving as Executive Editor and Managing Editor of Sports. She is the voice of Stanford women’s basketball for KZSU as well as The Daily’s beat writer for the team and aids in KZSU’s coverage of football. She graduated in 2016 and is currently a Communications masters student. Ashley is from Lake Tahoe, California.

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