Skirmish in South Bend: Stanford takes on Notre Dame in road matchup

Oct. 13, 2022, 9:01 p.m.

The last time Stanford football (1-4, 0-4 Pac-12) traveled to South Bend, Ind. was for a top 10 matchup between the seventh-ranked Cardinal and eighth-ranked Fighting Irish in 2018. This time, Stanford enters as a 17-point underdog to a Notre Dame team (3-2) that has righted the ship after a couple early-season losses.

Notre Dame has had to turn to backup quarterback Drew Pyne ever since starter Tyler Buchner suffered a season-ending injury in an early season loss to Marshall. Pyne, a sophomore, has filled in quite well for the Irish, throwing for eight touchdowns and only one interception in his three games as the starter. Notre Dame has yet to lose a game in which he starts, and Pyne’s impressive play has certainly been a large part of the team’s three game win streak.

With Pyne coming off a three touchdown performance in Notre Dame’s upset win over then No. 16 BYU, the Fighting Irish certainly have more momentum than the Cardinal entering this contest.

Stanford had the chance to get their first conference win of the season last Saturday, but it squandered a 14-point fourth-quarter lead against Oregon State. Despite the heartbreaking loss, head coach David Shaw remains optimistic that the team can rebound against the Fighting Irish.

“I’m not gonna let us come off the best game we’ve had so far this year and throw that away” said Shaw. “We can build off those positives.”

Stanford has dropped the last three contests with Notre Dame, failing to keep the game within 20 each time. However, these were more talented Fighting Irish squads than the one that will host the Cardinal this Saturday. The Irish were ranked No. 8, No. 16 and No. 6 in the country in 2018, 2019 and 2021, respectively.

Despite Notre Dame entering this year’s contest unranked, leaving South Bend victorious is never an easy task. But a road victory in a tough environment would go a long way for the Cardinal, whose 11 game FBS-losing streak is the longest active streak in Division I football.

“Seeing and grasping that feeling of a win can turn the trajectory of the season around” said senior safety Jonathan McGill. “You can definitely start building momentum after that, especially when you start getting hardware.”

The hardware mentioned by McGill is the Legends Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Stanford-Notre Dame game. The Cardinal should have all the motivation they need as they attempt to snap their FBS-losing streak, but the prospect of reclaiming this trophy for the first time since 2017 will definitely add some fuel to the fire.

The allure of the Stanford-Notre Dame rivalry has certainly dwindled with the recent struggles of the Cardinal. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of reason to tune in given the storied history between these two programs.

The game is set to kickoff on NBC at 4:30 p.m. PT.

Drew Silva is a writer for the sports section. He is a junior from Pawtucket, Rhode Island studying computer science and symbolic systems. In his free time, he enjoys watching Executive Editor Tammer Bagdasarian play blackjack. You can find him watching NFL Redzone on Sundays.

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