A Possible First for Brian Kelly Against Stanford
Brian Kelly has a chance to have back to back wins against the Cardinals for the first time in his tenure at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame was 5-0. The game against Stanford was quarterbacked by both Golson and Rees in this particular game. Rees would come in during the overtime to throw a touchdown pass to T.J. Jones taking the lead to 20-13.
Stanford then took the ball to the 4 yard line of Notre Dame. In four attempts, the Cardinals were stuffed. On the final attempt, Stepfan Taylor was believed to be in for the score but officials decided he was short of the goal line. This gave Notre Dame the victory and provided one of the greatest goal line stands in Notre Dame history.
It’s 4th and 11, 1:06 left on the clock when Golson snapped the ball. Notre Dame was down 14-10 against Stanford. Golson started his progression to his right when he dropped back. In crowd footage, you see the crowd immediately began pointing to Ben Koyack who had slipped past the defenders into the corner of the end zone.
Golson looked left and spotted Koyack. He started to shift to his left. When Golson would throw the pass, his feet would nearly (if not actually) be off the ground while he was drifting left through the air. The safety for Stanford had seen Koyack too late.
Golson hit Koyack on the numbers who was immediately hit by the safety. Koyack held on and Notre Dame won the game 17-14.
It Hasn’t Been Easy
Notre Dame has struggled against Stanford. In the Brian Kelly era, Notre Dame is 3-6 against the Cardinals. In fact, Notre Dame has never had back to back years of winning against Stanford during the Brian Kelly era.
Prior to Charlie Weis’ last game (a loss to Stanford 45-38), Notre Dame had won seven straight against Stanford. Brian Kelly did not beat Stanford until his third year (the win vacated by NCAA over academic issues).
Since the seven-year stretch of wins, it hasn’t been easy. Stanford has had decent quarterbacks, damaging running backs and solid defenses. Should Notre Dame win Saturday’s game, it would be the first time Notre Dame had back to back wins against Stanford since 2007-2008. That is right. It has been over 10 years since Notre Dame has pulled that off.
Notre Dame has not won against Stanford in Palo Alto since 2007. Ouch.
A Notre Dame victory would bring Brian Kelly his 5th season of at least 10 wins during his tenure.
The Time is Now
Notre Dame comes into the game heavily favored with an opportunity to get the 10th win of the season. Stanford has struggled to a 4-7 record. Stanford was crushed by USC, UCF and Washington State. They had close games that resulted in losses to Colorado and Cal. Their four wins have not come by large margins.
There is no reason (on paper) that Notre Dame cannot win this game easily. In fact, it should be one of the easier games in the series for Notre Dame to win. Stanford is wounded, bleeding and facing a 4-8 season having lost the bid at a bowl game already. With no hope for another game, Stanford’s seniors are playing their last game on Saturday.
Notre Dame’s offense has exploded since the loss to Michigan long ago. Since then, Ian Book has been on fire throwing for three or more touchdowns every game in the last three. It truly seems as if this is a different Notre Dame team from late September to the early October days. The Notre Dame of November is absolutely dominant on both sides of the ball. Stanford has their hands full.
Ian Book has come alive these last several games, as mentioned. He enters the game with 29 touchdowns to six interceptions. The comparison is nonexistent for the Cardinals as they have had three different quarterbacks under center at any given time. Davis Mills leads with nine touchdowns, five interceptions and over 1,600 yards passing.
Cardinal running back, Scarlett, has rushed for 797 yards on 188 attempts. This is the long area where the Cardinals have the edge. However, they may not have much hope as Notre Dame has shut down top rushing attacks in Navy and Boston College the last two weeks.
Stanford has struggled all season long. There is no reason why Notre Dame cannot easily handle the Cardinals.
Notre Dame: 49
–Jason Pruitt, Chief Editor for Dos Leprechauns