Hoping to continue their best start in a decade, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hosts the Stanford Cardinal Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.
The No. 7 Fighting Irish are 5-0 for the first time since 2002 after trouncing Miami 41-3 at Soldier Field last week. Quarterback Everett Golson went 17-for-22 for 186 yards and Notre Dame tallied a season-high 587 yards.
Most of those yards came from running backs George Atkinson and Cierre Wood who combined for 243 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but the key to the Notre Dame’s success this season has been the defense led by senior linebacker Manti Te’o.
The Irish stymied Miami's offense throughout the matchup and only allowed a first quarter field goal and 13 Hurricane first downs.
No. 17 Stanford is fresh of a far less defensive matchup after battling Arizona for a 54-48 overtime victory where the two teams combined for 1,234 total yards.
Josh Nunes threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another three scores, while running back Stepfan Taylor rushed for two touchdowns, including the game-winning 21-yard scamper, en route to 142 yards.
The Cardinal may find it difficult to put up such gaudy numbers against Notre Dame, who is second in the nation in points allowed with 7.8 per game, and haven’t allowed a touchdown for 12 consecutive quarters.
The Irish also hold a huge edge at home, winning seven of their last eight home games against Stanford. However, the Cardinal have won the last two match-ups.
The contest begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast by NBC.
Prediction: The Cardinals have a proven offense, and Nunes has now quieted any critics who doubted his ability to take over for the Andrew Luck, but Stanford has not faced a defense like the Irish all season. Golson and Notre Dame’s running game will control the clock and the Irish should win Saturday.
Betting Odds: Notre Dame is favored by 7 points
Over/Under: 44 points
Predicted Score: Notre Dame 24, Stanford 13