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Stanford vs Notre Dame: Keys to the Game

Stanford MUST run the football as Notre Dame has the 84th best rush defense in the country

Notre Dame v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Run the Ball

Stanford’s offensive line must man up and win in the trenches. Notre Dame has given up an average of 181.2 rushing yards per game, that is good for the 84th ranked rush defense in the country. Stanford must get back to their identity early by running the football. If Stanford is able to run the football early and effective this keeps elite Notre Dame quarterback Deshone Kizer off the field. Controlling the play clock would be huge for Stanford by pounding the ball against a fragile defense. It would also get the Cardinal offense back to a style of play they are certainly more comfortable with.

Win on 3rd Down

If Stanford is able to run the ball effectively this will allow the defense to be well rested. Notre Dame has the 111th best 3rd down completion percentage in the country coming into this game. In the last 2 games Stanford’s defense has been exposed giving up several big plays. Winning on 3rd down will help Stanford dictate Notre Dame play calling on offense as many of Notre Dame’s skill position players lack experience on the field.

Offense needs to be Aggressive

Christian McCaffrey is questionable going in to this week’s rivalry showdown. Although this season, with the offense revolving around McCaffrey, the play calling has been very conservative. This game can make or break the season, so what do you have to lose. I still believe Stanford needs to run the ball to dominate the line of scrimmage. Running the ball will allow the offense to take shots down the field with play action to get players open. Stanford should have success against a very fragile Notre Dame defense.

Overall Effort

In the last 2 games Stanford has been whipped in all 3 phases of the game. The last 6 to 7 years we never questioned Stanford’s effort. Stanford is usually one of the most disciplined teams in the country every year. In this week’s game I believe if Stanford play’s with 100 percent effort they will come out victorious.