The #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-0) lived up to their famous name on Saturday night at home, winning the fight 38-17 versus #7 Stanford (4-1 / 2-0 PAC 12). The Notre Dame offense went for over 500 yards in the contest, and their defense pushed the Cardinal around from start to finish. Stanford had won the last three matchups between these powerhouse regional rivals, who play yearly, but this one got away from them in the 2nd half.
The toughest hombre on the football field in this game was Irish senior defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (6 tackles / 4 sacks / 4 TFL / 2 QBH), who beat one or two Stanford blockers on nearly every play. With the havoc level that Tillery created at the line of scrimmage, and in the backfield, the Stanford offense was never able to find any rhythm.
Along those lines, All-World senior running back Bryce “Dr.” Love (17 carries / 73 yards / 1 TD / 4.3 YPC) had a spectacular 39-yard touchdown run in the 1st half, but left the game with 11 minutes left in the 4th quarter due to an undisclosed injury. The Cardinal faithful will certainly be hoping “The Doctor” is available when Utah visits The Farm next week, but only time, and Stanford head coach David Shaw will tell.
In regard to the strong ND D that limited Love’s talents, Tillery is surrounded by three other athletic big men up front. Fighting Irish junior D-linemen Daelin Hayes (4 tackles / 1 QBH / 1 PD), Julian Okwara (2 tackles / 1 TFL / 1 QBH), and Khalid Kareem (2 tackles / 1 sack / 1 TFL / 1 QBH) are all forces to be reckoned with on the inside, and provide the Irish a tremendous advantage at the point of attack.
Likewise, senior linebacker Te’von Coney (7 tackles / 2 PD / 1 TFL) was a thumper in the middle for Notre Dame. Brian Kelly’s defense as a whole looks to have hit full stride at this point in the season, and that is a major party plus for Fighting Irish fans.
On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame junior QB Ian Book (24 for 33 passing / 278 yards / 4 TD’s / 84.0 QBR) was nearly flawless, and with this caliber of performance he firmly entrenches himself as the starter for this team.
Senior wideout Miles Boykin (11 receptions / 144 yards / 1 TD / 13.1 YPR) was Book’s favorite “read” on the day, and the sell-out Irish crowd loved every page of it.
For Stanford the quarterback play of junior K.J. Costello (15 for 27 passing / 174 yards / 1 TD / 1 INT / 69.3 QBR) was erratic, but in all fairness he was getting harassed from every possible angle, as Lionel Richie sings, “all night long.”
In that regard, the highly touted Stanford O-line simply did not do their job, and that is putting it nicely. The coaching staff will have some tough talking points for the week, with that group especially, and can hopefully make the proper adjustments in personnel or scheme.
As I previously mentioned, the #14 Cardinal (4-0) will look to get right this weekend on The Farm vs. Utah (2-2), while #6 Notre Dame (5-0) plays on the road at #24 Virginia Tech (3-1). Fine folks, all of the glory and passion that makes college football is upon us. Enjoy it.
Just the same, win or lose, Roll Red.