Weighing in a little late this week, but here’s what to watch for later today when Stanford and Notre Dame kick off around 2:30 pm et.
- Armando Allen. After his breakout performance last week against Purdue, Allen is listed on the depth chart as the #1 running back all by himself for the first time in his career. Last week Allen looked strong and quick in rushing for his first career 100 yard rushing effort. Stanford’s run defense is only giving up a little over 120 yards a game, but Allen should be able to make some plays again this week if the line has another strong effort. Notre Dame had some success running screen plays against Stanford last year because they are so aggressive so look for Allen to make some plays in the passing game out of the backfield as well.
- David Grimes. Think David Grimes remember the touchdown that was taken away from him by the replay booth last year in Palo Alto? My guess he and Charlie Weis both do. I would be willing to bet that Weis will have a couple potential big plays designed for Grimes this week. Against Purdue, Grimes had a nice touchdown grab on a critical fourth down and has been very consistent this year. Look for Grimes to have a ncie game with Floyd and Tate receiving a lot of attention.
- Jimmy Clausen. Last week Clausen had his first game of the season in which he didn’t throw an interception. It is very apparent how much improved Clausen has been this year, but he will need more games like last week to continue that development. Against Stanford last year, Clausen didn’t have a single touchdown pass after having strong outings against Duke and Air Force coming into the game. Look for Clausen to change that this afternoon.
- Notre Dame Pass Rush. It is no secret that Notre Dame is not getting to the quarterback as oten as they’d like this year. The Irish have just one sack all season. The past few years, however, Notre Dame has done exceptionally well sacking the quarterback agaisnt Stanford. Last year Notre Dame got to Stanford quarterbacks for 5 of their 18 sacks on the season. If there was a game for Notre Dame to get the pass rush going, this is it.
- Brandon Walker. Walker connected on his first field goal of the season last week. That kick should do wonders for his confidence, but he will need to show that he can start making kicks consistently in a hurry. Notre Dame commitment Nick Tausch kicked four field goals last night including a long of 51 yards so there will be some competition coming in next year if Walker can’t nail down his position by the end of the year.
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