The Irish kept their undefeated season alive with a thrilling 17-14 comeback win over Stanford on Saturday. Notre Dame overcame turnovers and sloppiness on offense that had very much to do with the bad weather in South Bend to earn the win. The Irish defense had another excellent performance limiting Stanford’s success on the ground and forcing Kevin Hogan to throw the ball 36 times. The Irish’s young players also made several big plays and showcased the depth the team possesses. The following players led the way for the Irish in the victory:
Cole Luke: Sophomore cornerback Cole Luke played the best game of his Irish career on Saturday. Luke was very aggressive in coverage as Hogan would routinely stare down his receivers. The Arizona native’s aggressiveness resulted in two interceptions and the containment of the Cardinal receivers. Luke also had four tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack in the win.
Jaylon Smith: Linebacker Jaylon Smith is a weekly fixture amongst the players of the game for the Irish and this week is no different. Smith was one of the catalysts in shutting down the Stanford run game, which resulted in the Cardinal often facing third and long which is a big problem for them. Smith had a game-high 14 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss including a drive killing sack late in the first half. Smith was a nightmare for Stanford’s offensive line, routinely penetrating into the backfield and creating havoc.
Chris Brown: Junior wide receiver Chris Brown has started the season slowly but had a solid game versus Stanford. Brown made multiple critical grabs including a touchdown catch in the first half. The junior tallied four catches for a team-high 60 yards and a touchdown while also being a steady blocker.
Ben Koyack: Irish tight-end Ben Koyack made the play of the season so far for Notre Dame to keep the team undefeated. Koyack hauled in a 23 yard touchdown pass from Everett Golson with just over a minute left to give the Irish the lead and the win. The senior also did a solid job of blocking in the run game in what was a physical affair.