Notre Dame Football Preview 2018: Stanford Cardinal

In what’s essentially been an annual clash on the Notre Dame football schedule over the past 30 years, the Stanford Cardinal come to South Bend on September 29. They’re seeking to continue their run of success against the Irish that’s resulted in seven wins over the last nine meetings.

Cardinal head coach David Shaw and his team reached the Pac-12 title game last year, but dropped that game against Southern Cal. They then blew an 18-point lead in the Alamo Bowl to finish with a 9-5 record on the year. Still, they return a veteran squad and will likely be a strong Top 25 team.

Stanford Offense: Love That Bryce

The insertion of K.J. Costello at quarterback paid off down the stretch of the regular season, even if the 6-foot-5 signal caller didn’t exhibit a strong arm. However, it was enough to convince his predecessor, Kellen Chryst, to transfer after the season ended. Shaw and his staff will be content with Costello delivering in a game manager capacity.

The reason that Stanford can afford that luxury is because Heisman runnerup Bryce Love will be playing his fourth and final season in Palo Alto. Love exploded for 2,118 yards on the ground and scored 19 touchdowns last year, but still passed up the NFL. A similar season will likely result in capturing the elusive Heisman.

The Cardinal receiving corps isn’t blessed with an abundance of speed, but it does have some talented players that can work in concert with Costello. Chief among them is JJ Arcega-Whiteside, while Trenton Irwin looks to close out his career strong and redshirt freshman Osiris St. Brown looks to bounce back from injury. Tight ends Kaden Smith and Colby Parkinson need to be watched by opposing defenses.

Stanford traditionally has a strong offensive line, with this year no different. Led by guard Nate Herbig, the unit was boosted last year by the arrival of freshman tackle Walker Little, who ended up on postseason award lists. One person to watch in this area, tackle Foster Sarell, was redshirted last year because of the available talent, was the top-ranked recruit at his position two years ago.

Stanford Defense; Holes to Fill

The Cardinal front line took a hit with the departure of two key linemen. That means pressure is being placed on Jovan Swann to deliver at one of the end slots after being elevated into a starting role. If he can get help from raw talents like Ryan Johnson and Thomas Schaffer, the level of concern will be alleviated.

The inside linebackers are the standouts on this unit, led by Bobby Okereke and Sean Barton. Okereke managed to deliver last year after Barton went down for the year in the season’s third game. The outside might cause Shaw and his staff some queasiness, but Casey Toohill displayed some strong potential after collecting three sacks last year.

Success in the secondary could be predicated on whether or not cornerback Alijah Holder is able to suit up. He’s got an ample supply of talent, but has missed 13 games in the last two years. He’s an aggressive presence, but fellow corners Alameen Murphy and Malik Antoine will also likely see plenty of action during the course of the year,

Stanford Special Teams: The Boys are Back in Town

Both kicker Jet Toner and punter Jake Bailey have returned, with Toner drilling 21 field goals over the course of the year and Bailey averaging over 45 yards per punt. Meanwhile, Cameron Scarlett will again be the main cog for kick returns, while the duo of Jay Tyler and Irwin handle punt runbacks.

The Last Time Notre Dame Played Stanford

Hoping to close out the last date on the Notre Dame football schedule on a high note, the Irish instead went flat in the fourth quarter by allowing 21 unanswered points. The two Irish touchdowns came in big-play fashion, with Kevin Stepherson’s 83-yard first-quarter grab bookended by Equanimeous St. Brown’s 75-yard dash to start the second half. That gave Notre Dame the lead back, which then later regained later in the quarter on a Justin Yoon field goal. Then the roof caved in.

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  1. Guys act like Domers. This is a big football game. Particlarly IF the Irish can beat Michigan.

    But I like the irish chances here. Stanford’s defense is no longer the one that Harbaugh left behind.
    Just examine the numbers and you will see that the cardinal have been on a slippery defensive
    slope for quite a while. A statistician’s scion like BGC would acknowledge that once these trend lines start they seldom stop.

    Last year, it was Wimbush’s second half turnovers that were the problem.

    Frankly, I am sanguine about our, and yes they are MY Fighting Irish. (the Notre Dame team is not THEM to me and mine) chances against the Cardinal.

    The following week against Va Tech?

    Well, that scares the beejeezus out of me. It is a classic let down spot, exacerbated by the fact that it will be our first visit to Lane Stadium.
    Remember our first (in a long time) visit to Clemson, then NC State. Not only were they up, but we
    suffered deluges of Old Testament proportions.

    I feel VA TEch is our most likely loss of the season.

    But I’ll take my chances against the Cardinal. Wimbush will, I surmise, play a game far different from the game he played in Palo Alto.

    Football, guys, don’t let the Gossip Girls distract you.

    1. Duranko, I agree, especially if Stanford is undefeated, or highly ranked, coming into our stadium. Then we will have a “huge game” scenario, and since it is our stadium, we’ll likely win it. But the potential for a “flat” game the week after a huge win is always a problem…and VT will probably have another tough defense, and they’ll be waiting for us.
      The weather probably won’t be the issue it was at Clemson and at NC State though…VT is kind of up in the mountains and is a little bit protected from the kind of “100 year” flooding that seems to happen on the East coast every four or five years nowadays.

      BGC ’77 ’82

      1. Last year Notre Dame played very well, with GREAT effort, against Georgia and USC in the feature games at home.

        There is an X factor for the Irish. Elston is a Michigan alum.
        Todd Lyght is from Flint.

        Khalid Kareem, Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji are Michigan natives.

        Great as he is, Harbaugh is a polarizing figure, a sword which cuts both ways. It will easy to get the Irish players fired up to play against both Michigan and “coach Harbaugh.”

        There is one X and O edge. And it cuts the Irish way.

        Patterson has some mobility, but is not a running threat.

        Notre Dame’s QB, this Wimbush guy, well, now, he can run a little bit.

    2. The Clemson game was when I knew Kelly had to go. The look on that fraud’s face during the team’s entrance to the stadium, followed by the biggest shi+ sandwich ever served up, was it. He is a fraud, and ND isn’t going anywhere under his watch.
      The weather is just a weak alibi.

      So, yeah….Va Tech is going to be “unenjoyable”.

    3. Duranko , I agree that ND at VA Tech 10/6/18 is one of the most crucial games of season for Irish. VA tech could be 5-0 when Irish roll into their mountain hideaway. Hokies , of course need to beat FSU first game of season 9/3/18 in Tallahassee. Irish also play FSU in South Bend 11/10/18. These 3 teams could be highly rated by the time College Football Committee comes around with votes. Head to Head matches between these 3 are sure to be on the board. Irish beat VA Tech and FSU–no worries. So , I’ll put 5 teams “The Big Boys” on schedule Michigan , Stanford , VA Tech , FSU , USC—that Irish need to beat to reach title contention. Go Irish.

      1. Southside,
        FSU vs. VT should be very high on our list of games to scout in person. Neither team will be able to hide much in a game like that! We should get a really good look at what is (or is not) coming our way. In the old days Notre Dame was one of the very few teams in the country that “put it all on the line” in game one or game two of the season. Now, with the bizarre feature of the playoffs leaving (at least) one Power Five Conference winner out every year, the number of huge games in week one is growing every year. Since this game is also a conference game, no holds will be barred. Not too long ago VT opened at Ohio State…and beat them pretty convincingly. Ohio State rebounded well winning everything else, and annihilated Wisconsin by about 50 points in their Conference Championship game to win a playoff spot. Do not expect the same consideration from the Committee for us if we open with a home loss to Michigan and then proceed to wipe everyone else out on our schedule. We will not be treated the same…much like the NCAA treated us radically differently from North Carolina in the area of an academic scandal.

        BGC ’77 ’82

    1. This is now your source of “hope” ?
      Hell, get behind my campaign to get Kelly’s ass fired and pay those millions to SI’s cover folks.

      1. You know David, BJ also had a “fire Kelly” campaign going. But he was not anonymous and we knew what his association with the University was.

        BGC ’77 ’82

      2. The message is what it is…either it has merit, or it doesn’t. Read it or don’t.

        That you seem to sign your full name to your posts here is your choice…but FYI, you could sign it Santa Claus for all I care.

    1. Southside is right again. We get into the playoffs at 12-0 (although the “other” national champions from Florida probably would not agree with that assessment). We might get in at 11-1…and we might not get in at 11-1…especially with a loss at home.

      As for Bryce Love and the Heisman…who knows who will be the “Heisman winner of the week” at ESPN on the weekend we play Stanford? And who cares?

      BGC ’77 ’82

      1. It’s pretty clear that you already know that no one from this ND team will be on such a list.
        Ain’t that sad?
        And if you were intellectually honest with yourself, you’d realize it.
        But no.

      1. The rear view mirror is great, especially after running you over dope!!! keep crying trolling davey. BGC I believe dopey dave is really BIG FAT MARK MAY!! no one else could b this STUPID

      2. You are are STUPEY PANTS! SO STUPEY!
        Go stupey your friends…..if you have ANY!

        That save you any time?

    1. Seven daMMIT SEVEN!

      Quit spitballing and guessing.

      A noted author, on this very site, has limned the portfolio and qualifications of


      1. If they ever launch a nostalgia sports channel that produces re-enactments of famous old sporting events, you’re all set!

  2. If Bryce Love is still in Heisman contention, it could be ugly….late season, big stage, and a brand-name opponent.
    Helping lock up Heismans is the ND thing.

    1. They play SEPT 29 dopey!! NOT late season, you don’t even know the schedule DOPE!!!! Thanks for the continuing stupidity!!! SIMPLISTIC VELOSITY davey?? What a dope!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Simplistic velosity.
        Assuming that isn’t a long acronym (as all-caps are used by the sane), does this mean something?
        Or did you just have an aneurysm?

      2. you told us dopey that , that was FLA ST. new offense SIMPLISTIC VELOSITY and we better watch out for it !!! you don’t remember your stupidity davey???

  3. By the time the bird gets to town it will be wounded. But, never take them for granted. I don’t know what I hate more, their team or band. And they caved in and changed their moniker.

  4. This one is on our home field. Our fourth quarter play will be stellar on both sides of the ball.

    BGC ’77 ’82

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