Stanford is 1-4. On opening day they defeated Colgate. Since then they have fallen to three ranked teams: USC, Washington, Oregon and then last week to Oregon State in a heartbreaker, 28-27.
Not so long ago an annual, take it to the bank, top 25 team year, the Cardinal has fallen on some hard times. 3-9 a year ago, they have lost 11 of their last 12 games. Over his last three seasons, 12 year head coach David Shaw is 12-22.
The Cardinal offense is a pass first operation averaging 29 points per game, 261 yards passing and 138 yards rushing. They rank 70th nationally in total offense. Their offensive line is in a state of flux due to injuries including to their left tackle and right guard in last week’s game.
Stanford does have an NFL prospect at quarterback. 6-6, 230-pound, junior Tanner McKee is a 64% passer who has thrown for 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. McKee is not much of a running threat and he has been sacked 17 times, the 126th worst mark in the country.
McKee’s top receiver is 6-2 Senior Michael Wilson. Wilson has 17 catches on the season good for 352 yards and 4 TDs. Tight end Benjamin Yourosek , expected to be Michel Mayer like as this offense’s leading receiving threat, has 15 receptions and just 134 yards on the year. He does have one carry that went for 50 yards against USC back in early September.
Leading the running game is junior Casey Filkins. He has scored 4 TDs and is averging 4.1 yards per carry with a long run of 22 yards. He has also caught 14 passes. Junior E.J. Smith, son of NFL Hall of Famer, Emmitt Smith, was expected to lead the Cardinal ground game, but was injured against USC and is out for the season.
Stanford’s defense gave up 45 points to the Irish a year ago and 509 yards of offense. Prospects for an improved performance this year are not looking good. So far in 2022 they are giving up 38.5 points per game, 120th in the nation and 485 yards of offense, 109th. They rank 121st against the run.
Senior linebacker Levani Dumuni, an honorable mention all-conference selection, leads the team in tackles with 34. On the backend another senior, Kyu Blu Kelly, an NFL prospect, has racked up just 12 tackles and one pass defended. The Cardinal have made twice as many interceptions as the Irish, but that is not saying much, since ND only has only picked off one pass.
Overall Stanford has the worst turnover ratio in the nation at -2.50 per game, having lost eight fumbles and thrown five interceptions.
The Irish have won three straight in this series by an average of 24.3 points and are 13-4 at home in series history.
A turnover prone so-so offense, and underperforming defense, against a Notre Dame team that is improving week to week is a recipe for Cardinal woe and Irish success this week.
The Irish are a 16.5 point favorite, and the over/ under is 53.5.
The Fighting Irish Preview Pick: Notre Dame 38 Stanford 14