Nov 24, 2021
(Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire)

Stanford is 3-9.  Five weeks into the season they had the look of a dangerous team after they took out then #3 ranked Oregon, 31-24 in overtime, and stood at 3-2.   And then the wheels feel off.  Since then they have lost 6 straight, including a 41-11 beat down at the hands of Cal last week. 

6-6, 228 lb Sophomore Tanner McKee leads the offense.  He is a 64% passer and has thrown for 2100 yards and 14 TDs with 7 interceptions.  Sacked 22 times, he has managed just 26 yards on 56 attempts.

Going back for years it seems that Stanford always has a good tight end and this year that guy is Sophomore Benjamin Yurosek.  6-5, 232 pounds, Yurosek has 37 catches for 566 yards and 2 TDs. 6-3, 235-pound wide receiver Elijah Higgins is another big target and he leads the team in catches with 42 and has scored 4 TDs.

Juniors Austin Jones and Nathaniel Peat are both in the 5-10, 195 range and they have handled most of the load for a rushing attack that averages just 90.5 yards per game.  That ranks the Cardinal 126 nationally.

Defensively the Cardinal gives up 232 yards rushing per game,  and that ranks 127th nationally, along with that they give up 31.3 points per game, 97th nationally.  Brian Kelly this week singled out defensive end Thomas Booker and cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly as top threats.  Kelly has 10 passes defended and 2 interceptions, he is definitely on the NFL’s radar.

Historically David Shaw teams are well coached, physical and win a lot of football games. In 11 seasons at the helm Shaw is an impressive 93-44 and has been to three Rose Bowls winning twice.  But since 2019 the Cardinal is 11-18, and this year besides the 6-game losing streak, they are 121st in total offense and 109th in total defense.

Stanford’s win over a very good Oregon team certainly does not add up when you are looking at 3-6 team ranked so poorly in so many statistical categories.  In taking a look at that game, Tanner McKee while fighting through injury was able to keep Stanford in the game by tossing 3 TD passes and Oregon throw a key interception and committed a hundred yards in penalties.  McKee continues to struggle with injury but his performance is Stanford’s best hope for success against ND.

The Irish seemed locked in right now on taking care of business and they have been a pretty disciplined team, particularly since mid- season. Those factors will be important to keep Stanford from having another Oregon like effort and pulling the upset.

The Game kicks off at 8 PM (EDT) and TV coverage is on FOX.

The Irish are 19.5 point favorites and the over/under is 52.5

The pick: Notre Dame 38 Stanford 13

By Phil Houk

For 25 years, bringing you the glory of Notre Dame football.

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