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Notre Dame vs Stanford Live
Date: Saturday, September 29
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
Notre Dame vs Stanford Live If you havent watched Notre Dame play since their season opening 24 17 win over Michigan, get ready to see an entirely new Irish offense on Saturday. That Michigan victory was a best case scenario for then starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who completed passes deep down the field against a great defense and picked up 59 yards on the ground. But in subsequent weeks, Wimbushs inaccuracy as a passer caught up with Notre Dame in wins over inferior Ball State and Vanderbilt that were way closer than they should have been. Against the spread, the Irish lost those two games by a combined 34 points.
Notre Dame vs Stanford Live Last week, Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly pulled the trigger and made junior Ian Book the starting quarterback over Wimbush in a game against Wake Forest. Notre Dames offense exploded. Book threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three more in a 56 27 victory in which Notre Dame covered a six point spread by 23 points. The running game also got a boost, notching a season high 6.0 yards per carry.
Things look like theyve come together for this unit. Tight end Alize Mack, long thought to be the most underutilized weapon in this offense, caught six passes for a career best 61 yards against Wake. Now Dexter Williams, Notre Dames presumed starter at running back before the year, is expected to make his season debut against Stanford. He likely wont draw a heavy workload right away, but he adds critical talent and depth to a rushing attack that struggled early on.
Stanfords offense has also defied expectations. Notre Dame vs Stanford Live Over the past couple seasons, the Cardinal attack struggled to move the ball through the air. Thats far from the case this season. Quarterback K.J. Costello is averaging 9.3 yards per attempt, second best in the Pac 12 and 20th in the country. Last season, Stanford averaged 7.2 yards per pass attempt, which was 71st in the nation.
Costello faced his first major test of 2018 last week at Oregon and proved he was up to the task. Thanks to Costellos 327 yards passing and three touchdowns, two of which came after the start of the fourth quarter, the Cardinal came back from a 24 7 deficit to pull off an improbable 38 31 victory in overtime.
Costellos receivers have stepped up, as well. Notre Dame vs Stanford Live Wideout Trenton Irwin and tight ends Colby Parkinson and Kaden Smith are all excellent complementary targets, but WR JJ Arcega Whiteside is undoubtedly the star. The 63″ senior is a beast going after jump balls, and several of his seven touchdown catches the most of any Power 5 receiver have been of that exact nature. When Arcega Whiteside is facing one on one coverage, the smartest thing Costello can do is loft the ball and give him time to box out a cornerback.
Its not like Wake Forest was going to beat the Irish if it had time to prepare, Notre Dame vs Stanford Live but now, the Cardinal coaching staff knows what its in for Notre Dame vs Stanford Live theres no surpassing anyone by starting the passing quarterback. Oregon might have collapsed last week against Stanford, but before the overtime problems, Herbert completed 25 of 27 passes. He finished 26 of 33 for 346 yards with a touchdown.
Notre Dame vs Stanford Live Last week against Wake Forest, Book completed 25 of 34 passes for Notre Dame vs Stanford Live yards and two scores. He was pushing the ball down the field a bit, and finally, the Irish offense started to open it up. Along with the emergence of Book, the Irish get back Dexter Williams, their most explosive running back. Hes fresh, ready, and he might be just good enough right away to hit the one home run needed.