The comeback kids of the second half, the Stanford Cardinal, had another road test in South Bend against Notre Dame in Week 5. Of the last five games that took place on Notre Dame’s campus, the Fighting Irish were 3-2, capturing wins by narrow margins. On October 15, 2016, for instance, Stanford went back west with a one-possession victory after outscoring its opponent, 17-0 in the second-half.
Altogether, Stanford has taken ownership of the series and the Legends Trophy over the last 10 years. Most recently, the Cardinal boasted a 21-0 second-half slaughter over Notre Dame, who ended up scoreless in the fourth quarter. In that 2017 game, Notre Dame receivers St. Brown and Stepherson would combine for eight receptions, 223 yards, and two touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Jerry Tillery, a 6-foot-7 defensive tackle, who had six tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack in 2017 against Standford, remained one of the biggest obstacles. As Notre Dame’s debate at quarterback waged on, both teams were coming off momentum unearthed in Week 4. At the end of the day, it was about mismatches.
RB Bryce Love
Stats vs. Notre Dame: 17 carries, 73 yards, 1 touchdown
Player notes: After Love’s first touchdown of the day, things didn’t get greener, per se. He saw most of his carries in the first half. Later in the game, Love was limited in play, then was injured on a third-and-long run that sent him out. Unfortunately, that injury didn’t cause a lot of panic on the Stanford sideline, since the Cardinal couldn’t seem to get a pace going in the run game due to Notre Dame’s amazingly good run defense.
Game Day grade: C
Draft stock: Late first
Week 6 preview vs. Utah: Blair’s one of the most underrated secondaries in the nation and, most notably, one of the hardest hitters. In Week 3 against Washington, Blair demonstrated his hunger, turning Myles Gaskin into ground beef. It’s not going to be so much about Love’s gameplan, but Stanford’s responsibility to ensure Love’s safety against the Pac-12’s top defense, if he ends up being available to use against Utah.
TE Kaden Smith
Stats vs. Notre Dame: 1 reception, 4 yards
Player notes: Despite being targeted several times, Smith couldn’t take advantage of them. His main nemesis, Drue Tranquill, kept terrorizing him, making it even more difficult to break free from coverage. Overall, Smith rarely got ahead of said coverage, which almost caused a total of three interceptions. Even as a blocker, Smith didn’t put out as he usually does due to Notre Dame’s brute defense.
Game Day grade: D
Draft stock: Late sixth
Week 6 preview vs. Utah: This might be one of Smith’s worst games in terms of stats. Along the left tackle, Utah has an extremely good defensive end in Bradlee Anae, another unsung hero on Utah’s defense. It’d be a perfect duel for Smith, who’s 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds; whereas Anae is only 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds.
OG Nate Herbig
Player notes: A.T. Hall stole the show with the number of penalties committed, further shining a light on an ill-disciplined offensive line that didn’t come to Costello’s rescue. Herbig ended up being overpowered by Jerry Tillery, who sacked Costello nearly half-a-dozen times. Furthermore, Julian Okwara played with no mercy in the B gap on Herbig’s side, which made things worse for the Stanford Cardinal’s offensive production.
Game Day grade: B
Draft stock: Mid-fourth
Week 6 preview vs. Utah: Utah’s 4-2-5 defense is very intimidating, especially to a struggling offensive line with self-discipline issues. Overall, Utah has left opposing offenses speechless – on average, they’ve allowed only 12 first downs and 64 plays on a per-game basis. Though a home game, Stanford will be pushed, shoved and tossed around in every direction imaginable if Herbig doesn’t win the line of scrimmage against Anae or mishandles Chase Hansen.
MLB Bobby Okereke
Stats vs. Notre Dame: 8 tackles
Player notes: Aside from pressuring Ian Book and having a never-ending match-up against Dexter Williams, Okereke played to exhaustion and then some. However, there was one play, where Okereke couldn’t shed a block by Cole Kmet and that miscue led to a Williams touchdown.
Game Day grade: C+
Draft stock: Late fourth
Week 6 preview vs. Utah: Of the most rush yards in the Pac-12, Zack Moss was ranked No. 6 heading into Week 5 with 283 (No. 10: 254, Love). Then again, Utah opened up its season with Weber State and Northern Illinois – schools that practice no philosophy in run defense. Washington, on the other hand, managed to keep Moss at 67 yards and a score, so expect a similar ending when Moss and Tyler Huntley meet Okereke in Week 6.
Stats vs. Notre Dame: 10 tackles, forced fumble
Player notes: In the preseason, Stanford’s defense was frowned upon because of the loss of Justin Reid, Quenton Meeks, and others. Up until Week 5 against Notre Dame, that criticism was soft-spoken. Against Notre Dame, Holder constantly missed tackles, blew coverage and allowed Miles Boykin to have a very successful day worth 11 receptions, 144 yards, and a touchdown.
Game Day grade: C-
Draft stock: Late fifth
Week 6 preview vs. Utah: Nothing flashy stands out about Utah’s receivers unless it’s Britain Covey, who has more shortcomings than anything else. Against Utah in Week 6, Holder will likely be in a flat zone to reinforce the sidelines from a Huntley and Moss run attack. Additionally, expect Holder to play a lot of off-man coverage, one of his greatest strengths.
Game Day stats provided by Go Stanford.
All other stats provided by College Football Reference.