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Sunday, June 16, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame Keys to Victory vs. Stanford

After a rewarding victory in Vegas last weekend, the Irish will lace up to take on the Stanford Cardinal this weekend at home in prime time. As this is the first home game of the season, it should make for an exciting atmosphere the team can feed off of, much like Allegiant Stadium last weekend. The Irish demonstrated an effective offense against BYU, orchestrated by junior quarterback Drew Pyne and junior tight end Michael Mayer. However, after some second-half struggles and poor red zone execution, there is still room for improvement.

On the defensive side of things, the Irish lost some intensity in the second half. However, they still showed their ability to make a stop when needed.  Heading into the weekend, the Irish have the potential to win big against the Cardinal. Nevertheless, there are several keys to ensure this victory against Stanford at home. 

Avoida Vegas hangover against a beatable Stanford team

Though last week’s victory was big for Notre Dame, the team is far from being able to rest. Stanford should be an easily beatable team for the Irish. That being said, very recent history has shown this is not always how it plays out. To avoid any resemblance to the devastating Marshall loss that took place earlier this season, the Irish will need to bring the intensity on both sides of the ball. The three-game win streak shows that they are more than capable of doing so, but it is all about execution.

Shut down the Stanford pass game

The Irish defense fell flat for a bit during the second half of last week’s matchup against BYU. Though they were able to bring the intensity when it mattered most, the defense still let up chunk plays to the Cougars that could have been easily avoided. This cannot happen this week if the Irish want to secure a win against Stanford. Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee is an NFL draft prospect for next year, so it is important that the Irish defense does not underestimate him. The defense must come out the gate strong like they did last week. Additionally, they need to continue to hold their own as the clock dwindles down. 

Feed Mayer, get the run game going

Michael Mayer helped run the offense last week, as he was responsible for two of the three Irish touchdowns. Drew Pyne also proved he is fit for the role of QB1 through his poise and decisiveness in the pocket. Pyne had some great looks to Mayer and some of the wideouts on the team such as sophomore Jayden Thomas. If Pyne and Mayer can find the connection that they did last weekend, coupled with other players stepping up, Stanford’s defense will not stand a chance. Stanford has been underperforming on their run game defense, and the Irish have racked up 521 rushing yards over their past two games. If they unlock the ground game once more, this has the potential to be a high-scoring game for the Irish.