Friday, October 12, 2012

Notre Dame Hosts the Stanford Cardinal and ESPN Game Day

(Photo: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE – Presswire)

The No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish play host to the No. 17 Stanford Cardinal this coming Saturday, along with a long awaited ESPN Game Day appearance in South Bend. The Stanford Cardinal will do their best to knock the Irish off the high they are riding after five straight victories. Notre Dame may be the Vegas favorite, but this will not be an easy win for the Irish.

Notre Dame has won five straight games in a row despite the quarterback merry-go-round that still seems to be plaguing them.  The Irish have also heavily relied on their rushing game, with the exception of their match up against Purdue, to win ballgames. One of the Cardinal strengths happens to be their run defense, ranked sixth in the nation.

Stanford has consistently had top ranked defenses over the past several years. This trend continues again this year lead by outside linebacker, senior Chase Thomas. Thomas has had 34 tackles, 20 solo and 14 assists, and one interception. He is a big part of this teams run stopping defense.

The Irish have relied on their running game to provide offensive stability in 2012. With three top notch backs in Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, and George Atkinson III, the Irish do a good job of rotating them around so that there are always fresh legs available to take the field. Cierre Wood has 217 rushing yards so far this season, Riddick has 272 rushing yards, and Atkinson has an impressive 278 rushing yards. The trio are definitely a force even against the best rushing defenses.

The Stanford defense will do their best to stop this running trio on Saturday. The Cardinal defense is ranked 4th in the nation in tackles for loss and 20th in sacks so far this year. They do a great job of finding ways to play in the backfield of opposing offenses.

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