Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Notre Dame Football 2008
Issue 5: Stanford

Stanford Rush Offense vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense

Stanford has gone with a 60/40 run/pass mix this year, with 7 Toby Gerhart getting a majority of carries. The 232-pounder is averaging 25 carries, 84 yards, and 1 touchdown per game. Backup 5 Anthony Kimble is averaging 9 carries and 50 yards per game. Third-stringer 32 Jeremy Stewart has also gotten in on the action to the tune of 2-3 carries and 15 yards per game.

Not counting sacks, quarterback 14 Tavita Pritchard is averaging 4-5 carries and 12-13 yards per game. Cardinal fullbacks have not gotten any touches, but wide receiver 89 Doug Baldwin does have two carries - a 38-yard touchdown and an 8-yard loss.

Maurice Crum leads the Irish in tackles for a loss with 2.5. Brian and Harrison Smith, Kerry Neal, and Justin Brown each have two TFL. Crum and Brian Smith are third on the team with 25 total tackles for a defense that is giving up 134 rushing yards per game.

Notre Dame Rush Offense vs. Stanford Rush Defense

Notre Dame followed a 16 yard rushing performance against Michigan State with a 200+ yard performance against Purdue. The Irish, averaging 108.8 yards on the ground as a team, will look for consistency against the Cardinal. Armando Allen is averaging 10 carries and 51 yards per game. Robert Hughes is averaging 12-13 carries and 42 yards per game. James Aldridge is averaging 7 carries and 25 yards per game. Aldridge has still been kept out of the end zone for his entire career, while Allen has one rushing touchdown and Hughes two this season.

The Cardinal have been so-so against the run this year, giving up 128 yards per game. Linebacker 44 Pat Maynor leads the team with 42 tackles and 4 tackles for a loss, but all of his TFL to date have been sacks. Cornerback 24 Kris Evans is second to Maynor with 35 tackles and 3 TFL, so the Irish backs will have to watch for him on blitzes.

Stanford Pass Offense vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense

Tavita Pritchard has been effective but not phenomenal this season. His average game consists of completing 12 of 21 passes (56.5%) for 138 yards. He has 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on the season. Pritchard's main target has been wide receiver 8 Ryan Whalen, averaging 3 catches and 27-28 yards per game.

Following Whalen are four Cardinal with exactly 8 catches on the year. Doug Baldwin is averaging 32 yards per game. Lanky wide receiver 9 Richard Sherman is averaging 27. Toby Gerhart is averaging 17 yards per game, while tight end Austin Gunder is averaging 12. Anthony Kimble has 7 catches on the year and is averaging 12 yards per game as well.

The Irish are giving up 251.2 passing yards per game. The team still has only one sack, courtesy of Maurice Crum. They do however have 8 quarterback hits, led by John Ryan with 2. David Bruton, Robert Blanton, Gary Gray, and Kerry Neal each have an interception, and Raeshon McNeil has 4 of the team's 19 pass breakups.

Notre Dame Pass Offense vs. Stanford Pass Defense

For Jimmy Clausen, an average day means completing 19 of 33 passes (57%) for 225 yards with 2 or more touchdowns and 1-2 interceptions. Clausen's main target has been Golden Tate, averaging 5 catches and 92 yards per game. Behind Tate are Michael Floyd at 4 catches and 55 yards per game, and David Grimes at 3 catches and 34 yards per game. Tate leads the team with 3 receiving touchdowns, while Floyd and Grimes have 2 each.

Armando Allen is averaging 3 catches and 12 yards per game, while tight end Kyle Rudolph is averaging 2 and 16-17 yards per game. Robert Hughes and Duval Kamara are also averaging at least one catch per game. Robby Parris has only played two games, but does have 5 catches to show for them.

Cornerback Kris Evans is a do-everything man for the Cardinal. As mentioned above, he's second on the team with 35 tackles and 3 TFL. He also leads the team with 2 interceptions. Safety 2 Bo McNally has the other. Opposite Evans at cornerback is 6 Wopamo Osaisai, who has yet to intercept a pass but does lead the team with 5 pass breakups.

As also mentioned above, linebacker Pat Maynor leads the team with 4 sacks. Defensive ends 41 Tom McAndrew and 94 Tom Keiser also have two sacks each.

Special Teams

11 Aaron Zagory was Stanford's kicker in 2006, lost the job in '07, but regained it this year. Zagory has made 6 of 7. His lone miss came on a 49-yarder, his first attempt of the season. But Zagory did make a 52-yarder. Brandon Walker made his first of five attempts last week, a 41 yarder.

38 David Green is Stanford's new punter. He's punted 23 times in 5 games, with an average of 40.2 yards and a long of 51. For Notre Dame, Eric Maust is averaging 42.2 yards per punt with a long of 52.

Jeremy Stewart has been Stanford's primary kick returner, averaging 23.1 yards per return with a long of 52. Ryan Burkhart is averaging 62.2 yards per kickoff for the Irish. That's not spectacular, but he has been improving over the course of the season. Couple Burkhart's numbers with an 13.9 yard return average given up by Notre Dame, and opponents are getting an average start on the 22.

Armando Allen and Golden Tate are sharing kick return responsibility for Notre Dame. Allen has returned three-fourths of the kicks for a 24.8 yard average; his long is 53 yards. Tate has a 21.5 yard average with a long of 28. 18 Travis Golia is Stanford's kickoff specialist. Golia is averaging 60.1 yards per kick with zero touchbacks. (Isn't it nice to see an opponent's number that low for once?) The Cardinal give up 19.3 yards per kick return, starting opponents at the 30 yard line on average.

Doug Baldwin is the Cardinal punt returner. He's averaging a pedestrian 7.2 yards per return with a long of 35. Stanford has already blocked two punts on this young season. Armando Allen returns punts for the Irish. He's averaging 9.4 yards per return with a long of 22.

Notre Dame Players to Watch

Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, and Kyle McCarthy


Notre Dame 28, Stanford 20