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Stanford vs. Notre Dame

Betting Line: Stanford -4.5 o/u 58.5


Brian Kelly was supposed to be the savior of Notre Dame football, but after 3 games his Fighting Irish are a measly 1-2. They had a chance to win both games they lost. They couldn't stop Denard Robinson in the first loss, and they succumbed to a trick play in OT against Michigan State. Fans and alums need to give the guy a break, but the seat at Notre Dame is always hot when not winning. The Irish face an undefeated Stanford Cardinal team this week. In a wide open Pacific 10 conference, the Cardinal have emerged as one of the top contenders. The betting line opened up at Stanford -2.5 and the betting action early has been all Stanford, pushing the line to -4.5.

The Cardinal was 2-3 on the road SU last year and 2-3 ATS when traveling. The Irish have won 7 of the last 8 meetings between these schools, but Stanford won 45-38 in 2009. The Fighting Irish were 4-3 at home last year and 1-0 as a home underdog, covering a 10 point spread against USC.

Heisman candidate QB Andrew Luck was phenomenal against Wake Forest leading his team to a 68-24 win a week ago. He threw for 204 yards and 4 TDs. He rushed for 69 more yards and an additional TD. Luck has 11 touchdowns through three games. The Cardinal haven't started 3-0 since 2001. Sophomore RB Tyler Gaffney was solid with 76 yards and 2 TDs. They are averaging 51.7 PPG. Chris Owusu caught 2 TD passes against Wake Forest. The junior 1st Team All PAC 10 last year. If Stanford has proved one thing this year it is that they are going to get points on the board.

The Stanford defense is allowing just 13.6 PPG. Scoring against them has been quite the task. They pitched a shutout against UCLA, a team that returned to crush a Keenum-less Houston team. This defense had just 21 sacks as a team last year, but already has 10 through the first three games of the year. They are +5 in TO differential thus far in the season. LB Thomas Keiser was 1st Team All Pac 10 last year after recording 10 sacks. The rush defense has been very solid. Notre Dame will have to work for every score they get against this defense.

Notre Dame is led by sophomore QB Dayne Crist. He's shown excellent poise in his young starter career. He was injured against Michigan, but continued to play despite only being able to see through one eye. He performed very well considering the circumstances. Crist has a great weapon in TE Kyle Rudolph. The hulking senior is a tough matchup for any defense. WR Michael Floyd is also a solid option for the young QB. Floyd has 229 yards and 2 TDs on 16 catches this year. Both of his TD catches came against Michigan State.  

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The Notre Dame defense has pulled off 8 sacks this year, with 4 each coming against Purdue and Michigan State. If they are able to get to Andrew Luck early in the game it could rattle him. DC Bob Diaco guided Cincinnati's defense to #3 in tackles for a loss last year. Stopping the run will be a serious goal for this team. They have allowed 288, and 208 yards on the ground in their past two games. They are losing the turnover war. Count on Kelly correcting this as the season goes on.

We're not ready to crown Stanford National Champs just yet. They have wins over a Wake Forest team that was 5-7 a year ago, Sac State and a UCLA team that simply wasn't in sync. They have a long way to go and face a Notre Dame team desperate for a win. Not to mention the hostile environment with the Cardinal making their longest road trip of the year.

But they sure do look pretty good based on what we have see so far. Judging what we have seen from the Notre Dame defense, it's safe to say Stanford is going to get their points this week. But we think Notre Dame will as well. Why not? No one was able to Keep the Irish off the board last year and so far this year, more of the same. Notre Dame finds itself in quite a few games where it's basically, last team with the ball wins. The feeling here is that Stanford finds themselves in a football game this week where the outcome is actually in doubt as the game wears on. We think the come back down to earth here this week.

The Leprechaun shows his face again. Notre Dame +4.5 and Notre Dame/Stanford over 58.5


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