The Notre Dame Fighting Irish go to Stanford, California for a matchup against hated rivals the Stanford Cardinals in the matchup dubbed “Catholics vs. Trees”. The Fighting Irish (10-1) come into this game ranked sixth, falling two spots in the playoff poll after an ugly win against Boston College. Stanford (9-2) is ranked ninth but have to win this game if they have any chance of reaching the top-four in the College Football playoff rankings.
Notre Dame is coming into this game banged up, as 12 starting players are out with injury. One of those players who aren't supposed to suit up is running back C.J. Prosise, who is doubtful with a high-ankle sprain.
"They just keep going and they keep moving forward. That's kind of the mentality of this group," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said of his team. Even without plenty of impactful players unavailable, Kelly believes this team is capable of winning.
Stanford has an explosive running back of their own in Christian McCaffrey. The sophomore running back is a legit Heisman Trophy candidate as he has ran for 1,546 yards (second in the nation) and seven touchdowns. McCaffrey is not your usual Stanford running back who runs into you, the kid runs past you. He gives head coach David Shaw a playmaker in the run game, always having the ability to break away for a long touchdown run.
The legends trophy will be handed out in this one after either the Irish or the Cardinals win. The series has been going on since 1928. The Irish own a 19-10 record over Stanford, and won last year's matchup 17-14 win in South Bend, Indiana after Everett Golson engineered a last minute, game-winning drive.
The Irish are currently on a one-game winning streak in the series. The longest ND winning streak was a seven-game winning streak from 2002-2008. The longest Cardinal winning streak was a three-game winning streak from 2009-2011. Notre Dame’s largest win in series history was prior to the Cardinals becoming a football powerhouse when Notre Dame manhandled them by a score of 57-7 on the road. The largest win by Stanford in the series was a 37-14 in 2010 at home.
One of the most epic games in the rivalries history was in 2012 when the Cardinals traveled to South Bend on what was a pretty cold, wet night. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish entered the game with a 5-0 record and the seventh-ranking in the country, while the Cardinals entered the game as the 17th-ranked team in the country and a 4-1 record on the season. On the last play of the game in overtime, the Notre Dame defense stood tall on the goal line and pushed running back Stefan Taylor and the pile preventing him from getting him across the goal line on fourth and goal. With the win, Notre Dame improved to 6-0 on the way to what would be a national championship appearance.