Stanford Now 4-0 After Beating Notre Dame, Enters Top Ten

The Stanford Cardinal enter the meat of their schedule, starting with a 37-14 beatdown of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. For more Cardinal coverage, check out the SB Nation blog Rule of Tree!

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Stanford Cardinal Enter Top Ten For First Time Since 1992

After an impressive slapping down of Notre Dame, the media has responded. The Cardinal leapfrogged seven spots to ninth place in the AP poll.

Stanford’s rise from No. 16 the previous week can be attributed to several factors. Most prominently, the Cardinal romped over Notre Dame yesterday, defeating the Fighting Irish 37-14. It currently has the country’s fourth-best scoring offense and its 12th-best scoring defense.

Stanford was also helped by UCLA’s 34-12 upset of previously No. 7 Texas, since Stanford beat the Bruins 35-0 two weeks ago. Lastly, Arizona, another highly-regarded Pac-10 team, barely escaped a California team fresh off giving up 51 points to a WAC opponent.

Their rise in the Coaches Poll was a little more modest, only moving up to 13th. But they are still second in the Pac-10 overall poll rankings.

Their next opponent? The team that’s ranked first among Pac-10 teams, #4 Oregon, on the road in Autzen. The winner should instantly leap to the top of the Pac-10 championship favorite list.

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Owen Marecic, Stanford End Long Losing Streak In South Bend, Beat Notre Dame 37-14

Sports Network | September 25, 2010

 

South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Nate Whitaker connected on all five of his field goal attempts and two-way player Owen Marecic scored on consecutive plays from scrimmage in the fourth quarter, as No. 16 Stanford cruised past offense-starved Notre Dame, 37-14.

Andrew Luck threw for 238 yards on 19-of-32 throws with a touchdown toss to Coby Fleener for the Cardinal (4-0), who snapped their seven-game skid at Notre Dame Stadium and are off to their best start since 1986.

Luck also threw his first two interceptions on the year but helped Stanford convert 11-of-16 third down tries.

Stepfan Taylor amassed 139 yards from scrimmage in the convincing win.

Dayne Crist completed just 25-of-44 throws for 304 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Notre Dame (1-3), which was coming off last-second defeats at the hands of Michigan and Michigan State, the latter coming in overtime.

The Fighting Irish have now lost 11 straight games to top-20 opponents.

The Irish, down 19-6, failed to capitalize on Luck's interception off a tipped pass midway through the third, then were pinned at their own two-yard line following Stanford's first -- and only -- punt of the game late in the frame.

After moving the ball to midfield, Notre Dame stared at a 4th-and-1 with 13 1/2 minutes to go in the contest. First-year head coach Brian Kelly opted to go for the first down, and a handoff to Jonas Gray was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Taylor's 23-yard reception on 3rd-and-7 on the ensuing drive put Stanford near the red zone, and on the eighth consecutive run play, Marecic dove over the goal line for the game-sealing TD with 7:58 remaining.

Zach Ertz caught a two-point conversion toss from Luck, and Marecic, who starts at fullback and linebacker, stepped in front of Crist's next pass and took it back 20 yards for the score, a mere 13 seconds after his TD run.

Crist threw a meaningless three-yard TD to Theo Riddick with six minutes left, and Whitaker capped the scoring with a 29-yard field goal.

Notre Dame punted in Cardinal territory early in the first quarter, but Doug Baldwin fumbled the kick at his own 21. The Irish recovered and eventually settled for a 22-yard David Ruffer field goal at the 8:11 mark.

Stanford answered with a 10-play, 79-yard drive that ended with Fleener hauling in a 16-yard lob from Luck in the end zone.

Crist lost a fumble on the next play from scrimmage, leading to a 24-yard Whitaker field goal with just over two minutes left in the opening quarter.

Ruffer and Whitaker traded 40 and 41-yard field goals, respectively, in the second, and Whitaker booted a 36-yarder just before halftime for a 10-point lead.

Notre Dame's defense continued to bend but not break starting the second half, forcing Whitaker to be called in again for a 33-yard kick to culminate a 10- play, 49-yard drive.

Stanford last won at Notre Dame Stadium in 1992. The Cardinal defeated the Irish last year, 45-38, and completed its first ever back-to-back victories over the storied program..Taylor gained 108 yards on 28 carries and 31 yards on two receptions...Fleener had 57 yards on four grabs...Stanford held the ball for nearly 13 more minutes...Armando Allen led the Irish with 49 yards on 15 carries...Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph came in with 21 receptions over the first three games but was held to one catch for one yard in the loss...Michael Floyd had a game-high eight catches for 110 yards for Notre Dame, which was has not beaten a top-20 opponent since dropping No. 19 Penn State, 41-17 on Sept. 9, 2006.

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Ryan Whalen Dislocated Left Elbow, Likely Out For Notre Dame

After a particularly nasty-looking injury in Stanford’s trashing of Wake Forest, it’s hard to see Andrew Luck’s favorite target being ready for Saturday’s big matchup with the Irish. As is his M.O., Jim Harbaugh refused to disclose any information on the injury.

Wearing a shoulder sling Tuesday night at practice Whalen confirmed the injury but said he hopes to return soon.

Coach Jim Harbaugh had declined to reveal any information about the injury that occurred in the first quarter of No. 16 Stanford’s commanding 68-24 victory over Wake Forest last weekend. Whalen, a senior from Alamo, fell awkwardly on his left elbow after a catch.

"As soon as I tell you you’re going to tell Notre Dame," Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference.

Why does it matter?

"I’d want to know about the status of every player on their team, what percent they are, how many plays they are going to play. That’s valuable information," Harbaugh said.

It might not matter against an Irish team that's ranked 90th in passing yards given up and 113th in completion percentage. Expect Luck to go over to Chris Owusu, or new favorite target Doug Baldwin, or the other Whalen brother (although I don't believe they're related), Griff.

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