What they’re saying about Notre Dame’s 45-14 win at Stanford
Greg Ladky and Tim Hyde, BlueandGold.com: Notre Dame postgame show following the win over Stanford
Excerpts from our writers
Patrick Engel, BlueandGold.com — Five thoughts: Notre Dame beats Stanford 45-14 to wrap up regular season
4. Quarterback rotation
As Notre Dame’s offense has found its footing in November, it has moved further away from a two-quarterback system.
Freshman Tyler Buchner is still involved, but as more of an occasional change-of-pace rather than an essential piece. With Coan stringing together steady games and a functional rushing attack, playing Buchner becomes less about need and more about adding another look.
Coan cleared 300 passing yards for the first time since opening night. All told, he completed 26 of 35 throws for 345 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. When Notre Dame needed to throw early on, he delivered. In the first quarter, he was 10-of-12 passing for 115 yards with a touchdown. Notre Dame threw the ball on 14 of its first 19 plays.
Coan has completed at least 70 percent of his passes in five of his last six starts. Notre Dame isn’t asking him to unload the ball down the field too often, but its quick passing game requires him to be efficient. On that front, he has delivered.
Tyler Horka, BlueandGold.com — Report card: Grading Notre Dame football in a blowout win over Stanford
Notre Dame Rushing Offense: B
The final line was decent enough; 35 attempts for 169 yards. The first half, though, wasn’t too great; 15 attempts for 36 yards. Notre Dame’s offensive game plan was to come out passing against a Stanford defense daring the Irish to throw the ball, but the passing game wasn’t complemented by a stout rushing game.
That wasn’t the case until sophomore running back Chris Tyree and true freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner got going in the second half. That duo combined for 100 of the Irish’s 169 rushing yards. Junior running back Kyren Williams had a less efficient outing than usual in running 19 times for 74 yards (3.9 yards per carry), but he scored two touchdowns on the ground.
Tyree and Buchner combined for eight carries, and those eight carries were the only things keeping Notre Dame from an even worse grade in this category.
Excerpts from around the press
ESPN Staff — College football Power Rankings after Week 13
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-1)
The Irish had no trouble putting away a significantly overmatched Stanford team to finish the regular season 11-1. Notre Dame led 24-0 at halftime and outgunned the Cardinal 509 yards to 227. Irish quarterback Jack Coan completed 26 of 35 passes for 345 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception, while Kevin Austin Jr. and Michael Mayer both went over 100 yards receiving. — Kyle Bonagura
Aidan Thomas, The Observer — “One of the best tight ends I’ve coached”: Mayer enjoys record-breaking sophomore season
No one has slowed down Mayer in recent weeks. Going into the Stanford contest, Mayer had averaged 5.6 receptions per game over the past seven contests, those numbers limited by the game script. Notre Dame had won their past three games by 28, 25 and 55 points, limiting the need for a second-half passing attack. After another strong effort on Saturday, Mayer has recorded 7+ receptions on six occasions in 2021 with five touchdowns on the season.
Douglas Farmer, NBC Sports — Cardinal sacrifice the last piece of Notre Dame’s Playoff push as Irish roll, 45-14
Just as has been the case throughout the final month of the season, the Irish opponent was woefully overmatched. Notre Dame outscored its last four opponents 162 to 23. It outgained them 1,877 yards to 913. Those four teams — Navy, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Stanford — were within one possession of the Irish for a total of 64:56. Of course, Notre Dame never trailed in the month.
For every Austin sideline dash or Mayer seam route, the Irish defense provided its own style points. It never scored on Saturday, a nominal moral victory for the Cardinal, but it did score 16 points throughout the month, matching those opponents until a fourth-quarter touchdown from Stanford, the lone bright spot in quarterback Tanner McKee’s night.
If Notre Dame does not end up in the Playoff, that momentary lapse from its defensive secondary will not be why. The Irish provided too much other evidence in a Cardinal sacrifice.
Nick Shepkowski, Yahoo Sports — No. 6 Notre Dame cruises past Stanford: 5 instant takeaways
1. Was it Enough?
What a weird place to be in. When the Irish lost to Cincinnati back in October it felt like the stars would have to align for them to make the College Football Playoff. That made tonight make me look at the game a lot like I’d imagine the CFP committee does and that had me thinking about style points.
There is still some help that is needed, but Notre Dame will likely be ranked fifth entering next weekend with one team ranked ahead of them guaranteed to lose.
Was this win enough to keep Notre Dame ahead of Oklahoma State who snuck by Oklahoma Saturday night? I think so but we will see what the polls say. In terms of being in control of the game like Brian Kelly likes to speak about, Notre Dame entirely did that tonight.
Postgame comments — head coaches
(David Shaw begins his comments at the 12:15 mark)
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