Even with a struggling team, Stanford head coach David Shaw can speak with confidence about playing Notre Dame.
The Cardinal (3-8) are 5-4 against Notre Dame in Shaw’s tenure as head coach and 7-5 dating back to 2007. Shaw was Stanford’s offensive coordinator before taking over as head coach in the 2011 season from Jim Harbaugh. The only victory in Palo Alto for Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was in 2019.
Saturday’s game against the Irish (10-1), which starts at 8 p.m. EST at Stanford Stadium and is on FOX, will be the bowl game for the Cardinal.
Shaw said his team will be ready. The team also has Senior Day as part of the menu.
“We have a lot of guys that are seniors that are playing their last game at Stanford,” Shaw said. “We have a lot of guys that aren’t seniors that really want these guys to go out the way we want them to go out. And we’re playing against one of our rivals. We have a lot of rivals and Notre Dame is a rival. We have fared well against them in the last decade so I don’t need to give any rah-rah speeches. Our guys are locked in. This crew coming in here is very, very good. We are going to have to play our best football game.”
Last week, Stanford lost 41-11 to California. According to Shaw, the Cardinals were “inches away from scoring a touchdown on three of their first four possessions.”
Twice, Stanford was inside of the Golden Bears 5-yard line and they failed to score.
Shaw took the blame, placing it on him being too aggressive.
“We came up with zero points when we had a chance to score 21,” explained the Stanford head coach. “We missed a couple of runs. I’m comfortable saying if you want to take your shots at us if you want to take your shots at me, take them now. I really like this group. I think we got some really special guys here.”
Shaws said Notre Dame is easily the best team it will have faced this year.
“They’re appropriately ranked,” he said. “They have a lot of very skilled athletes there. They are missing their superstar safety (Kyle Hamilton). He’s probably the best safety in America over the last two years but they haven’t missed a beat defensively.”
The offense for Notre Dame is also starting to get rolling.
"Very physical on the offensive side," Shaw said of the Irish. "They do a great job schematically running the ball and getting their quarterback out on the edge for play-action passes. It’s a very good football team that knows who it is and how to win games.”
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