Stanford-Notre Dame Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 09, 2012
The poised play of Everett Golson has Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly pleased with the sophomore quarterback's development. No quarterback in the country has had to manage expectations the way Stanford's Josh Nunes has had to this season succeeding the NFL's No. 1 overall pick. While 17th-ranked Stanford has beaten No. 7 Notre Dame the last three seasons, Saturday's matchup appears to be a more difficult trip to South Bend with the Fighting Irish 5-0 for the first time since 2002. Notre Dame reached that mark last Saturday with a 41-3 rout of Miami at Soldier Field. Golson was 17 of 22 for 186 yards and ran for another 51, the Irish's 587 yards of offense were a season high and their 376 yards rushing were their most since Nov. 11, 2000. Golson's numbers won't set any records, but backed by Notre Dame's incredibly stingy defense, he doesn't need to. Kelly said Golson "grew up" before the sellout crowd in Chicago. His coming of age comes at just the right time, with Stanford (4-1) up next. "You're always concerned when you have a younger quarterback that he's going to be able to pick up a lot of things that a team like Stanford likes to do defensively," Kelly said. "They're an aggressive defense, they bring a lot of looks. But I will say this: He did a lot of things in the second half that he had not done all year. He recognized pressure, did not run out of the pocket, stayed in there and delivered some balls on time. If that continues to show itself, he's going to be very, very difficult to defend because he's got that confidence level and a strong arm that he can deliver the ball." Kelly said Golson is feeling more confident and he thinks his performance against Miami will be a "great step forward." "We'll just take it one step at a time with Everett," Kelly said. "We're not ready to feel like we're anywhere near the finished product, but a game like this will certainly buoy his confidence and ability to really focus in on the details of practice." Nunes will certainly need to focus Saturday. No team in the country has allowed fewer touchdowns than Notre Dame (three), and the Irish are the only team in the nation that has yet to trail in a game. In the last three weeks alone, the redshirt junior outplayed Heisman Trophy hopeful Matt Barkley to upset Southern California, shouldered the blame of a stunning loss at Washington and rallied Stanford from a two-touchdown deficit for a thrilling 54-48 overtime win against Arizona that quieted questions about Andrew Luck's successor. "It's not that we learned," coach David Shaw said. "It's maybe that other people learned he's a tough kid. He bounces back, he doesn't listen to the noise. He's steady." Fair or not, Stanford's streakiness this season has been tied directly to its new quarterback. Nunes overcame a pair of first-half interceptions to throw for 215 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 win against USC, including a 37-yard strike to tight end Zach Ertz for the winning score, vaulting the Cardinal to as high as No. 8 in the poll. He followed that by completing 18 of 37 passes for 170 yards and an interception in a 17-13 loss at Washington, often underthrowing receivers on short routes or misfiring completely. The offense converted 5 of 18 third downs, never scored a touchdown and looked lost for the first time since Luck left. Fans and media began to criticize Nunes enough for Shaw to open his weekly news conference defending his quarterback. Nunes rewarded his coach's loyalty with his best performance yet, throwing for 360 yards and two touchdowns and running for 33 yards and three more scores against Arizona last Saturday. "I definitely have confidence now," Nunes said. "The guys up front did what they needed to do as well as the guys downfield. I definitely used last week (at Washington) as a stepping stone forward and learned a lot of things to work on. I feel like I did a better job this week, but there are a lot more things we need to correct." Asked if Nunes' turnaround performance against the Wildcats will do enough to quiet critics before Notre Dame, Shaw shook his head and smiled. "Probably not," he said. "And once again, I don't care. He doesn't care. We're a team. We're tight in our locker room. We support him through everything, and he understands that. We hold him accountable for what his job is. But at the same time, we know he's more than capable. And I think he showed that." Stanford had lost seven straight at Notre Dame Stadium before a 37-14 win there in 2010.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Would adding George, Hayward make Celtics a super-team?

Kevin Durant congratulates Russell Westbrook for earning MVP honors

Colts QB coach: Andrew Luck should not be double-digit INT guy

Jim Kelly praises Sean McDermott, throws shade at Rex Ryan

Did John Paxson just admit the Bulls are tanking?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Carmelo may be open to trade to Wizards, Sixers

Report: Roadblock to Kirk Cousins-Redskins deal isn't money

Taco Charlton finally lands taco endorsement deal

Serena Williams told John McEnroe to back off after he said she’d be No. 700 in the men’s rankings

Vince Young blasts Jeff Fisher, vows to ‘expose’ him

Committed Cam Newton: 'I know I need to be better'

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker