Notre Dame Foootball’s Defensive Grades For Stanford


It wasn’t pretty, but Notre Dame overcame the weather and Stanford’s physicality for a 17-14 win on Saturday. Notre Dame’s defense limited Stanford to 205 yards in the game and 3.0 yards per play. One of the biggest takeaways from the win is that the power rushing attack of Stanford was only able to accumulate 47 net yards. Limiting the rush attack to 1.5 yards per carry is one of reasons Notre Dame won the game. If it wasn’t for an Everett Golson gift wrapped fumble on the Notre Dame nine yard line, Notre Dame might have limited the Cardinal to only seven points. Brian VanGorder’s defense is improving from game to game. This is a good sign seeing that Notre Dame will be facing better offensive teams in the second half of their season.

But without further ado, here are Notre Dame’s defensive grades for Stanford:

Defensive Line: A

The dreary weather in South Bend played right in to Stanford’s gameplay, but that did not matter to the Irish defensive line. Sheldon Day once again lead the big men with 4 tackles and 1 TFL. True freshman Andrew Trumbetti had a crippling sack on quarterback Kevin Hogan in the third quarter. Trumbetti is showing why he ascended up the depth chart in fall practice. Jarron Jones has been proving to be a reliable nose guard, but he did miss cleaning up a sack on Hogan late in the game. But facing their biggest test of the season, the Irish defensive line showed that they could go against any offensive line in the country.

Linebackers: B+

This is becoming a recurring theme every week, but Jaylon Smith is making a statement as the best linebacker in the nation. Smith led all defenders with 14 tackles and 2.5 TFL. One of his TFL was a bone crushing sack in the second quarter, which made Stanford essentially concede to the second half. Joe Schmidt was second on the team with 7 tackles and helped aid the defensive line in the run game. But for how well Smith and Schmidt played in the game, there were a few hiccups that ended up being costly. Both Smith and Schmidt were faked out on Kevin Hogan’s touchdown run early in the game. Plus, the linebackers were dominated on Stanford’s second touchdown. It appears that the run defense needs to improve inside the ten-yard line if the Irish want to be successful in the red zone.

Secondary: A

Cole Luke must have read my recap against Syracuse because the sophomore corner had the best game of his career Saturday afternoon. Mr. Luke picked off Hogan twice in the contest and also had a forced fumble. The only knock on his play is that if had cleanly handled the second interception, he might have been able to take it to the house. You can also add to the fact that him and Cody Riggs had excellent coverage on wide receiver Ty Montgomery. Montgomery was limited to four catches for 12 yards.

Max Redfield showed why he was such a highly touted athlete coming out of high school. One a long throw from Hogan, Redfield covered a huge amount of space to almost intercept the pass. He almost looks like a centerfielder back in the secondary. Maybe he has been watching Tori Hunter Sr. play for the Tigers? Elijah Shumate sealed the win with his sack on Kevin Hogan that resulted in a international grounding. Shumate has come a long way since his mishaps against Rice in the opener. But, he did allow a Stanford receiver behind him on the last drive of the game. If Hogan did not overthrow the receiver on that play, we might have seen a different outcome Saturday.

To paraphrase Coach Kelly after the game, the mark of a very good football team is battling to the very end. Believe it or not, but that’s exactly what Irish fans have in 2014.