The Notre Dame football team was beaten by Stanford on Saturday night, and here are some things that surprised us in the loss.
On Saturday night, the Notre Dame football team took on the Stanford Cardinal as big-time favorites, as some publications had them giving as many as 17.5 points in this rivalry game. However, from the outset, it was clear that Stanford came into Notre Dame Stadium with a purpose, and when the teams went to the locker room at halftime with the Cardinal up 10-0, you had that bad feeling in your stomach as Irish fans.
In the end, Stanford was able to finish the job, sending the Irish back to .500 with their third loss in six tries. Outside of the Marshall game, this was the worst loss of the season, as the teams were trending in opposite directions, and it looked like the Irish had turned the corner.
Here, we look at some things that surprised us in the 16-14 loss to the Cardinal.
Notre Dame football vs Stanford: What surprised us
The play of Drew Pyne
Since the first half of the Cal game, quarterback Drew Pyne had been playing high-level football, but all of that went out the window on Saturday night. Pyne struggled from the outset, missing open wide receivers, and seeming a bit shaky in the pocket, things he had avoided doing across the previous 2.5 games.
Now, there are questions about his effectiveness going into the toughest part of the schedule after the UNLV game next weekend. Can Pyne find the magic that helped the team to three straight wins? Only time will tell, but something has to change from the effort we saw Saturday night.
Tommy Rees’s playcalling
Early in the year, we put together a piece on how long the Irish could keep Tommy Rees, as he was seen as a budding star in the coaching world, but Saturday was a bad effort by him and his staff. Rees struggled to find the groove on offense all game long, made questionable third and fourth-down calls, and in the end, did not put his offense in a position to succeed.
Rees was outstanding in the wins against BYU and UNC, so maybe Saturday night was an aberration, but one thing is for sure, he has to be better if the Irish are going to even hang with the likes of Syracuse, Clemson, and USC down the stretch.
The Final Score
Going into this game as 17.5-point favorites, and having an over/under of 53.5, it was clear the oddsmakers felt the Irish would win and would win big. However, when the teams went into halftime at 10-0 in favor of the Cardinal, it was clear Notre Dame football could be in for a shocking night, and that is what happened inside Notre Dame Stadium.
On a night that included a stunning loss to Stanford, Notre Dame football was able to get a commitment from a top 2023 running back in Jeremiyah Love.
The 16-14 loss was one of the more shocking finals we have seen in a while, and in 2022, there have been two losses that go into that category. This is a team struggling to find its identity right now, and while the defense stepped up, the offense was nowhere to be seen, scoring their fewest points since the Ohio State loss in the opener.