The Notre Dame football team dropped their third game of the season to Stanford, 16-14, in a game that was nothing like anybody could have expected.
Ironically, each week Slap the Sign publishes a “things we learned” article about the previous Saturday’s Notre Dame football game. A loss to Stanford was perhaps more confounding than the defeat to Marshall because it erased everything we thought we knew about the Notre Dame football program.
Here is an attempt to explain the massive upset fans witnessed.
Notre Dame football vs Stanford: Things we learned in Week 7
Marcus Freeman has a long way to go as a coach
After Notre Dame’s recent recovery, it felt like first-year head coach Marcus Freeman righted the ship. However, the Fighting Irish, a 16.5-point favorite, fell flat against the Cardinal. Clearly, Freeman has yet to find the consistency that his predecessor operated under.
Freeman may become a great coach but undoubtedly more lessons will need to be learned by their first-time head coach. Unfortunately, these lessons will likely come at the expense of victories this season.
Execution has become a pun
Former Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly frequently overused non-specific terms like traits so much that they became an inside joke for fans and media. However, Freeman might take the word execution to the next level of absurdity.
As writer Eric Hansen pointed out in his postmortem, the former linebacker used the word 27 times. His frequent use of the word erodes the belief that he knows how to make his team actually execute. The advantage Kelly had was his depth of knowledge. He knew what buttons to push in almost every situation. Freeman does not pull from the same wealth of experience.
This team certainly is not boring
The Notre Dame football program won at such a high clip that the seasons almost become boring for fans. The Irish won double-digit games for the past five seasons while not showing a true threat of challenging for anything greater. Everyone knew what to expect. However, this year’s squad ended their streak against unranked foes when they lost to Marshall.
The Notre Dame football team was beaten by Stanford on Saturday night, and here are some things that surprised us in the loss.
The loss to Stanford squashes any thought that Marshall was an outlier. Notre Dame will compete in all of its games for the rest of the season. However, a victory lies on knife’s edge. Yes, even UNLV.