Stanford at Notre Dame (-7, 43.5)
Notre Dame’s success is prompting talk of wedging into the national championship picture and the No. 7 Fighting Irish have a chance to take another step in that direction when they host No. 17 Stanford on Saturday. Notre Dame is 5-0 for the first time since 2002, has already beaten ranked squads from Michigan State and Michigan and is coming off a thorough 41-3 flattening of Miami. The Fighting Irish defense has gone three straight games without allowing a touchdown for the first time since 1980. Stanford bounced back from a loss to Washington to notch an overtime victory over Arizona last week. The Cardinal are sixth nationally in defending the run (77.2 yards per game) and physically dominated Notre Dame last season.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE: Notre Dame -7, O/U 43.5.
WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low-60s with a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms at Notre Dame Stadium. Winds will blow out of the south at 13 mph.
ABOUT STANFORD (4-1): Senior quarterback Josh Nunes has shaken off the Andrew Luck comparisons and has thrown for 1,145 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions. He earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors by passing for 360 yards and accounting for five touchdowns (two passing, three rushing) in the win over Arizona. Senior running back Stepfan Taylor (555 yards) is en route to a third straight 1,000-yard season. Taylor had 142 yards against Arizona for his 16th career 100-yard outing, four shy of the school record held by Toby Gerhart (2006-09). Sophomore receiver Ty Montgomery (18 receptions, 26.6 kickoff return average) will likely miss the contest with a lower body injury. Junior free safety Ed Reynolds has three of Stanford’s eight interceptions.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (5-0): The Fighting Irish have been superb on defense and have held four of their five opponents to 10 or fewer points. Notre Dame has allowed three touchdowns – fewest nationally – and ranks second in scoring defense (7.8) and 13th in total defense (290.0 yards per game). Senior inside linebacker Manti Te’o has a team-best 48 tackles and five takeaways on three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Junior cornerback Bennett Jackson also has three interceptions and sophomore defensive end Stephon Tuitt has a team-high six sacks. Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson has passed for 827 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
* Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings at Notre Dame Stadium.
* Stanford is 12-3-1 ATS in its last 16 road games.
* Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
* Notre Dame has played under the total in its last four games overall.
1. Notre Dame leads the series 17-9, but the Cardinal have emerged victorious in each of the last three seasons.
2. Stanford had lost seven straight games at Notre Dame Stadium before posting a 37-10 win in 2010.
3. The Fighting Irish have won 10 straight games when rushing for 200 or more yards.