Riding the second-longest home winning streak in the nation, No. 10 Stanford hopes to enjoy a successful tuneup before the Pac-12 championship game when Notre Dame pays a visit on Saturday. The Cardinal will face either Arizona or Arizona State in next week's conference title game with a BCS berth on the line. In the meantime, Stanford must contend with a Fighting Irish squad that has won five of its last six games.
Notre Dame never trailed in defeating Brigham Young 23-13 last Saturday, marking the first wire-to-wire win for the Irish since Week 1 against Temple. The Cardinal have an impressive resume that includes wins over Arizona State, Washington, UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon, in addition to last week's 50-point trouncing of arch rival California - the program's 15th straight home victory. "You cannot play finesse football against Stanford," said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. "You've got to play physical football against Stanford if you have a chance to win against them."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Stanford -14
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (8-3): Stanford has one of the nation's top rushing defenses, but Notre Dame is coming off a 235-yard rushing performance highlighted by Cam McDaniel's career-high 117. Last week's win against BYU was played in temperatures in the 20s with swirling winds and intermittent snow, but Irish quarterback Tommy Rees still threw for 235 yards and a touchdown in his final home game. The victory over the Cougars marked the fifth time this season that the Irish have allowed 13 points or fewer.
ABOUT STANFORD (9-2): Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan has yet to complete 20 passes in a game this season, but he is 14-2 as a starter for his career, including an 8-0 mark against ranked opponents. Of course, it helps to have a weapon like Ty Montgomery, who matched the school record with five touchdowns in last week's win against Cal. "It's awesome," Hogan said, "just getting him the ball and he makes me look good."
1. The Fighting Irish lead the all-time series 18-9, although Stanford had won three in a row before an overtime defeat at Notre Dame last year.
2. The right side of the Cardinal's offensive line, RT Cameron Fleming and RG Kevin Danser, has combined for 53 consecutive starts.
3. Stanford leads the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 27.1 yards per return behind the electrifying play of Montgomery (31.2 yards per return, two TDs).
PREDICTION: Stanford 17, Notre Dame 13