The Irish really didn’t need to do much to defeat Stanford, as long as they played an average game, it should be a Notre Dame win. That’s exactly what happened, although you could argue that it wasn’t an average game for the Irish but a very good regular season win. There once again wasn’t too much to complain about, but here are the best, 5 stars, and worst, 1 star, performances for the Irish against the Cardinal.
5 ⭐️ - Brian Kelly
Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly reacts during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
At the beginning of the season, if you had told me the Irish would be on the verge of a second consecutive berth to the College Football Playoff, I would have asked how many adult beverages you had. We’ll I was completely wrong and Kelly has done a masterful job this season. Losing quarterback Ian Book and replacing defensive coordinator Clark Lea seemed like a recipe for a “down year.” We’ll it wasn’t, it was a great season and should go down as one of the best coaching performances in Notre Dame history even without a championship.
4 ⭐️ - Defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman
Nov 20, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman sits on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Yeah, his defense gave up a short field touchdown to break steak of 14 straight quarters. That was bound to happen, but what the defense as a whole did was amazing. Just 227 total yards allowed, a recovered fumble, multiple series of 3-and-outs. Fourteen points allowed but one of the scores was in garbage time. I said it last week and I’ll say it again this week, Freeman needs a raise and a hefty one for him to stay in South Bend. It’s time for athletic director Jack Swarbrick to open up his check book.
3 ⭐️ - Quarterback Jack Coan
Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) throws a pass against the Stanford Cardinal during the second quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
The senior started off on fire as offensive coordinator Tommy Rees continued to call pass play after pass play and Coan answered. He was efficient, but not spectacular, and I think he was just bored in the second half. Coan’s first half was amazing, if he kept up that intensity his numbers would have been much better. His interception was a bad throw, which is why he isn’t higher.
2 ⭐️ - The offense line
Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end George Takacs (85) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal during the first quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
When you handily defeat a team the way the Irish did, there aren’t many things that went wrong. It’s nitpicking to point out that during one drive, guard Cain Madden had a false start and center Jarrett Patterson has a snap infraction. Yeah, they allowed a few sacks as well but some of those are on Coan and coverage. Overall the line did very well, but there has to be something that they could improve on for the bowl game.
1 ⭐️ - Alabama pulling out their win against Auburn
Michigan running back Hassan Haskins (25) scores a touchdown against Ohio State during the second half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.
The upset in The Game with Michigan defeating Ohio State and the tease of the Iron Bowl loss for Alabama would have made this weekend complete. Auburn blew their opportunity in regulation and the Tide outlasted them in overtime to barely go home to Tuscaloosa with a win. The Irish were hoping for chaos and almost got all that they wanted, but came up just short. Maybe next week.