Notre Dame offensive linemen have no delusions about what awaits them on Saturday when Stanford comes to Notre Dame Stadium.
The No. 17 Cardinal (4-1) is riding a three-game winning streak against the No. 7 Irish (5-0), and they have a reputation of playing physical.
"We've got to come prepared for a fistfight on Saturday," left tackle Zack Martin said Wednesday. "It's going to come down to the will of our guys vs. the will of their guys. They are hard working, give 100 percent every play. We've got to match that."
Notre Dame has struggled to match Stanford's physical play during the losing streak.
The Cardinal ran for 196 yards and had five sacks against the Irish last year.
In 2010, Stanford had 166 rushing yards and three sacks, and in 2009, the Cardinal had 280 rushing yards and two sacks.
"As an offensive line, last year we got our butts handed to us," Martin said. "We're going to go out there and have a new attitude this year."
The Irish are not doing anything different to prepare for the Cardinal.
"You can't treat it like something it is not going to be, it is just another game," right tackle Christian Lombard said. "But these guys do fight and matching that is going to be big."
Left guard Chris Watt said it will be important for the lineman to keep their emotions in check.
"It's like (offensive line coach Harry Hiestand) says a lot, 'See a little, see a lot,' " Watt said. "So if we see you have a movement where the defense is going, we are going to be combo to our spots and not try and kill a guy on every play. We are going to have to get our hands on them and block them."
Center Braxston Cave, who missed last year's game against the Cardinal because of an injury, said the Irish are ready to match Stanford's intensity.
"The offseason stuff with (director of football strength and conditioning Paul Longo) and just the mentality of going out there and physically getting after people is one thing we really focus on," Cave said. "They play hard. They play to whistle, and I give them credit for that. But so do we, and I'm looking forward to the battle."