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Stanford-Notre Dame: What to watch

The build up is about to stop and a game is actually going to be played on a rainy Saturday afternoon in South Bend.

After a week of build up and a morning that began with ESPN's "College GameDay," No. 7 Notre Dame (5-0) will play No. 17 Stanford (4-1) in just more than an hour.

Here are three things to look for in today's game:

Notre Dame's offensive line vs. Stanford's defensive line: Irish left tackle Zack Martin put it best this week when he said the Cardinal's "whipped their butts" last year. Stanford had five sacks and ran for 196 yards in last season's 28-14 win. The Irish's offensive line is better this year, but they will have to be at their best today.

Notre Dame's running game vs. Stanford's run defense: The Irish will probably rely even more on running backs Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III considering the conditions today. But Stanford is the sixth best team at defending the run, yielding only 77.2 yards per game, and last year, the Cardinal limited the Irish to just 57 rushing yards.

Notre Dame's linebackers vs. Stanford's tight ends: As good as Bishop Dwenger grad Tyler Eifert is for Notre Dame at tight end, Stanford has double that with Levine Toilolo, a 6-foot-8, 265-pound senior, and Zach Ertz, a 6-6, 252-pound senior. The Cardinal's tight ends have combined for 594 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions. And they are not typical tight ends, who catch short passes and move the chains. Toilolo averages 21.4 yards per catch, and Ertz averages 15 yards per catch. They will challenge the Irish's linebackers with their size and speed.

Prediction: Notre Dame 14, Stanford 6

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