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Notre Dame prediction: Game 5 vs. Stanford

It's No. 14 Stanford and No. 9 Notre Dame. Will we be as spoiled as we were last time they met in South Bend?

How Stanford can win: The Cardinal need to capitalize on their offensive opportunities. For all of the talk of their struggles on that side of the ball, they really have not been that bad, averaging nearly 6.5 yards per play even without the luxury of a proven workhorse running back that they have been so used to having in recent years. Stanford simply needs to do better in the red zone, where they have come away empty in seven of 19 trips so far. Defensively, their front seven needs to make Everett Golson uncomfortable and hope its No. 1 passing defense lives up to its billing against a young, but talented group of Irish receivers.

How Notre Dame can win: Golson needs to be the player he was through most of the first four games (minus the turnovers last week), a strong order against a defense that is far better than any he has faced so far. This is not exactly the ideal game for the Irish to break out of their rushing rut, but if they can utilize the screen game again this week, they will keep Stanford's defenders honest. Notre Dame simply cannot afford to turn the ball over. The defense will have a different kind of challenge this week, though it is probably best served to make Kevin Hogan try to win the game with his arm.

Breakout player: Sheldon Day is a two-year starter and a captain, so "breakout" might not be the right term here, but this is a game in which the junior can help make a national name for himself. He will be counted upon heavily by the Irish defense, which will need to be at its best Saturday.

Prediction: Stanford 23, Notre Dame 20. This game will resemble the 2012 game in its backyard mentality, but the Cardinal are better suited for that kind of contest right now. A defensive touchdown proves to be the difference for the visitors.