Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish have one more chance to impress the College Football Playoff committee when they visit Kevin Hogan, Christian McCaffrey and the Stanford Cardinal. File photo Mark Wallheiser/UPI | License Photo
The committee that selects four contenders for the College Football Playoff will watch Saturday's Notre Dame-Stanford clash quite closely.
Notre Dame (10-1) came into the week fourth in the playoff rankings and hoped to hold off a hard-charging Iowa team that seeks to wrap up a perfect regular season this week.
Instead the Irish were leapfrogged by both the Hawkeyes and Michigan State and landed at No. 6 in the fourth set of rankings announced Tuesday night.
Stanford (8-2) is No. 9 and not in the running.
"The committee is out of my hands, it's out of our players' hands." Irish coach Brian Kelly said. "All we want to do is put ourselves in a position to be considered. We feel like we need to win another game to still be considered."
The Irish have just one more chance to make a splash as they travel to Stanford for the 30th renewal of a series that dates back to the 1925 Rose Bowl.
Notre Dame won its sixth straight last Saturday against Boston College with a lackluster 19-16 decision at Boston's Fenway Park.
The Irish committed five turnovers, including three inside the Eagles' five.
"It's like leaving runners in scoring position," Kelly said. "You've got to score points when you're down there."
Still, there were a number of positives.
Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer was 20-of-38 for 320 yards and two touchdowns (while also begin intercepted twice), wide receiver Chris Brown caught six passes for 104 yards while Amir Carlisle had seven for 97 yards.
Running back C.J. Prosise hit the 1,000 yard mark for the season after running eight times of 54 yards. But he departed with a high ankle sprain and is doubtful for this week.
Kelly said cleaning up the turnovers and mistakes is critical heading into Saturday.
"We feel like we've got to do a better job offensively, in making good decisions, ball security," he said. "Boston College is very good defense. But, you know, again, the standard of play offensively, it's such that five turnovers is unacceptable. Our players know that. And it can't happen.
Notre Dame has not won at Stanford Stadium since 2007.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
--QB DeShone Kizer now has 18 TD passes, tying Rick Mirer (1991) for ninth in a season in school history. He also recorded his second career 300-yard game.
--WR Will Fuller broke the 1,000-yard receiving plateau with his third catch of the night and now has 1,000 yards on the season.
--LB Jaylon Smith collected 11 tackles last week against Boston College, reaching double digits in four of the last five games.
--K Justin Yoon has now connected on each of his last nine field goal attempts. His last miss came on Sept. 12 at Virginia. The streak ties for the fifth-longest in school history.
--RB C.J. Prosise eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau on the season with his second carry of the game against Boston College, a 31-yard scamper. He now has 157 carries on the year for 1,029 yards.