On Saturday, Notre Dame showed why it belongs among the top teams in the nation, as the Fighting Irish improved to 6-0 with a 20-13 overtime victory over Stanford. It wasn't always pretty, and there were more than a couple questionable calls, but the Notre Dame has the undefeated record and that's all that matters. SB Nation's One Foot Down took some time to grade each unit on the day and, naturally, the most praise was given out to the defensive line and the linebackers.
Here's an excerpt from what they had to say about the linebackers:
It was another great performance by this unit as they applied constant pressure on Stanford QB Josh Nunes and kept the Stanford running game in check all day. ... The Cardinal ended up with 147 yards on 3.86 yards per carry which just about where I thought they would be against this defense. Stanford won't win many football games against good teams with that pedestrian rushing.
Of course, high marks were given to the entirety of Notre Dame's defense. Manti Te'o continues to draw attention as one of the best defensive players in the nation, let alone one of the best linebackers. The secondary was also given a high grade, as Josh Nunes was picked off during the game.
The offense was sluggish at times, but it was the defense that really got things done, and that's reflected in the review of all of the positions. A 6-0 mark is a better start than many thought the Irish would have, but plenty thought their defense would be above-average. There are some who think they might be the best in the nation outside of Alabama, and if they keep putting up performances like they did against Stanford, it would be hard to deny them that honor.