If you were expecting Notre Dame to be upset by Stanford this weekend, your chances just took a major hit. Already considered favorable underdogs, as the Cardinal travel to South Bend, Stanford will likely be without one of its top wide receivers in Ty Montgomery.
"He's probably not going to play,'' Cardinal coach David Shaw said Tuesday, according to Jon Wilner of the Contra Costa Times.
The sophomore wide receiver is currently second on the team with 18 receptions for 168 yards. In last year’s meeting against Notre Dame, he finished with six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
At 6'2", 212 pounds, Montgomery was a big target for quarterback Josh Nunes. He was somebody who could help move the chains, as he has picked up seven first downs for the Cardinal.
What This Means for Each Team
It means that Stanford will have one less target to throw the ball to, but that says more for the Irish defense than anything else.
Although Notre Dame stomped Miami last weekend, the young and inexperienced secondary was often beaten in coverage, leaving wide receivers wide open. If players on Al Golden's roster could actually hold on to a football, the game would have certainly been much closer.
Quarterback Nunes is averaging 31 pass attempts a game and will likely test this defense much how the Hurricanes' Stephen Morris did last weekend. The problem is that there aren't many dependable receivers on this roster after Montgomery, as running back Stepfan Taylor is the third leading receiver with 15 receptions.
Senior wide receiver Jamal-Rashad Patterson will be his replacement, but he only has 13 receptions throughout his four-year career.
And while we are looking at the offensive and defensive side of things, Montgomery is also a big factor on special teams, as he leads the team with 10 kick returns, averaging a little over 25 yards an attempt.
Does This Injury Change the Outcome?
Absolutely not. If anything, it only makes me feel that much stronger about the Irish in this contest.
The defense has proven to be one of the better units in the country, which will not go over well with a first-year starter that isn't even completing 55 percent of his passes.
Stanford is more of a one-man band on offense, as Taylor is going to get the majority of the workload. The Irish have already shown that it is tough sledding trying to run on this front seven.
Here is an interesting stat, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
The only college football team who hasn't trailed at any point this season? Notre Dame.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 10, 2012
You can expect that to continue for another week.
The Notre Dame defense was going to continue its dominance whether Montgomery played in this game or not, but now it makes things that much easier.
The offense of the Irish will look to build on their 587-yard performance last week.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.