Luck will not be on side of the Irish

After back-to-back heartbreaking losses to the Big Ten’s Michigan teams, things don’t get any easier for Notre Dame this weekend.

The Fighting Irish (1-2) will play host to Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford squad, led by quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck, one of many being touted as a contender in a wide-open race for the Heisman Trophy, has not seen a dip in his play this fall despite the loss of stud running back Toby Gerhart. In fact, Luck has never looked more confident, poised and talented under center.

Andrew LuckICONAndrew Luck has yet to throw an INT this season.

Through three games, the 6-4, 235-pounder is 45-of-70 passing for 674 yards and 10 TDs. He has yet to throw an interception and is completing over 64 percent of his passes on the season.

No Gerhart to carry the offensive load? No problem.

Luck’s skill set is that of a future pro — it’s just a matter of when he wants to make the jump to the next level. And despite the fact that a true lead back has yet to emerge for the Cardinal (3-0), the team is relying on its depth in the backfield to keep the offense balanced.

While Stanford is averaging 233 yards per game through the air, the rushing attack is accounting for 242.3 yards per contest. Five running backs have at least 13 carries, four have at least 90 rushing yards and three have at least 137 yards on the ground — collectively helping Luck and the offense average 51.7 points per game.

Stanford beat Notre Dame 45-38 in Palo Alto last season, and there’s no question that this could turn into another shootout.

Can the Irish catch Stanford looking ahead to the team’s road tilt at Oregon? While one can argue that ND played well enough to be 3-0 entering this game, the Irish have played just good enough to lose in dramatic fashion. Meanwhile, Luck and the Cardinal have been hitting on all cylinders this season.

Despite its improved competitiveness under Brian Kelly, Notre Dame could be staring at 1-3 when the Cardinal leave South Bend — certainly a case where record does not truly reflect the competitiveness of a team.

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