Center Eric Heitmann and wide receiver Arnaz Battle will have pride on the line this weekend when their Alma Maters clash in Palo Alto. With a 5 p.m. kickoff, both players won’t get the opportunity to go to the game as they have meetings at the team hotel to prepare for the Jaguars on Sunday.
Nonetheless, both Heitmann and Battle will be sure to check their phones after the meetings wrap up.
“When you think about Stanford football you have to think about their ground game and the power rushing attack they have with Toby Gerhart,” Heitmann said. “I think in the more recent games, what’s given another dimension though is the precision passing game from Andrew Luck at quarterback.”
Battle acknowledged that Stanford has a solid running game, saying, “Gerhart is going to have to beat us.”
But The Fighting Irish have some talent of their own.
“Early on the offense was struggling and people were wondering if [quarterback] Jimmy Clausen was going to be what he was hyped up to be,” said the former Irish signal caller. “He’s turned it around and he’s shown his talent and his capabilities. They have a good wide receiver in Golden Tate and a good running back. It’s a good group of guys. The defense is getting a little better, too.”
Battle’s Irish will also have another opponent beside the players in Cardinal and white jerseys. They’ll also be battling the distractions that have surrounded the program in recent weeks as the heat has turned up on head coach Charlie Weis.
“The coaching situation is getting national attention and they’re being hounded by the media so it’s going to be tough for them,” Battle said. “I feel bad for those guys because I can kind of sympathize with what they’re going through.”
Heitmann hopes that those distractions, combined with the home field advantage, can help his team improve to 7-3 on the season.
“I definitely think Notre Dame has some distractions they have to deal with this week with all the talk about the job future of their head coach,” Heitmann said. “It’s something that Stanford thankfully won’t have to deal with this week. It’s the last game of the season, Stanford has a lot of seniors and they’ll be playing hard for Coach Harbaugh. I’m looking forward to a big victory for the Cardinal.”
A Stanford win would be hard for Battle to swallow as he’s grown accustomed to the Irish dominating the rivalry throughout the years.
“My mentality when I was a player was that we should never lose to Stanford,” Battle said. “I hate to knock them, but that was our mentality because we were so confident. The teams we felt like were tough games were the USC’s. We went down to LSU as well and those were solid teams. Expectations are set so high that this is a game we’re supposed to win.”
Battle’s prediction: “28-24 Notre Dame with a touchdown in the last two or three minutes and our defense finally stops them.”
Heitmann’s Prediction: “I’m going to say Stanford 27, Notre Dame 24.”
Tags: Arnaz Battle, Eric Heitmann
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