Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. helped lead his class of Fighting Irish seniors to a very noteworthy accomplishment in 2019. With a 45-24 win over Stanford today, ND has won at least 10 games for the third season in a row. That hasn’t happened since the early 1990s.
It’s also the first time the Fighting Irish have done that, on the strength of the regular season alone, in school history. Obviously that comes with a big caveat as college football teams play way more games these days, but double digit wins, three years in a row, is hard to do when you play the kind of schedule that the Irish do. When all is said and done, 10-2 is pretty much where the Irish were projected to finish this season.
They came to Palo Alto today as -16.5 favorites, according to the best US sports books and covered comfortably. ND was backed at -834 on the money line heading into this contest, their first win at Stanford since 2007, Jim Harbaugh’s first year on the job.
Pride, who entered the season rated the #8 CB in the nation by Lindy’s, has been stellar all year long as the Fighting Irish’ number one overall cornerback. He contributed to three tackles today, giving him 24 for the season, to go along with five passes defended and one interception. He joins safety Jalen Elliot as members of the ND secondary going to the Senior Bowl.
The All-Star game provides a chance for Troy Pride to showcase his skill sets for NFL scouts. They already know about his speed. You have seen his top notch closing speed time and time again this season, quite notably the touchdown saving tackle he had on Malcolm Perry’s 46-yard-run during the Irish’ 52-20 win.
Lots to celebrate for Notre Dame after a 40-7 victory over Boston College. Playing the Macarena after the game is a nice touch. Troy Pride was feeling it pic.twitter.com/nVJfu1pkiE
— Austin Hough (@AustinHoughTGN) November 23, 2019
When asked if he’s the fastest player on the team after the game, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said yes, he probably is. It’s definitely Pride and wide receiver Braden Lenzy who are the two fastest.
“He’s got great makeup speed,” said Kelly.
“He’s going to be in position most of the time. I think there were some balls that — look, there were some plays at Georgia where they were back shouldering him a little bit, and he got into this mindset that he was going to play behind the throws a little bit too much.”
It got him in a position where he wasn’t finding the ball. He’s back to finding the ball. He played at a high level today. There was the one time where he slipped on a will route, but played sound football for us. Very good speed.”
Having been routed 45-14 at Michigan on October 19, the Irish have responded about as well as possible since that shellacking. The loss eliminated the Irish from the College Football Playoff consideration, and put them in a spot where a New Year’s Six berth became next to impossible. However, the Irish learned from their humbling in Ann Arbor.
“We never want to feel like that again,” Pride said prior to the 38-7 win over Duke.
“With that, you take that and you build off of it. We got a very resilient win this past weekend, but it’s never feeling like that again, so whatever we have to do to never feel like that again, each and every week, it’s what we are going to do.”
“Nobody was more relaxed, we’re still very detail-oriented and goal-oriented to continue to play our brand of football and play to the best of our ability.”
Since the massive setback at Michigan, ND is 5-0 with a point differential +118. Kelly explained how his team grew since the UM defeat.
“They’ve found out how to be present. They’ve found out how to avoid listening to all the expectations and the noise and just play football,” Kelly said after the Navy win.
“They play fast, free. I could tell in pre-game that Navy was in trouble. They really were. And that’s just the maturation of a group of guys that needed to figure out how to go from preparation phase to playing phase.”
“They learned that at Michigan. They learned that it’s not just about preparation. You can work as hard as you want, but you have to flip the switch. They didn’t at Michigan, and they learned how to do that in that game, that you have to flip the switch.”
“Since that time, they’ve learned how to do it. They’re going to be tough to beat down the stretch.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.