Ninth-ranked Notre Dame is preparing for its toughest challenge so far this season.

After beating four teams with a combined record of 7-11, the Irish (4-0) face 14th-ranked Stanford (3-1) on Saturday. The Cardinal has the nation's top-rated defense and has beaten the Irish four of their last five meetings.

So it's the first real test for a young Irish squad coming off a sloppy victory over Syracuse where they won despite five turnovers.

The Irish are ranked higher than the Cardinal but are one-point underdogs, just the second time since the start of 2011 season an opponent has been favored at Notre Dame Stadium.