In only their second road game of the season, the Stanford Cardinal took on a strong No. 7-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish squad in South Bend. Heading to overtime for the second straight week, the Cardinal fell to Notre Dame 20-13.
The game proved to be a defensive showcase for the most part, as neither offense could get much going. Josh Nunes threw two first half interceptions, one of which gave Notre Dame excellent field position and resulted in a 29-yard field goal, the Irish’s only points before the break.
It took the Cardinal until midway through the second quarter to get on the board. Backed up to his own 5-yard line, Everett Golson was sacked and stripped by Ben Gardner. Chase Thomas recovered the fumble in the end zone to make the game 7-3.
A 48-yard field goal by Jordan Williamson as time expired in the second quarter put the Cardinal up 10-3 heading into the half.
The teams exchanged punts throughout a scoreless third quarter where neither offense could take advantage of the opportunities offered by their team’s strong defensive performances.
Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert broke the silence early in the third quarter with a beautiful 24-yard touchdown catch over two Stanford defenders to tie the game up at 10.
Stepfan Taylor and the Stanford running game finally found their groove on a long drive after Eifert’s touchdown, moving the Cardinal down the field effectively. However, a goal line stand by the Fighting Irish with six minutes left in the game forced the Cardinal to settle for a 27-yard field goal to retake the lead 13-10.
A long, eight-play drive by Notre Dame that milked the game clock all the way down to 20 seconds culminated in a 22-yard chip shot by kicker Kyle Brindza to send the game to overtime. However, Everett Golson was knocked out of the game with a concussion on that drive, and backup Tommy Rees came in at quarterback for the Irish to replace him.
Notre Dame struck first in overtime, as T.J. Jones made a nice sliding touchdown catch from seven yards out to go up 20-13.
Unfortunately for the Cardinal, Notre Dame stuffed Stepfan Taylor three times in a row on the goal line to hold on to their 20-13 lead. On fourth down, Taylor was inches to getting into the end zone, but was ruled down before he crossed the plane.
CBS Sports describes:
Taylor kept reaching and turning with bodies underneath him, and his knee never did hit the ground before reaching the ball across the goal line. But the officials ruled it was too late. The whistle had blown, and that meant the play was stopped.
While this was a tough loss for Stanford, they should keep their heads up. Notre Dame has proven to be one of the nation’s best teams in 2012, and the Cardinal must not lose their confidence as they are still very much in contention for a Pac-12 title.