Stanford closed out its regular season with a big 27-20 win over rival Notre Dame, giving the Cardinal some good momentum heading into a rematch with Arizona State for the Pac-12 championship.
Notre Dame struck first with a 21-yard field goal after a long 12-play drive to open the game. The Cardinal, however, answered quickly when Kevin Hogan hit Devin Cajuste with a 16-yard touchdown strike to give Stanford a 7-3 lead.
The defense remained strong in the second quarter, allowing the Cardinal to bounce out to a 14-3 lead with a Tyler Gaffney touchdown. However, the Irish did manage to kick another field goal before the break, and Stanford took a 14-6 lead into the half.
In the third quarter, running back Anthony Wilkerson took advantage of a huge hole and dashed into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown run to extend Stanford’s lead to 21-6. Notre Dame made it a one-score game, however, when T.J. Jones hauled in a score from Tommy Rees.
A Jordan Williamson field goal gave the Cardinal some insurance, and the Irish scored again to make the game 24-20 at the end of the third quarter.
The Stanford defense held the Irish scoreless in the fourth quarter, despite a late Kevin Hogan interception that gave Notre Dame a great opportunity. After the Cardinal kicked a field goal, the defense recorded two interceptions to maintain the 27-20 lead and escape Stanford Stadium with the victory.
Tyler Gaffney carried the load on offense as usual, recording 189 yards on 33 carries. The defense was equally excellent, holding the Irish to only 263 total yards.
Next week, the Cardinal will take on Arizona State for the Pac-12 title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.