In what will likely be one of the most talked about and/or debated endings to a game this year, Notre Dame football upends the Stanford Cardinal 20-13 with an overtime goal line stand.
On 4th and goal from the 1 foot line, Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor met a wall of Notre Dame defenders, was pushed backwards and looked stuffed. Then Taylor twisted his body, moved forward, and stretched out the ball to attempt the touchdown. He was called down before the ball crossed the plane. Arguments can be made that forward progress was stopped before he twisted around; that his elbow touched the ground before crossing the plane; that he didn’t have possession of the ball; or that he actually did score.
But the bottom line is that the play was reviewed by the officials and the call stood as originally made. That is the right call as far as the review is concerned, because after watching the re-play myself over and over again, there is no compelling evidence to overturn it. Was the original call bad? I’m not going to make a case either way, because I don’t know. Not for certain.
With that stop, Notre Dame goes to 6-0 for the first time since 2002.
It was an ugly, ugly game played in ugly, ugly conditions. Neither starting quarterback could get much done against the opposing defense. Stanford’s Josh Nunes went 12/25 for 125 yards and threw two interceptions. Irish quarterback Everett Golson wasn’t much better, hitting on 12/24 passes for 141 yards, though he did score a touchdown on a 24 yard pass to tight end Tyler Eifert. Golson also ran the ball 15 times for 41 yards, but fumbled three times, losing all three including one in the end zone that resulted in Stanford’s only touchdown. The most effective offensive player on the field was the Cardinal’s Taylor, who totaled 102 yards on 28 carries (3.6 average).
Things weren’t looking too good for the Irish, down 10-3 heading into the fourth quarter. But Golson hit Eifert at the start of the quarter to tie the game 10-10. Stanford came back with a 16 play 8-minute drive, but only got 3 points out of it. On the next Irish drive, Golson ran for 4 yards, and then was injured after a helmet-to-helmet hit. Enter in Tommy “the Closer” Rees. Rees completed his only pass attempt in regulation for 11 yards, then Stanford was called for pass interference. That put the ball on 13 yard line and with 3 quick Notre Dame runs, Kyle Brindza tied the game at 13-all with 20 seconds left.
Enter overtime, and debate away.
Even with this victory, Irish fans need to be concerned about the state of their offense. Golson doesn’t appear to be making much progress in his development as the season moves forward, and against Oklahoma, they are going to need the ability to score points. Let’s hope the Irish can figure something out to complement this amazing defense with.
Speaking of the defense, they have not allowed an offensive touchdown since September 8th versus Purdue. That is INSANE (Stanford’s touchdown was on the Golson fumble in the end zone). They will try to keep that streak going alive when they meet the 4-3 BYU Cougars as they finish up this three game home stand in South Bend.
Follow me on Twitter @expertfan1