Notre Dame defeated Stanford, 20-13, on a rain-soaked evening at Notre Dame Stadium. The game featured two comebacks by Notre Dame and a legendary goal line stand. Here are the positive takeaways from the game:
Overcoming a Deficit
For the first time in the season, Notre Dame trailed. Brian Kelly challenged his players at at halftime to overcome and they did. Not once but multiple times. The Fighting Irish rallied from two fourth quarter deficit to tie the game and force overtime. In overtime, the Fighting Irish again rallied to stuff Stanford and Stepfan Taylor twice inside the one-yard line. This game was significant for the morale and psychological make up of the team. The team will be emboldened by this victory. The team not only thinks that they are going to win but knows that they will win. This may prove crucial in road games against Oklahoma and USC.
Notre Dame’s Secondary
Despite all of the criticism of the secondary, the group of Motta, Farley, Jackson and Russell continue to prove people wrong. Stanford Quarterback Josh Nunes threw for 125 yards with a 48% completion percentage. Nunes was intercepted twice by Jackson and Farley respectively. The first interception prevented the Cardinal from scoring. The second interception by Farley set up Notre Dame’s first field goal.
Notre Dame Stops Stepfan Taylor
Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco called Stepfan Taylor the best Running Back that the Fighting Irish had faced. The Fighting Irish were up to the challenge of stopping Taylor and not allowing him to dominate the ball game. Taylor did eclipse the 100-yard mark. However, it took him 28 carries to reach 102 yards. He had a 3.6 yard average. The Irish continued their streak of not allowing a rushing touchdown.
Receivers Step Their Game Up
Another position of doubt was the receiver position. In this game, several receivers made the plays that had an impact on the game. Tyler Eifert had an excellent game changing play. Eifert leaped to make an excellent catch over two Stanford defenders for a Notre Dame touchdown. Eifert had 4 receptions for 57 yards and 1 touchdown. Receivers TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels both made several excellent plays. One thing that does not show up in the box score is how many times Notre Dame receivers ran past Stanford cornerbacks several times. These plays would have resulted in a touchdowns if Golson was able to find the receivers down the field.
Notre Dame Grinds It Out
Notre Dame’s Offensive Line and Running Backs ground out 150 yards against the 7th best rushing defense in the country. The key to this rushing total was the designed runs and Quarterback scrambles by Everett Golson. Golson had 15 carries for 41 yards. In addition, Cierre Wood continued to demonstrate why he should be the starter. Wood carried for 66 yards on 12 carries.