Stanford defeated Notre Dame 28-14 in the Cardinal’s final home game of the season. Stanford now holds an 11-1 record. Since Oregon defeated Oregon State, Stanford will not qualify for the PAC-12 championship game or an automatic berth to a BCS bowl. They do, however, have a good chance for an at large bid.
1. Luck passes Elway’s touchdown record – In the second quarter, quarterback Andrew Luck connected with Coby Fleener on a 28 yard pass for his 78th career touchdown. Luck passing Elway’s mark is significant because Elway was such a successful quarterback. Elway is a two time Superbowl winner and is in the pro football hall of fame. That’s pretty good company. Luck threw four touchdowns for the game, bringing his grand total of touchdown passes up to 80. Very impressive.
2. Pesky Defense – Since the Notre Dame’s final touchdown was largely cosmetic, Stanford’s defense did a great job of limiting the Irish offense. The Irish seemed to be able to move the ball but were ultimately stifled because of their three turnovers. Safety Michael Thomas had a highlight interception and return, catching the ball off a tipped pass. According to ESPN Stats, Notre Dame either lost yards or made no gain on 33 of their 68 plays. The Cardinal front seven really asserted their dominance in both passing game and the running game. Notre Dame was able to pick first downs and some decent yardage bu they were more often than not just driven back. Though Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd still did some damage, he could not do enough to get the Irish offense going, especially with Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix rotating in and out at quarterback.
3. Ugly Game – Quite simply, the game was hard to watch. Stanford had 113 yards in penalties. It seemed like every other play there was a flag was being thrown. Stanford got called multiple times for pass interference. As a result, the game kept getting stopped and drives kept getting extended. Also, even when Notre Dame had extra opportunities, they had dropped passes. The Cardinal offense also sputtered. Luck had four touchdown passes but the offense had a hard time establishing a rhythm. Stanford should have put Notre Dame away well before the fourth quarter because of Notre Dame’s turnovers. They did not ever bury the Irish, even with the extra possessions.
Nevertheless, a win is a win. Stanford now awaits to see what bowl they will be playing in and who they will be going up against.