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Snap Judgments: Notre Dame 20, Stanford 13

Oct 13, 2012, 7:32 PM EDT


It may not have been pretty, but it was a classic finish for the Fighting Irish defense. With Stanford having 1st and Goal at the 3, the Cardinal got the ball to within a foot of the goal line with two plays to get it in. But the Irish defense wasn’t about to give up their first rushing touchdown of the year. With the defensive front stuffing Stephan Taylor behind the line of scrimmage on two consecutive plays, Notre Dame iced an instant classic with its defense — and even had to wait out a replay review in the pouring rain — before resuming their celebration.

Before we run down to hear Brian Kelly discuss it, here are a few snap judgments and answers to our previous questions as we recap the incredible 20-13 overtime victory for No. 7 Notre Dame.

Could Everett Golson beat Stanford’s defense?

No. And he almost beat his own team. While his offensive line didn’t help him out, Golson struggled in horrific conditions, completing only 12 of 24 passes while turning the ball over three times. To his credit, he rebounded from a disastrous start, and threw a clutch touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert.

But Golson’s suspect ball control (and internal clock) proved near fatal as he coughed up the ball multiple times, testing the patience of Brian Kelly and 80,000-plus fans in Notre Dame Stadium. Yet the quarterback rallied before he was knocked out of the game by a nasty helmet-to-helmet collision. From there, the Irish rode Tommy Rees for the game tying field goal and the winning touchdown pass.

Can the Irish get a big play or score from their defense or special teams?

Oh, let me count the ways. Other than the gigantic goal line stand to seal the game, the Irish got two interceptions and the defense played huge against Stanford, holding the Cardinal to 272 yards of total offense. Let’s call that a resounding yes.

Can the Irish weather the storm?

Barely. Showing a resolve we haven’t seen from Notre Dame teams of recent memory, the Irish did just that, battling back from a touchdown deficit and doing everything right down the stretch. The rain was certainly a major factor — right now there is a river running down the walkways inside the stadium — and the Irish coughed up the ball three times, but still managed to pull off the win.

Will this year be different?

This ending certainly was. Notre Dame didn’t play their A game. Probably not their B game, either. But a win is a win. Survive and advance, especially against a tough team like Stanford. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t a heart-breaker either.

Notre Dame gets to 6-0 in dramatic fashion. That’s got to count as progress on a cold and dreary October night.


112 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. cgmcm01 - Oct 14, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    The history of blogging is full of posters who have strong opinions and bias with less facts. EG improvement progress occurs in each game. There is still much for him to learn including holding back his Michael Vic tendency to scramble before he needs to, but its clear this kid is an althlete who can make good things happen at QB. Kelly effectively played two skill deverse QBs at Cincinnati depending on the game situation and will continue to do so here even if not his preference. EG is a better QB already than either of those two and overall better than his two QB teammates at ND but not well rounded nor complete enough yet to be the “only” Qb.

    • nudeman - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      Agree and well said
      He’s a developing talent and he made a fair amount of very good plays
      Coming back after struggling and leading a TD drive and the throw to Eifert were outstanding

    • madmick69 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:53 AM

      I agree 100%.

      I’d just add that I don’t think this his struggles can be laid solely on his shoulders. BK could have tried calling some plays designed to slow a defense down, screens etc. The offensive line could have played much better, they weren’t terrible but they did contribute to the duress the EG was under and the offense being of schedule, like the false starts etc. To be more specific, TN (#85) needs to tighten it up with regards to his blocking. Not taking anything away from the Stanford linebackers, but TN got whipped all day long. That needs to be fixed immediately.

      As for EG’s Vick like tendancies, I almost understand his propensity for scrambling without really needing to scramble. I liken it to someone who gets slapped but you can’t slap them back. So the first 3 maybe 4 times you stand there and take it. After 6 or 7 times when someone raises their hand to slap you whether they are going to or not you flinch. And EG was getting hit a lot and doing a lot of flinching.

      But for this team to show the kind of moxy they did coming back, taking Stanford to overtime and winning says more than anything about the heart of this team and the attitude the coaches have instilled in them.

      In all seriousness, the ND offense played their worst game of the year to date against Standford and in the end they “found a way to beat Stanford.” I believe those were the words that Kelly used after the Miami game in the locker room before they left Soldier Field.

      Winning ugly is still winning!


      GO IRISH!!!

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