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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. nudeman - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Of all the Tommy Rees “saves”, that was by far the most impressive, especially when you consider the first play in OT was a sack. The pass to Riddick was a thing of beauty. Two veterans making, each making a veteran play.

    Great game; one of the very best I’ve seen in a long, long time.

    There are some issues with this team, but this isn’t the time for that.


  2. kiopta1 - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Let’s see how EG handles BYU. If he can’t make gains then he can’t handle Oklahoma.

    • nudeman - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      Let’s first see if EG knows what town he’s in

    • papadec - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:26 PM

      EG is a great athlete – as a freshman QB, he doesn’t always make the right choices. He should have eaten the ball & taken the Safety, and hopefully the coaching staff will beat into his head to step out of bounds, after making a running first down.

      • nudeman - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:34 PM

        Actually given his known limitations with making reads, I was surprised they had him dropping back into his end zone. The way the D was playing, why not just pound it out of there on the ground. maybe make a 1st down and worst case punt it?

        Don’t think they helped him at all with the play calling

      • ndfaithful - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        I can’t agree more that he needs to get coached up. Hopefully they go easy on his head though. That hit looked like it hurt.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        I agree nudey, I was kinda frustrated by those play calls. I thought BK could have managed that better. But we won, so….eh

      • cameronemclaughlin - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:43 PM

        The problem was that Golson doesn’t make the good, quick decisions necessary to throw successfully from the pocket while under pressure.

        Tommy has a quick release and has developed the ability to make successful pre and post-snap reads. While he doesn’t escape like Golson, I think he could have made Stanford pay for those blitzes.

      • ihatemistate - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:55 PM

        Yea, the play calling sucked, like right at the end of regulation time, we call a time out, Kelly acts like he’s mastering a “win the game” play, and we come out and try to run it up the middle?? You had to know the line would be stacked. Why not run it around the end? Don’t we have any trick plays yet? Rees should be able to read the defense, he’s been playing alot longer than G-o-l-s-o-n. haha. Give Gman some time.

      • ndfaithful - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:01 PM


        “Yea, the play calling sucked, like right at the end of regulation time, we call a time out, Kelly acts like he’s mastering a “win the game” play, and we come out and try to run it up the middle??”

        I think smart people can disagree on the 3rd down play in regulation near the goal line. You could argue to run wide, get agressive, or run wide as you suggested. Kelly seemed to choose a “safer” approach.

        The timeout didn’t surprise me. He probably called it to make sure everyone on the offense understood the play he wanted. It is common, when you’re playing it safe, to make sure the runner gets downed in the center of the field to give your kicker the best possible angle for the field goal.

        It worked out.

      • joeschu - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:09 AM

        For those screaming for a more aggressive call on 3rd down, it is spelled T-U-L-S-A.

        For those giving up on EG, the playcallers could give him a lot more help. I can’t help but think that we have better athletes than BK had at Cincinnati. I can’t help but think that we have guys who are at least as smart. Does his undefeated UC team put up this few points against this Stanford D? Where are the screens and slants?

        I love the toughness and the D, but show a little imagination with the ball. There should have been almost no straight 5 step drop passes called in this game, but that was almost exclusively what they ran. Hot slants, screens, etc. Not a one. Are they not in the playbook?

      • ndfaithful - Oct 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        I’m not sure that there weren’t quick routes run and plays called to help EG. I did think it was odd that we didn’t seem to run any screen passes.

        I noticed several times that we ran quick crosses and inside slants. I don’t think EG picks up routes until he’s at least 3 or 4 steps away from the center. On other plays, he seemed to take a 3-step drop and then panic a little bit.

        I’m NOT making a case for Tommy replacing EG or anything, but have you noticed how much quicker the ball comes out when Tommy’s in there? The TD to TJ was a slant that Tommy may have even gone to at the line as an audible. I spotted Eifert coming open off the line several times as a safety valve route. I think there were hot routes that EG just doesn’t get to yet.

        I’m not bashing him, I just don’t think he’s matured enough as a QB to take advantage of those play calls.

  3. irishdrg1 - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    The Cardinals loss, yes I said CardinalS so go back to your west coast and cry. We could complain that EG was out of bounds before his fumble, so try to man up and accept DEFEAT.

  4. irishfan81 - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    I would be interested what potential recruits were at the game today. It had to leave quite the impression.

    Go Irish!!

  5. cameronemclaughlin - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Taylor did not score on the final play.

    Just because the announcers were too stupid to see that his elbow was on the ground before he stretched the ball out doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  6. seadomer - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Guys and Gals,

    I am happy with the W. Love ND and have been waiting for this for 14 years. I will review it again.
    BUT I found myself screaming at 44 the whole game.

    • jomilly - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      I found myself screaming at our 5 on offense the most of the game

  7. jomilly - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Seriously, Golson was aweful. He cant read a D. Love the hard fought win. Very proud. I really think its time to see if Rees can lead this team. He has earned it.

    • irishfan81 - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      I agree. EG has potential, but if it was not for the injury, I think BK’s ego about EG being the starter he picked could have doomed the game. It speaks volumes to Tommy, having to stand on the sideline for as long as he did in the wet cold weather, and leading the Irish to victory. He should get an opportunity to start next week. Having a pure passer back there should open up the run game and get the receivers involved more.

      It was also good that the defense basically got last week off with the overwhelming time of possession win for the Irish. They looked fresh the whole game.

    • ndfaithful - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      PLEASE! – let’s not turn this into another Rees/Golson debate.

    • c4evr - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:10 AM

      At this point, neither Rees nor Golson would matter in a BCS matchup with Oregon or Alabama. My money is on Kiel next year.

  8. kiopta1 - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    The online played poor most of the game too. Many bad snaps and penalties. Not to mention missed blocks ( also missed by our TE).

  9. bjc378 - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Yea, I do remember ‘sinnister’ saying that after the Stanford win he would admit that this Irish team was legit. So I’m waiting with open arms for that. “Thank you, sir.”

  10. paredskinwarrior1985 - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    eg looked like mike dick has looked this season!! lol he needs to have to walk around with a ND football all week in his hands like dick did last week straight outta that movie!! Hope he can control his turnovers but this season is all about defense and we will dominate and win a national championship if the defense keeps playing vicious

  11. zorichmidriff - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Anyone know if this game is avail online now?

  12. irishking - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    I would have pulled Golson out at halftime and put in Rees. The weather was lousy and the team needed a captain who could keep the ship steady on course and not hit a reef. Golson has proven that he is a poor captain and loses control way too often. While he does bring excitement to the game, he also brings a lot of miscues.

  13. yourrealitybites - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Merry Christmas Notre Dame. You and your loser coach got two calls that were pure BS to win the game against Stanford. You will see that you are COMPLETELY over-rated, and will finish out of the running. Kelly is a loser, and a really bad choice as a “leader” and coach.

    • ndfaithful - Oct 13, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      what a good name for you. Your reality does bite.
      We’re all laughing at you here. You are the epitome of a sore loser.

      • yourrealitybites - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:52 PM

        Wait and see, peckerhead. ND finishes out of the hunt. OVERRATED.

      • ndfaithful - Oct 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM

        whine away… sob. cry. threaten, whatever…
        you’re just a troll and a loser.

    • alsatiannd - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:13 PM

      You’ve convinced me. I’m writing a letter to the NCAA and asking them to give the win to Stanford. All better now?

    • 9irish - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Good God. How many wins does it take? Don’t you and your cross-eyed nephews have better time to spend on investigating the “true” identity of Lee Harvey Oswald or something? Give it a break, there, Ivan Conspiratorov.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Oct 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM


        Great comment or  THE GREATEST COMMENT…I think I peed a little bit when I read that.

  14. thefiesty1 - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    The tree got robbed. Double OT would have resulted in a different outcome.

    • ndfaithful - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      would of, could of, should of… your three best friends.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      IF there was double OT…

      and IF my Aunt had a d!ck she would be my Uncle

  15. thefightinfloyds - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    It is tough to watch us groom a QB when we have a championship level defense but I think Golson is still the way to go. I think his leash was extended for this game after his performance against Miami but we’ll see if he’s even allowed to play against BYU, because of head injury. Tommy Rees coughing up the ball all the time is still fresh in my mind from last season, so I trust Coach Kelly to do the right thing. That being said today was a great win, Stanford wanted it bad and they came to play. There was certainly some hitting going on out there tonight, way to play physical and gut out a tough win over a good team. GO IRISH!

  16. thefightinfloyds - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    In Tommy’s defense though he did seem to be calm and able to make pre-snap reads after being thrown in cold. The throw to Eifert was huge. Stanford had on an all out blitz and Eifert had single coverage, a play like that speaks to the benefit of upperclassmen experience. I do question why we didn’t play action on 3rd and 2 late in the game. Stanford was stacked in the box and the whole right side of the field would’ve been open, hell a QB scramble with Rees would’ve got us into the endzone but hey I’m no coach.

    • zorichmidriff - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:28 PM

      The CATCH Eifert made was huge. Dude was like 20 feet above the grass. TJ and Theo made killer grabs too.

  17. rpbags - Oct 13, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    I wonder if Arron Lynch has any regrets about leaving ND and sitting out for nothing lol…..Good wind today but gotta clean it up to have a chance in Oklahoma and BYU will play us tough..Will Eg be out for any period of time???? Stanford can cry all the want…1st and goal from the 4 and you did not get in….Awsome game and both teams deserved to win but this year ND came out on top….

  18. irishfan81 - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    How many years of eligibility does EG have left? When they did intro’s, they showed him as a Sophmore, but I thought he RS last year. I thought he RS’ed last year, but looking at some sport sites, it shows he has 1 year of college done, aka 1V.

    • joeschu - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      We list athletes as their academic year. This is EG’s 1st year of burnt eligibility, with 3 remaining. There is no “red shirt” at The University of Notre Dame.

  19. grantland1924 - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM


    We’ve got a coach in South Bend and a team that finally believe in each other, the team, and a coaching staff. Go Irish!

  20. irishking - Oct 13, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    In a way I do feel a little sorry for Stanford because they played a terrific game and came up just a tad short. I don’t expect ND to have any problems cruising past BYU on Saturday. The biggest challenge will be the following Saturday out in Norman, Oklahoma. Those Sooners will be ready and they will be darn tough even on ND’s stalwart defense. Should be one whale of a ball game!

  21. mtb1996 - Oct 14, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Can we please stop the Golson/Rees debate?!?! I don’t want Rees to start because the pain from last year is just too fresh, but he did earn my respect tonight. He was calm and cool down the stretch. But gentlemen, we are 6-0! Why are there so many calls to change what the team is doing? It’s not perfect. Yes Golson has made mistakes, but remember that before he started against Navy, he hadn’t taken a snap in an actual game since he graduated high school. That’s more than a year and a long friggin time. We are being way to critical on a kid that is very very green when it comes to playing in one of the toughest pressure cooker positions in all of college football… the ND QB! I actually BELIEVE that this team has what it takes to take this all the way to the NC… with a RS Freshman QB! Enough already, let’s just enjoy the undefeated season so far and continue to believe and support our team!

  22. footballleprechaun - Oct 14, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    Taylor down me and body down whistle blowin play over game over tremendous goal line stand Manti stuffed him on second do TREMENDOUS GOAL LINE STAND!!!!!! oh wait a minute Taylor was levitating in mid air as he turned in twisted and extended the ball in the endzone PLAY shouldnt even have been reviewed game over what should have been reviewed was the 30 holding non-calls by the Stanford offense as Notre Dame pressured their quarterback “Ole Notre Dame will win over ALL”!!!!!!

  23. norcalirish - Oct 14, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    Lol soooooo rad.


  24. frankb51 - Oct 14, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    I think this is comment #103, so many will not get this far down, but I hope they do.

    TR a very very lucky man, a pass interference call, two miraculous catches on one mini- hail mary to riddick, and an awful throw to jones, which I still cannot figure out how he caught that one.

    Notre Dame finds a way to win in spite of their quarterbacks, not because of them. Thank god for the defense, with it they could very well be 1-5!

  25. xonaanox - Oct 14, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    The history of college football is full of Golson like players who were great at high school football, but never made it at the college level. At high school Golson was able to excel at a slower pace that required less mental ability to be successful. We have seen, over the past six games that he doesn’t have the mental qualities to be a top college quarterback. Naturally, the coaching staff will refuse to admit this fact and will continue to try and make Golson into something he is incapable of becoming at the college level. Rees doesn’t have the physical ability of Golson, but he is a far better quarterback in the intellect area. He can read a defense and has the quick mental ability to Analise the situation and make the correct decision – that is far more important that any physical ability a quarterback can possess. With Golson, ND will never be what it is capable of being – and this is the entire fault and stupidity of Head Coach Kelly.

    • 1historian - Oct 15, 2012 at 7:33 AM

      6-0 IS 6-0.
      You analysis seemed to make some good points and I found myself agreeing to some of your points but when I saw that you had not hit ‘spellcheck’ you lost all credibility.

      For now – 6-0 is 6-0.

      Enjoy it if you can. I’m loving every minute of it, analysis be damned.

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