Oct. 15, 2016
OCTOBER 15, 2016 -- The University of Notre Dame football team dropped to 2-5 on the season with a 17-10 loss to Stanford (4-2) in front of a sellout crowd at Notre Dame Stadium Saturday evening. The Irish led 10-0 at halftime, but Stanford posted an interception return for touchdown, safety, long touchdown drive and two-point conversion in the game's final 30 minutes for a victory.
Notre Dame was able to mount a desperate drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but Stanford stopped the Irish on fourth-and-10 at the 14-yard line on the game's final play to earn the win.
Notre Dame enters its bye week before welcoming Miami (Fla.) on October 29 at Notre Dame Stadium. Stanford will play host to Colorado next weekend in Palo Alto, California.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Notre Dame took the lead with 1:57 left in the first quarter on an impressive drive covering 74 yards in six plays, much of it via the Irish running game with long runs from DeShone Kizer and Tarean Folston.
The Irish tacked on a Justin Yoon 29-yard field goal at 6:49 of the second quarter while the Notre Dame defense held the Cardinal to 55 yards in the game's second 15 minutes. Senior Cole Luke's interception with 0:42 remaining in the half snuffed out a possible Stanford scoring opportunity and the Irish entered halftime with a 10-0 lead.
That lead did not last long, however, as Stanford kicked off to the Irish to begin the second half and three straight Josh Adams runs gave the Irish a first down at the Notre Dame 33-yard line. Kizer dropped back to pass on first down and was intercepted by Quenton Meeks at midfield, who returned the ball 50 yards for Stanford's first touchdown of the game.
The teams then traded turnovers, a second interception by Kizer on fourth and seven at the Stanford 38-yard line ended a Notre Dame scoring chance, but Jarron Jones forced a fumble on a sack on the next Cardinal possession to get the Irish the ball back.
Notre Dame turned to Malik Zaire at quarterback for an offensive spark, but Zaire could not get the Irish offense on track in his first series. The Irish defense stepped up again to get the offense back on the field at their own five-yard line with 1:20 remaining in the quarter.
The first snap of the series sailed over Zaire's head, however, for a safety and Stanford drove the length of the field for the game-winning touchdown after the free kick. Notre Dame would get two more chances with the ball, a three-and-out with Zaire under center, then the last-minute drive with Kizer back on the field that ended at the Cardinal 14-yard line.
PLAY OF THE GAME:
Jarron Jones sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery.
Graduate student Jarron Jones provided the Irish a spark in the third quarter, beating the Stanford center one-on-one, sacking quarterback Ryan Burns, forcing a fumble then leaping over Burns to recover the ball.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
OFFENSE: Tarean Folston, eight attempts, 49 yards, 6.1 average.
Folston, returning to the lineup after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury, provided instant energy to the Notre Dame rushing attack in the first quarter.
DEFENSE: James Onwualu, five tackles, three passes broken up, one forced fumble.
Senior captain Onwualu came into the game with four career passes broken up, then added three to his career total in today's game along with five tackles.
STAT OF THE GAME:
Stanford seven of 12 on third down in the game.
The Cardinal were able to convert on 58 percent of their third down attempts, while the Irish ended up five of 14 at 35 percent.
NOTES OF THE GAME:
- Notre Dame's three takeaways (two fumble recoveries, one interception) established a season-high for the Irish defense. Notre Dame also prevented Stanford from entering the red zone on each of its first seven offensive possessions.
- After Stanford gained 117 yards on 20 offensive plays in the first quarter, the Notre Dame defense held the Cardinal to 55 yards on 13 plays from scrimmage in the second quarter. Stanford mustered only 53 yards on 11 offensive plays during the third quarter.
Notre Dame safety at 1:17 of the third quarter.
Notre Dame still held a 10-7 advantage in the game and Malik Zaire was out on the field to begin his second drive of the game. Backed up to his own five-yard line, Zaire was unable to field a snap over his head that sailed out of the back of the end zone to give Stanford two points and eventual possession of the ball after the Notre Dame free kick.
Stanford then drove 11 plays in 5:39 to score the game-winning touchdown, tacking on on a two-point conversion for the 17-10 final score.