It was more than a tale of two halves, and it was more than a tale of two quarterbacks. It was the 2016 tale of Notre Dame finding ways to lose- no matter the situation.
It would be an overstatement to say that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish came out on fire to start the game. The Irish only scored 10 points on the Stanford Cardinal defense, but there was a feeling that was permeating throughout the stadium that tonight was different.
It certainly was different- there is no denying that reasoning. The defense, which had been the major source of Notre Dame's woes this season, was playing sound and fundamental defense while showing a passion and fire that had been missing during the Brian VanGorder days.
Notre Dame entered halftime with a 10 point lead, and a lot of momentum. And then, in a way that can only be described as the 2016 Notre Dame way, DeShone Kizer throws an interception that is returned for a touchdown.
Kizer inexplicably looked like he went into the tank after that, and with an offensive line that was getting manhandled.
Brian Kelly then makes a change after another Kizer interception, and puts in Malik Zaire. It was a disaster.
It would be wrong to say that Zaire did nothing, but it probably wasn't his fault as a snap from Sam Mustipher went over his head and out of the endzone for a Stanford safety.
The dread was creeping in and taking over.
As much of a great fight that the defense put up, it finally had been out there too long and Stanford mounted a drive that ended in a touchdown and a very tricky two point conversion.
Stanford is up 17-10- AND OH MY GOD MALIK ZAIRE IS STILL IN.
Of course the offense goes nowhere, punts, and the defense steps up to the play once again to give Notre Dame another chance. Finally, Brian Kelly puts DeShone Kizer back in the game.
It took a moment or two to get Kizer serviceable again, but once he was, they went down the field. The game clock was against them, and the offensive line (which is a habit now) kept allowing pressure on Kizer and collapsing pockets. It finally got to 4th down with seconds remaining- and again... THE OFFENSIVE LINE FAILS TO DO ANYTHING RESEMBLING THEIR JOB AND KIZER IS SACKED- and fumbles.
The saddest part about this game is that the refs blew the whistle on the play and the damn ball was still live- in fact it had Josh Adams with the ball and heading to the endzone (he actually crosses the goaline too).
And yet, no one really cares. This is all a waste and Notre Dame loses at home to Stanford, 17-10.