Notre Dame has had trouble this season getting off to a good start, and they got off to a terrible start against the Stanford Cardinal and were shutout in the first half. The Irish managed just 106 yards on 23 plays in the first half, with 2 three and outs, a turnover on downs, and a fumble.
It was brutal.
Meanwhile, the Cardinal weren’t lighting the world on fire offensively, but their first drive of the game went 66 yards on 8 plays for a touchdown. Stanford would add a field goal as the second quarter came to a close, and the teams went into the lockers with a 10-0 advantage for David Shaw’s boys.
Notre Dame’s offense couldn’t manage to put anything together, and the defense started falling apart from injuries — and the tackling was something out of a junior high game.
It looked like more of the same to start the second half. Stanford and Notre Dame exchanged punts, and then Stanford put together a drive of 48 yards to score on another field goal, and the 13-0 lead that came with it.
The Irish were finally able to answer on their next possession. The Irish went 75 yards on just 6 plays, and a 10 yard Audric Estime touchdown run put the Irish on the board. The Irish stopped Stanford for a turnover on downs on the next Cardinal drive and took over on their own 40. Six plays later, Drew Pyne hit freshman wide receiver Tobias Merriweather for a 41 yard touchdown reception to put the Irish up 14-13.
Stanford answered the Irish touchdown with a 51 yard drive that ended in another field goal for a 16-14 score. The drive was aided by the replay booth which overturned an Irish fumble recovery.
Now down 16-14, Notre Dame started moving the ball once again, but an Audric Estime fumble after the Irish gained 54 yards, gave Stanford the ball back again. Notre Dame’s defensive issues tackling, and more tomfoolery from the officials saw the Cardinal drive the ball down and kill off some clock, but the Irish were able to force a punt from their own 38 yard line to get the ball back.
Notre Dame was able to get one first down, but on 4th down, Drew Pyne threw the ball to a receiver in front of the sticks. It was low, no defensive pass interference was called — and that was game.