If 3 and outs dropped passes, sloppy play and constantly flipping field position are your favorite parts of football, then Stanford vs. Notre Dame was your own personal game of the century. A cocktail of miserable weather and undisciplined play was the perfect recipe for a sloppy game.
The story for the Stanford defense played out as usual with plenty of pressure and little scoring. The Stanford offense, however, struggled mightily. We are used to seeing the Stanford offense have problems in the redzone, but the Cardinal struggled everywhere on the field Saturday.
The first 49 minutes of this game were difficult to watch regardless of your allegiance. Unless of course you love botched field goals, 3 and outs, turnovers, near turnovers, and epic field position battles. The final 11 minutes, however were intense and actually fun to watch. More points were scored in the final 11 minutes than the previous 49.
With the game still tied at 7 Notre Dame marched down the field and attempted a field goal despite failing in spectacular fashion on several previous occasions. Kyle Brindza hit the field goal giving Notre Dame a seemingly insurmountable lead. It was only 10-7, but at that point in the game Stanford's only points were from a Notre Dame fumble deep inside their own territory. The way this game was going, a three point lead with 7:32 left in the game might as well have been a blowout.
Hogan and the Cardinal offense remained undeterred. In a shocking turn of events The Stanford offense marched right down the field with ease. At one point I briefly considered the possibility that I had switched the channel without realizing. But, sure enough, when Wright ran the ball in for a touchdown, I was indeed watching the Stanford offense. With the offense finally showing up and delivering a 4 point lead, surely the defense would secure another victory in typical Stanford fashion.
Unfortunately, Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson was able to make some amazing plays on the final drive. The Stanford defense also moved away from what worked for them all game. On 4th down and long Stanford rushed 3 and dropped 8 into coverage allowing Golson plenty of time to scramble and hit the tight end in the end zone for a touchdown.
This was unquestionably a heart breaking loss for the Cardinal. This team went on the road against a rival and a top ten team and had every opportunity to come away with a win but they did not. Stanford has plenty of things to work but looking at the Pac 12 North right now there is no reason Stanford should not be able to compete for the conference championship.