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My Favorite Stanford Moment: Stanford vs. Notre Dame 2015

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Conrad Ukropina’s 45-yard game winner gave me my first field-rushing experience and my fondest Stanford memory

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

I distinctly remember the aftermath following DeShone Kizer’s touchdown run with thirty seconds remaining. The wind whipped around me as the Notre Dame fans in my section made their presence known while I sat in silence. Thirty seconds of game-time later, I watched Conrad Ukropina’s 45-yard field goal sail through the uprights while the Notre Dame fans promptly vacated the premises.

While the game ended up being rendered meaningless in relation to Stanford’s playoff chances, it felt like the National Championship to me. I immediately rushed down to the nearest field entrance and stormed the field with the thousands of other Stanford fans in the stadium. As I stood on the field side to side with the likes of Francis Owusu and hundreds of other Stanford fans, I realized that I was surrounded by my Stanford family. Many of the fans and players surrounding me on the field were people I had seen before and would see again during my family’s countless trips from Wichita to Palo Alto. In the process, they had become like a second family to me.

Around this time I was beginning the college application process, and admittedly, I had doubts about whether I would be spending the next four years of my life at Stanford. I had been raised a Stanford fan and had been going to Stanford football games for as long as I could remember, and as the game was progressing, it began to sink in that it might be one of my last Stanford football games ever. As I stood on the field after the game, I realized that no matter where my journey takes me for the next four years and beyond, Stanford will always be a part of me.

I didn’t think that a regular season moment could top Jordan Williamson’s game winner against Oregon in 2012, but in the time after Ukropina’s field goal, I knew that this was my new favorite Stanford moment. I cannot wait to join the Stanford Class of 2021 this fall and make even more memories with my Stanford family.