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  • Irish Prevail in OT Slugfest

    by John Vannie

    A valiant goal line stand by Notre Dame’s rock-ribbed defense in overtime preserved an emotionally draining  20-13 victory over Stanford. The Irish overcame adversity, much of it self-inflicted, to tie the game with a field goal at the end of regulation despite an injury to quarterback Everett Golson in the final moments. Tommy Rees came on to lead the team to a score on the first overtime possession with a seven yard slant pass to T. J. Jones. The Cardinal then tried to match Notre Dame’s touchdown, and it appeared they would be successful when they drove inside the one yard line. After Manti Te’o stuffed Stepfan Taylor on a third down thrust, the senior linebacker and ten of his best friends swarmed Taylor again on fourth down.

    The final play was subject to a video review, but the no-touchdown call was upheld as it appeared that Taylor’s elbow hit the ground before he was able to extend the ball across the plane. It was also impossible to determine through replay whether the whistle had blown during Taylor’s desperate efforts to keep churning toward the goal, but the initial Irish surge clearly had him stopped cold. Notre Dame now moves to 6-0 on the season while the Cardinal drop to 4-2.

    As expected, each team’s defense dominated for most of the afternoon. Golson fumbled the ball away on Notre Dame’s first drive while Stanford’s Josh Nunes threw an interception on the next series. Later in the first period, Matthias Farley picked off another errant Nunes pass and returned it to the Cardinal 16. Kyle Brindza’s 29 yard field goal gave the Irish a 3-0 after Stanford stopped them cold.

    Jordan Williamson tried to answer for the Cardinal, but his short three point attempt was tipped wide of the uprights by Stephon Tuitt. The teams then exchanged punts, but Notre Dame got the worst of the field position. Golson and the Irish were backed to their own ten, and Coach Brian Kelly inexplicably called three consecutive pass plays. The results were predictably disastrous. Golson lost six yards on a scramble and had to throw the ball away before losing the ball in the end zone on a third down sack by Ben Gardner. Chase Thomas pounced on the ball for a Cardinal touchdown.

    Notre Dame tried to respond after falling behind for the first time all season. Golson drove the Irish downfield, but a potential touchdown pass was tipped away by a Stanford safety in the end zone. Brindza’s field goal attempt never came to pass due to a bad snap, and the Irish remained behind by 7-3 with 1;34 left in the half.

    Nunes, who looked very shaky to that point, suddenly caught fire. He hit a string of passes to get the Cardinal into field goal range as the clock ran down,and this time Williamson did not miss. His career long 48-yarder extended Stanford’s lead to 10-3 at intermission.

    The Irish dominated the third quarter but were frustrated again when Golson fumbled in Cardinal territory. The defense did its job, however, and gave the hosts another shot. Golson hit Theo Riddick on a wheel route to move Notre Dame into the red zone. Two false start penalties on Mike Golic, Jr. seemed to kill the drive as the third quarter ended, but Golson dropped back and threw a perfect 24-yard scoring pass to Tyler Eifert at the pylon for a 10-10 tie.

    Stanford responded with a solid drive of its own, overcoming a replay reversal of a 13 yard completion and a holding penalty to move the ball inside the Irish ten. Farley saved the day for the defense that refused to allow a touchdown when he tackled Taylor for a seven yard loss. Williamson’s field goal reclaimed the lead for Stanford at 13-10 with 6:12 remaining in the game.

    With its unbeaten record on the line, Notre Dame started from the 16 yard line after a short kickoff return. An option pitch to Cierre Wood earned 17 yards, and a subsequent Golson scramble had decidely mixed results. The Cardinal were flagged for a personal foul that gave the Irish a first down, but the blow to the head suffered by Golson forced him to leave the game. Rees took over with the ball at the Stanford 34 and three minutes left. His third down floater to Eifert drew an interference penalty, and two running plays brought about a third and two from the Cardinal five. Riddick was stuffed on a run up the middle, but Brindza came on to drill the game-tying field goal in the driving rain. 

    Rees hit all three passes in overtime after suffering a first down sack, and Jones made an excellent catch on the touchdown toss when he reached back for a ball thrown slightly behind him. Taylor tried to will his team into the end zone for the tying score, but Te’o and his posse would not yield the final inches he needed.

    The game was the fourth straight outing in which the Irish defense did not allow a touchdown, and they have not surrendered a rushing score all season. As it turned out, the team needed every bit of this effort to survive the Cardinal.

    Let’s review the pregame questions for the keys to the outcome.

    Which offensive line will best protect its quarterback? Stanford did a good job overall protecting Nunes, while the Irish were frequently unable to block the Cardinal pass rushers. The lone Cardinal touchdown came on a sack/fumble in the Irish end zone.

    Will either team commit a costly turnover? Both teams suffered turnovers in the sloppy conditions. Notre Dame earned three points due to Farley’s interception on Nunes, but it gave up one touchdown and frittered away two other scoring chances with a fumble and botched snap on a field goal attempt.

    Which team will have greater success in the running game? Like the rest of the game, the rushing stats were relatively even.

    Which quarterback will be able to convert in third down situations? Neither Golson nor Nunes were particularly effective, but Rees’ third down pass to Riddick in overtime was absolutely critical.

    Can either team stop the opponent’s tight ends? Ertz had a few nice catches for the Cardinal, but Eifert was the best of the group on this day.

    Which special teams will win the battle of field position? Stanford got the better of the exchanges all day in this category, and the poor field position made life difficult for Notre Dame.

    Which young secondary will do a better job of preventing the big play? The Irish were better on the back end with Farley and Zeke Motta leading the way. The Cardinal allowed key completions to Riddick and Eifert and committed a costly but obvious interference penalty.

    Next up is BYU, but the Irish will need to rest a bit after being taxed to the limit. It may also take a few days for the fans to bring their blood pressure down to the normal range as well.

    97 Responses to “Irish Prevail in OT Slugfest”

    1. Defense is as good as it gets! 6-0 feels great!

    2. irishhawk50 says:

      Closer than it had to be. Golson is still not ready for primetime. ND’s defense saved the game. Offense is still suspect. Oklahoma looked really good against Texas. Defense can’t keep saving the day forever. Offense should be more progressed by now.

      • Shut up. Tough d in Stanford and they knew what ND was going to try and do. They stopped our run, and made Folsom try to beat them. A good d can make a difference like that. Give Stanford a little credit for the way our offense looked today and enjoy. Folsom is the right guy to have in there.

      • Oklahoma only looked good because I can tackle better than any player on that Texas team. God thy were awful!

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        I said last week I thought it was important to stick with Golson, but the kid simply isn’t ready to take this team to the promised land. His vision simply isn’t anywhere near is good as Tommy Rees’. Rees tends to throw it up for grabs and let his receivers’ make plays, which can be scary at times. That one back shoulder he threw on the left hash was more like a wounded duck. The receiver caught it some which way, but against a better D, it would’ve been picked. The high throw to Eifert though over the smaller defender is preciously the type of throw Rees can make because of his experience, but not Golson. I think it’s finally time to pull the trigger and chomp on some Rees’ pieces, which is perfectly appropriate as we’re nearing Halloween.

        • I agree that Golson is a work in progress. He has a ton of raw talent to mold. But this phrase makes no sense: “The high throw to Eifert though over the smaller defender is preciously the type of throw Rees can make because of his experience, but not Golson.” Golson through a PERFECT high strike to Eifert for the tying TD in the 4th quarter. His problem is not that he can’t make the passes. His problem (or one of them anyway) is that he is young and is not good at pre-snap reads. He gets nervous and checks to his 2nd and 3rd receivers while Eifert is in single coverage. Kelly will work those kinks out.

          • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

            You’re absolutely right about the Golson strike to Eifert. I was thinking Rees made that throw. Sorry about that.

    3. Maybe ND’s greatest goal-line stand in Irish Football history? If not – it has to be up there.

      • I was in front row right beside the player tunnel and I’ll tell ya that was the greatest energy for 4 plays I’ve ever felt in my life! I’d really like to hear a players thoughts on the noise on that final stand. Cause I thought it was the loudest I’ve heard. Great win Men!!! 6-0 baby!!!

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        Yeah, except for the fact the guy clearly got in. I view the bad call on that play a make-up for the bad call on Leinart’s TD, which was not a TD. So I guess Einstein was right. What goes around the goal line, comes around the goal line, albeit inches short. I’ll take it. 6-0 baby.

        • That wasnt a bad call. If you really watch the replay closely his elbow hits the ground before he gets the ball over the goal line. Everyone keeps looking at the knee, but the rule is knee, butt or elbow. The ball came out and the elbow had hit the ground.

        • No way that was a bad call. His forward progress was clearly stopped. Forget about the elbow, and the ball, and all that. He was stopped for about 2 seconds and was therefore down before the ball crossed the goal line. A player is not given unlimited time to wriggle free and try to advance the ball.

        • You think that was a make-up call from 7 years ago? That’s a little bit of a stretch, to say the least.
          Makeup calls generally happen the same game, not the following week and certainly not 7 years later.

          Here is why it was exactly the correct call:
          1- Taylor’s initial progress was stopped.
          2- His secondary progress was stopped AND he was pushed backwards probably 1/2 a yard. That is cause for a dead play immediately. No different than his knee being down.
          3- As Taylor was corkscrewing the line judge waved his arms making the play dead. ND’s players starting celebrating. Both happened BEFORE he dropped the ball over the goal line.
          4- You should not need a review to get a TD when you are 1st and goal from the 4, 3rd and goal from the 1. Of course the officials are going to give the close stop to the D.
          5- The review confirmed the call on the field.
          6- It was a PAC12 crew! Can’t imagine there was any favortism.

          • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:


            The make-up call comment was not a serious comment. It was, instead, meant to say, God owed us one for the refs jobbing us on Leinart’s non-TD, which was not a TD.

            Irrespective of what fans and videophiles may say, Stefan got in … let’s not kid ourselves. He was on top of a bunch of bodies, made a tremendous second effort … and got in.

            The Refs said he didn’t … and the idiots in the booth agreed.

            Will I shed a tear? Uh, no.

            Look, besides being a huge Irish fan, I’m a huge Packer fan and a huge Reds’ fans … having grown up in Cincinnati and graduated from St. X.

            I’m doomed to suffer death by a thousand cuts otherwise known as bad officials’ calls.

            Everyone knows the Seattle TD was an interception.

            Everyone knows Leinart was stopped … and …

            Every self-respecting ND knows … Stefan got in …

            But you know what? When the call goes against you, and is upheld on replay … it doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with the call … the call is the call …

            I don’t like that band any more than you do … but that’s the fact jack.

            Net net … what that means in this context is … the Irish are undefeated and headed to a beatdown of the overrated Sooners [rather than Laters].

            Write it down.

    4. Someone has to play Alabama. Why can’t it be us!!!

    5. Ruling on the field stands!!!

    6. I’m so impressed with Tommy Rees. Will be in the stadium next week!! GO IRISH!!

    7. martinjordan says:

      This was a character win. The weather was bad, the play calling poor, they made alot of mistakes, and the opponant was tough but they still found a way to win.

      1. Kelly’s play calling is the only reason this game was so close.
      2. Those three consecutive pass calls in the second quarter leading up to the sack, fumble, and Stanford TD were HORRIBLE! Each one got consecutively worse.
      3. On first down Golson was out of the pocket and should have thrown the ball away rather than take a six yard loss.
      4. The second down play he made a great spin to avoid the safety followed by a dangerous throw away.
      5. The defense was playing great and Kelly should have called a draw, punted and turned it over to the D. Instead …
      6. When he committed to the run in the second half it was successful and they ran for 150 yards.
      7. What can you say about Tommy Rees’ perfomance? CLUTCH!
      8. The D has gone 16 quarters and one overtime without giving up a TD!
      9. In those games they have gone against some pretty good offenses and shut them down.
      10. ND started celebrating too soon and almost allowed Taylor to roll into the endzone. I thought his left elbow was on the ground as he reached.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        Agreed on Kelly’s play-calling. Atrocious. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it 1,000 times. Go 5-wide up-tempo, get Davonte more involved, and this team will put up so many points it will make Oregon look like Ohio State under the Woodman.

    8. No way ND can beat OK and USC without better O. Nicklas got used today, and Golic really hurt with the false starts. Golson is doing his best Rees impression, and Rees is channeling Montana.

      But….that win was one worth celebrating.

      • USC and ok don’t have nearly the defense that Stanford has. We will be ok. Offense will get better and better like it has. Just gotta credit the trees for bringing a a+ defense to the field

        • Agreed.

          One other note. If you get 4 cracks from ththe, and 2 from the one and it is that close, stop whining. One thing for sure, there are some really big stones hanging from our front 7.

    9. Hope the offense catches up to the defense soon. Sweet hard fought win.

    10. BTW – ND now bowl eligible. I’m usually shopping for turkeys when this happens.

    11. ElkhartIrish says:

      Golson is ready physically but not mentally or experientially. Hopefully he starts to see the light quickly.

    12. El Capitano says:

      Mike Mayock seemed to hit the nail on the head: Rees has a better chance of throwing it to the “right” receiver before the defense closes in but once they do he is a sitting duck; Golsen is more likely to miss the right receiver and thus takes unnecessary heat that he can (typically) avoid. I am not sure which I would prefer to have play the most minutes. But I actually am beginning to feel some relief when Rees comes in. I never thought I would say that.

    13. A soberknocker of a game. Some serious smashmouth football. Think ND got the better of that battle. Golson made some big plays as well. Except for Navy, there haven’t been any pushovers, so the learning exprience is sometimes tough. But he had the Irish driving before leaving the game. Kudos again to Tommy Rees and his play at te end of the 4th quarter and OT. The defense continues to be amazing!

    14. slobberknocker, that is…

    15. Golson’s a little scary. That game shouldn’t have been that close – the way he still runs holding the ball in one hand out in front makes me crazy. Next week will be interesting.

      • Good point Golson has to have a better hold of that ball when he takes off. I find myself yelling don’t fumble every time he runs the ball!

    16. Great game and he was stoned on 4 th down and should have been blown dead even if it wasn’t. Those saying O should be further along….come on this is a red shirt freshman in his first year….he is going to have his ups and downs… thankful we have an experienced backup like Reese to bail us out when needed. If I have any complaints it’s that we aren’t running more and that Golic is total week link of this line….come on 3 false starts in your own stadium……I hope he steps it up as he will likely be our starting center next year when Cave exits to the pros……..

    17. Vannie, great call on 20-13. Respect.

      Go Irish! Beat BYU!

    18. For those of you that criticize EG, relax. I have a feeling you have never played football. Coaches want to win football games and they are with the players EVERY DAY. So, they will play the players that put them in the best position to win.

      If Kelly plays EG as his starter, it is because he believes that he is the better of the two. The fact that he will put Rees in the game during certain crunch time situations means that he believes that Rees is better in those situations, based one what he knows about both players, flow of the game, sideline demeanor, etc.

      If you have never played or coached, you should just sit back and enjoy the wins…and keep your mouth, er um, fingers shut…LOL

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        Once Kelly watches the tape, he’ll make the switch. Guaranteed. This game should not have been close.

    19. Defense is absolutely awesome. I can’t remember when the Irish last had a D this good. Offense however is scary to watch. Golson has a long way to go. He still relies on his athletics and legs instead of his coaching. He needs to learn to read the blitz, stay in the pocket and get rid of the ball earlier. He just does not get it yet. I fear that if he didn’t come out we’d of lost the game for sure. Also, someone better teach Troy Niklas to block. There were at least a dozen times when he was lined up to block the outside LB and he simply whiffed. If was pathetic. All said thought the IRISH are 6-0 and I am psyched. Well done gentlemen! Go Irish!!

    20. george kaplan says:

      Golson is learning on the job but he just doesn’t have the strength to hold onto the ball when he runs, especialy late, and the maturity to handle complex defenses. I’m not putting him down: I expect him to be great. But I think Kelly needs to protect him by running the ball more and harder especially near our goal line and pull him earlier aganst teams which will beat him up. I don’t know that Rees doesn’t give us the best chance to win this year. It was one thing to go with Golson coming off 8-5, but this team can go all the way

    21. bdhopper28 says:

      The goal line replay view CLEARLY shows the Line Judge on the far side of the field, spotting the ball, running to the scrum, and waving his hands in the air while Taylor was still a yard short of the end zone. This occurs after the Irish D pushed him back, but well before he surged forward to the goal line again. Regardless of whether a whistle is heard, his elbow was down, or when/if the ball crossed, the moment the official took a step toward the pile, he was indicating the play was dead. Game Over! ND 6-0! Bring on BYU!

      Go Irish!


      Great shot of the elbow being down on the 4th down stop.
      Props to whoever made the gif.

    23. irishhawk50 says:

      Played football and still think Golson not ready for primetime

    24. If the game had been played at Stanford, the call would have been over turned. Thank God we were in South Bend!

      • They were pac 12 refs
        Any win is a good win. Defense is tops in the nation and has and will continue to win games.
        As I said before most “experts” had the Irish at 6-6. Oklahoma romped a pityful Texas team and USC struggled again yesterday against Washington. Both these teams are very beatable. Irish could run the table. We just need to win our games and hope Oregon or Bama lose. I dont see either team losing.
        Golic needs to be replaced

        • borromini says:

          Even with his numerous false starts…there isn’t anyone behind Golic that can block as well…and so he’ll remain a liability. Barring injury, Golic will eventually be replaced…next season.

          • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

            Someone should call Mike and Mike in the a.m. and ascertain if Poppa Golic still has any eligibility left. He would definitively be an upgrade over Jr.

          • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

            Q. A guy I think you have a lot of faith in, Mike Golic, seems to have really been playing much better until yesterday when it seems like mentally he took a step back with a few false starts. How do you approach kind of improvement in practice for a fifth year guy as opposed to maybe a younger player?

            Brian Kelly: Well, I don’t know that Mike Golic had a lot to do with those false starts. You know, there’s a lot of other things going on out there that I’m not going to get into right now. Mike has made progress. He played against a very, very good defense, and they won some, Mike won some. The thing with Mike, he’s such a dedicated player. I mean, he comes to practice every day; he’s purposeful. He’s not going to be First Team All American at that position, but here at Notre Dame, he doesn’t need to be; he needs to just be Mike Golic. And we’re proud of the steps that he’s made to help our offense.

            Translation: Jr. was totally MIA in this game, but since we won, I prefer to spank him behind closed doors.

    25. Yes, Golson has to improve on holding onto the football, BUT… the big disappointment is still Brian Kelly. He should never have put Golson in a position to have to win the game himself. Kelly is so stubborn, he won’t take what the D gives us. No wonder, EG forces it. That’s what Kelly demands. “martinjordan” analyzed the fumble/TD series perfectly, but it goes beyond that sequence. There was no reason not to run more throughout the game, especially in the 1st half. And, there was good reason NOT to make our frosh QB pass so much. Stanford’s pass rush was by far the strongest part of their game. And, they just kept teeing off on Golson. Our O line was far better when firing forward on run plays. Kelly almost cost ND this one, but it was a truly great win for the Irish.

    26. Whatever happened to Ishaq Williams? Is he playing these days?

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        Based upon Kelly’s comments, you’re seeing him in some sort of packages, … not sure if Kelly’s referring to packages on the field or if Shaq is being featured on South Bend TV stations in a commercial for Irish Spring.

        Q. And another guy, it seems that Ishaq (Williams) has received some more playing time in multiple packages. Can you talk about how he’s developed here the last couple weeks?

        Brian Kelly: Yeah, he’s long, and in the pass game he covers some ground floors. Believe it or not, his length really does help us in pass coverage. He also has the ability to rush the quarterback. Here’s a guy that gives us some really flexible opportunities defensively to either rush them or drop them. That’s why you’re seeing him in those packages a little bit more, because of his versatility.

    27. Jack McGee says:

      Regardless of the criticism and whether it was justified, I watched a Notre Dame game for the ages. Any played game is never flawless, but the efforts of the players, on both sides today, can only be applauded. Notre Dame never gave up, never waffled and never stopped overcoming adversity. If you are a fan of Notre Dame history and the legend I say “lick your chops”. I have cheered for ND since I was 9, and I am now 73, today was a shining moment for the legend.Congratualions to all involved.

    28. At the beginning of the season I hated the fact Brain Kelly had success rotating QB’s, because I knew he would bring Rees in a lot.

      Now I love the fact Kelly had success rotating QB’s, because I know he won’t just throw Golson on the bench and leave him there. Kelly will keep him in until he absolutely can’t, then start him the next week because Golson has the talent.

      I have to admit, now I don’t mind Rees coming in, still Golson should be the QB for this team. Golson is not there yet but he will be, and if he doesn’t make mistakes ND can beat anyone.

    29. I think everyone in the stands were 100% certain that the Irish would prevail. Nobody seemed at all edgy. It was kind of weird in that respect. But the defense added another exploit to their growing list, and let’s give real credit to the receivers who made some difficult catches all day long in lousy conditions. And Reese looked like Joe Cool in OT.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        When a game starts at 3:30 Eastern, and the tail-gating kicks off at 9, it’s understandable why everyone in the stands would be 100% certain that the Irish would prevail, and no one was edgy. However, a Rasmussen poll of likely Notre Dame fans taken before Golson’s injury found 87% of Irish fans scared #$@%-less. A poll taken after Rees entered game found the percentage of traumatized ND fans had dropped to 79% at the start of overtime. A Rasmussen poll taken after the game found that Rees’ favorable rating had risen to 44%, while Golson’s had dropped to 66%.

    30. Maybe BK should get some slack, seeing that the team is the best ND team in 18 or 19 years.

      • IrishJMike says:

        Nobody wants to remember 2002 and Ty Willingham’s first season. ND was 8-0, including a wonderful, solid victory over a quality Florida State team. Then the wheels came off, but at the time everybody thought we had arrived in the promised land. Let’s take this a week at a time.

        • Mike Coffey says:

          Perhaps, but from what I remember about that 2002 season, the smoke-and-mirrors aspect was pretty obvious at the time. This season seems to be built on much more solid a footing thus far.

          • I have no problem remembering 2002. This team is better than that team… Hence, the best ND team in 18 or 19 years remark.

            This team does a number of the things right that these boards have been wanting the team to do right since I started reading this blog during Brady Quinn’s stint on campus. (Who BTW, I hope takes a positive step starting for KC today)

            Anyway, by even the accounts of those usually super critical of ND on ESPN, the program is FINALLY moving in the right direction. I’d speculate the coach has something to do with that.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        That’s not saying much. Feels like Notre Dame hasn’t been part of the conversation since Eisenhower, whoever that is. In the past 18-19 years, the bar has been lowered so far that it’s now considered a good year by many when we go 8-5 (including close wins over opponents who eaked out victories over Towson St., Appalachian St. and Coastal Carolina) but get clobbered in the Go Bowl by Akron.

        Look, in the old days, this sort of year was expected, and many fans would’ve been whispering whether Kelly was losing it because his play-calling was so atrocious. If you don’t believe me, ask Lou.

        Bottom line is that we’re back to where we belong, but there’s quite a bit of unfinished bidness, and there’s no reason, with a defense this good, that this team shouldn’t be undefeated unless Kelly fails to get the offense out of reverse.

        • I don’t see how you can make the claim that “there’s no reason, with a defense this good, that this team shouldn’t be undefeated unless Kelly fails to get the offense out of reverse,” and then pine for objectivity a few posts below.

          • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

            Fair enough, but you have to agree that this is the best D ND has seen in a long long time, and will keep ND in pretty much every game. The offense has tremendous weapons. A first team All-American TE, a very strong offensive line, three fantastic RBs and at least 5 great WRs. I sincerely believe this is ND’s best chance to go undefeated since 1988, but Kelly’s offense isn’t keeping pace. Criticizing a coach who’s 6-0 and ranked 5th in the country is harsh in some circles, but when your school and team haven’t been National Champions since 1988 and you have a golden opportunity to get there, I see nothing wrong with calling it like you see it.

    31. I was stuck driving the entire game up through cali. The stanford radio network went out of range after the first. I stopped for food when nd had the terrible fumble in the end zone. By the time the game was in the 4th espn app decided to stop sending updates. Happened to check when standford was 2nd and goal. Almost drove off the highway when the score went final. Great game.

      Having said that. The parts i followed i was questioning why we didnt run more since it was working so well. Golson needs to keep his eyes down the field if he wants to scramble. He had daniels?? Open down field for a walk in td instead of a muffed field goal. Great run though.

      We are not ready AS A TEAM for the bcs championship but we are ready for a bcs bowl. I started the season thinking that the season will be much like last year. 8-4 in the beginning and now i say 10-2 please prove me wrong again defense.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        The fumble in the end zone resulted from the clock in Golson’s head being roughly akin to the time it takes to say the rosary.

    32. I have to laugh at some of the criticisms, especially about Kelly. Stanford may be the most physical team ND plays all year-yes, even more physical than OU and USC. Lighten up a bit. Want questionable play calling? How about running more or less the same play with the same running back 4 times in a row from the opponent’s 4-yard line only to lose the game.

      • IrishJMike says:

        Perhaps a fair comment, and, yes, Stanford was tough. But come on. Throwing the ball with a young, skittish QB 3 times from inside your own 10, including after a sack and a miraculous escape in the end zone?! And the 3d and 2 in regulation at the Stanford 4 or 5 yard line. When the Irish line up in shotgun with a back flanking the QB and the tight end moves in motion from the right side of the formation to set up just behind the left tackle, everyone in the stadium knows the ball is going to the back and the play is going to follow Eifert up the gut. I bet in 30 tries this year they haven’t gained a total of 10 yards. Kelly needs some imagination and some variety, especially when it would be outcome-determinative to get 3 yards. He also needs to makes some adjustments that account for “the most physical team ND will face all year.”

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        Honestly, before you laugh at the criticisms of Kelly’s play-calling, go look at Kelly’s play-calling in Cincinnati’s epic win against Pitt at Pitt in the Bearcats’ undefeated season (until Kelly departed stage left for South Bend). Literally breath-taking at times. Highly imaginative. Up-tempo. Five-wide for most of the game. I believe his starting QB that year (Tony Pike) also got hurt at various points and he had to swap in Zach Collaros, who also looked all world because of the play-calling. Kelly’s for some reason regressed badly at ND in his play-calling, which is inexplicable given the fact he arguably has far more weapons at ND. It’s hard to lay this criticism at his feet given the fact he’s 6 and 0 at this point, if you saw the tape of the Bearcats in Kelly’s final year, trust me, you wouldn’t recognize the Kelly of 2012.

    33. Wait! You’re missing the point of what this win means.

      What I can’t believe (actually I was pretty sure I’d see it here) is the prevailing negativity on these boards.

      Yesterday afternoon was one of the most memorable finishes in recent Notre Dame history and no one seems to be mentioning it. The game was frustrating, sloppy and hectic, but the way it ended was one for the ages.

      That 3rd down catch by Riddick was absolutely inspired. Jones’ touchdown catch was similarly incredible. Doesn’t anyone see the undeniable progress in the will and heart of this team? These two players came into this season with shaky numbers and lots if dropped balls. Today they made catches that they had no business making and they did it in the worst kind of weather. The overtime period was played by a group of young men that believed in themselves, each other, and the coaching staff.

      There is nothing else to add about the defense. Tough doesn’t begin to describe them.

      Yes, this was an ugly game filled with mistakes and costly penalties, but that is not the point for today. For the first time in a very long while, we have a team that knows how to win and expects it. I saw something truly special in that team yesterday

      Stop complaining about the playcalling, stop complaining about Golson. Stop finding reasons to be negative about a team that for certain is not paying attention to the type of useless criticism you provide. This team, regardless of what happens in the remainder of the season, gave us a very special evening and showed something that we haven’t seen in years.

      I have to laugh at the negativity when I remember many of your preseason predictions and the predictions that have been made each subsequent week.

      “Wait until they run into the option.”
      “Wait until that secondary runs into a real passing game.”
      “Wait until they play a team with a smash-mouth offense.”
      “Wait until they run into Denard.”
      “Wait until they lose momentum after the bye.”
      “Wait until they run into a decent defense.”

      6-0. Go Irish!

    34. Niklas did get manhandled but he is a sophomore in his first year as a college TE and Thomas is older and as of right now smarter. Niklas will be fine.

      BK did make some goofy calls but we won.

      This was a BIG win, one that we used to find a way to lose, but now we found a way to WIN.

      Golson scares the s..t out of me when he starts wandering around.

      6 wins, 0 losses – I’ll settle for that.

    35. NDBonecrusher says:

      No more whining. How long you gonna let the kid roll around on top of bodies like he’s doing the “steamroller” game with his little brothers? Play was over. Forward movement ceased. ND wins in OT. Move on.

      Try a thought experiment. You think any of the Weis teams would have won this game? You know as well as I that this is a game that we have lost time after time after time. The fact that all of ND Nation was not silently chanting “Here we go again…” is very telling. No matter how many more wins, Kelly has them in a different mental and physical place than we have seen for a long time.

      This Cool Aid is yummy. Bring the Mormons!

    36. For those critical of BK, I’ll bet you would like to see Charlie calling the plays. Come on we are 6-0. Go Irish.


    38. this was a fantastic win. the first time in a long time we win an nail biter and come up big down the stretch. I agree with comments that Kelly’s play calling was a questionable. it is nice to see that Rees can come in and help but for any of the people who think we have a better chance to win with Rees starting, you are sorely mistaken. If Rees goes the distance in any of these games we lose big. for a change of pace and a series here and there ok but as a starter we have no chance of being a top 15 team with him as the starter. If he had played much longer the Cardinal would have destroyed him.

    39. IrishJMike says:

      All in this was a great one for the Irish, and it surely demonstrated they are tough and they are learning how to win the games they used to lose because they didn’t know how to take the tough ones. USC in 2005 is certainly a bitterly remembered example of that — same deal, the ball carrier pushes, fights, gets helped into the end zone. This time, no, we refused to let it happen.

      But we haven’t arrived yet. This ND team is not the team that came out in the 2d half down by 2 scores to Florida and blew them off the field in the 4th quarter of the 1992 Orange Bowl. Nor is it one of the 11 ND teams that beat USC 11 straight years. Yet. It could be by the end of the year, but there is work left to be done. Go Irish!! We Are ND!!

    40. marleyman says:

      WOW! I haven’t seen electricity like that since Lou had the reigns! My take for what it is worth:

      1. Golson is a rookie and is making rookie mistakes. Hopefully he will cease with the Michael Vick imitation and settle down in the pocket. He needs to get rid of the ball quicker. Hopefully he will evolve with the offensive plan as he matures…I hope I hope I hope!
      2. Defense is nasty…brings back visions of Zorich and Stonebreaker. These guys are committed to one another and believe they are the best defense in FBS. I am becoming a believer!
      3. How proud are we of Tommy Rees?? This is the character that is revealed by the Notre Dame experience. This guy will never make it to the NFL, but he is a role model.
      4. While most would not label this as a “signature game” The fact that the lines won in the trenches is a major milestone.
      5. Kelly and Diaco (especially) have silenced most of the critics. They are top drawer coaches that have us all believing again. They coached the team through adversity yesterday and the players love them. Did you see Manti and him interviewing with Alex after the game? Mutual admiration and respect between coach and player. Love it!

      Don’t listen to the noise, love one another, and beat BYU!

      Go IRISH!

    41. I for one think Kelly has come into his own as ND head coach….lis he perfect no, but no coach is. Look even supposed greats like Holtz and Ara were second guessed at times. Winning erases all criticism. Look at guys like Les Miles and Bob Stoops….both NC winners and very succesful but at times they make bizarre calls. I was a Sr in HS when ND one their lag NC…..this is by far the best team since the Holtz era ended. Golsen is young and still learning. His running ability is great but he has to learn to secure the ball better and finish his runs. He is too casual with ball security when running. I thought he was clearly OB before the fumble but he needs to learn to get OB and he will. When he puts it all together he will be unreal and may win the Heisman. He as a cannon arm and throw deep great. He just has to learn to read defenses, when to pitch, when to stay in the pocket and everything else that comes with learning to be a top college QB. Reese has total command of the O and has now more than once identified Eifert in single coverage thrown a catchable ball and gotten a critical PI call. Kelly is handling it just right and fait seems to be playing a roll too as 2 times when Golsen got shaken up Reese came in to put it away. I do wish we would run more when it is working and Golsen is shaky. It seemed like we could run at will on them in the second half. Look at LSU last night…..QB is sucking so they just kept running and running……Kelly is stubborn and maybe a little greedy but as long as we keep winning I can live with it! D is awesome and the defense game planning has been super, hat else can you say about a unit that hasn’t give up a TD in 4 games?

    42. canadianirish says:

      To win a hard fought battle like this and, yet, still criticize Golson and Coach Kelly is a prime reason why this website/movement continues to lose credibility.

      • Mike Coffey says:

        And yet the defense was praised. Why? Because they played very well. When people play well, they get praised. When people play poorly, that’s pointed out as well. If being honest about who plays well and who doesn’t means we “lose credibility”, then I suggest you need to review the definition of the word.

      • John Vannie says:

        Perhaps you should read Pravda if you want sunshine blown up your ass all of the time. Kelly even admitted his mistake with the play calling inside his own ten in his post-game remarks. Anyway, most intelligent people prefer objectivity. Sorry you are not one of them.

        • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

          Thanks for standing up for objectivity Vannie. Rumor has it that in tomorrow night’s debate, the Hawaiian Lion plans to announce that, if re-elected, his first move will be to sign an Executive Order banning objectivity.

    43. But the general point being made is that there is too much negativity after a wonderful win. Stanford had a minor slip against washington, much like most good teams seem to suffer once a year. Stanford is a top 10 team and we beat them. Do you realize that if they hadn’t have slipped against Wash they would have been ranked 5 or 6 going into yesterday!
      Golson showed great character yesterday, as Coach said. The throw to Eiffert was fantastic. His scramble before the fumble was fantastic. He will learn to step out of bounds, and to get rid of the ball . and Tommy
      continues to be so clutch. Is there one doubter remaining that won’t admit Kelly was right to turn to Tommy last year? He is doing a great job coaching.
      How about Farley!! Is he not the best surprise in the last few years.
      Go Irish!

      • John Vannie says:

        Gee, it’s a shame that people with good insights and constructive comments have offended your delicate sensibilities. It is hardly “too much negativity” to discuss some of the ways the team and the coaches can still improve. Those people do not deserve to be labeled as “doubters”, either. I did not see anything in the commentary that was out of line, and I’m sure that Coach Kelly will continue to work with his team and his staff this week to clean up the mistakes that were made in this game. It’s quite reasonable for Kelly to do so and also for the fan base to discuss them. Sorry that football games are not fairy tales and the meanies make you cry.

    44. Played and coached football; played QB and Safety with poor blocking at times (aka Golic-Nicklas); playcalling by Kelly is in his “safe-mode”, probably fearing to extend. Hope to see a change against BYU. But, even with careful play calling, receivers were wide open and missed. That says something in Kelly’s favor, and against a very good defense. Could have had 300+ in the air with better vision on Golson’s part. Rees is not the answer, as the lucky ducks were caught again by players making plays – and on both sides of the ball, that’s the difference from the past. Defensive backs don’t wait for the ball to be thrown, but react to routes. Linebackers take Manti’s lead and react before thinking. D-Line is top 3 in the country already.
      If offense can step up, we’ll see it next week. If not, then OK is a loss for sure.

    45. Good job JV in making the point i wanted to convey. It is hard to find people to talk about ND football when you are 2000 miles away from south bend. That is why I like following these posts. I know that the players and coaches will never read any of my posts. But other people will. Then they will precede to point out things that I missed which will make me look for it next game.

      Everyone know that it was a great win. Especially when ESPN is saying that any other ND teams in the past 10 years would not have won that game. Everyone that follows JV’s blog knew at the beginning of the season that our defense was stout. Now the rest of the nation knows that.

      Keep on winning ND and prove may wrong every week.

    46. I’m so proud of this defense! Without a doubt Manti, and all the crew deserve the game ball! Seeing Brady Quinn out of the field today makes me think back to the last time ND was in a BCS bowl situation and how we had an excellent offense under Weis but never had any sort of defense whatsoever. It’s really starting to make sense to me why they say defense wins championships! I honestly can’t believe how killer this D has gotten and once again all credit to the guys and Bob Diaco.

      Golson is, well, still learning. He clearly has the skill set but he still errs in some of the little intangibles. For instance, after that big scramble of 20+ yards he could’ve easily ducked out of bounds and avoided all contact, which a QB should typically do, instead he dived forward for a couple extra yards, took a big hit and fumbled. Likewise, a QB must be quick and decisive playing from his own end zone. He got caught once and fumbled again, but was very close to picking up a safety multiple times scrambling. It was rather curious, as Vannie said, that Kelly decided to throw bombs away when we were on our own goal line.

      But any way this team has guts and clearly as many have pointed out, this is a game where there is no way we would’ve won it over the last 10 years. BYU is not gonna know what hit em!

      Go Irish! BCS bound!

    47. irishhawk50 says:

      I, too, am a little taken aback by the criticism of some posters as not being loyal ND fans. I think everyone here is a fan but there are many valid criticisms. I would prefer that posters answer or correct the given criticism rather than attack the poster as if it is an old HUAC hearing.

      That said, I think Rees should get some quality reps in the BYU game to prepare him to come in for the Oklahoma game. I really do not think that Kelly thought at the beginning of the season ND would be 6-0 at this point. Remember his statement about it being a long time since ND had three 8 wins seasons in a row. I think he was setting 8 wins as the bar for this season and thinking about building for the future. The future has arrived a little earlier than expected and the win over Stanford shows ND can play with the big boys but it is clear that the QB problem is the one that can derail the train. Kelly may be seeing weekly improvement in Golson, but I don’t think he has made leap yet to someone who can lead ND to the BCS championship.

      • My middle son and I watched the rain soaked game from the endzone as my oldest son (ND Junior) and his cousin watched from the student section. We had the greatest times of our lives as we stormed the field. Can not help to be so happy to bring the ND experience to them. Reality sets in for me as a life long fan and now ND Dad to understand that while a Stanford victory is so sweet…the talk this early on is about standings…who won and who lost in the top five. This is the the downfall of the last 20 plus years with our team. The focus should be on getting a very good team ready to compete for the best possible bowl game..and winning it…not the end of the year standings. Do all of you agree we are not going to get “relevance” until we win bowl games consistently…whatever that bowl may be. I for one would take a few losses this season to make a turn in the program for the much better to come out and powerhouse a very definitive bowl victory. We need to turn the tide on ND football…I am ready to take the few years it takes to challenge for the BCS NC.

        • This is very well said and echoes my sentiments exactly. Enjoy the victories now and anticipate the deeper changes that will take some time.

      • irishhawk50 I appreciate this post and, as someone who has been critical of other posters, maybe I can do a better job of articulating exactly what it is that I have a problem with.

        First, NDNation is a great resource and I really appreciate what this site does. The news links are helpful, but more importantly, the columns are typically insightful and go well beyond the kind of bland analysis that is provided on nearly all other sports news outlets. I always felt knowledgeable about football, having played in high school, but I’ve learned quite a bit more about schematics by reading this site throughout the years. When the columnists provide criticism, I usually find it fairly accurate and useful, and to be honest, it’s much more palatable in the context of a professional game review than fan posts on the message board, which typically sounds like a lot of posturing.

        irishhawk50, I want to respond respectfully to your position. The first problem I have in with some of the posts is the fact that they seem to overlook realities and measure them against an ideal. When I’m reading posts about how someone isn’t convinced this team stacks up against the 1992 team, I sort of have to laugh…Who is saying it does or that it should? Why is our standard a 20 year old team with absolutely no connection to the present?

        What adds to my frustration in this regard is the fact that the bar seems to constantly move for this team. This perception of success always seems to be outside of any realistic grasp. While I think there are some play calls and decisions that the coaching staff would like back, I don’t think it’s productive to focus most of our attention on these gaps. This is a special season no one really predicted. I’m not sure why we choose to dwell in the negative (and that’s my perception…that the negative is overwhelmingly the focus of some posters…it’s usually even the first post made) even when this team has made so much progress.

        As to the challenge to “valid” criticisms, I think you won’t find it because these criticisms are often quite speculative and don’t really offer solutions or sources. You say that Golson isn’t ready for primetime? Does that mean Kelly hasn’t done enough to develop him? (I would argue player development is absolutely taking place at a rate we having seen since Holtz and I can point to a number of players like Nix, Fox, the young secondary and Theo to back-up my case) Are you arguing for Tommy? (I wish I had some old screen-grabs) Or is it simply a complaint for the sake of it?

        Honestly, I think you’re absolutely correct in your analysis that Golson isn’t quite there yet, but I question why this is your first takeaway from this incredible afternoon. I was absolutely geeked at the end of the game and was busy celebrating. I guess that’s what being a fan looks like to me.

        Sure, we can talk about some of the deficiencies with this team, but can’t we give it a few days? Can’t we celebrate a victory without mirroring the negative discourse that I see on ESPN’s website? What will it take to step back and smell the roses?

    48. Everyone here is an expert.

    49. Why isn’t there more of an outcry for Mike Golic Jr to be benched?
      Is it becuase of the popularity of his father?
      This kid was terrible even before his outburst of false start penalties.
      Any time we go up against a tough front seven he gets dominated.
      Which leads me to believe his old man must have a lot of pull somehow because anyone else would have been benched weeks ago.
      Aside from him and the Kelly playcalling at times, great win
      Also agree with a previous poster to see Davonte Neal with the ball in his hands more. Seems like everytime he has to fair catch his punt returns because we are always backed up in our own territory.
      GO Irish!!!

    50. TSkinner Irish says:

      What a game ! ! North end zone Sec 3 row 11 right there for all the action, good and bad. Yeah I agree it was really one of the loudest I’ve been at. Would also like to know if the players got pumped from the noise, I know I sure did. Cold soaked and feeling a little down, but OH MY what a finish.

    51. This team has performed extremely well and has surpassed my wildest expectations. I’m not convinced we are a top ten team yet, but I am enjoying each of these wins and not fretting rankings or BCS standings. Beat OK and USC (a very tall order) and things will take care of themselves. There is still much to work on: O-Line seems like it should be better; Young QB erratic; Punting sub-par and no punt is ever returned. However, for the first time in 19 years we are on the right track. A 10-2 record is very possible and any of us would have gladly taken that mark in August. Who knows, if the team comes out focused with a great plan we might even slay the Sooner or Trojan dragons! Go Irish, keep working to improve just like you have all season.

    52. Totally agree on Golic, Jr. He has been horrible all year long and was horrible last year. Look at how may sacks were given up and how bad the line played after Cave was hurt last year and Golic came in.

      Also, totally agree that Taylor was down with his elbow before he fumbled across the goal line. And his forward progress was clearly stopped just as it was on 3rd down. On 3rd down, he was stading striaght up when the play was called dead (i.e., no part of his body had hit the ground). As one person said, you don’t get all day to wiggle yourself into extra yards once you’re forward momentum has stopped.

    53. Guys, the talk about ‘not calling for Kelly’s head’ at any point on Rock’s is insincere at best. Didn’t you jettison a poster and say in an email regarding Kelly and his potentially being successful that “if you’re still waiting for more evidence (for him to turn things around), there’s nothing more to discuss.” Don’t pretend you and other posters didn’t want Kelly fired after year 2.

      • Mike Coffey says:

        And if he hadn’t corrected some of the things he was doing wrong, he’d still be on that path. Fortunately for him, he had the self-awareness to realize things had to be done differently.