Oct. 9, 2004
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Ryan Grant ran for two touchdowns, the second following a muffed punt attempt by Stanford, to help Notre Dame beat the Cardinal 23-15 on Saturday.
Grant, who missed the past two games because of an injured left hamstring, scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards, and Brady Quinn scored from 2 yards out on a quarterback sneak as the Irish (4-2) scored 20 points in the second half.
The Cardinal (3-2) couldn’t finish their drives, settling for three field goals by Michael Sgroi, including two on their first two possessions when they drove inside the Notre Dame 10. Trent Edwards threw a desperation attempt from 39 yards out on the last play of the game, but the Irish knocked it down in the end zone.
Notre Dame became just the second Division I-A team to win 800 games. Michigan has 838 victories following its win over Minnesota.
The game was a stark turnaround from the 50-point win by Notre Dame a year ago that left fans talking after the Irish pulled a failed fake punt late in the game. The fans left talking about a punt play again Saturday when Stanford’s Jay Ottovegio dropped the snap late in the third quarter despite no pressure by the Irish.
Ottovegio picked the ball up and tried to get the punt off, but was tackled by Jerome Collins just as he released the ball and fanned on the kick. Stanford’s David Bergeron recovered the ball on the 27 for Stanford, but the Irish took over on downs.
Grant ran the ball on five of the next six plays, finally scoring on a 3-yard run. He took the handoff, ran wide right and beat Bergeron to the outside to put the Irish ahead 16-15.
Grant, who missed three games already this season with the hamstring injury, finished with 67 yards on 19 carries for Notre Dame, and Darius Walker ran for 82 yards on 20 carries. Notre Dame, held to 76 yards rushing in its loss to Purdue and 11 yards in its loss to Brigham Young, rushed for 149 yards.
Quinn gave the Irish some insurance with his touchdown. Quinn, who was 11-of-24 passing for 173 yards, set up the score with a 34-yard pass to Maurice Stovall.
Edwards was 17-of-38 passing for 267 yards for the Cardinal.
Notre Dame, which trailed 6-3 at halftime, moved ahead 10-9 midway through the third quarter on Grant’s 1-yard TD run. The touchdown was set up by a 43-yard pass from Quinn to Maurice Stovall.
Stanford answered immediately with an 80-yard TD drive. Edwards was 5-of-7 passing for 76 yards. The drive was highlighted by two passes by Edwards: a 24-yarder to Evan Moore and a 29-yarder pass to Alex Smith. J.R. Lemon scored on a 1-yard run for the Cardinal.
Sgroi kicked field goals of 27, 20 and 38 yards for the Cardinal. D.J. Fitzpatrick kicked a 38-yard field goal for the Irish in the second quarter.
Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham improved to 3-0 against his former team.