Oct. 4, 2008
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Jimmy Clausen threw for a career-high 347 yards and three touchdown passes and Notre Dame held on for a 28-21 victory over Stanford on Saturday.
Notre Dame’s seventh straight victory over the Cardinal (3-3) looked as if it was going to be a rout when the Fighting Irish (4-1) were up 28-7 in the fourth quarter.
Stanford made a late run behind Tavita Pritchard. He threw a 1-yard pass to Jim Dray and a 10-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin with 6 minutes left to close to within a touchdown.
The Cardinal got the ball back on their own 2 with 3:34 left, but couldn’t mount a drive. They had one last chance with 8 seconds left, but fumbled the ball and Pat Kuntz recovered to end the game.
The Irish won their fifth straight home game. The Cardinal haven’t won at Notre Dame Stadium since 1992.
It was the second straight career-best performance for Clausen, who threw for 275 yards a week earlier against Purdue. He was much more efficient against the Cardinal, however, completing 29-of-40 passes with no interceptions. He had a 21-yard touchdown pass to Armando Allen Jr., a 48-yard scoring pass to Michael Floyd and a 16-yard TD pass to Kyle Rudolph.
Floyd had five catches for 115 yards for the Irish and Allen had seven catches for 66 yards and also scored on a 3-yard run as the Irish were held to 83 yards rushing. The 29 completions also were a career-high for Clausen.
After rushing for 107 yards in the first quarter, Stanford managed just 22 yards running in the second and third quarters. The Cardinal finished with 161 yards rushing on 37 carries, led by Toby Gerhart’s 104 on 13.
Pritchard was 18-of-28 passing for 182 yards, including 10-of-11 for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Gerhart, who left the game last week against Washington with a mild concussion, scored on a 1-yard TD run.
The Cardinal were slowed in the first half by three interceptions thrown by Pritchard and eight penalties for 51 yards.
The Irish took control with two second-quarter touchdowns, sandwiched around an interfering with a fair catch call, to move ahead 21-7. On the first drive, Clausen completed 5-of-6 passes for 65 yards and a pass interference call put the ball on the 2. Allen then raced between two Cardinal defenders to give the Irish a 14-7 lead.
The Irish defense then held Stanford to a three-and-out. On the punt, Allen signaled a fair catch and raced up to catch it, but Nate Wilcox-Fogel got in the way. The ball hit Allen and Stanford’s Will Powers picked it up and began running for the end zone, but officials called the interference penalty.
Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh was irate, throwing down his play card and tossing his hat, because he thought Wilcox-Fogel was blocked into Allen.
The Irish got the ball on the Stanford 48. On third-and-8, Clausen threw a long pass that Floyd caught at the 5 and ran in untouched after Stanford cornerback Wopamo Osaisai fell, giving the Irish a two-touchdown lead. The Irish made it 28-7 on Rudolph’s TD catch.
Stanford moved the ball well on its first three possessions, but the first two ended in interceptions by David Bruton and Kuntz. The Irish defense, which entered the game with one sack in four games, had five against the Cardinal.