Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 8, 2018*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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20 OCT. 8, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI N otre Dame has started consis- tently strong this season, but has had issues with finishing with a flourish. It remained consistent with the start versus Stanford, but the differ- ence was a resounding final quarter during a convincing 38-17 victory, ending the Cardinal's three-game winning streak versus the Fighting Irish. Fourteen Notre Dame points in 14 seconds broke open a 24-17 fourth- quarter Irish advantage en route to the final margin. In each of the three previous sea- sons, Notre Dame entered the fourth quarter with a lead against Stanford, only to see the Cardinal outscore it by a 39-7 count over the final 15 min- utes to rally to victory. Furthermore, a week earlier Stan- ford once again displayed its moxie when it came back from a 24-7 hole at top-20 Oregon to win in overtime. Finally, in the first four games this season, Notre Dame had been out- scored 31-13 in the fourth quarter. "You have to put together four quarters when you play Stanford," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "The fourth quarter has not been strong for us. And we knew, es- pecially last week and the way they came back, that we would have to play four quarters if we were going to win this football game. "I'm really proud of the way our guys handled the mental game as much as the physical game, and cer- tainly the execution part. You have to have all three phases working for you, and they did a great job." Senior running back Dexter Wil- liams returned to the lineup in dra- matic fashion after a four-game sus- pension to rack up 161 yards on 21 carries, opening the scoring with a 45-yard run. The timing couldn't have been bet- ter because two days earlier leading rusher, sophomore Jafar Armstrong, suffered a knee infection that will keep him out, per Kelly, until at least through the Oct. 20 bye week. Junior quarterback Ian Book com- pleted 24 of 33 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns to four dif- ferent receivers, with senior Miles Boykins catching one of them while totaling 11 receptions for 144 yards. The real story might have been a dominant Notre Dame defense that limited Stanford to 31 total yards in the second half and was paced by se- nior tackle Jerry Tillery's four sacks. FIRST QUARTER: NOTRE DAME 14, STANFORD 7 Top Moment: In his first appear- ance on the field this year, Williams' initial carry resulted in a 45-yard touchdown romp with 8:13 left to cap an 85-yard drive in seven plays and provide the Irish a 7-0 lead. Standout Performers: Williams (four carries for 72 yards and the score) and Stanford's Bryce Love (seven carries for 56 yards). The Cardinal answered Notre Dame's touchdown with a 75-yard march that concluded with Love's 39-yard gallop with 4:39 remaining. Love also had a nine-yard catch. Stats: Notre Dame had 182 yards in the first quarter (120 rushing and 62 passing) to Stanford's 88 (56 rushing and 32 passing). Items: With nine seconds left, Book completed a six-yard touchdown to a leaping fifth-year senior tight end Nic Weishar on third-and-two … Dur- ing that drive, sophomore tight end Cole Kmet made a sensational 14- yard grab in coverage on fourth-and- two from the Cardinal 33-yard line … On Notre Dame's initial posses- sion, junior running back Tony Jones Jr. was stopped short on fourth-and- one from the Stanford 47 at the 12:02 mark … On the next Stanford series, junior cornerback Troy Pride Jr. broke up a pass on third-and-two from the Notre Dame 45, forcing a punt. SECOND QUARTER: NOTRE DAME 21, STANFORD 14 Top Moment: After Stanford failed to down a punt inside the Notre Dame 5-yard line and watched the ball bounce into the end zone with 2:03 remaining, Notre Dame drove 80 yards in seven plays, tallying on a 10- yard pass from a scrambling Book to junior wide receiver Chase Claypool with 39 seconds remaining to take a 21-14 lead into the locker room. Standout Performer: Prior to the scoring pass to Claypool, the Book- to-Boykin combination connected on 12- 10-, nine- and 33-yard passes. Stats: Notre Dame's 307 first-half yards came on 43 plays — 29 carries for 158 yards and Book completing 12 of 14 passes for 149 yards. Stanford's 198 yards were pro- duced on 14 carries for 68 yards and 11-of-17 passing for 130 yards. Items: Just like after Notre Dame's first touchdown, Stanford answered after falling behind 14-7 with an 84- yard drive in eight plays, finishing with a five-yard jump ball by quar- terback K.J. Costello to wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside on third-and- goal despite blanket coverage by ju- nior cornerback Julian Love at the 10:36 mark. … With 5:52 remaining, a 64-yard punt by Stanford's Jake Bailey, plus an Irish penalty, flipped the field in one play from Stanford's 14-yard line to Notre Dame's 15-yard line in possession. THIRD QUARTER: NOTRE DAME 24, STANFORD 17 Top Moment: Senior Justin Yoon converted a 37-yard field goal with 8:07 left to end a 56-yard, 11-play drive that took 4:05. That provided the Irish a two-score cushion at 24-14. Standout Performer: Senior Irish rover Asmar Bilal led an Irish defen- sive effort that limited Stanford to 44 yards in the quarter. He dropped Love for a five-yard loss on one three-and-out series, broke up a pass on another three-and-out, and added another solo stop later. Stats: During the third quarter, Notre Dame totaled 93 total yards to Stanford's 44. Items: Both team started with three-and-outs. … With 7:25 remain- ing Notre Dame fifth-year senior cap- tain Alex Bars suffered a leg injury … Stanford reduced its deficit to 24-17 with 2:16 left on a 46-yard field goal by Jet Toner, capping a march that CLOSEOUT DEAL Notre Dame finishes strong to defeat recent nemesis and No. 7 Stanford, 38-17

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