Photo credit: @StanfordFball
By Jerry Feitelberg
STANFORD — On a cold, windy, rainy day, the Stanford Cardinal met the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the final game of the 2019 season.
The 15-ranked Irish fell behind early in the game 17-7. The Cardinal dominated in all phases of the game for the first 26 minutes of the game. They led in time of possession. They led in yards passing and yards rushing. It appeared that Stanford quarterback Davis Mills would lead his squad to an upset. Everything changed late in the first half when the Irish blocked a Ryan Sanborn punt. Notre Dame scored, and from that point on until late in the fourth quarter, the dominated the Cardinal. They scored 31 unanswered points to lead 38-17. The Cardinal scored with just 1:54 left in the game. With 41 seconds left to play, the Irish stripped Davis Mills of the ball in the end zone. The Irish recovered for the score to win 45-24.
The Cardinal dominated play until late in the first half. Stanford scored a touchdown on their first drive of the game. They went on a 75-yard drive in 3 minutes and 34 seconds to go-ahead 7-0. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish responded with a touchdown of their own. The Irish went 80 yards in five plays to tie the game 7-7. The essential play was a 16-yard pass from Ian Book to Micah Jones for the score.
Stanford went on a long 82-yard drive that consumed 8 minutes and 15 seconds, and all they could come up with was a field goal. They had first, and goal from the two-yard line but could not get the ball across the goal line. Ryan Sanborn made the field goal, and the Cardinal led 17-7. Things were looking good for Stanford until late in the first half. The Irish defense forced the Cardinal to kick, and Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey blocked Sanborn’s put. The ball was recovered on the one-yard line. The ball was moved back to the sixth when the Irish were called for a false start. Quarterback Ian Book connected with tight end Tommy Tremble for the score. The Irish now trailed by three 17-14 with 3:01 left to play in the half.
The momentum had shifted to Notre Dame. The Irish forced Stanford to punt again. They got the ball on their own 24-yard line. Notre Dame went 76-yards in just 21 seconds to score their third touchdown of the game and now led the Cardinal 21-17. The key play was a 41-yard throw from Book to Chase Claypool for the score.
In the second half, the Irish dominated. With the ball on the 7-yard line, they went on a 93-yard drive to up the lead to 28-17. The essential play was a 43-yard pass play from Book to Braden Lenzy. The score came on an 8-yard pass from Book to Claypoole for the score. That was the only score in the third quarter. Just before the quarter ended, Stanford forced the Irish to punt from deep in their territory. Michael Wilson fumbled the catch, and Notre Dame recovered. They cashed in to start the fourth quarter with a 42-yard field goal to go ahead 31-17.
The Irish continued to pour it on. The Irish put another 7 points on the board with a 10-play 72-yard drive to lead 38-17. The Cardinal finally scored when Cameron Scarlett scored on a 9-yard run with 1:54 left in the game. The Irish added another touchdown when they stripped Davis Mills of the ball in the end zone and recovered the fumble for the score. The Irish won 45-24.
Game Notes: With the loss, Stanford drops to 4-8 for the year. It was the first losing season for head coach David Shaw. Notre Dame improved to 10-2.
Total yardage for Notre Dame was 455 yards. Ian Book was 17-for-30 good for 255 yards and four touchdowns. They rushed for 190 yards. Stanford produced 394 yards of total offense. Quarterback Davis Mills was 28-for 46 good for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Cardinal rushed for 118 yards.
Attendance at Stanford Stadium was sparse due to the weather. The stadium was about half full with Stanford fans. There was a large contingent of rabid and noisy Notre Dame fans in the north end of the stadium. They went home very happy as their team will be playing in a bowl game again this year.