Notre Dame’s late chances stymied in loss to Stanford
BY LaMond Pope Sun-Times Media November 30, 2013 9:34PM
Updated: December 1, 2013 12:11AM
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Notre Dame had an opportunity — twice, actually — late to tie Stanford.
It’s all that coach Brian Kelly wanted.
But the Irish just couldn’t get over the hump.
Wayne Lyons intercepted two passes in the fourth quarter, and Stanford held on to defeat Notre Dame 27-20 in front of 50,537 fans Saturday at Stanford Stadium.
“There are no moral victories,” Kelly said. “It’s very disappointing that we weren’t able to come up with the play and win the football game. We didn’t come down here to play a close game.
“We came up a little short today.”
A year after running the table during the regular season, Notre Dame finishes with an 8-4 record.
“It’s not where we want to be; losing is unacceptable,” Kelly said. “An 8-4 record is not where we want to be. We lost some tough games, but those are all excuses. We come to Notre Dame to win football games.”
The No. 25 Irish gave No. 8 Stanford all it could handle. Tyler Gaffney led the Cardinal with 189 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Anthony Wilkerson scored on a 20-yard run early in the third quarter to push Stanford’s lead to 21-6. Notre Dame’s defense surrendered only two more field goals.
“They hung in there and played hard and made some plays for us and gave us an opportunity to win,” Kelly said. “We had a chance to win the game. The defense gave us the chance to win the game; our offense kept us in it. God, we just needed to make another play.”
Notre Dame closed to 21-13 when Tommy Rees completed a four-yard touchdown pass to TJ Jones. Stanford kicked a field goal, then Rees threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to DaVaris Daniels to make 24-20 heading into the fourth quarter. Daniels finished with five catches for 79 yards and the touchdown.
Jordan Williamson made a 28-yard field goal to give Stanford a 27-20 lead with 9:16 to go.
Stanford looked to extend the lead, but Notre Dame cornerback Bennett Jackson intercepted a pass. The Irish took over with 6:23 left, but Lyons intercepted a pass to end the drive.
“The defense did a good job of rerouting [wide receiver] C.J. [Prosise],” Rees said.
Notre Dame got the ball back with 3:35 left. Lyons ended that possession as well, picking off a pass intended for William Fuller.
“The second one, we got man [coverage], and with Fuller out there, we tried to take a shot at tying the game up,” Rees said.
Stanford (10-2) ran out the clock, ending Notre Dame’s shot at the upset.
“It’s disappointing,” said senior linebacker Dan Fox, who had 15 tackles. “You come to Notre Dame, you don’t go for 8-4. It’s not what you shoot for. It’s disappointing, but I’m really looking forward to this bowl game and winning.”