No. 5 Notre Dame beats Stanford 45-14, awaits playoff fate

Nov 27, 2021, 6:22 AM | Updated: 10:27 pm
Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan prepares to throw a pass against Stanford during the first half of...

Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan prepares to throw a pass against Stanford during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

(AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Notre Dame did its job and now all the Fighting Irish can do is wait.

Jack Coan threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score and No. 5 Notre Dame finished off the regular season with a 45-14 victory over Stanford on Saturday to keep its playoff hopes alive.

“We controlled what we needed to control and that was to play really good football on offense, defense and special teams over the past six, seven weeks,” coach Brian Kelly said. “We’ve done that. So we made our case. We’ll now sit back and see what other people think. But we got one of the best four teams without question in my mind. We’re ready to prove it.”

The Irish (11-1, No. 6 CFP) won their final seven games following a home loss to Cincinnati but will likely need some help next week to get into the College Football Playoff for the third time in the past four seasons.

“We did what we could with the games we had left,” tight end Michael Mayer said. “So now we kind of just sit and wait. I really believe that we’re one of the best four teams in the nation.”

Stanford (3-9) lost its seventh straight game to end the season following an upset of then-No. 3 Oregon for its longest losing streak and most losses in a season since a 1-11 campaign in 2006. The Cardinal were outscored 173-46 over the final four games.

“There are some things here that we’ve done extremely well in the past that we need to do better,” coach David Shaw said. “Some things we got to tweak and change. So we’re not going to be stagnant and rest on the things we did in the past. We’re going to get back to work, continue this recruiting process, which has gone extremely well, recruiting the right guys to the right place, and get to the point where we take out the bumps in our road.”

This game wasn’t competitive from the start as the Irish forced a three-and-out on the first possession and answered with a 74-yard drive capped by Coan’s 16-yard TD pass to Braden Lenzy.

Coan added another TD pass to George Takacs and the Irish built a 24-0 halftime lead. He finished 26 for 35 for 345 yards with the 1-yard TD run in the third quarter.

Jonathan McGill intercepted Coan’s pass on the first drive of the second half to set up a 13-yard drive capped by Austin Jones’ 5-yard run. That ended Notre Dame’s streak of not allowing a TD at 219:17 of game action since North Carolina scored in the fourth quarter on Oct. 30.

“We weren’t focusing on that,” defensive lineman Justin Ademilola said. “We just knew that we wanted to dominate our opponent.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Notre Dame: The Irish are peaking at the end of the regular season even if the competition hasn’t been the stoutest. Notre Dame outscored its four opponents in November by a score of 162-23 but whether that’s enough to make the playoff may depend on what happens next weekend in the conference championship games.

“We knew that we had to control this situation because we don’t control anything after this,” Kelly said. “It was control the controllables. That was the theme all week because after today we don’t control anything.”

Stanford: The Cardinal head into the offseason with serious questions about the direction of the program after their worst season in 15 years. Shaw had built Stanford into a powerhouse last decade but the Cardinal are 11-19 the past three seasons.

“It’s not what happens to us but how we respond,” Shaw said. “This program will respond.”

RECORD SETTER

Mayer had nine catches for 105 yards, giving him 64 catches on the season. That breaks the school single-season record for tight ends of 63 set by Tyler Eifert in 2011.

STALLED

The Cardinal have been unable to generate anything offensively the last month of the season as they have fallen in deep holes each game. In the final four first halves of the season, Stanford averaged 77.5 yards of offense and was outscored 90-3.

The Cardinal had one big play against the Irish with Isaiah Sanders hitting Benjamin Yurosek on a 44-yard TD pass on a trick play in the second quarter only to have it wiped off by an illegal block.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: The Irish will wait to find out their bowl fate.

Stanford: The Cardinal prepare for 2022.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.

Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani flies out during the first inning of the team's baseball game agai...
Associated Press

Ohtani vs. Judge the latest of baseball’s great MVP races

When Shohei Ohtani is pitching impressively and hitting over 30 homers, he might always be the MVP favorite unless another player in his league comes up with something awfully special. Like hitting 60 home runs, for example. Ohtani vs. Aaron Judge for the American League MVP figures to be the most hotly debated postseason award […]
1 day ago
Chase Elliott (9) has his tire catch fire as Martin Truex Jr. (19) and Corey LaJoie (7) drive past ...
Associated Press

Tumultuous, tiring start to NASCAR’s round of 12 at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Chase Elliott was leading at Texas when a right rear tire issue led to hard contact with the wall and a fiery finish to his day, knocking him from the top of the playoff standings. After the caution lights came on when another front-running car had tire problems, Denny Hamlin […]
1 day ago
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) is helped off the field after suffering a leg injur...
Associated Press

Analysis: Backups, be ready. NFL’s QB carousel is spinning

The NFL’s quarterback carousel may start spinning a bit faster. Mac Jones, Tua Tagovailoa and Josh Allen got banged-up Sunday. Justin Herbert and Jameis Winston played hurt. Already, Dak Prescott and Trey Lance have gone down. Backups, be ready. Jones’ leg injury appears most serious. The second-year pro hopped off the field late in the […]
1 day ago
Kansas tight end Trevor Kardell (45) is chased by Duke defensive back Joshua Pickett (26) as he run...
Associated Press

AP Top 25 Reality Check: Unbeaten Kansas left out again

Not quite, Kansas. A 4-0 start put the Jayhawks atop the others receiving votes pile Sunday in The Associated Press college football poll presented by Regions Bank, 41 points behind No. 25 Kansas State. The Jayhawks have not been ranked since mid-October 2009, a dry spell of nearly 13 years that is currently the longest […]
1 day ago
California running back Jaydn Ott, left, runs the ball for a 73-yard touchdown against Arizona duri...
Associated Press

STAT WATCH: Ott’s 274 yards rushing for Cal FBS season high

California freshman Jaydn Ott turned in the best rushing performance of the season with 274 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries against Arizona. Ott had TD runs of 73, 72 and 18 yards Saturday while running for the most yards since Tyrion Davis-Price of LSU went for 287 on 36 carries against Florida […]
1 day ago
United States' Ariel Atkins shoots at goal as South Korea's Kim Danbi , left, attempts to block dur...
Associated Press

US has record performance in 145-69 rout of South Korea

SYDNEY (AP) — A’ja Wilson and the U.S. put on quite a show, breaking the World Cup scoring mark in a record rout of South Korea. Brionna Jones scored 24 points and Wilson added 20 to help the U.S. beat South Korea 145-69 on Monday. Shakira Austin’s layup with 9 seconds left helped the Americans […]
1 day ago
No. 5 Notre Dame beats Stanford 45-14, awaits playoff fate