Stanford, Calif. (NWN) – Jack Coen threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as No. 5 Notre Dame finished the regular season with a 45-14 win over Stanford on Saturday to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Fighting Irish (11–1, No. 6 CFP) won their final seven games after a home loss to Cincinnati, but will need some help next week to reach the college football playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons.
Stanford (3–9) lost their seventh straight game and ended the season after a foul at the then-numbers. 3 Oregon for their longest losing streak and most losses in a season since a 1–11 campaign in 2006. The Cardinals got an outscore of 173-46 in the last four games.
The game was not competitive from the start as the Irish forced a three-and-out on the first possession and responded with a 74-yard drive to Brayden Lenzi by Cone’s 16-yard TD pass.
Coen added another TD pass to George Takax and the Irish took a 24-0 halftime lead. He scored 26 for 35 for 345 yards with a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Jonathan McGill intercepted a pass from Cone on the first drive of the second half and set up a 13-yard drive by Austin Jones’ 5-yard run. This ended Notre Dame’s streak of not allowing a TD at 219:17 of game action, as North Carolina scored in the fourth quarter on October 30.
Notre Dame: The Irish are peaking at the end of the regular season, even if the competition isn’t the toughest. Notre Dame knocked out four of its opponents 162-23 in November, but whether that’s enough to make the playoffs may depend on what happens next weekend in conference championship games.
Stanford: The Cardinal heads into the off-season with serious questions about the program’s direction after its worst season in 15 years. Coach David Shaw has made Stanford into a powerhouse over the past decade but the Cardinals have been 11-19 the past three seasons.
Notre Dame tight end Michael Meyer had nine catches for 105 yards, giving him 64 catches in the season. It broke the school single-season record for the tight end of 63 set by Tyler Effert in 2011.
The Cardinals have been unable to produce anything offensive in the last month of the season as they have fallen into a deep hole in each game. In the final four first stops of the season, Stanford averaged 77.5 yards on offense and was dismissed 90-3.
The Cardinals had a great game against the Irish, with Isaiah Sanders hitting Benjamin Eurosek on a 44-yard TD pass on a trick play in the second quarter, which was only wiped out by an illegal block.
Notre Dame: The Irish will wait to find out the fate of their bowl.
Stanford: The Cardinal prepares for 2022.
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