Conrad Ukopina Helps Stanford Cardinal Squeak Past Notre Dame Fighting Irish 38-36
Credit: SBT Photo/ Robert Franklin

Conrad Ukopina Helps Stanford Cardinal Squeak Past Notre Dame Fighting Irish 38-36

The Fighting Irish fell to the Cardinal in this one after a last second field goal.

Max ONeill

The Stanford Cardinal have taken down the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a score of 38-36 at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California thanks to a clutch last second field goal by Conrad Ukopina. With the loss the previously ranked #4 in the AP and Coaches poll and #6 in the CFP poll Fighting Irish will undoubtedly fall as their record has dropped to 10-2. With the win the Stanford Cardinal improve to 10-2.

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan played well all game long, tearing up the Notre Dame defense. On the first drive of the game Hogan started to exploit the defense, and he opened the scoring when he passed to Remound Wright for the one yard touchdown to put the Cardinal up 7-0. At the beginning of the game Deshone Kizer and the Notre Dame offense didn’t touch the ball until there was just 1:48 left in the first quarter because CJ Sanders returned a kickoff for a touchdown after the initial Stanford score. Sanders' return knotted the score up at seven. However, on the next Stanford drive, Hogan threw another touchdown pass, this one to Devon Cajuste to put Stanford up 14-7. Cajuste would be one of Hogan’s favorite targets all night.

The next Notre Dame drive ran into the 2nd quarter and they had to settle for a 26-yard field goal to make it a 14-10 game, the first of many times they'd struggle in the red zone. On Stanford's next drive, Notre Dame finally forced a punt and got a 25-yard field goal from Justin Yoon on their next drive, to make it a 14-13 game. However, the scoring in the first half was not yet done. Notre Dame got the ball back, and Deshone Kizer aired it out to Will Fuller for 73-yard touchdown to put Notre Dame up 20-14. Stanford proceeded to go right down the field again and Hogan found to Michael Rector for a 14-yard touchdown thanks to a missed tackle by Devin Butler.

At the start of the 2nd half Notre Dame again failed to convert in the red zone, where they were forced to turn to Yoon who rifled home a 26-yard field goal to make it a 23-21 game. With 6:58 left in the 3rd quarter Wright ran in for a 1-yard score to put Stanford ahead 28-23. With 5:24 left in the 3rd quarter Deshone Kizer handed the ball off to Josh Adams who ran the ball for a 66 yard touchdown. On the first play of the 4th quarter Hogan found Austin Hooper for a 10 yard touchdown. With just seconds left on the clock, Notre Dame got the ball and finally converted in the red zone. With just 30 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Kizer ran in for a 2-yard score which could have won the game. However, the Cardinal came roaring back down the field and Conrad Ukopina struck a field goal as the clock struck zeros.

According to David Lombardi of ESPN, Brian Kelly said, “Losing’s hard. We just came up a little short… It’s never about the last 30 seconds.. We’re two plays from being undefeated and being the number 1 team in the country.

Notre Dame’s next game will be whatever bowl game they get, probably a New Year’s Six bowl game. Stanford’s next game is the Pac 12 Championship Game on December 5th against the USC Trojans.