(Saturday, November 28th)
Final Score: Stanford 45, Notre Dame 38
Stanford, CA (Sports Network) - Toby Gerhart had another huge game for the Stanford Cardinal as he rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in the 45-38 triumph against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in non-conference action at Stanford Stadium.
Gerhart carried the ball 29 times for the Cardinal (8-4), the team posting 280 yards and four touchdowns on the ground overall in the triumph. Quarterback Andrew Luck converted 14-of-20 passes for 198 yards to help move the ball as well for the home team.
The Irish (6-6) were led by Jimmy Clausen who hit on 23-of-30 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns in what could have been the final game on the sidelines for embattled head coach Charlie Weis. Wideout Golden Tate reeled in 10 balls for a game-high 201 yards and three touchdowns.
The teams traded scores into the second quarter, beginning with a four-yard TD run by Gerhart less than four minutes into the contest.
Capping a quick four-play, 16-yard drive for the visitors, Clausen and Tate combined on a five-yard TD play to lock the score at 7-7.
Stanford kicker Nate Whitaker knocked through a pair of field goals from 40 and 47 yards away, but in between Clausen combined with Michael Floyd on an 18-yard scoring strike, leaving Notre Dame with a slim 14-13 advantage.
The Irish added to their lead with a 42-yard field goal from David Ruffer and a 78-yard TD pass again from Clausen to Tate.
Before the first half could end Stanford cut the deficit to 24-20 when Owen Marecic hit the end zone from a yard out.
Wasting little time in the third quarter, Clausen and Floyd locked up again, this time on a 46-yard scoring strike to push the lead to 31-20.
On the ensuing possession Gerhart tallied his second TD of the contest on a 10-yard burst, then three seconds into the fourth it was Whitaker again for the Cardinal with a 29-yard field goal to make the score 31-30.
Barely two minutes later Clausen struck again as he connected with Tate on a 28-yard score, pushing Notre Dame back to an eight-point advantage at 38-30.
Refusing to go away quietly and bringing out some dramatic action, Gerhart played the part of quarterback for Stanford and found Ryan Whalen with an 18- yard TD, while a successful two-point conversion between Luck and Jim Dray made the score 38-38 with just under nine minutes to play in the contest.
Stanford ate up close to five minutes down the stretch, marching 72 yards in 10 plays, as Gerhart jogged into the end zone from four yards out with 59 seconds to play. Clearly Gerhart was allowed to score without much pressure from the ND defense because the Irish were conceding the TD in order to conserve time on the clock.
Clausen marched his squad right back down the field, but with only seconds remaining on a fourth-down play he launched a pass into the end zone that was knocked away in order to preserve the thrilling home win.
Gerhart, who entered the week ranked third in the nation with his 139.2 ypg on the ground, finished the season with better than 1,700 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns on the ground. In the last four games the Heisman hopeful has been credited with a staggering 13 touchdowns.
11/29 02:12:52 ET