The Fighting Irish are playing some inspired defense this year.
That defensive effort culminated Saturday with a huge goal-line stop (via usatoday.com) in overtime to beat No. 17 Stanford, 20-13. The Irish earned every inch of that stop and deserved the call to end the game.
Something just feels right about having Notre Dame undefeated and in the Top 10.
The Irish are pushing ever closer to a BCS national title appearance for the first time in school history. The last national title that landed in South Bend was in 1988 under the leadership of Lou Holtz.
Stanford came to South Bend ready to play. The Cardinal played inspired defense as well, but they were unable to seal the upset victory.
The Irish currently boast the 13th-ranked defense in the country, and it showed up against Stanford. Notre Dame held the Cardinal to 272 yards of total offense with 147 of that coming on the ground. Stepfan Taylor had his third consecutive 100-yard game against the Irish.
The final play came down to Taylor attempting to tie the game, but his second effort was not enough to push the ball over the goal line.
It was an amazing game to watch with both of these teams inching for yards against each other.
This could be a huge turning point for the Irish program in the 2012 season. Remember in 2005 when USC scored in a goal-line situation to defeat the Irish (when Reggie Bush pushed QB Matt Leinart into the end zone on a 4th-down sneak) and head on a national title run? It was time for the Irish to be on the right side of one of these calls.
Notre Dame faces a tough BYU team at home next week, but a huge test awaits in Norman, Oklahoma against the No. 13 Sooners on Oct. 27.
Oklahoma lit up the scoreboard against Texas Saturday, scoring 63 points. Notre Dame has the defense to stop the Sooners, and this win over Stanford could provide enough of a confidence boost to allow Notre Dame to leave Oklahoma a winner.
This has been a very unpredictable college football season through the first six weeks, but Notre Dame’s defense has been very predictable. They have played tough, inspired football, and it gets better every week.
Notre Dame deserved that stop against Stanford. It was earned. It may be the highlight that rolls through the intro video for the BCS title game this January.
So what do you think? Touchdown or not? Comment below.