No. 13 Football Rallies To Defeat Notre Dame 17-13

Nov 24, 2001

Stanford, Calif. - Carlyle Holiday had no trouble understanding his surreally bad statistics. It was just that kind of night for quarterbacks at Stanford Stadium.

Kenneth Tolon scored on a 1-yard pitch with 1:08 to play as No. 13 Stanford's slumbering offense woke up just in time for a rain-soaked 17-13 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday night.

Driving winds, intermittent rain and two hyped-up defenses created miserable conditions for both offenses. Stanford's Randy Fasani and Notre Dame's Holiday and Matt LoVecchio all had games they would rather forget - but Fasani got the ball to his running backs late in the contest, who carried the Cardinal to victory.

Holiday threw a first-quarter touchdown pass but finished the night 1-for-16 for Notre Dame, which wasted an outstanding defensive game with an equal amount of offensive ineptitude. As Holiday's miserable night wore on, he saw the Irish's bowl hopes disappear with his completion percentage.

'It's just one of those things you dream about, but you hope it doesn't ever happen,' said Holiday, speaking of his performance but also describing Notre Dame's season. 'It's not anybody's fault. We just didn't get any plays that we needed to get.'

Casey Moore also scored on a late run as the Cardinal (8-2), ranked fifth in the nation in scoring and ninth in total offense, plodded unsuccessfully through the first 3{ quarters under Fasani, whose return after a month out with injuries was fairly dismal.

'Our offensive line started dominating in the fourth quarter,' Fasani said. 'Those last couple of drives, it was great to hand the ball off.'

Stanford put together two impressive scoring drives in the fourth quarter to end the bowl chances of Notre Dame (4-6), which fell to 1-9 in night games under coach Bob Davie.

Tank Williams intercepted LoVecchio's pass with 54 seconds left to seal the victory. Notre Dame completed two passes all night.

'We were completely anemic in the second half,' said Davie, just 6-15 against ranked teams. 'We couldn't get anything going offensively to break the game open, and we even had tremendous field position. We couldn't make a play. This was a tough way to lose.

'We're 114th in the nation in pass offense, and we looked like it tonight.'

On the deciding drive, Stanford went 59 yards in 10 plays, capped by Tolon's easy run into the corner of the end zone. Tolon, playing in place of injured starters Kerry Carter and Brian Allen, rushed for a career-best 133 yards.

'The traction was very bad,' Tolon said. 'I was worried about making cuts, but the defenders were slipping, too, so that helped.'

Fasani, who missed most of the previous 4{ games with a sprained knee, struggled as Stanford sluggishly moved the ball. The Cardinal, likely locked into a trip to the Seattle Bowl despite their lofty BCS ranking, had little to play for against the Irish, and it showed in a poor offensive performance.

Fasani was back in the starting lineup in place of Chris Lewis, who led the Cardinal to four wins. Fasani had no chemistry with his receivers, however, going 8-of-23 for 159 yards - just 95 in the first three quarters - and an interception.

Holiday put the Irish ahead in the first quarter with a 47-yard pass to Omar Jenkins, who outran the secondary for his first career touchdown - and amazingly, it was the only pass Holiday completed all night. He caught as many passes as he completed, with a 17-yard reception on a halfback option pass from Arnaz Battle.

Trailing 13-3 after punting on six straight drives, Stanford finally got a break in the fourth quarter when Luke Powell returned a punt to Notre Dame's 31 - but he fumbled it away.

The Cardinal's defense held, and Fasani found Nick Sebes alone behind Notre Dame's secondary for a 46-yard reception that got Stanford in scoring range. Moore scored on a 9-yard run with 7:22 left to cut Notre Dame's lead to three points.

The Irish punted again, and Stanford moved inside the 20 on two long runs by Tolon and a 19-yard draw from Fasani. The drive stalled, but Stanford stayed alive on a pass interference call against Notre Dame's Clifford Jefferson, who shoved Teyo Johnson in the back at the goal line with 2:02 to play.

Heavy rains around the stadium mostly dissipated by game time, but they left a chilly night for the crowd, and they reappeared briefly during the third quarter. Cheers from Notre Dame boosters often drowned out Stanford's fans, who included former Cardinal star John Elway at the nationally televised game.

'I think we made a statement that we're not a bunch of smart softies - that we stayed in the game and pounded the ball,' Fasani said.

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

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