The Stanford Cardinal Beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
by Kimberly Grabiec
Entering the stadium of Stanford football’s final home game proved to be a lively and exciting experience. Stanford’s well-known marching band did not disappoint, with the drum majors dressed as Lady Gaga, and the Stanford Dollies performing a jazzy show by their side. The stadium commentators made sure to recognize each and every senior by their name, position, and major; but it was known that all eyes would be on the team’s newest and best running back, freshman Bryce Love. Love’s stats have made him a candidate for the Heisman Trophy for most outstanding college football player, and his popularity with the crowd was more than obvious.
Coming into the Nov. 25 game, Notre Dame was expected to win, considering their No. 8 national ranking, compared to Stanford’s No. 22. Although Notre Dame was coming off of brutal losses against the Miami Hurricanes and the Georgia Bulldogs, Notre Dame’s athleticism and strong players this year should have been enough to pull out a win against Stanford. Instead, Stanford shocked many college football fans, as they came away with a 38-20 win.
Right off the bat, Notre Dame showed its dominance with a touchdown caught by wide receiver Kevin Stepherson. Stanford did not back down, and scored their own touchdown, caught by wide receiver Trenton Irwin, which tied the game at the end of the first quarter. Stanford kept up this momentum, as wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside caught their second touchdown. Soon after, Notre Dame’s kicker, Justin Yoon, added three points for the Fighting Irish with a field goal.
The halftime show was a comical and lighthearted break from the intense game. Stanford’s marching band came out once again for a Thanksgiving special, where they spelled out with their bodies different things for which they were grateful. The marching band is known for their hilarious and sometimes controversial performances, such as a show in 2016 that poked fun at farmers when they played against Iowa, resulting in the band being booed off the field. Instead, they played it safe with a heartwarming show that portrayed their gratitude towards their school and band leaders.
The third quarter introduced an interesting development, when Notre Dame retook the lead with a touchdown by wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, and another field goal from Yoon. Stanford was able to come through only with a single field goal made by Jet Toner. At the end of the third quarter, Notre Dame had a three-point lead. This was a devastating turn of events for Stanford fans, as cheers started to quiet down, and the crowd was losing hope of a Stanford victory. Luckily, Stanford’s tight end, Kaden Smith, pulled through with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. While Notre Dame made futile attempts to answer, constant turnovers and two more Stanford touchdowns by tight end Dalton Schultz and running back Cameron Scarlett made it impossible for the Fighting Irish come back. Far before the end of the game, it was clear that Notre Dame had no chance to win.
Once a Cardinal win was obvious, the stands were electric with excitement. After the final whistle, all of the fans were invited down to the field to celebrate the iconic win.