The Notre Dame defense did it again.
The Irish made consecutive goal line stands on 3rd and 4th down in overtime at the 1-yard line on Stepfan Taylor to win a 20-13 thriller over Stanford Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
7th-ranked Notre Dame is now 6-0 on the season.
"They won that game," Irish coach Brian Kelly said. "They earned that win. And so I think I would rather have them believe that each and every week, if they prepare, that they can beat any opponent."
The final play didn't come without controversy as Stanford argued Taylor's knees never hit the ground. But referees blew the whistle and the Irish epic celebration began. Fans stormed the field even as the play was being reviewed. After review, the call on the field stood and the Irish pulled out the win.
The Irish defense has now gone four straight games without giving up a touchdown.
The only score for Stanford came on Everett Golson fumble in the end zone after he was hit. The Cardinal recovered for the touchdown.
Golson struggled, turning the ball over three times--all fumbles--and left the game late in the 4th quarter after a helmet-to-helmet collision. Kelly said Golson wanted to come back in the game but doctors would not clear him.
Golson had evened the score at 10 with a touchdown toss to Tyler Eifert before leaving the game.
Stanford took a 13-10 lead midway through the 4th quarter but Tommy Rees led the Irish on a game tying drive as Kyle Brindza booted a field with less than 30 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
IN OT, Rees connected with Theo Riddick on a fade pattern on 3rd and 8 at the 23 for a huge first down. Rees then found TJ Jones for the go ahead touchdown.
"He made a great catch," Rees said of Jones. "I saw a look where you could isolate him one on one outside, it wasn't a great throw but T.J., made a nice play to catch the ball and gave us a go ahead touchdown."
The Irish defense then came through for the win.
"Any time you can get a win, the atmosphere was great tonight," Rees said. "The students did a great job. The defense obviously played really, really well again, and it feels good to get the win."
Now the question is, are the 6-0 Irish a championship level team.
"We are getting there," linebacker and captain Manti Te'o explained. "I think so, and we are going to continue to work. I think that's the thing that makes us a championship team is that we are never satisfied."
Notre Dame will next play BYU next Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. The Cougars lost 42-24 to Oregon State to fall to 4-3 on the season.