NewsCenter 16 is counting down to the National Champion game by re-living each game of the 2012 Notre Dame Football Season. Each sportscast until the New Year, will look back at a game from the season with extended highlights, storylines and postgame reaction.
Friday night, we looked back at Notre Dame's signature victory of the season---the goal line stand to defeat Stanford in overtime.
The Irish entered the game having been manhandled by the Cardinal the previous two seasons but this Notre Dame team stood its ground in a rainy, defensive slugfest at Notre Dame Stadium in mid October.
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.
"We weren't nervous for some reason," Manti Te'o said looking back at the lasting memory of the 2012 regular season. "I've been put in that situation before and you just get anxious and nervous 'like oh my gosh what are we going to do what are we going to do?'"
"Something with this team--it's just we didn't get nervous. You know they lined the ball up on the inch line and we were just like they're not going to score. And it doesn't matter what you do, you're not going to score. Before it was kind of like 'ok what are these guys going to do what are these guys going to do? Watch out for this play, watch out for that play.' It didn't matter to us."
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.
It was the 4th straight game, Notre Dame's defense did not give 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 suffering a concussion in a helmet-to-helmet collision.
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.
"Any time you can get a win, the atmosphere was great tonight," Rees said at the time. "The students did a great job. The defense obviously played really, really well again, and it feels good to get the win."
The goal line stands remain the lasting memory to Notre Dame's season and last week Manti Te'o reflected on the mindset at the time.
The victory improved Notre Dame to 6-0 on the season and moved the Irish up the #5 ranking in the country.