SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Center Jesse Burkett recovered a fumble in the end zone after Bryce Love fumbled on the goal line, Stanford’s only offensive touchdown, and cornerback Quenton Meeks returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown as the Cardinal rallied from 10 points down to beat Notre Dame 17-10 Saturday night.
The Irish defense, which had forced three previous turnovers in their own territory, had a chance to recover the fumble, but linebacker Nyles Morgan tried to scoop up the ball. When he failed to pick it up, Burkett lunged on it. Stanford, playing without injured Christian McCaffrey, added a 2-point conversion on a pitch to Love, who ran in untouched.
Stanford (4-2), which started the season ranked No. 8, averted losing three straight for the first time since 2007. The Irish (2-5) ranked No. 10 in the preseason, lost a third straight home game for the first time since 2007.
Notre Dame had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds. But DeShone Kizer couldn’t get a pass off on fourth-and-10 from the 14. He was about to be sacked and pitched the ball to left guard Quenton Nelson and the ball was ruled dead.
“As for our side, defensively we won the game,” Stanford coach David Shaw said.
Shaw praised the play of Love, who ran for 129 yards and 23 carries filling in for McCaffrey, but was frustrated overall by the play of the offense.
Meeks, who missed the previous two games with an injury, picked off Kizer on the first possession of the second half to cut the score to 10-7.
“Once the ball was in the air, I felt it was mine,” he said. “I just didn’t regard him (the receiver) and just went and got the ball, and my next thought was the end zone.”
Malik Zaire replaced Kizer for three possessions but couldn’t get anything going and the Irish gave up a safety when a snap from center Sam Mustipher, who had three bad snaps in the hurricane last week against North Carolina State, snapped the ball through the end zone.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Kizer wasn’t injured, he was just looking for a spark.
“I just felt like it was important to try to get some energy back,” Kelly said. “I thought going to Malik would do that.”
Stanford: The Cardinal, who had one offensive touchdown in each of their last three games, continued to struggle offensively but came up with the big play when it needed it. Stanford drove 47 yards on 12 plays on its opening possession, but Conrad Ukropina’s 45-yard field goal attempt bounced off the upright.
Notre Dame: The Irish defense, which had given up at least 30 points to the first four Power 5 opponents it faced this season, held an opponent to 17 points or less for a second week.
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