Fourth-quarter rally not enough in loss to Irish | News | Palo Alto Online |


Fourth-quarter rally not enough in loss to Irish

Pritchard completes 10 straight passes, throws two touchdiowns in fourth quarter

Missed opportunities cost the Stanford football team a chance to beat Notre Dame on Saturday. Tavita Pritchard had a spectacular fourth quarter, but the first three weren't so good.

It wasn't just Pritchard. Too many penalties, too many turnovers and too much Jimmy Claussen led to the Irish's 28-21 win over the Cardinal on Saturday.

Pritchard threw for a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the comeback fell short and Stanford fell to host Notre Dame in a nonconference football game on Saturday.

Toby Gerhart, returning from a mild concussion last week, went for 104 yards and scored a touchdown for the Cardinal (2-1, 3-3), which hosts Arizona in a Pac-10 game next Saturday.

Doug Baldwin caught a 12-yard scoring toss, which he set up with a 37-yard punt return. Jim Dray caught a 1-yard scoring toss.

Stanford committed four turnovers, including a fumble on the game's final play. The turnovers, penalties and lost opportunities all cost the Cardinal.

"With the penalties we shot ourselves in the foot early," Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said. "They were stopping drives when we had the momentum."

Claussen threw for nearly 350 yards and three touchdowns.

"We gave up too much yardage to a team throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "We need to get deflections, we need to get interceptions."

Pritchard struggled in the first half, completing four of his first 11 passes, with three interceptions, before going 4-of-4 on the final drive of the second quarter.

The Cardinal was called for eight first-half penalties for 51 yards, including pass interference near the end zone, and interfering with a fair catch that was crucial.

Stanford ran the ball well enough, controlling the line of scrimmage to the tune of 132 yards, but Pritchard threw interceptions to end the first two drives, both in Notre Dame territory.

The Irish rushed for 17 yards in the half, as opposed to Stanford's 132 yards, but threw for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

After Gerhart scored the game-tying touchdown with 10:21 remaining in the second quarter, he and Anthony Kimble each got one carry, for a total of six yards, the rest of the half.

The Cardinal took a step back in the third quarter before Pritchard came alive, completing all 10 passes he attempted in the fourth quarter.

Stanford finished with 343 yards on offense, but gave up 440.

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Like this comment
Posted by Philip James
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2008 at 12:46 am

Come on! Stanford performed poorly, at best. If they're ever going to really improve, they, we, you need to be honest.

Like this comment
Posted by Irish Fan
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2008 at 9:48 am

That's 'Jimmy Clausen', one 's'. Don't they teach spell-checking at Stanford?

Like this comment
Posted by jerry
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Interfering with a fair catch that was crucial? The ball hit a Stanford player. Down 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter was the reason for the loss. Both teams have more work to do - especially Stanford's play selection - should have kept running the ball.

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