College football: Stanford 45, Notre Dame 38
STANFORD, Calif.ó Toby Gerhart turned what could be Charlie Weis’ final game as Notre Dame coach into his own Heisman Trophy infomercial.
Gerhart ran for 205 yards and three scores, threw an 18-yard touchdown pass and scored the game-winning touchdown with 59 seconds left to help Stanford hand Weis and the Fighting Irish a fourth straight loss to end the regular season, 45-38 Saturday night.
On a night when Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate put on an aerial show for the Irish (6-6) in a showcase for Weis’ offense, it was Gerhart who won the game for Stanford (8-4) and possibly earned a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist in two weeks.
He threw his touchdown pass to Ryan Whalen on fourth-and-4 to help the Cardinal tie the game early in the fourth quarter and then won it with his 4-yard run in the final minute.
After Stanford stopped Robert Hughes on third-and-2 from the Irish 35 with less than 6 minutes left, Gerhart carried seven times for 54 yards on the winning drive, bowling over would-be tacklers before scoring his 26th rushing touchdown of the season. The fans chanted “To-by! To-by!” throughout the drive.
Clausen and Tate weren’t done, driving to the 24 before Chase Thomas sacked Clausen at the 31. On the final play, Clausen’s desperation heave into the end zone was batted down by Michael Thomas, giving Stanford its first win against Notre Dame since 2001.
Weis could be done too after falling to 35-27 in five seasons as Irish coach. He was set to go back to Indiana with the team instead of going on a recruiting trip as originally planned and will meet soon with athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
“We’ll engage in the evaluation in earnest following this game and we’ll go from there,” Swarbrick said before the game, adding that no potential candidates have been contacted.
Weis, who has six years left on a 10-year contract signed midway through his first season, took a 35-26 record into the game against Stanford in five years as Irish head coach. His .565 winning percentage is worse than the .583 marks that got his two predecessors.