Best start for Stan­ford since 1986

Los Angeles Times - - Usc Game Report - wire re­ports

Owen Mare­cic en­joyed his trip to the end zone so much that he wasted no time get­ting back.

Mare­cic, who plays of­fense and de­fense, scored on a run and an in­ter­cep­tion re­turn 13 sec­onds apart Satur­day, help­ing No. 16 Stan­ford to a 37-14 vic­tory over Notre Dame at South Bend, Ind. The Car­di­nal is 4-0 for the first time since 1986.

“He’s the per­fect foot­ball player,” Stan­ford Coach Jim Har­baugh said. “You’ve just got to take your hat off to him and en­joy watch­ing him. I sure do.”

There was plenty for Har­baugh to en­joy.

Nate Whi­taker tied a Car­di­nal record with five field goals, from 24, 41, 36, 33 and 29 yards. The vic­tory was Stan­ford’s third in South Bend and first since 1992. And the Car­di­nal has won two in a row against Notre Dame (1-3), a first in a se­ries that dates to the 1925 Rose Bowl.

Notre Dame got only a field goal off three turnovers — in­clud­ing An­drew Luck’s first two in­ter­cep­tions of the sea­son — as it lost its third con­sec­u­tive game and sev­enth in its last eight. The de­feat also was Notre Dame’s 11th in a row against top 25 teams, with five of those com­ing at home.

“They’re not go­ing any­where,” Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly said of his play­ers. “They’re go­ing to be back next week and they’re go­ing to strap it back up and they’re go­ing to fight and play as hard as they can. We’re go­ing to build this pro­gram to where it needs to be.”

Luck and Stan­ford didn’t look quite as sharp as the team that piled up 155 points in the first three games, with Luck throw­ing more than one in­ter­cep­tion for the first time in 16 starts. But the Car­di­nal sim­ply over­whelmed the Ir­ish, pil­ing up 404 yards on of­fense and sti­fling any hint of a Notre Dame rally.

Dayne Crist fin­ished with 304 yards pass­ing, but the Ir­ish couldn’t get into the end zone un­til there was 6:01 left and the game was well out of hand.

at No. 14 Ari­zona 10, Cal­i­for­nia 9: Nick Foles threw a three-yard touch­down pass to Juron Criner with just over a minute to play to lift the Wild­cats (4-0, 1-0 Pa­cific 10) in the con­fer­ence opener for both teams.

Gior­gio Tavec­chio kicked three field goals for the Bears (2-2, 0-1), but he also missed twice. His sec­ond miss, from 40 yards with Cal ahead, 9-3, with just over two min­utes to play, could have sealed the game. But Foles and the Wild­cats took over and drove 77 yards in seven plays, high­lighted by a 52yard pass to Criner.

The Golden Bears led, 6-0, at half­time be­hind two field goals by Tavec­chio.

A STEP BE­HIND:

Jonathan Daniel

Notre Dame’s Brian Smith, left, can’t keep Stan­ford’s Coby Fleener from scor­ing.

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