Best start for Stanford since 1986
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.