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November 27, 2005
Irish Survive Inspired Stanford To Qualify For BCS

Rally, sons of Notre Dame ...

The Fighting Irish finished their first season under Charlie Weis with a spirited comeback in the final minutes against Stanford to run their record to 9-2 and qualify for a BCS berth for the first time in years. The Irish put an exclamation point on an unexpectedly successful maiden season under Weis as the Golden Domers announced their return to national prominence:

Darius Walker ran 6 yards for the winning touchdown with 55 seconds remaining and took a direct snap to run in for the 2-point conversion, and the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish became all but assured of playing in one the four marquee bowl games with a 38-31 victory over Stanford on Saturday night.

Brady Quinn passed for 432 yards and three touchdowns but also threw two interceptions, and Notre Dame survived a wild final few minutes for its fifth straight victory since a 34-31 loss to No. 1 USC on Oct. 15. Walker ran for 191 yards on 37 carries.

The Irish (9-2) won seven of their final eight games under first-year coach Charlie Weis ...

I missed most of this game because I took the family out to see the latest Harry Potter film, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and then out for a late dinner. In fact, I only saw the final two minutes of the game, running inside the house when I heard that Stanford had scored late to go up by a point as we pulled into the driveway. Stanford's tough play did not surprise me at all. I saw them play the Irish at South Bend last year, when the Irish struggled to get past them at home, and I expected a tough game this year on the road.

This year, though, has seemed charmed for the Irish. They might have competed for a shot at the #3 slot if it hadn't been for an inability to win at Michigan State, a problem that has plagued Notre Dame for a decade and through three head coaches. As it is, they likely will play on New Year's Day, perhaps against the equally-admirable program at Penn State with the legendary Joe Paterno on the other sideline.

Now that will be one heck of a game!

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 27, 2005 9:26 AM

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