Notre Dame entered halftime against Stanford in a place it hadn't been all season – trailing.
The No. 17 Cardinal leads the No. 7 Irish 10-3 thanks to a defensive touchdown and a field goal in the closing seconds of the half.
Stanford, which trailed 3-0 after the first quarter, got to Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson with just more than 6 minutes left in the first half.
After Golson ran out of bounds for a 6-yard loss, putting Notre Dame at its 4, he was sacked in the end zone by Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner and had the ball pop out.
Cardinal linebacker Chase Thomas recovered the ball for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead with 6:06 to play in the first half. It was the first time Notre Dame had trailed all season.
Golson bounced back on the next drive, leading the Irish 77 yards to the Cardinal's 10. The sophomore quarterback ran for 31 yards on the drive, but he did miss a wide open DaVaris Daniels on the drive's fourth play that could have led to a touchdown.
After getting the Irish to the Cardinal 10 though, Notre Dame had to attempt a field goal, but the snap sailed over holder Ben Turk's head leaving Stanford with a 7-3 lead with 1:34 to play in the half.
Stanford, which found success by picking up the pace on its first drive of the second quarter, pushed its way to Notre Dame's 30-yard line, and Jordan Williamson connected on a career-long 48-yard field goal as time expired in the half.
The Cardinal, which opened the second quarter facing a second-and-6, was able to move from its 29 to the Irish's 8, but Stanford had to take two timeouts to get there and was helped by a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty called on defensive end Stephon Tuitt.
Tuitt made up for the penalty though by getting a hand on Jordan Williamson's 25-yard field goal attempt that preserved Notre Dame's 3-0 lead.
Both teams finished the opening half with seven first downs with the Cardinal holding an edge in yards, 153 to 106.
Golson went 6 for 16 for 61 yards and was sacked twice in the opening half, but he did show promise after taking the sack and losing the ball in the end zone.
It will be tough to move the ball in the second half, but at least, the Irish will receive the kickoff and have the first chance to strike in the third quarter.