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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, October 15, 2016 8:33 pm

Notre Dame loses to Stanford

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

SOUTH BEND – A wacky season for Notre Dame took another strange turn Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium.

After quarterback DeShone Kizer’s second interception, he sat out three drives before re-entering to lead an ultimately fruitless final series as the Irish lost 17-10 to a Stanford team that was playing without star halfback Christian McCaffrey.

Notre Dame dropped to 2-5, its hopes of reaching a bowl game looking ever grimmer.

But the odd part was the Irish had led 10-0 at halftime, getting impact plays from a much-maligned defense and watching Kizer rack up 85 yards and a TD on the ground.

The Cardinal (4-2) got back into the game on a 50-yard interception return for a score by Quenton Meeks early in the third quarter. On the next Irish possession, Kizer made an ill-advised throw under pressure that sailed nowhere near a receiver but instead right to Cardinal safety Dallas Lloyd.

That’s when Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly cast light on a possible crack in his one-quarterback commitment, a pledge made after Kizer and Malik Zaire had shared time in the season opener at Texas.

Zaire led three drives on Saturday night, and they resulted in two punts and a safety that cut Notre Dame’s advantage to 10-9.

Stanford, which snapped a streak of the home team winning four straight in this rivalry, then went ahead with 10:38 to play on a fumble recovery in the end zone by junior center Jesse Burkett.

That play was followed by Bryce Love taking a two-point conversion pitch into the end zone on a misdirection play, fitting because Love was the star of the game filling in for one of the biggest stars in college football. McCaffrey, the 2015 Heisman Trophy finalist, sat out to rest an injury suffered in last week’s blowout loss to Washington State.

Love ran 23 times for 129 yards and had a 9-yard catch.

“Defensively, we won the game,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “Keep playing hard and good things can happen.

“We knew what we had in Bryce, and when Christian couldn’t play, he did a heck of a job. (McCaffrey) was probably one of the loudest guys in the locker room after the victory."

Notes: Starting right guard Colin McGovern was a late pregame scratch for the Irish with an injury that was not immediately disclosed. … Kizer finished 14 for 26 with 154 yards and the two picks. He had an 8-yard TD run in the first quarter, and Justin Yoon hit a 29-yard field goal in the second.