When Charlie Weis stormed into South Bend with Super Bowl rings on his fingers and proclaimed that 6-5 was unacceptable most Notre Dame fans were tricked into believing that Charlie was the savior. Under Weis Notre Dame thought they would never be out coached, but Ken Niumatalolo and Randy Edsall proved that they were better than Weis this season when it came to X's and O's. Notre Dame has played in enough close games this year where certain coaching decisions could result in the Irish winning or losing. Stanford's 45-38 victory over Notre Dame proved that sound coaching decisions are not overrated.
This game came down to how each coach would choose to use their star player in certain situations. Golden Tate finished the game with 10 catches for 201 yards and 3 TD's. Toby Gerhart ran the ball 29 times for 205 yards and 3 TD's. Harbaugh chose to feed Gerhart the ball in crunch time and Weis made a decision to not give the ball to Tate in the most crucial situation in the game. Two things were crystal clear in this football game. Notre Dame could not stop Gerhart and Stanford had no chance of covering Tate. On 3rd and 2 Weis decided to hand the ball off to RB Robert Hughes who was stopped for no gain instead of throwing the ball on the outside to Golden Tate. Stanford got the ball back with 5:48 left on the clock and Harbaugh gave the ball to Gerhart on 7/10 plays.
The Cardinal DB's played 10-15 yards off of Tate the entire night. Harbaugh proved that he had no faith in his defense when he went for it on 4th and four and proceeded to go for the two-point conversion after Ryan Whalen caught a TD pass from Gerhart. The Irish offense had dominated the Stanford defense so much that Harbaugh was convinced that he could not kick a field goal and expect his defense to stop Notre Dame and give his offense another possession. Charlie's decision to hand the ball to Hughes resulted in putting the victory on a silver platter for the Cardinal.
Jim Harbaugh should be given a lot of credit for getting his team prepared to play their hearts out against Notre Dame after dropping a very tough game to the California Golden Bears in the "Big Game" one week ago. Harbaugh put his stamp on this game on a 4th and 4 call when the whole world knew the ball was going to Gerhart and he called a HB pass that resulted in a TD. That one play will result in getting more job offers and College and NFL teams might empty their vaults for Harbaugh's services. After the performance he put on in a Prime Time Game it would be a travesty if Toby Gerhart is not in New York as one of the finalist for the Heisman Trophy.