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Drive Charting: ND vs. Stanford

Oct 16, 2012, 11:29 AM EDT

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The Fighting Irish improved to 6-0 with an overtime victory over Stanford in the rain on Saturday. The weather wasn’t the only obstacle to overcome. Notre Dame trailed for the first time all season when the Cardinal recovered an Everett Golson fumble in the end zone in the second quarter. The Irish faced a field position deficit throughout the game and lost the turnover battle by one.

On 23 occasions since 2002, the Irish faced a field position deficit, a turnover deficit, and a halftime deficit on the scoreboard. The victory over Stanford this weekend was only the second time in that span that they overcame all three to win. (A 24-17 win over Wake Forest last season was the only other such victory in the last decade). Dating back to a 2010 victory over USC, Notre Dame has won five of its last seven games in which it had both a turnover and field position deficit.

The second half surge against the Cardinal was keyed on both sides of the ball. The Irish defense forced Stanford into a three-and-out on each of its first three second half possessions and with a goal line stand in overtime, continued its remarkable run of four straight games without surrendering a touchdown. The Irish offense had a slow second half start before kicking it into gear and dominating down the stretch, covering 227 yards on 32 plays in its last four possessions including the overtime game-winning touchdown.

Brian Fremeau (’99) is a college football writer, stats analyst, and data visualization designer. His work regularly appears at ESPN Insider, ESPN the Magazine, Football Outsiders, and on his own site, BCF Toys. He develops and publishes numerous possession-based statistics including the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a college football rating system based on opponent-adjusted drive efficiency. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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