Not a bad afternoon for the Pac-12 out of conference, as only a disputed goal-line call in overtime denied Stanford a possible upset at Notre Dame, and Oregon State continued to shock the world, hanging a 42-24 defeat on Brigham Young.
Gotta give it up to Cody Vaz, the OSU quarterback, who was making his first career start in place of Sean Mannion. How’d that go? He was 20 of 32 for 332 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. A huge, 21-point fourth quarter allowed the Beavers to get to 5-0 — for the first time since 1939.
Meanwhile, Stanford hung toe-to-toe with a Notre Dame team that had allowed but 39 points in its five games. The game went to overtime at 13-all, and then the Irish climbed out of a deep down-and-distance hole with a couple of improbable completions to score and go ahead 20-13.
Back came Stanford, which overcame its own long-yardage situation to get a first down. Eventually, on fourth-and-one, the Cardinal piled Stepfan Taylor into the line, where he was clearly stopped on his first effort. But Taylor kept writhing and slipped through a crease in the humanity, and, as he apparently lay on bodies, stuck the ball over the goal-line.
Officials on the field ruled Taylor short, and as the Irish celebrated wildly, it went to the replay booth. A replay appeared to show Taylor indeed scored, and even if you fall back on the indisputable-video-evidence mandate, it looked enough to overturn the initial decision. The major caveat is whether officials blew the whistle before he got over, in which case they could have nullified Taylor’s final surge.
Both Pac-12 teams were underdogs, and Notre Dame had the psychological edge of having lost to Stanford three straight times.