Everett Golson throws game-winner to take down Stanford

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Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson committed two turnovers and completed fewer than half his passes, but he did hit on his final throw of the game Saturday and that enabled the Irish to edge Stanford 17-14 on a cold, rainy and windy day.

Golson hit tight end Ben Koyack for a 23-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-11 play with 1:01 left for the winning score, which helped Notre Dame improve to 5-0.

Golson was just 20-of-43 in the air -- his first game completing less than half his passes in 13 outings, since early in the 2012 season -- but the completions went for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Stanford came in allowing a nation's-low 74.0 passing yards per game; the Cardinal also had surrendered just one touchdown pass in its first four games.

Golson was helped tremendously by his defense and -- truth be told -- by a middling Stanford offense. Stanford finished with just 205 total yards, including only 47 through the air. Part of that was good defense by the Irish, part uninspiring play-calling by Stanford. The Cardinal has scored just 44 points in three games against Power Five opponents (including the Irish).

Notre Dame sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith was dominant, finishing with a career-high 14 tackles to go with a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Golson has accounted for 17 touchdowns through five games; he accounted for 18 in 13 games in 2012, when he guided the Irish to a loss in the BCS national championship game. He also has committed six turnovers in the past two games, but the Irish have won both.

The Irish play host to North Carolina next week, then travel to play Florida State on Oct. 18 in a game that should shape the race for the four-team College Football Playoff.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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