SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Everett Golson had to sit on the sidelines and watch as Notre Dame pulled off a thrilling overtime win over Stanford on Saturday. But it wasn't for the reason he was yanked in two previous games.
As time ran down with Notre Dame needing three points to tie in the fourth, Golson was knocked out of the game on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Stanford defensive back Usua Amanam.
"Blow to the head and his vision was blurred," coach Brian Kelly said of Golson's injury. "And he wanted to get back in, and our medical personnel would not clear him."
The long-term diagnosis for Golson isn't clear, although if he suffered a concussion it could keep him on the sidelines for at least the near future. If that's the case, any missed time will come on the heels of what may have been a turning point for the young quarterback's confidence.
"What I was really proud of, and I hope you'll take notice of this, Everett hit a point there where his dauber was down a little bit, his confidence was a bit shaken, and he came back with a great drive and did some really good things," Kelly said. "Whereas, when he had that situation against Michigan, we really had to move in another direction. He fought through that and made a big step today. He made some plays, he helped us win this football game."
At the half, Golson had completed six of 16 passes for 61 yards. More importantly, though, he held on to the ball too long in the end zone on a third-and-16 and was sacked, resulting in a fumble Stanford recovered in Notre Dame's end zone for its only touchdown of the day.
"If I had a chance, I'd take that one back," Kelly said of the play call to have Golson pass. "If I had to do it all over again, I would have taken that one back."
After that fumble, Golson led Notre Dame into field goal range, but didn't get any points out of it when Jordan Cowart's snap sailed high through holder Ben Turk's hands.
"He responded great," Tommy Rees, who entered the game after Golson was hurt in the fourth, said. "He's got a good head on his shoulders, he put it behind him in short-term memory and found a way to keep it in the offense."
It wasn't until late in the third quarter when Golson really took off, though. He capped a 52-yard scoring drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert that tied things up at 10, the first touchdown he's thrown to the All-American tight end since Week 1.
"He was feeling more comfortable with the rush," Kelly said. "Obviously he's learning about a pressure situation where they are just four down, where you have to slide in the pocket. I was really proud of him today. He grew up. I know it wasn't as clean and the numbers, you can analyze them and say well, he didn't play well.
"All I can tell you is that in his growth, he did some things for me as a head coach that allow us to keep progressing with Everett."