SAN FRANCISCO — It was one of Notre Dame's signature moments last fall, the goal line stand in overtime against Stanford. Stepfan Taylor needed less than a yard to tie the game and he was denied twice, though depending on who you talk to the ball crossed the plan on his second attempt.
Tommy Rees led the comeback after Everett Golson was injured, and threw the game-winning touchdown to T.J. Jones. It teed Notre Dame up for its run to the BCS Championship, one that was filled with victories just like it.
But the opponent, atmosphere and pressure of the game all combined to make the game one of the more intense contests Notre Dame played in last year.
"It was unbelievable," Rees said. "It was a great moment at Notre Dame Stadium, a great moment for us and the team and our fans. Definitely a special memory for us."
Rees didn't watch the goal line stand go down as it happened, only relying on the noise of the crowd as he prepped for what would've been another offensive possession had Taylor not been stopped by Manti Te'o, Louis Nix & Co. Offensive lineman Zack Martin had his eyes on the field, though, and remembers the delirium of rushing the field — then a lengthy review to determine if Taylor actually got the ball in the end zone.
"It was just a good old fashioned football game, two hard-nosed teams going at it," Martin said. "We made one more play at the end, but obviously one of the more fun games we've been a part of, and something we'll remember."
It's been over 13 months since the meeting in South Bend, though given some of coach David Shaw's remarks after the game perhaps he's pumping up the revenge factor this week in Palo Alto. Martin, though, said he's not worried about that providing an extra boost for the Cardinal on Saturday.
"They come to play every week," Martin said. "So whether they would've won last year or not we know they're going to be ready to play and be ready to give us their best football."