DALLAS (FWAA) On a weekend full of rivalries
and drama, the last featured game may have been the best as the
Stanford Cardinal captured the nation's attention
and altered the season's course toward the College Football Playoff
with a 38-36 home win over Notre Dame. In front of a sellout crowd
of 51,424, Conrad Ukropina, a former walk-on who only earned a scholarship
earlier this season, kicked a 45-yard field goal as time expired
for the win that also earned the Cardinal the AutoNation
National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend
of Nov. 28.
Dame took the lead 36-35 with 30 seconds left on a short rushing
touchdown. But in a game that had eight lead changes six in the
second half the last one would belong to Stanford. Aided by a
Notre Dame facemask penalty on the final drive's first play, Stanford
quarterback Kevin Hogan then hit Devon Cajuste down the middle of
the field for 27 yards, putting the Cardinal at the Notre Dame 30
with 10 seconds left. Two plays later Ukropina nailed the game-winning
The win likely knocked Notre Dame out of the College Football
Playoff contention, and perhaps put Stanford (10-2) back into consideration.
The Cardinal face USC in the Pac-12 Championship game Saturday in
Santa Clara, Calif.
Hogan was an efficient 17-of-21 passing for 269 yards and four
touchdowns, one of them to Cajuste, who had five catches for 125
"At some point in this game, it was going to come down to making
a play to win the game," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "Didn't
know if it was going to be offense, defense or special teams. But
we kept our minds in it, we got up, we didn't change, we got down,
we didn't change. They scored late at the end. Great. But we had
time. I challenge anybody to find a better two-minute quarterback
in the nation than what Kevin has done this year. At the end of
halves and at the end of the game. It's been outstanding."
Stanford has now won four straight home games against Notre Dame
for the first time in the 30-game series, and the two-point margin
was the closest in series history. Stanford has now won at least
10 games in five of the last six seasons, and has scored 30 or more
points in a national-best 11 consecutive games.
This is the sixth time for Stanford to earn the FWAA's National
Team of the Week honor and the fourth time in the last five seasons
for the Cardinal.
Other AutoNation National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend
of Nov. 28 included:
Iowa (12-0): The Hawkeyes completed their
first 12-0 regular season in school history with a 28-20 win
at Nebraska, setting a school record for wins in only their
fifth undefeated regular season in history. Iowa found a way
to win despite being outgained (433-250 total yards), yielding
13 more minutes of possession time and going 0-for-9 on third
downs. Yet Iowa is 8-0 in the Big Ten for the second time under
Kirk Ferentz (also in 2002) and takes on Michigan State in the
Big Ten Championship game on Saturday.
Ohio State (11-1): The Buckeyes ran over
Michigan 42-13 in Ann Arbor, dominating their annual rivalry
game and staying in the College Football Playoff discussion.
Ezekiel Elliott ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback
J.T. Barrett had 19 carries for a season-high 139 yards as Ohio
State rushed almost at will for 369 yards.
As part of AutoNations history of charitable involvement, AutoNation
will donate $1,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)
in the Stanford University's name. This charitable college football
initiative culminates with the AutoNation Cure Bowl, a new post-season
NCAA football game that kicks off bowl season at the Citrus Bowl
Stadium in Orlando, Fla., and will be aired by CBS Sports Network.
The aptly named AutoNation Cure Bowl also serves as a fund raiser
for the BCRF, CharityWatch's only A+ rated breast cancer organization
in the country.
"We want to celebrate the very best of college football, while
also helping to raise awareness for the importance of finding a
cure for cancer," says AutoNation CMO Marc Cannon. "This season-long
partnership with the FWAA, leading up to the AutoNation Cure Bowl,
puts a spotlight on a cause that we're determined to tackle."
"In our 75th season of existence, this a marvelous platform to
get our players and the team of the week series excellent exposure
as well as helping AutoNation in its effort to fight cancer and
contribute to the educational funds of deserving student-athletes,"
said FWAA 2015 President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald.
"It is very exciting to be able to help our organization as well
as others in this splendid effort."
The Football Writers Association of America has named a national
team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the first season
AutoNation has presented the award. Members of the FWAA All-America
Committee decide the weekly honor. Each remaining Monday during
the 2015 college football regular season, the FWAA will name a National
Team of the Week. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide
the weekly honor.
AutoNation is also the presenting sponsor of the FWAA's national
offensive and defensive players of the week announced each
Tuesday, the 2015 FWAA All-America Team and the 75th Anniversary
FWAA All-America Team. The 2015 AutoNation FWAA All-America Team
will be announced at the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 19.
About AutoNation, Inc.:
AutoNation is transforming
the automotive retail industry through bold leadership. We deliver
a peerless automotive retail experience through our customer-focused
sales and service processes. Owning and operating 293 new vehicle
franchises, which sell 35 new vehicle brands across 15 states, AutoNation
is America's largest automotive retailer, with state-of-the-art
operations and the ability to leverage economies of scale that benefit
the customer. As an indication of our leadership position in our
industry, AutoNation is a component of the S&P 500 Index.
the AutoNation Cure Bowl:
The AutoNation Cure Bowl a
new post-season NCAA football game whose net proceeds benefit the
Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The AutoNation Cure Bowl takes
place December 19 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, and will be broadcast
by CBS Sports Network. The bowl is scheduled to involve teams from
the American Athletic and Sun Belt conferences.
About the Football Writers Association of America:
Founded in 1941, the FWAA consists of 1,400 men and women who cover
college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters
and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that
involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day
operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more
information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.