Football Writers Association of America Nov. 30, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
Cardinal stuns Notre Dame on final-play field goal
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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.

Notre 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 kick.

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 yards.

"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 AutoNation’s 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.

About 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

2015 AutoNation National Teams of the Week
• Weekend of Sept. 5: Temple Owls
• Weekend of Sept. 12: Toledo Rockets
• Weekend of Sept. 19: Ole Miss Rebels
• Weekend of Sept. 26: Utah Utes
• Weekend of Oct. 3: Florida Gators
• Weekend of Oct. 10: Texas Longhorns
• Weekend of Oct. 17: Memphis Tigers
• Weekend of Oct. 24: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
• Weekend of Oct. 31: Iowa State Cyclones
• Weekend of Nov. 7: Navy Midshipmen
• Weekend of Nov. 14: Oklahoma Sooners
• Weekend of Nov. 21: Michigan State Spartans
• Weekend of Nov. 28: Stanford Cardinal
• Weekend of Dec. 5: Clemson Tigers