The Fighting Irish improved to 5-0 for just the third time since Lou Holtz left in 1996. The other two times were in 2002, when they started 8-0 in Tyrone Willingham's first year as coach, and two seasons ago, when they had an undefeated regular season. The Cardinal (3-2) have two losses this early in the season for the first time since opening 1-2 in 2008 in Jim Harbaugh's second season as coach.
Golson also threw a 17-yard TD pass to Chris Brown and Notre Dame amassed 370 yards of total offense against the nation's top defense. The game wasn't as exciting as Notre Dame's 20-13 overtime victory two years ago on a goal-line stand, but it was close.
The Irish defense held the Cardinal to 139 yards total offense and just 47 yards rushing. Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery, who entered the game averaging 69 yards a game receiving, was held to four catches for 12 yards. But he did have a 42-yard kickoff return that helped set up a Stanford touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Stanford entered the game giving up 198 yards a game total offense and had given up only two runs of 25 yards or more. The Irish had 192 yards total offense at halftime and Golson had a career-long 33-yard run to set up a touchdown and C.J. Prosise had a 26-yard run that set up a scoring chance. Amir Carlisle had a 26-yard catch.
Golson was 20-of-43 passing for 241 yards with one interception and a fumble a week after having four turnovers against Syracuse. Kevin Hogan was 18 of 36 for 158 yards with two interceptions.
Notre Dame had a chance to take the lead with 12 minutes left in the game, but holder Hunter Smith bungled the snap on a 27-yard try. Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza kicked the ball into the line and Stanford's A.J. Tarpley returned it 39 yards to the Stanford 44. The Irish also had a failed field goal attempt in the first quarter when Smith bobbled another snap and Brindza missed wide right on a 41-yard attempt.
Notre Dame, which entered the game 2.5-point underdogs, won at home for the 16th time in the last 17 games.