"When he gets going north, he's a load to bring down," Irish coach Charlie Weis said. Hughes had 298 yards rushing this season, with 246 of those coming in the last two games.
***Stop in the name of Laws
Fifth-year senior defensive end Trevor Laws made eight tackles Saturday. Laws, who has 211 career tackles, passed Courtney Watson, Greg Collins and Brandon Hoyte on Notre Dame's all-time tackles list. Laws had 112 tackles this season, coming up one short of the all-time Notre Dame record for tackles in a season by a defensive lineman.
The fifth-year senior missed several plays near the end of the game after spraining his foot.
"Everyone knows I would have had [the record] if I didn't get hurt," he said. Laws also blocked a Stanford field goal in the first quarter. The block was the third of the season for Laws and the sixth of his career. "It tipped my left hand. I didn't know if I got enough, but when I turned around and saw that it was short I was like ‘yes!"
On the last play of the first half, Stanford threw a Hail Mary which was intercepted by Irish junior safety David Bruton. Bruton was about to be tackled, but he handed the ball to fellow safety Tom Zbikowski, who pitched it to cornerback Darrin Walls, who tossed it back to Zbikowski who ran into the end zone for a touchdown. The play appeared to give the Irish a 20-14 lead, but it was called back for a personal foul on Laws. The defensive end said after the game that he isn't sure what he did wrong.
"It was a controversial flag," Laws said. "I think [the referee] forgot the play was still going on."
***Missed Field Goals
The Irish and Cardinal were a combined 0-for-5 on field goals Saturday, including four misses by Stanford kicker Derek Belch.
Fifth-year senior halfback Travis Thomas scored on his only carry of the game, a 1-yard plunge in the second quarter. The touchdown was Thomas' fifth of the year in just 27 carries.
***Interception-less Streak BrokenFreshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen found himself under pressure and threw an interception to Stanford defensive lineman Emmanuel Awofadeju in the fourth quarter. It was his first interception in 101 pass attempts.
"That was the one play [by Clausen] where I said ‘what were you doing?" Weis said of the play.
The announced attendance at Saturday's game was 48,953 in 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium, although there were plenty of empty seats. The game was the second that Notre Dame has played in this season that was not officially sold out. The first was UCLA.
Notre Dame won the coin toss and elected to receive.