STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Audric Estimé ran for a career-high 238 yards to go with four touchdowns, and No. 17 Notre Dame overcame three first-half turnovers and beat Stanford 56-23 on Saturday.

Estimé, the first Notre Dame back to have 200 or more yards on the ground since Dexter Williams in 2018, had scoring runs of 39, 6, 5 and 25 yards in his fifth game this season of 100 yards or more.

The 225-pound junior broke the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 18. Allen Pinkett had the mark previously with 17 in 1984. Estimé also moved up six spots to No. 11 on Notre Dame's all-time list with 2,321 rushing yards.

He’ll have at least one more game in a Notre Dame uniform before deciding whether to return for another year in college or head for the NFL.

“What a tough, physical, special football player,” Irish coach Marcus Freeman said. “Obviously he’ll have a decision to make after the season on what he’s going to do. He is a special talent that has given Notre Dame everything he’s had for the past three seasons.”

Estimé said he found motivation earlier this week when he was left off the list of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, given out annually to the best running back in college.

“I’m not going to lie, I definitely feel like I’m one of the best running backs in the country, if not the best,” Estimé said. “I definitely want other people to notice. After today, I feel like a lot of people will notice.”

Javontae Jean-Baptiste added a 60-yard touchdown return off a blocked field goal as the Irish (9-3) won at Stanford for the third straight time. Sam Hartman passed for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

Under first-year coach Troy Taylor, the Cardinal (3-9) finished winless at home in a non-COVID year for the first time since 2006.

“I’m indebted to them, and I told them we will be champions here. It will happen,” Taylor said. “Obviously didn’t happen this year. Some of them won’t be here physically when it happens, but they are a part of it.”

Notre Dame is headed in the opposite direction. The Irish have won four of five as they await their bowl invitation.

The Irish trailed 16-14 midway through the second quarter but responded by scoring touchdowns on five straight offensive possessions, followed by Jean-Baptiste’s score on special teams, before Stanford found the end zone midway through the fourth.

Joshua Karty kicked three field goals for Stanford, including a 56-yarder that is the longest by any kicker at Stanford Stadium since it was renovated in 2006. E.J. Smith had seven catches for 116 yards for the Cardinal.


Notre Dame: The Irish came out sputtering on both sides early but eventually took off. Estimé is a hard-running, physical back who doesn’t shy away from contact.

Stanford: The Cardinal appeared to have a chance at the upset but lost momentum before halftime and never recovered.


Notre Dame: The Irish could end up in the ReliaQuest Bowl, previously known as the Outback Bowl. Bowl matchups will be announced Dec. 3.

Stanford: That’s it for the Cardinal until next year. This season was marked by four blowout losses. A double-overtime win at Colorado after trailing by 29 points was the highlight.


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