STANFORD — Wayne Lyons intercepted two passes from Tommy Rees late in the fourth quarter, and No. 8 Stanford held off No. 25 Notre Dame 27-20 on Saturday night in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Cardinal (10-2) overcame two interceptions from Kevin Hogan and a penalty that wiped away another touchdown to win their 16th consecutive home game. Stanford will play for its second consecutive Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl berth next week when it faces No. 13 Arizona State in the conference championship game.
If Arizona State beat rival Arizona later Saturday night, the conference championship will be in Tempe, Ariz. Otherwise it will be at Stanford, which handed the Sun Devils their only league loss this season.
The final tuneup for that game turned out to be another tough test.
Tyler Gaffney ran for 189 yards and a touchdown, and Hogan threw for 158 yards and TD pass to Devon Cajuste to help the Cardinal take a 21-6 lead in the third quarter.
Rees nearly rallied the Fighting Irish (8-4) by throwing two touchdown passes later in the quarter. But interceptions on Notre Dame's final two drives dashed Notre Dame's come back.
Stanford relied on its power running game to control the tempo throughout, but blew several chances to pull away.
Gaffney plowed through the Irish line from a yard out to give the Cardinal a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter. The bunched formation was similar to the one Notre Dame stopped Stepfan Taylor on last year to win in overtime, a stinging loss that the Cardinal regrouped from to roll off eight straight victories, including the Pac-12 title and the Rose Bowl.
Backup Anthony Wilkerson capped the opening drive of the second half in similar fashion. He ran for a 20-yard TD run on third-and-9 to put Stanford ahead 21-6.