Watch: Did Stanford score on illegal play against Notre Dame?


Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Stanford’s use of extra tight ends and offensive linemen can overpower and confuse opposing defenses. But did the Cardinal get away with an illegal play on Saturday night? That may be the case.

When Stanford tight end Austin Hooper caught a 10-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, he appears to be covered up by offensive lineman David Bright to his right. If Bright and Hooper are both on the line of scrimmage, only Bright would be eligible to catch a pass downfield.

Unless it’s determined that Bright — who appears as close to the line of scrimmage as Stanford’s left guard and left tackle — was a player off the line of scrimmage, Hooper should have been declared an ineligible receiver. On the TV broadcast, Bright does not noticeably signal to a referee after leaving the huddle that he is lining up off the line of scrimmage.

The apparently illegal play helps explain why Notre Dame’s defenders didn’t immediately follow Hooper once he released from blocking Irish defensive end Isaac Rochell.

Watch the video below to see Stanford’s alignment and decide for yourself. Should this play have drawn a penalty? I think so.

Hogan + Hooper = #Touchdown Live now on @FOXTV.

— Stanford Athletics (@GoStanford) November 29, 2015

If you can't view the video on your device, head to the 1:46 mark here:

Stanford tight end Austin Hooper, top right, celebrates his touchdown catch with teammates Johnny Caspers (57) and Casey Tucker (77) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford won 38-36. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)