September 3, 2011

Quick Reads: Stanford-SJSU

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By Willys DeVoll
SJSU Spartans

With Week 1 of the Stanford football season now complete, we take a fast look at the game and how its statistics, narratives and overall importance fit into the 5-month grind of the 2011 Cardinal football campaign. Here are your first Quick Reads of the fall:

  • 57-3. Although every game warrants analysis and reflection, let’s keep in mind that a 54-point massacre can only say so much about the victor. (So much for Stanford not covering the 30-point spread.)
  • That said, the final score will send a statement around the Pac-12 and the country. Despite its 2010 success and its all-universe quarterback, Stanford is still–perception-wise–the little brianiac school that could. The more points the Card can score from now until December, the better off the team will be in media and coaches’ polls.
  • From a purely statistical standpoint, only one Card’s line will stand out. That man is Chris Owusu. The wide receiver that battled injuries through much of last season caught 7 balls for 76 yards. And while none of those catches were huge plays, his lone kick return went for 59 yards. That kind of explosion will play a substantial role if Stanford has a BCS bowl year once again.
  • The man of every hour during which Stanford is on the field, Andrew Luck, completed 65% of his 26 passes and compiled 171 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns. On the ground, he chipped in another 9 yards and a touchdown on 2 carries. But if there’s one certain thing this year, it’s the virtually assured excellence of Luck. Moving along, then…
  • The Cardinal’s offensive line looked shaky at times, and San Jose State took advantage of the blocking’s struggles several times before getting into the Stanford backfield. Holes for the running backs weren’t as large as they were for much for 2010, and the final rushing numbers showed it. Stanford picked up 141 total rushing yards on the afternoon, but top 2 backs Stepfan Taylor and Anthony Wilkerson did not turn in the kind of games one might have expected them to against SJSU. Taylor took 18 carries for 61 yards and two scores, while Wilkerson turned 8 carries into 14 yards.
  • Tyler Gaffney and Jeremy Stewart rushed for 23 and 17 yards, respectively. Gaffney scored a touchdown, the 6th rushing touchdown and 8th overall TD of his career.
  • Give SJSU starting quarterback Matt Faulkner some credit. In his first game as QB1, the senior threw for 184 yards against competition far superior to the league he’ll face on most Saturdays this season. While he didn’t light up Stanford Stadium, he manufactured some productive stretches during the game.
  • Fun coincidence or philosophical foreshadowing? No wide receiver caught a touchdown pass on Saturday, but two tight ends and one h-back did. Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz combined for 78 yards and 2 scores, while Ryan Hewitt caught two passes for 15 yards and a touchdown to add to his 9 rushing yards.
  • True freshman receiver Ty Montgomery, who was not included on the Week 1 depth chart, recorded the first catch of his collegiate career and turned it into 9 yards before taking a licking from the opposition early in the second quarter.
  • Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas’s sack a few minutes before halftime was the only solo sack on the day for the Card. To make the play even sweeter for the home fans, it led to a fumble that, after a 37-yard recovery by Henry Anderson, got Stanford all the way to the SJSU 1 yard line. Three plays later, Luck finished the deal with a touchdown pass to Hewitt.
  • Ben Gardner and Trent Murphy teamed up to record the other Stanford sack for a 5-yard SJSU loss.
  • Isn’t it weird to see Stanford’s helmets without any axe stickers?
  • Why are San Jose State’s uniforms so ugly?
  • It’s hard not to dig the new Tree:

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About the Author

Willys DeVoll
Willys DeVoll is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Axe. He writes about Stanford sports for and writes fiction, reviews and commentary elsewhere.


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