I chose this picture not because it looks cool, but to show that, yes Virginia, Stanford does have fans that go to games at Stanford Stadium (despite what you might have seen in the second half).
Well that was kind of strange.
Remember how Stanford ran circles around their opponents offensively last year? Or how special teams was basically limited to Nate Whitaker kicking FGs and Stanford receiving punts? Yeah, we probably aren't in for an encore performance, and it only took one game for it to show.
Make no mistake, despite the final score showing Stanford pulverizing San Jose State 57-3, Stanford really was not as good a team as they could have been. Some things that may make you cringe:
- Stanford scored 28 points off of SJSU errors; without those points, Stanford wins 29-3 (and Stanford's first points were controversial enough that it's debatable whether the ball was intercepted in the end zone on the previous play by an SJSU defender)
- The run game was almost non-existent
- New punter David Green squibbed a punt (what's that?) from within the Stanford 20-yard line that luckily made it to the 50
- Stanford made Cardiac Corner live up to its name, failing to reach the goal line on 1st and 2nd and Goal within the five, forcing Andrew Luck and Brett Nottingham to throw on 3rd and Goal
- Stanford only had 373 yards of total offense while allowing the Spartans 237; SJSU QB Matt Faulkner was actually outthrowing Luck in the first half
- The Cardinal was 5-13 on third down against a team that last year beat just one opponent
- The O-line was breached several times, allowing Luck to be blitzed and almost sacked a few times
That's the bad from yesterday. But what about the good?
- James Vaughters really is going to be a beast
- The D-line did a great job of stuffing the run
- Brett Nottingham has grown exponentially since last February, both in terms of his mental play and his throwing, and it's easy to see why the coaches have a difficult time choosing who is the backup QB
- While Stanford might not have been so great on third down, it was 2-2 on fourth down conversions
- Jordan Williamson connected on seven PATs and two FGs
- Chris Owusu had 135 all-purpose yards and caught 7 throws for 76 yards; perhaps just as importantly, Coby Fleener connected on three throws for 53 yards, including a long-bomb from Nottingham
- Despite the mass exodus of fans at halftime upon realizing the blowout was inevitable, Stanford Stadium sold over 47,000 tickets to the game; it was definitely more well-attended than last year's much maligned Arizona game
So what can we take away from yesterday's game? For me, at least, I'm very concerned with the offensive line. It didn't look nearly as dominant as last season, and I have a feeling that the youth on the line may have played a more-than-considerable part in Luck's less-than-stellar stats for the game. Also, Luck threw some rockets much harder than he should have and some balls he probably should have put more air under. The receiving corps also looked a little disheveled for a half. On defense, the secondary is an issue, but that is expected. I'm super proud of the defense for forcing so many punts as well as a safety, but they seemed very shaky there at points in the first half, giving up several unhindered third down conversions and allowing the Spartans to set up within field goal distance twice.
Stanford 57, San Jose State 3
The Pac-12 this week took a beating. And it wasn't anywhere near pretty.
ASU 48, UC Davis 14 - Vontaze Burfict went an entire game WITHOUT getting a flag?
Utah 27, Montana State 10 - When you don't score more than a FG in the second half and are held scoreless in the fourth quarter against a FCS team, it may be time to reevaluate your offensive plans
UCLA 34, Houston 38 - So much for all the happy-feely vibes we sent to the Bruins and Rick Neuheisal
USC 19, Minnesota 17 - You can break all the records you want, Barkley and Woods, but when you don't score points in the second half and allow one of the worst teams in the Big Ten to come back in your own stadium, you've got some 'splaining to do
Oregon State 28, Sacramento State 29 - Take solace in this, Beaver fans: when Stanford lost to UC Davis in 2005, they still managed to win five games in the season (that's comforting, right?)
Washington State 64, Idaho State 21 - Who knew the cost of getting a blowout was Jeff Tuel fracturing his clavicle?
Washington 30, Eastern Washington 27 - Needing a last-minute interception to win the game against a FCS opponent (even if they're defending national champions) is not the way to start the season
California 36, Fresno State 21 - The terror of the former Pac-10 is but a shadow of itself, giving Cal a relatively easy win at Candlestick
Oregon 27, LSU 40 - Chip Kelly knows you can draw plays that run to the sides as opposed to up the middle, right?
Arizona 41, Northern Arizona 10 - Perennial Arizona punching bag NAU takes a licking from the Wildcats, giving Nick Foles ample time to prepare for a rematch against Oklahoma State
Colorado 17, Hawai'i 34 - 19 games and counting, Buffaloes