Rule of Tree Rewind: Stanford vs. San Jose State

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Let's Not Panic: Fifty-seven, to three. Fifty-seven, to three. Jim Harbaugh beat exactly one team (Washington State) by a wider margin during his four years on the Farm, and while the final score wasn't entirely indicative of how the Cardinal -- particularly the offense -- played, Stanford took care of business in a glorified scrimmage. There's no question that the offensive line needs to get better. The Cardinal never really established a downhill running game and it failed to convert on third and short on three occasions. If the Stanford running game is as dormant next week against Duke as it was against the Spartans, it may be cause for alarm. But given that the unit features three guys who were making their first career starts, I think the Tunnel Workers Union deserves at least one more week to prove itself. Most importantly, the offensive line kept Andrew Luck's jersey clean, save for the grass stains he sustained on his one-yard TD plunge.

Keeping It Vanilla: Midway through the second quarter, Stanford faced a 3rd-and-17 from its own 13. The Cardinal probably doesn't expect to be in many 3rd and long situations this season, but there are no doubt a number of plays in the playbook for those rare occasions. An underneath pass to tight end Coby Fleener is probably not one of them. After Stanford gained 7 yards on the play and was forced to punt, one of the CSN Bay Area announcers said it was a selective playcall, suggesting that Stanford, which was already in firm control of the game, was purposely not showing much. As Hank speculated at Go Mighty Card, "the offense played extremely conservatively throughout the game, so much so that I'm convinced it was by design. There's no need to put anything serious on tape at this point, and things will probably look just as vanilla next week at Duke." In other words, we may not be able to start to gauge the effectiveness of this year's offense relative to last year's before Stanford travels to Tucson on September 17.

Looking Back: Just how did the Stanford offense fare in last year's 52-17 season-opening win against Sacramento State? The Cardinal amassed 529 total yards, including 213 yards on 38 carries (5.6 average). Take away backup quarterback Alex Loukas's 48-yard run and the performance is somewhat less impressive, but the running game was clicking against the Hornets. Five different Stanford players had runs of at least 10 yards in the season opener last season compared to only two on Saturday. 

Hit That Makes You Go Ooooh: San Jose State punter Harrison Waid -- all 180 pounds of him -- got JACKED UP by Stanford's Devon Carrington on a fake punt attempt late in the third quarter. Coupled with a missed 23-yard field goal, it wasn't a great afternoon for the Sunnyvale native. Carrington's hit was one of the many highlights for the Stanford special teams. Chris Owusu and Drew Terrell had long returns and new kicker Jordan Williamson booted seven extra points and two field goals.

Fresh Faces: It was great to see a few true freshmen making plays for the Cardinal. Cornerback Wayne Lyons broke up a pass -- and nearly had an interception -- on his first series, receiver Ty Montgomery made a catch, and linebacker James Vaughters made three tackles, including one for a loss. More of that, please.

No Moral Victory: San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre was brtually honest when asked for his assessment of quarterback Matt Faulkner, who was making his first start with the Spartans. "I don't think he was very good," MacIntyre said. "He made some good throws and some good plays. You just can't afford to fumble the ball four times. He hasn't been doing that in practice, and hopefully he won't do that next week."

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