I'm generally a nervous wreck when I watch my favorite teams play important games. (I say important games because I wised up and made a conscious decision a few years ago to not let a Redskins loss in a season going nowhere, as most of them have been since 1991, ruin the rest of a perfectly good Sunday.) When I start to stress, I think of a book I read in Robert Sapolsky's Human Behavioral Biology course at Stanford -- Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers. I'm convinced it's because they don't watch sports (more specifically, Rex Grossman) or drive cars.
The first half of Stanford's 44-14 win at Washington State was probably ulcer-inducing for some of you. Hank wasn't afraid to admit he was nervous, while Twitter and Facebook were teeming with Cardinal fans wondering when the nightmare would end. My girlfriend said she didn't have a good feeling. I kinda shrugged.
"Why aren't you worried?" she asked, with a tone that implied I should have been.
Because Andrew Luck threw his first interception of the season that was entirely his fault. Because replay overturned a clear fumble that would have given the Cardinal excellent field position. Because Stepfan Taylor's lost fumble gave Washington State a short field. Because the Cougars' kicker didn't miss a field goal, no matter that he didn't attempt one. Because Stanford settled for three points after driving to the WSU 5. And because, despite all of that, the Cardinal still led 10-7.
The main reason I wasn't worried, though? As poorly as the Stanford offense played in the first half, Jeff Tuel and the Cougars looked even worse. Washington State didn't stand a chance against Stanford's under appreciated defense, which registered six sacks and four other tackles for loss. Just look at Wazzu's first half possessions:
- 5 plays for 8 yards, Punt
- 6 plays for 24 yards, Punt
- 8 plays for 24 yards, Punt
- 3 plays for 5 yards, Punt
- 6 plays for 40 yards, Touchdown
- 2 plays for 3 yards, End of Half