clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Best and Worst: Stanford vs. Colorado

Max Bergen celebrates his touchdown on a blocked field goal.
Max Bergen celebrates his touchdown on a blocked field goal.

Here's a look at the best and worst from Stanford's 48-7 win over Colorado.

Worst Start: For the second straight week, Stanford was in danger of falling behind for the first time all season. Unlike UCLA, which marched the length of the field on its opening drive, Colorado caught a break when Jeremy Stewart muffed the Buffs' purposely short opening kickoff and Jon Major recovered at the Cardinal 36.  

Best 10-Point Swing: With a short field to defend, the Stanford defense forced a fourth down at the Cardinal 12 yard line. Rather than going for it, as the Bruins did, Colorado head coach Jon Embree sent the field goal unit in. Max Bergen blocked the 29-yard attempt, recovered the ball on a bounce at the Stanford 25, and raced 75 yards the other way for a Cardinal touchdown. Bergen's stunning play turned a potential deficit into a 7-0 lead, which was just about all Stanford would need.

Worst Tackling: With Stanford leading 13-0, Colorado faced 2nd and 20 from its own 19. Tyler Hansen threw a screen pass to running back Rodney Stewart, who zigged and zagged his way 76 yards downfield to the Stanford 5. The Buffaloes scored two plays later on a Hansen touchdown pass to Tony Jones.  

Best Stat: Stewart's catch and run accounted for 28% of Colorado's total offense. The Stanford defense, which recorded three sacks, was dominant for much of the night.

Worst Break: Before the game, it was reported that Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson, who is arguably the Buffs' biggest offensive weapon, suffered a knee injury earlier in the week during practice and would not play. Richardson wouldn't have made a 41-point difference, but he would've been a tough matchup for the Stanford secondary and a good primer for some of the better wide receivers the Cardinal will see throughout the second half of the season.

Best Performance By a Heisman Contender: Andrew Luck was brilliant yet again, completing 26 of 33 passes for 370 yards (the second-highest total of his career) and three touchdowns, including two to Ryan Hewitt. Luck has completed more than 80% of his passes over his last two games and has now thrown 14 touchdowns against only two interceptions.

Worst Drop By a Senior: One of those interceptions came Saturday, but it wasn't Luck's fault. Terrel Smith made the pick in the second quarter off a deflection after Chris Owusu couldn't handle a pass that should've been caught. Owusu finished with 3 catches for 34 yards.

Best Performance By a Wide Receiver: Griff Whalen, who hadn't been much of a factor through four games, caught four passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. It was a relatively quiet night for the TriumviratE, though Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo all had receptions of at least 25 yards. It was good to see Whalen step up.  

Worst Drop By a Freshman: Ty Montgomery, who made a big play last week when he forced a fumble on a UCLA punt return, dropped a third-down pass over the middle on the drive preceding the one that ended in Luck's interception. These things happen. Montgomery will make that catch much more often than not in the future and it was good to see Luck call his number in an important (at the time, anyway) spot. 

Best Running Back Committee: Tyler Gaffney, Stepfan Taylor, and Anthony Wilkerson combined for 140 yards on 25 carries. Gaffney and Taylor had rushing TDs for the Cardinal, as did Jeremy Stewart. 

Worst Penalties: Stanford committed only five penalties, but three of them were of the 15-yard, personal foul variety. "It's our fault," Luck said. "Nowhere else to point the finger except at ourselves. It's boneheaded by our team when we do that. Luckily we were able to bounce out of that hole in certain situations. But you can't win consistently playing like that." You can win consistently playing like that against the UCLAs and Colorados of the Pac-12 (of which there are many this season), but that won't fly against Oregon, USC, or Washington.  

Best Halftime Quote: Stanford head coach David Shaw, who said the Cardinal's performance and 27-7 lead was "not good enough." He was right and his players seemed to answer the challenge, looking generally sharper after the break. 

Best Translators: Ted Robinson and Glenn Parker. While discussing the shared hometown of Colorado backup quarterback Nick Hirschman and former Stanford QB Trent Edwards, the Versus commentators informed us that Los Gatos means the cats. 

Worst Performance by a Kicker: Jordan Williamson missed an extra point and his first field goal of the season, but tradition dictates that this distinction goes to Colorado's Will Oliver. While the blocked kick wasn't his fault, he missed a 46-yard field goal, which brought the combined field goal success rate by kickers against Stanford this season down to an astounding 20% (2-for-10). 

Best Predictions: Congrats to cardinole, who predicted a 44-10 Stanford win. Cardinal&Orange also deserves some credit for predicting a special teams TD. 

Best First: Michael Thomas recorded Stanford's first interception of the season in the fourth quarter.