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Stanford Demolishes Duke, Turns Attention to USC

Back in black. Josh Nunes looked better in his second career start.
Back in black. Josh Nunes looked better in his second career start.

How's everyone's panic level now?

There was a lot to love about Stanford's 50-13 win over Duke:

  • Drew Terrell returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown and had three catches for 39 yards, including his second receiving touchdown of the season.
  • Ed Reynolds had two interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. Reynolds now has as many interceptions through two games (3) as the Cardinal had as a team through eight games last season. After missing all of last season with an injury, Reynolds is living up to David Shaw's billing as the best safety in the spring
  • Josh Nunes looked much better than he did against San Jose State. With Duke stacking the box, Nunes threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns against only one interception, while averaging 9.2 yards per attempt. Experience is a wonderful thing. Andrew Luck should look better next week after throwing three interceptions in his NFL debut.
  • The defense was awesome. Jarek Lancaster had a team-high 10 tackles. Last week's hero, Usua Amanam, had seven tackles and a pass breakup. Shayne Skov looked good in his first action since last September. We mentioned Reynolds. As a unit, the Cardinal D limited Duke to 27 yards rushing on 23 carries and intercepted three passes. Tackling, for the most part, was solid.
  • 50 points is a bit preposterous given how the offense looked last week.

And yet, Stanford will have to play a lot better to beat USC, which visits the Farm on Saturday.

While the 37-point win was impressive, it was decidedly un-Stanford-like.

The Cardinal was held to fewer than 100 yards rushing for the first time since the third game of the 2008 season, as the Blue Devils stacked the box to force Stanford to beat them through the air. The Stanford offensive line only allowed one sack, but still has some jelling to do. Stepfan Taylor had 69 yards on 14 carries.

"I thought Stepfan ran great," Shaw said. "We probably could have gotten a few more opportunities for him, but once the score got out of whack, it was probably not completely necessary. So, we put two other backs in there, and the backs ran hard. That's who we are."

Nunes completed only 16 of 30 passes, but his completion percentage would've been better if he hadn't thrown so many jump balls. The play eventually resulted in a touchdown to Levine Toilolo, but only after several failed attempts. Nunes looked better zipping conventional passes to his receivers.

Here's more from Shaw and the players: