Well that was much better than our last visit to Seattle, wasn't it?
Most impressive: Since I've made a habit of giving this to one player only, I'm going to give it to Kevin Hogan. Hogan threw for a career-high 286 yards on Saturday, and averaged 11.4 yards a completion. The Cardinal isn't a team that likes to sling it, but Hogan was excellent all night except for one bad pick. He looks like he's still getting better every week, and that makes me very optimistic about this Cardinal's offense this season.
Biggest surprise: Devon Cajuste. Ty Montgomery caught the most passes, but Cajuste had a massive coming-out party on Saturday. We've already seen him be Kevin Hogan's favorite deep threat so far this season, but he looks capable of being the 2013 Cardinal's version of Coby Fleener. He's big, nimble, and can play both in-line and out wide, which makes him an extremely versatile and dangerous offensive option. Here's hoping that Cajuste can keep his coming-out party going (like Pitbull).
Also worth noting: Cajuste has helped bring some serious explosiveness back to the Stanford offense this year - something that was sorely missed a year ago. See this tweet from Ivan Maisel:
All 4 @StanfordFBall offensive TDs scored from outside red zone. For season, 8 of 17 TDs on big plays.#STANvsWVU— Ivan Maisel (@Ivan_Maisel) September 29, 2013
Most consistent: The special teams. Ben Rhyne dropped three of his four punts inside the 20, Jordan Williamson nailed two field goals, and the punt and kick returners were mistake-free. Thumbs up.
Most pleasantly surprising: Barry freakin' Sanders, y'all. I love when Sanders touches the ball because Twitter explodes. He made a sweet juke on one play and later darted into the end zone for his first career touchdown on Saturday - and here's hoping that he does that many more times as a member of the Cardinal.
Most frustrating performance: The clock management. I understand delay of games happen from time to time, but they're easily the most frustrating thing that has come out of the David Shaw regime of coaching. For three years now, the team will go through stretches where the plays will consistently be called a little too slowly. Part of that last year was on Josh Nunes, but you don't want to throw away yards on what is easily the dumbest penalty in football. You get the same amount of time on every play, guys. (Also: the red zone execution was not great on Saturday. One pick and two field goals is less than ideal when you are knocking on the door of the end zone.)
Uh, where'd you go? Award: The run game. I know that the Cougars' run defense is improved and David Yankey was missing and the Cardinal still rushed for 238 yards on the ground, but Gaffney and Wilkerson had a hard time finding holes nor the majority of the game, which was surprising. Also, for yet another week, Kelsey Young touched the ball only once. I know that he's a special weapon that the coaches use only in big games... but it continues to baffle me that he doesn't touch the ball 5+ times a game every game. There are a lot of important/dangerous players on the field, but Young always makes plays when he touches the ball. Always.
Beast Mode Award: Trent Murphy. Murphy had his second pick-six in as many games at the CLink, and continued his reign of terror on the Pac-12. I still don't see any reason why Trent Murphy shouldn't be a first-round pick. (I would also like to give special mention to Tyler Gaffney for fighting for a fourth-down conversion when he was caught three yards in the backfield.)
Tweets of the Weekend:
Two Washington State quarterbacks have been injured on the SAME SERIES OF DOWNS. #TreesAreCausingOthersToFall— Matt Zemek (@MattZemek_CFN) September 29, 2013
@RuleofTree Cajuste looks like a cross between a cheetah and a freight train— Daniel Jacobson (@TheEastBayDJ) September 29, 2013
Lane Kiffin at Tennessee during a 2009 SI photo shoot: pic.twitter.com/xgpmR91Yqm— Andy Gray (@si_vault) September 30, 2013
Courtesy of Stanford stats department (@bennyblev) ... last time Stanford had two INTs returned for scores? 1969 vs. Washington State— Alan George (@treeSIDjorge) September 29, 2013
Andrew Luck is in the rare and weird position of clearly being the best young QB in a QB crazy league--and yet, somehow, overlooked.— Seth Wickersham (@SethWickersham) September 29, 2013