As if passing “Pop” Warner and retaining ‘The Axe’ were not enough to make it a historic day for the Stanford faithful, the victory also gives the #21 Cardinal (8-3 / 7-2 PAC-12) the opportunity to win the PAC-12 North if #13 WSU should fall to #17 Washington in Seattle this Saturday afternoon. Either way, it is all lined up to be a wild finish.
In regard to becoming the winningest coach in Stanford history, David Shaw was both humble and appreciative. In regard to potentially winning the PAC-12 North, he was simply honest.
“I’m sure we’ll be scoreboard watching to a certain degree,” Shaw admitted. “But we can’t worry about what happens on somebody else’s field. Either we go to the PAC-12 championship game or we don’t.”
Though the Cardinal did not have their best against their archrival Cal (5-6 / 2-6 PAC-12), they played just well enough to win. Still, their destiny remains uncertain, as does the health of Heisman frontrunner Bryce Love (14 rushes / 101 yards / 7.2 YPC / 1 TD).
The Stanford running back gave yet another heroic performance against the Bears. While both playing hurt, and re-aggravating the injury during the game, he still managed to run past everyone on the field for a 57-yard touchdown on just one ankle. Amazingly, this season alone, that is Love’s 11th TD of 50 yards or longer.
His head coach summed it up perfectly after the game. “Injured or not, there’s nobody catching Bryce once he gets up to full speed.”
Another bright spot for the Cardinal offense was junior running back Cameron Scarlett (14 rushes / 61 yards / 4.4 YPC), who filled in nicely for the injured Love in the 2nd half, and helped to seal the game with a huge 2-yard dive on a late 4th & 1. By the same measure, it was a solid push by the offensive line that created the lane, when everyone in the stadium knew a run was coming.
Defensively for Stanford, All-American candidates junior safety Justin Reid (11 tackles / 1 PD / 1 TFL) and senior nose tackle Harrison Phillips (5 tackles / 2 QBH / 1 TFL) controlled the middle of the field for the Cardinal as they have all year. Equally of note on the day, Senior OLB Peter Kalambayi (5 tackles / 1 sack / 1 TFL / 1 QBH) showed grit on the edge throughout the contest, and junior defensive back Ben Edwards (3 tackles / 1 INT / 1 PD) came up with a clutch 4th Quarter interception.
#21 Stanford hosts #8 Notre Dame on The Farm this weekend, and it is sure to be an old- fashioned brawl in the trenches. Regardless of the result however, the Cardinal will be hoping that the #17 Huskies get their bite back at home and take down the #13 Cougs.