Few purchases rival that of a jersey bought in the light of a beautiful sport’s moment. Allowing the crazed excitement of an incredible play or an unforgettable instant to dictate the acquisition of a players jersey is all part of this thing we call being a sports fan. In the spirit of such a moment, this is the jersey from week one I would buy in the heat of the moment.
The jersey belonging to the player who raised me to my feet the most, elevated my blood pressure consistently and gave me no choice but to invest in his numbers. This is the winner of the Compulsive Purchase Award- week six.
Well, we can all agree that was truly embarrassing. To lose to Notre Dame is tough, but they were the eighth best team in the country at the time. The Utah Utes jumped on the Stanford Cardinal’s defense, exploding for 40 points, 24 of which came in the first half.
Another team attacked the line of scrimmage, leaving Stanford powerless to stop them. Zack Moss dashed for 160 yards, averaging eight yards per carry, which was a large chunk of Utah’s 222 yards on the ground. On the other side, the defense was led by defensive end Bradlee Anae, who recorded two sacks and three tackles for loss. The Utes racked up four sacks and eight tackles for loss, causing plenty of upheaval for K.J. Costello in the first half.
The pick six and pair of fumbles was too much for Stanford, who tried to make a comeback with a 14-point third quarter. But the 381 passing yards from Costello could not cover for the offensive line play, the 1.5 yards per carry from the running backs and the sieve that has become the Stanford defense.
On third down, the Cardinal posted a 27 percent conversion rate, four percent better than when Stanford played Notre Dame. Unfortunately, much like the low yards per carry number, that has been par for the course when looking at Stanford’s offense this season.
The problems that Stanford had early in the season have ceased to be the background noise, taking over the last two games for the Cardinal. But there was one silver lining - tight end Kaden Smith
Winner - Kaden Smith
Stat Line - eight receptions, 120 yards, 15 yards per carry
It was a problem-filled day for the Cardinal, but not for Smith, who has been showing his potential in spades this season.
Headed into 2018, head coach David Shaw looked for Smith to take after former Cardinal tight end, Zach Ertz. He has recorded 382 yards this season, establishing himself as a safety blanket for Costello and leading the Cardinal in receiving yards four of their six games this season. He has been essential to keeping Stanford’s drives alive, doing whatever he wishes through the middle of opposing defenses.
The battle back home did not quell any of the concerns around the Cardinal lines. The problems were arguably magnified by the 19-point loss to Utah. But that does not change the excellent play of Smith, both all season long and in his career day against the Utes, posting the highest single-game yardage total of his career.