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 13 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 13.
For the first time during his Stanford Cardinal tenure, quarterback K.J. Costello passed for five scores In a single game. His outing led the way in a 49-42 down-to-the-wire thriller against the UCLA Bruins.
The new, pass-happy Cardinal offense looked electric through the air, in large part due to the return of leading receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside. But it is also a perfect time to appreciate the steps forward made this season by both the Cardinal and Costello.
Winner - K.J. Costello
Stat Line - 23-for-37, 344 passing yards, five touchdowns
This UCLA Bruins game was as close as everyone should have anticipated; a head coach in Chip Kelly that had established a crucial running game to his system was up against a team he had figured out defensively when they were the top defensive team in the PAC-12.
If you thought the Bruins were about to go quietly, there are some disgruntled USC fans with tales to tell.
This game, with a weak defense trying to stave off the offensive savvy of Kelly, was a perfect platform for Costello to post a career day. Early in his career, Costello could have never lifted this team above mediocrity to beat an adversary. That was what the running game was meant to do, but in 16 odd months, we have been in the presence of a quarterback who went from one of the pieces to the essential aspect of the offensive roster.
As the Cardinal have shifted in identity, so has Costello; from game-manager to air raid quarterback.
In 2017, Costello attempted an average of 19.2 passes through the 11 games he played, doing enough to complement Bryce Love and an offense that ran over everyone. He posted one game with four touchdowns and collected a 58 percent completion mark.
Through 12 games in 2018, Costello has averaged 30.6 passing attempts, completing 68 percent of his passes and already recording four games with four plus scores. He has also watched his yards per passing attempt jump from 7.46 to 8.71.
It was clear that the Cardinal could no longer embody the run-heavy, trench dominant teams of the past, but the happy by-product has been Costello’s growth.
The Santa Margarita product transformed into a player that has handled the brunt of the offensive workload while watching his offensive line fail him and his running game turn from elite to pedestrian. A defense that masked their problems with NFL talent last season has since sprung a bevy of leaks, surrendering 421 yards per game, the highest mark allowed by a Cardinal defense since 2007.
Costello has countered the depleted squad by surpassing expectations, tossing for 3,198 yards and 28 scores. His career day also comes on the cusp of Stanford’s game with Cal and a Stanford sweep of their California adversaries.
For all that has gone wrong this Cardinal season, the elevated play of Costello has been a huge piece of what has gone right, and why the Cardinal future is worthy of your excitement.