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 three.
This was a gimme for the Stanford Cardinal, playing UC Davis Aggies at home, especially when the Cardinal boast a 127-36-14 against non-FBS programs.
The concern was clearly for next week and the primetime game against the Oregon Ducks. Stanford’s sat star running back Bryce Love in the interest of next week, as everyone in Stanford Stadium assumed victory.
The decisive 30-10 victory was a quiet sapping of the Aggies strength, more than a steamrolling.
The pass rush that was explosive against USC produced zero sacks (along with one QB hurry), and quarterback K.J. Costello tossed a pair of picks. Tight end Kaden Smith led the team in receiving yards with 68, running back Trevor Speights collected 101 total yards, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside posted two scores. None of the offense seemed particularly overwhelming or disgustingly superior. What was excellent was the secondary of the Cardinal, which helped to 10 defended passes and an interception, holding UC quarterback Jake Maier to 194 yards. In a game full of coasting, the Stanford defensive backs went full speed.
Award Winner - Alameen Murphy
Stat Line - Seven tackles and an interception
Maier started his Aggies career with games of 446 and 302 yards, completing 67 and 50 percent of his passes respectively. After jumping out to a hot start, Maier cooled quickly against Murphy and company.
The defensive backs showed their durability contributing against the running game, with Murphy (seven tackles) and Alijah Holder (six tackles) leading the team in tackles.
Whether they were up on the line or playing off man, the defensive backs were everywhere; harassing the UC receivers and making tackles out in space. The back end accounted for six defended passes and one of the four tackles for loss.
The outing is especially encouraging when looking at Stanford’s body of work this season. Costello, Arcega-Whiteside and the passing attack headlined game one, while defense and the linebackers pass rush captivated in week two.
The performance was a statement (despite the competition) because of the conference Stanford will return to playing next weekend. With the likes of Quenton Meeks and Justin Reid leaving to the NFL last season and the crucial need for sound secondary play against the pass-heavy PAC-12, the ability to depend on DBs is essential. Paulson Adebo, Malik Antoine and Murphy have responded to the spotlight with stellar play in the secondary.
Murphy highlighted the group by leading the defense in tackles and snagging an impressive pick, returning it 32 yards.
By flying around the football field, making plays and anticipating offensive moves, confidence is at an all-time high for the 2018 Stanford defense.
Sure, most of the team was coasting, Sure, they are supposed to beat UC Davis. But when you are making the breaks for the wide receiver, there is plenty of reason to get excited for the Stanford defense, from top to bottom.
Play that sealed the purchase -